Province announces mandatory sampling program for deadly deer disease

The province is rolling out a mandatory sampling program for Chronic Wasting Disease this fall for deer harvested in the Kootenays. 

Starting Sept. 1, hunters will be required to submit the heads of any mule and white-tailed deer harvested in seven wildlife management units along the southern B.C. border: 4-1, 4-2, 4-3, 4-4, 4-5, 4-6, and 4-7.

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The move comes after after five animals were found with the disease in Montana, 60 kilometres south of the B.C. border, the province said in a notice on Aug. 8.

"The provincial Wildlife Health Program is calling on all hunters, especially those in the Peace and East Kootenay, to bring deer, moose and elk heads to drop-off locations for testing," the province said.

wasting disease
A 2015 Ministry of Environment report showed the risk zones for chronic wasting disease.

Chronic Wasting Disease is a deadly infection similar to mad cow disease that affects the central nervous system of the deer family. Symptoms include thin appearance, drooling, poor coordination, and stumbling.

The province has been monitoring for the disease since 2002, targeting the Peace and East Kootenay Regions as high-risk areas due to its presence in Alberta and Montana.

No infected animals have been found in B.C, however, more sampling is needed to inform any additional response, the province said. 

The mandatory sampling program runs until Dec. 20.

Samples can be dropped off at any B.C. Wildlife or Conservation Officer Service office, or:

  • North Peace Rod and Gun Club, Fort St. John
  • Peace Taxidermy, Hwy 29
  • Richard's Meat, Pouce Coupe
  • Gwinner's Country Butcher, Kimberley
  • Rick’s Fine Meats, Cranbrook
  • Wes's Country Meats, Fernie

Anyone encountering an animal exhibiting symptoms of Chronic Wasting Disease is asked to notift the provincial Wildlife Health Program at 250-751-3219 or the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277. 

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