Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)


CWD has not been detected in Manitoba. It has been found in Saskatchewan and Alberta, and in many of the mid-western United States. The disease is spreading in many jurisdictions, including Saskatchewan and Alberta, and remains a significant problem in wild deer in those provinces. An ongoing risk assessment of the disease in adjacent jurisdictions is continuing.

Manitoba Sustainable Development, in co-operation with Parks Canada and Manitoba Agriculture, is again actively collecting and testing the following elk and white-tailed deer samples for the presence of this disease:


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  • The complete head and upper neck of elk and white-tailed deer harvested during the hunting seasons in GHAs 5, 6, 6A, 11, 12, 13, 13A, part of 18 and 18B west of PR 366, 18A, 18C,part of 22 west of PTH 83, and, new for 2018, GHA 27.
  • Elk and white-tailed deer submitted for testing under the Bovine TB surveillance program may also be tested for CWD.

If you see a white-tailed deer or elk with CWD symptoms, including extreme weight loss, repetitive behaviour, drooping head and ears, and drooling, you should note the precise location and immediately contact the nearest Manitoba Sustainable Development office.

All hunters are required by regulation to submit samples to Manitoba Sustainable Development through a Drop-off Depot

What else is being done by Manitoba Sustainable Development?

  • Manitoba Sustainable Development has increased the CWD Surveillance Zone to include GHA 27 in the MANDATORY sample submission Zone.  This area now includes GHAs 5, 6, 6A, 11, 12, 13, 13A, part of 18 and 18B west of PR 366, 18A, 18C, part of 22 west of PTH 83, and, new for 2018, GHA 27.
  • Hunters may submit biological samples voluntarily along the U.S.A. border.  Manitoba Sustainable Development will test, free of charge, samples from elk, moose, and white-tailed deer harvested within two (2) townships north of the U.S.A. border.
  • Recent research has shown the disease causing agent, a prion, can survive and remain infectious in body tissues and outside of the cervid (deer, elk, moose, and caribou) host. Currently, it is illegal to bring into Manitoba a cervid (deer, elk, moose or caribou) that has been killed in another province or state without taking precautions.
  • Manitoba Sustainable Development strongly encourages those who hunt outside of the province to check local regulations regarding CWD testing, exporting, and importing of cervid parts.  Manitoba is reviewing regulations regarding the importation of any cervid parts, including meat, antlers, and hides with further restrictions pending.  Hunters should check the website for up to date regulations regarding the importation of any harvested cervid and cervid parts.
  • The importation into Manitoba of native and exotic cervids is prohibited.
  • The possession of scents and other substances that contain urine, faeces, saliva or scent glands of cervids, is prohibited.
  • Feeding and attracting cervids in the Bovine TB and CWD Surveillance Zones is prohibited. Baiting of cervids for the purpose of hunting is illegal in Manitoba.

What can hunters do to protect Manitoba Big Game?

The CWD prevention program in Manitoba is evolving. Hunters play a critical role in preventing this disease from infecting these species. 

  • Continue to hunt big game in Manitoba.  Hunting provides recreational opportunity and a source of food.  Hunting also benefits wildlife by managing over-abundance, and by dispersing big game which reduces close contact between individuals.
  • Have your harvest tested, especially in the mandatory CWD Surveillance Zone and the, new, CWD voluntary sample submission area along the U.S.A. border.
  • Hunters should immediately report any signs of illness or disease in elk, caribou, moose, and white-tailed deer, and immediately report any sightings of elk and deer with ear tags.

Visit our website for more information on wildlife diseases.

Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) in Elk and White-Tailed Deer

The bovine TB surveillance program in elk and white-tailed deer is continuing. In order to detect changes in the prevalence rate for this disease in these species, the number of samples needed for testing has increased. Failure to meet sample targets through hunter submissions may result in actions to collect additional samples. Therefore, it is important that all hunters who harvest a white-tailed deer or an elk in these GHAs submit samples as required by regulation. Hunters are required to submit the following samples within 48 hours:

  • The complete head, upper neck, lungs and trachea (windpipe) of elk and white-tailed deer shot during the hunting seasons in the Riding Mountain area (GHAs 23 and 23A).
  • Samples must be delivered to a Drop-off Depot
  • Hunters should immediately report any small, pea-sized lumps in the rib cage or lungs of elk and white-tailed deer.

All hunters are required by regulation to submit samples to Manitoba Sustainable Development through a Drop-off Depot.

Hunters are requested to avoid taking elk and white-tailed deer that have been fitted with radio-collars. These marked animals are important to the success of the ecological studies of elk and white-tailed deer.