Fish and Wildlife Officer Jeff Zimmer has a word for deer hunters heading out this fall -- remember to test your deer meat for CWD.
"The Wildlife Management Units around here are considered 'Chronic Wasting Disease' zones -- it's a brain disorder that deer can get," explained Zimmer. "In areas around Drumheller, it's mandatory that deer hunters submit their heads for testing."
This disease is not new. It was first detected in Colorado, and then migrated north through game-farmed deer.
"It's been around since the 1960s. It was first detected down in the States and then it slowly expanded from there," said Zimmer. "Originally it came to Canada into Saskatchewan and slowly spread from there to the point that we know we have it in this area."
More studies need to be done to determine whether or not CWD can be transmitted to humans. However, as a precaution, hunters are advised to avoid eating meat from animals exposed to the disease.
"Myself as a hunter, I submit my heads every year to get tested. We had one last year that was tested positive, so we ended up turning the meat in, and we were given a replacement tag for it."
Zimmer said that heads can be submitted to the Fish and Wildlife warehouse at 1050 Premier Close, in Drumheller. Other freezer locations can be found here (PDF).