By Tam Davis

Following detection of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) at a commercial red deer farm located in the Laurentians north of the Ottawa River, Quebecers and our neighbours in Ontario and Vermont are concerned about CWD’s potential impact on the health of the wild deer and moose population, and on hunting in Quebec.

CWD can affect white-tailed deer, American elk, moose and woodland caribou. It may spread by close contact between animals or exposure to a contaminated carcass or a contaminated environment, such as soil in a deer yarding area. Affected animals may exhibit loss of body weight, stumbling, tremors, lack of coordination and paralysis. Health Canada recommends that people avoid consuming meat or fluids from animals known to be infected by CWD.

The Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) has already carried out a controlled slaughter to cull the deer and moose population in the affected area (portions of Quebec Hunting Zones 9 West and 10 East) to evaluate whether the CWD has spread to the wild deer and moose. The MFFP has also imposed measures to reduce human exposure to CWD-contaminated matter. These include bans on hunting and trapping, restrictions on access and travel within the area and taking samples from carcasses of deer and moose killed in the area.

While the measures do not affect hunting in Brome County and neighbouring regions, hunters and others should remain vigilant and report to the MFFP any sightings of deer or moose that appear to have CWD symptoms.

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