MISSOURI — The Missouri Department of Conservation warning of a disease affecting deer.
Francis Skalicky, Media Specialist, Missouri Department Of Conservation, said, “Epizootic hemorrhagic disease, EHD, kinda goes in cycles. This year we seem to be kind of an upcycle in other words we are seeing more of it.”
Deer can contract EHD if they are bitten by a midge fly.
“EHD attacks the bloodstream and causes them to hemorrhage nearly almost always fatal, not always. It’s not communicable by deer to deer contact its the flies that carry the disease from one deer to another.”
Humans cannot contract the disease — but Skalicky says you should steer clear of sick deer that have swollen eyes and tongues and can be found near water.
“Technically there’s nothing wrong with eating the meat from a deer that’s had EHD, however we do advise people not to eat meat from sick deer because even in the case of EHD sometimes the deer gets weak and gets secondary bacterial infections which can make the meat bad. So the bottom line is if you see a deer that looks sick, don’t eat it.”
Mike Cloud is the President and Owner of Cloud’s Meat Processing in Carthage and says there are signs to tell if your deer meat is tainted.
Mike Cloud, President/Owner of Cloud’s Meats Incorporated, said, “We can tell by the feel of the meat, if there’s fever, if its feverish, if there’s extra fluid in the meat, but we discover all that when we are skinning it.”
He suggests hunters take extra precautions with deer that includes keeping it at the right temperature.
“I always tell my customers treat it like a package of hamburgers. They say ‘Well the deer’s fine, I hung it under the tree.’ Well would you hang the package of hamburger under the tree? They need to stay below that 45 degrees.”
He says hunters can use well water and ice inside the chest cavity to keep the meat fresh and safe.