I have a quick update on Wednesday’s post. I got the call last night that the deer we butchered tested positive for CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease). The DNR collects brain tissue from deer in the area to test for CWD and track it’s movements and developments. My in-laws have been hunting in that area for years and this is the first time it’s ever been detected. Two out of the three deer they got tested positive. What is CWD? Well in super simplified and not so accurate terms it’s called the “mad cow disease for deer.” For a much better explanation see this site and to see a national map of where the disease has spread click here.
What does this all mean? Unlike mad cow, CWD has never been shown to be able to spread to humans. But because there is so little known about it the DNR recommends not eating the meat. The disease resides in the brain, spinal tissue, lymph nodes, tonsils, eyes, and spleen so there are a number of possible ways butchering could infect the meat. We are reluctantly throwing away all of the venison we worked so long and hard to process. (insert sad face here) When I was taking everything out of the freezer I counted that is roughly 42 pounds of meat! In fact when I got that call I was making a huge batch of venison chili that I had to throw out. Even worse we’ve already eaten some of the tenderloin because it tastes so much better fresh. I joking told FM if he starts losing excessive amounts of weight or having blank facial expressions I was going to take him in to get tested for the human form of the disease.
On a serious note this new threat is very disturbing. It’s upsetting to know that an uncontrollable and 100% fatal disease that is spreading throughout our deer population. It creates holes in their brains making them look like sponges. The first positive test for CWD in our state was not all that long ago in 2002 and it’s been rapidly spreading ever since. Scary stuff!