Conservation officer warns of chronic wasting disease

With the warmer temperature, more people are venturing outside for recreational activities, including hunting.

With the warmer temperature, more people are venturing outside for recreational activities, including hunting.

Currently it is open season for many species, including black bears and bearded turkeys. There are some things to be aware of before hunting, including obtaining a proper hunting license.

BC Conservation Officer, Frank deBoon, says there are regulations in place to protect B.C. wildlife, including a ban on bringing animal carcasses in from other provinces.

“From out of province, any ungulates, like moose, elk or deer, hunters can’t bring any into B.C. They have to be cut and wrapped and then the antlers can be brought in but they need to be bleached out of the skull so there is no brain tissue that comes along,” said deBoon.

This is protection from Chronic Wasting Disease, a disease similar to Mad Cow Disease.

“That is what most people relate it to. If it does reach B.C., there is just no way to stop it. Just animals coming into contact with each other can spread it or the pathogens can be dormant in the ground for 10 years or more so the animals feeding would pick it up,” said deBoon.

Conservation officers regularly patrol the Alberta/B.C. border to check for people failing to respect this regulation. The disease spread into Alberta from Saskatchewan, and authorities are hoping to keep it out of B.C.

deBoon wants to remind anglers that fishing on the Elk River is currently closed to allow for spawning. However, fishing in lakes is permitted with fishing at Summit Lake on the Alberta/B.C. border is popular at this time of year.