Manitoba Conservation enforcement efforts continue to let Manitobans know about illegal hunting practices across the province. 

Manitoba Wildlife Federation (MWF) Managing Director, Carly Deacon, says sharing that information has been vitally important to deter law breakers. 

“It’s been a massive improvement over the last little while with more improvements to come,” shares Deacon, “and lots of open dialogue, which I really love. The [Conservation] Officers have been providing us with constant updates on what’s been happening in the province in the last 2 years, and we’ve been distributing that in our e-newsletters to our membership. We’ve been getting great feedback on that.” 

“That open dialogue has helped, too, in terms of the amount of illegal activity happening in the province, because people are noticing that there are more boots on the ground, and there are [arrests] happening and people aren’t getting away with things anymore. So, that was a really important aspect in all of that too.” 

Conservation Officers are responding to illegal hunting activity across the province; however, they are also very much aware of the potential for more cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) coming over the Saskatchewan border into Manitoba through big game. 

Between November and December of 2021, a total of 3 mule deer were found to be infected with chronic wasting disease, a progressive neurological disease that affects big game like elk, deer, moose and caribou.  

“This is very daunting, and news that we didn’t want to hear, that’s for sure,” shares Deacon. “It was something that was lingering on our border for many years, so we could anticipate that it was coming, but I believe the province has taken all the management strategies to date to try and get ahead of it.” 

“MWF is standing by and communicating the best we can with our membership, and we’re really encouraging the province to include hunters to be involved in all those management practices,” she adds.  

In the effort to eradicate CWD in Manitoba, Conservation has culled large white tail herds on the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border, testing hundreds of animals. CWD has a greater tendency to spread in large populations of big game, much like TB found in the elk herds in Riding Mountain National Park a few years ago. So, through managing herd size, there is a greater chance to manage disease. 

Thus far, only the 3 mule deer bucks have been found to be carrying the disease. “That kind of focuses management efforts to get ahead of it. The information that they’ve gained to date has really helped them to hone in on what they can do going forward, says Deacon. 

Carly Deacon encourages Manitobans to be aware of the signs of chronic wasting disease, and to stay informed, but to get their information from credible sources. “I think that’s very important. Social media can have a big influence on some of the information that’s out there and that’s not always accurate,” she adds. 

The Manitoba Wildlife Federation and the Province of Manitoba government website are two resources with continuously updated information on signs, symptoms, provincial management efforts and testing results. 

Deacon encourages hunters to test harvested meat for CWD, just to be safe. “Going forward, it doesn’t mean we don’t hunt white-tail anymore, it just means we take precautions when cleaning our deer and we’re taking the right steps to make sure the meat is safe by getting it tested first.” 

If you see a sick deer, don’t touch - report it. 

“The symptoms of CWD are very obvious. If you see a very thin deer that is looking fatigued with its head down and its salivating, these are obvious symptoms that you would recognize. And if you do recognize this in a deer, don’t touch it, "she warns. “Just report it immediately and let conservation officers look into it from there.” 

To report illegal hunting or a natural resources violation, call the Turn In Poachers (TIPS) line toll-free at 1-800-782-0076 any time. If you see an deer that may be infected with Chronic Wasting Disease, call your local Conservation Office. 

Visit Chronic Wasting Disease - Manitoba Wildlife Federation (


Natural Resources and Northern Development | Province of Manitoba (