Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a serious issue affecting Saskatchewan’s wild deer, elk and moose populations. This fatal deer version of “mad cow disease” emerged in a research facility in Colorado in the 1960s. Over the next decades, schemes to exploit ‘captive wildlife’ for profit were legalized. Deer and elk—and their diseases—were transported across the continent. CWD eventually spread from captive herds in game farms to wild populations.
Hunters anywhere in the province are able to test deer, elk, moose and caribou for CWD in order to help provide critical information on the presence and distribution of the disease in these species. The Ministry of Environment offers free voluntary CWD testing for all hunters. Fresh or frozen heads can be dropped off at select Ministry of Environment field offices, Parks offices or self-service drop-off locations, with results available in roughly six weeks.
Please note: larger moose and elk heads should be dropped off at designated Ministry of Environment field offices and select Parks offices.
What can hunters do:
- Get your deer, moose, elk or caribou tested.
- Avoid long-distance movements with your deer carcass.
- All transported carcass waste should be double-bagged and taken to a permitted landfill.
- Handle and dispose of your carcass in a responsible manner.
- If you hunt out of province, only bring back low-risk parts (deboned meat, cleaned skull plate, antlers, finished taxidermy mount).
- Stay up to date on the latest hunting regulations.
- Keep hunting and support ongoing efforts to control the disease by submitting heads for testing in ministry target areas.
- Click here for an instructional video on removing samples from your deer for CWD testing.
- The feature length documentary “No Accident” will investigate the causes and the effects of the lethal CWD epidemic in North America. For more information about the film, go to www.noaccidentfilm.com.
- Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment – CWD information page.