(Update: Comment from ODFW biologist, hunter)
As deer hunters prepare for this weekend’s opening of rifle season, there’s a new health alert to make you aware of.
If you’re out hunting big game like deer, there are precautions you should take to ensure you’re not exposed to dangerous bacteria. A federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, released within the past week, warns hunters that deer with tuberculosis can transmit the bacteria to humans.
The initial case stems from a hunter in Michigan who contracted TB in 2017 while field-dressing deer, and other cases involve hunters who inhaled bacteria while handling dead carcasses.
The CDC recommends hunters wear protective layering and garments when hunting and field-dressing deer, to prevent contracting any bacteria or illnesses.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says although cases of TB are rare, there are diseases in the state that can be transmitted from wildlife to humans.
” Certainly, with any animal or disease you’re handling, you want to look at lymph nodes and look at the internal organs, make sure everything looks normal, ” said Corey Heath, district wildlife biologist. ” Make sure there are no lesions or anything like that. Especially with tuberculosis, there are granular lesions, typically on the inside of the lungs or the rib cage. ”
Heath said hunters should check for abnormalities in the organs and any abnormal behavior exhibited before the deer is killed.
A Bend man who has hunted deer for 20 years, harvesting and butchering his own meat, said there have been two different times he could not harvest his catch.
” I’ve seen two deer that I’ve taken that I did not eat, ” Merle Brown said. ” When you cut the meat, you can see the different colors and the grain, and if it’s something in it that looks like it shouldn’t be there, I’m not going to eat it. ”