Wildlife Disease

Submission of Biological Samples

Manitoba Economic Development, Investment, Trade and Natural Resources has enacted measures to protect wild elk and deer from disease.

By law, licenced hunters are required to submit biological samples mule deer, white-tailed deer, and elk harvested in the mandatory surveillance zone map. This includes the areas of Game Hunting Areas (GHAs) 5, 6, 6A, 11, 12, 13, 13A, 18, 18A, 18B, 18C, 22, 23, 23A, 27, 28, 29, 29A, 30, 31, 31A, 32, 33, 35, and 35A

Hunters have the option of submitting the entire head and upper neck of harvested animals, or, hunters may extract and submit the testable tissues themselves. Testable tissues include:

  • Medial retropharyngeal lymph nodes and lower jaw of mule deer and white-tailed deer.
  • Brain stem (obex) and lower jaw of elk.

Since there is currently no reliable CWD test available for living animals, the province relies on the submission of these biological samples from harvested animals in order to test for CWD. Please submit samples to any of the department’s Drop-off Depots within seven days of harvesting.

Note: The requirement to submit the lungs and trachea (for Bovine Tuberculosis testing) of deer and elk harvested in GHAs 23 and 23A has been removed.


Anthrax is a disease mainly of cattle, sheep and horses and is caused by a bacteria found in the soil. Any warm blooded animal, including wildlife and humans, can contract the disease. Infection results when the bacteria or spores produced by the bacteria enter the body.

Avian Influenza

Avian Influenza is a viral infection of birds. Wild birds, particularly ducks and geese, have carried influenza viruses for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. Wild birds may carry avian influenza (sometimes known as bird flu) but not show any signs of being ill. However, they can spread the disease to other birds, including domestic poultry. Mammals can also catch an avian influenza virus from infected birds.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious and communicable disease caused by bacteria. It affects cattle, bison, deer, elk, goats, and other species, including humans.


Hantavirus can be carried by deer mice, although other rodent species have been shown to be infected. The deer mouse can be pale gray to reddish brown, and has white fur on its belly, feet and underside of the tail. The deer mouse lives primarily in rural and semi-rural areas, but can also reside in urban centres. Hantaviruses are not spread from pets or livestock.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by a bacterial infection that people can get from the bite of an infected blacklegged (deer) tick. Exposure to blacklegged ticks can occur from April to November. They are smaller in size than the common dog (wood) tick, which does not transmit Lyme disease. Throughout Manitoba, there is a chance of being exposed to Lyme disease through contact with infected blacklegged ticks transported by birds. However, there is a greater risk in the southeast corner of the province where an infected blacklegged tick population is established.


Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of warm-blooded animals, including humans. In Canada, the animals that most often transmit rabies are foxes, skunks, bats and feral cats.

West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus (WNV) is a flavivirus that can infect and cause disease in people, birds, horses, and many other animals. Potential for WNV transmission from handling or consuming game is considered very low. There have been no documented cases of WNV being transmitted to hunters from game. Hunters are encouraged to take common sense precautions when handling, cleaning and cooking game birds and mammals, including wearing gloves, washing hands and cooking meat thoroughly.