As we’ve written in the past, wild game — hogs, deer, elk, moose — can carry disease. That’s why it’s a good idea to take proper precautions when processing animals in the field. But brucellosis apparently isn’t the only bug infecting wild game any more. Hunters now have to concern themselves with the Wuhan Flu, too.
From the New York Times . . .
A new study of hundreds of white-tailed deer infected with the coronavirus in Iowa has found that the animals probably are contracting the virus from humans, and then rapidly spreading it among one another, according to researchers.
Up to 80 percent of deer sampled from April 2020 through January 2021 in the state were infected, the study indicated.
That’s twice the results of an earlier study that found evidence of infection in about 40% of white-tailed deer . . .
Earlier this year, a multistate survey of white-tailed deer by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service turned up antibodies for the virus among less than half the deer in four states, but that study confirmed exposure, not infection. (Antibodies could mean the deer fought off infection.)
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel . . .
While [Wisconsin] DHS said there is no evidence wildlife, including white-tailed deer, are a source of COVID-19 illness for people in the U.S, the recent findings caused the agency to expand its recommendations to hunters in advance of the start of the gun deer hunting season Saturday.
The list includes three new measures: wearing a mask while field dressing deer; limit cutting into and handling the deer’s lungs, throat, and mouth/nasal cavity to only what is necessary (for example, submitting a head for CWD testing); and if you are immunocompromised, consider asking for assistance with carcass processing and handling.
As COVID-19 spread through the human population in 2020 and 2021, some researchers began looking for the disease in other species. They found SARS-CoV-2 in mink, otters, tigers, lions and non-human primates, mostly in captive settings, and white-tailed deer both in captivity and in the wild.
Many states’ deer seasons are now under way or will open this weekend. Will you be throwing some masks in your pack as you head out?