Camping & RVs
Wilderness Travel & Land Use
- Into the Yukon Wilderness
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Conservation Area Planning
Hunting in Yukon
Fishing in Yukon
Trapping in Yukon
- Trapping Regulations
- Humane Trapping Standards
- Proposed Developments Within
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Hunter & Trapper Education & Resources
- Wildlife Viewing Program
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- Through the Seasons
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- Southern Lakes Bear Study
- Winter Ticks
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Animal Health and Protection
Fish & Wildlife Planning
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- Climate Change Action Plan
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Air & Water
Waste & Chemicals
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Environment Yukon eServices
- Canada's Parks Day
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- Environmental Awareness Fund
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- Pesticide Application Permit
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- EnviroWild Resources for Educators
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About the Department
Maps & GIS Data
Hunters have been shooting and eating wild birds, including waterfowl species known to be reservoirs for avian influenza, for centuries without ill effects. Severely ill wild birds are rarely healthy enough to fly and are more likely to die of natural causes (disease, exposure, or predation) than to be shot by hunters. Cooking will kill the vast majority of pathogens, including avian influenza. Chances are the hunter will be fine, especially if the following precautions are observed when preparing and cooking the
- Do not handle or consume sick birds, or birds that have died from unknown causes.
- Avoid direct contact (skin or mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and mouth) with blood, feces, and respiratory secretions of all wild birds.
- Do not eat, drink, or smoke while cleaning game.
- Ideally, wear dish gloves or latex gloves when cleaning game.
- Wash gloves, hands, and clothing with soap and warm water immediately once you have finished processing game.
- Wash tools and work surfaces with soap and warm water, followed by a 10% solution of chlorine bleach – just the same as you would after handling raw chicken.
- Cook game meat thoroughly, to an internal temperature of approximately 160 F.
Environment Yukon tracks the emergence and transmission of wildlife diseases in North America. CWD is a growing threat to wildlife populations in North America. It is a degenerative, fatal brain disease that affects cervids (white tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose and potentially caribou).
The Wildlife Regulation bans the import, sale or possession of scent lures sold for the hunting of cervids that contain animal bodily fluids or tissues because these could introduce disease agents to Yukon locations, including CWD prions.
The regulation also bans the import or possession of the whole carcass or any part of a cervid that has been killed or has died outside of Yukon, with the exception of certain body parts including edible meat. Cervids harvested in NWT or the two most northerly hunting zones in BC are also exempt.
There are many micro-organisms in the environment that can cause disease in humans. Hunters and trappers should be aware of a disease called tularemia that is caused by bacteria found in contaminated surface water. It can also be acquired by the handling of hares, beavers, muskrats and some other mammals. Tularemia is usually transmitted by contact with infected animals or their immediate environment. This means:
- being bitten or licked by the animals,
- handling or cleaning the animal,
- breathing in air or dust contaminated with the bacteria, or
- eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
While cases of this disease are not common in Yukon, they can be serious. Cleanliness is important, as is protection from exposure to the animal's blood and other body fluids. Protect yourself by wearing gloves while skinning and gutting the animal. Afterward, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and hot water. If animal fluids splash in your eyes, flush thoroughly with clean water. Make sure the meat is cooked thoroughly, and avoid skinning or handling any animal that appeared ill.
Anyone with symptoms such as fever, swollen glands, or rash after handling wildlife should consult their doctor and let him or her know what animal you have been exposed to.
Hantavirus is found most commonly in deer mice but could also be present in other rodent species. The virus is transmitted to humans through airborne particles or through water contaminated with feces, urine, saliva or blood. Hantavirus starts with flu-like symptoms including sore muscles, fever, headaches, shortness of breath and nausea. The disease has a 60 per cent mortality rate.
Here are a few precautions you can take when you open up your trapping cabins in the fall and clean out the mouse droppings:
- Wear rubber gloves when cleaning or handling used traps or their contents.
- Disinfect everything with mild bleach or disinfectant. Apply with a spray mister to keep down the dust and any contaminated particles.
- For extra protection when cleaning or handling contaminated materials, wear a mask with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
- Make your cabin is less attractive for mice. Keep food in rodent-proof containers, clean up food scraps and use mouse traps.
- Protecting yourself & your family from Hantavirus (brochure) 124 KB
- Health & Social Services Hantavirus Info
Affected animals show varying degrees of hair loss, usually on the legs and tail. Badly infected animals can be weak and in poor body condition, and may lose their fear of people. The parasite which causes mange may be transferred through contact. Pets are more susceptible than people.
Winter ticks appear to be established in elk in Yukon. Winter ticks can also be found occasionally on other wildlife species (deer, moose, bears, coyotes, caribou, bison and sheep) as well as dogs and horses.
Climate affects the long term trend and distribution of winter ticks in Yukon: a warming climate supports increased tick numbers and distribution while years with cool, wet spring and fall weather reduce tick survival and slows their spread.
For more information see our Winter Ticks in Yukon Web Page
What is Cadmium?
Cadmium is a metal that is found in natural ecosystems in the Yukon. The metal works its way into the soil, and then into plants through the roots. Animals eating those plants will then absorb the metal. Once it is in the body, cadmium may accumulate in the liver and kidney. Older animals tend to have higher levels of cadmium than younger ones.
Cadmium can cause kidney damage at high levels, although this has not been noted in Yukon. Cadmium does not accumulate in the muscle tissue of any animal.
Recommendations for Consumption
These recommendations are based on eating these amounts every year. If you don't eat any this year, you can eat twice as much next year and remain within the recommended limits.
- Caribou and moose meat are very nutritious, and there is no limit on the amount of meat (muscle) recommended for consumption.
- Tobacco contains much higher levels of cadmium than animal sources. Reducing or eliminating smoking is the most effective way of limiting cadmium intake.
- Maximum recommended consumption of moose and caribou kidneys and livers are noted in the table below.
Maximum Consumption of Organs, per person/year
Please view our Monitoring Northern Contaminants in Animals Page for more information on how to provide samples to Environment Yukon, and win a free charter flight!
- Protecting yourself and your family from Hantivirus 124 KB
- Diseases you can get from Wildlife 2.5 MB
Government of Yukon
Box 2703 (V-3A)