deer hunting/mad cow disease ? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I was reading the post about mad cow disease and it was mentioned that it has been detected in deer and elk. My husband wants to add to our food storage by hunting this year. I've always had the lingering question of how do you know they haven't ingested alot of polluted water or treated vegetation? Do they tend to stay in the same general area or territory? If they do then you could have a pretty good idea what and where they have been eating. I know alot of hunters eat their organs like heart etc. Is that safe? Do deer carry parasites like worms? Thanks!

-- Denise (, August 09, 2000


No you can not tell just guess., Yes. Yes. Yes. He cooks the meat doesn't he? Why do I get the gut feeling that only from fast food do you feel your getting the best nourishment?

I suggest you get a hunter tag and go hunting with your husband. You will be doing a service to mankind by removing these Green Leaf Rodents from our highways. Just might be one of your loved ones in the next car and animal contest.

Too much meat? Donate carcass to the Food for Mankind or Harvesters in your area. James

-- James (, August 09, 2000.

James, that isn't how I feel at all. I am very consciientious about what we eat. I juat am not familiar with hunting. I didn't grow up with it and my husband hasn't done it since we married. I'm all for it. I'm just concerned about getting a healthy deer. I'd like to have the information to make a judgement whether it is some thing I need to be cautious about. I lean toward being vegetarian unless we raise it ourselves. I'm just worried what may be in it.

-- Denise (, August 09, 2000.

Denise, the TSE/BSE that has been detected in deer and elk is pretty much restricted to a couple of western states. If you do an internet search, I know I saw a web site about it a while back. I didn't bookmark it, or I'd post the url for you. Yes, for the most part, deer and elk tend to have territories. Deer won't usually move even if they are starving. And yes, they do get internal parasites, just like our domestic animals that we have to keep worming. Just don't puncture the gut if you are worried about that, and make sure the meat is well cooked. Eating the organ meat should be just as safe as the rest of it. And I guess the only way you can tell if they've been eating sprayed vegetation or polluted water is to thoroughly investigate the area where you plan to hunt. Deer territory isn't really very big, so if you have examined an area of a few square miles, you can be pretty sure that the deer in that area are getting their food there, not somewhere else. Good questions, all. James, you don't need to snap people's heads off when they are new to something and are asking questions. How is anyone supposed to learn anything, if they aren't allowed to ask questions? If you are a hunter, it would have done more good to attempt to reasonably answer Denise's questions, than to put her down. I doubt that anyone who is used to raising their own meat is going to feel they have too much meat from a piddly little old deer, by the way. Those donation things are for people who hunt for trophies rather than for meat.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, August 09, 2000.

I try to keep up with the Mad Cow Disease problem because I am a commercial cattle farmer. Say one of my cows displays symptoms like staggering/charging anything which moves. I call the vet, he posts, takes samples, it turns out to be BSE. The USDA will have livestock trucks at my farm ASAP, and will probably take my neighbor's away also since they have across the fence contact. Cattle will be killed and incinerated. I would be lucky to eventually get a fraction of their value.

On your question, everything I have seen so far says it (the rogue prion proteins) are only in the brain and spinal cord. When you butcher the deer make extremely sure the brain isn't used and the spinal cord is completely removed before the carcass is cut up. If you use a custom processor question them on how they remove the spinal cord. If they don't, find someone else. I don't know of any safe disposal method for an infected brain or spinal cord besides incineration, and even then the prions may still be viable in the ashes.

Now, what are your chances of getting a spongiform disease? Apparently extremely remote if you don't eat brain or spinal cord tissue.

I can't speak nation-wide, but locally some hunters like to get their maximum limit even if they cannot use all of the meat itself. The thrill of the hunt or something. I've turned down maybe a dozen offers of a deer carcass. The carcass can be taken to the local custom processor who then goes through procedures to where the meat is donated to needy families. This also happens when someone brings in a deer and then doesn't return to claim the meat. It's not a huge local program, but people in need know they can go to the processing plant (I think in some areas they are known as meat lockers) and come home with a box of venison.

As for encouraging others to hunt deer - AMEN. Within the past two days three have run across the road in front of me. If you want sweet corn you have to plant many times what you think you will need since the deer will eat most of the shoots. Same with the edges of soybean fields. Hunting is a form of population control. Either we do it or nature will, and a bullet, to me, is kinder than starvation next winter.

-- Ken S. (, August 09, 2000.

James, what do you mean by green leaf rodents? Did you not sleep for a long time? So grumpyyyyy. Now I'm going to read all the other answers.

-- Aagje Franken (, August 09, 2000.


Calling a deer a green leaf rodent is about like calling a city pigeon a rat with wings. If the shoe fits...

-- Ken S. (, August 09, 2000.

I certainly cant speak for anyone else, but I know our deer eat very healthy food around here. I have been feeding them some nice greens in the form of clover and grass, but they also seem to love the corn. They arent too shy about helping themselves to the garden produce either. Heck they arent much diffrent than the cattle running around here, just a lot skinnier. Our neighbor is requiring hunters to shoot at least 3 if they want to hunt his land. He personally has 6 that watch us come and go on the driveway, while standing in the corn field, marked for removal. As for donating the meat. A few years ago my mother was off work and had no income for almost a year. She was able to get a generous amount of ground venison from some local agency. It was quite a help to her. Almost all of Wisconsin is what the DNR calls T zone and have added seasons and bonus tags to try to reduce the large numbers. Which by the way are much larger than they ever were historically- before us people started taking over the state. All that aside I really feel that a deer that is processed at home is much safer than cattle processed by IBP. Tami in WI

-- Tami Bowser (, August 09, 2000.


Basically same situation in Tennessee. It is estimated there were only 3,000 deer in the entire state in the 1930s. If you saw one it was food for fodder around the pot-bellied stove at the country store for weeks. Now there are an estimated one million. Why the difference? Overhunting during the depression may have been a contribution factor, but deer aren't basically woods animals, but rather fencerow ones. As the population increased, more fields were cleared, creating an almost ideal environment for deer.

In Tennessee a farmer can get a special permit which allows them to shoot and process problem deer year around. They have to go through a process of having the DNR inspect the crops to determine 'significant' damage. Right now only the farmer can shoot them. An attempt is being made to allow hiring of professional hunters. I think Ohio had a similar program. However, I know some farmers who use the shoot, drag into the bushes and shut up method.

In TN the DNR makes an estimate of total deer population, which as near as I can tell is determined by the number of reported deer/vehicle accidents. Then they decide how many to cull and set seasons and limits accordingly.

-- Ken S. (, August 10, 2000.

You all are so right! City government does poison rats, poison pigeons, poison flying insects, and many have in place, very quietly; more are planning; "The stalking bow hunter," to remove deer from residential nieghborhoods. Also governments encourage people control by releasing the crimmal to the street to prey on the unarmed and law abiding citizen. The drunk driver also does a mean job. On west nile, if only half as much attention was paid to remove the shooter of the New York streets would a wanta be US senator have a platform? No, I am not from New York and No; I am not somebody else and YES, I am a feminist. Why? Because they are tough and have good sense too. James

-- James (, August 13, 2000.

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