These are elk along the buffalo river in Arkansas. Tested animals from this herd have been found to have chronic wasting disease.
The public is being misled about chronic wasting disease in deer. If you eat deer meat, you need to know that several Missourians HAVE BEEN diagnosed with the disease, known as Jakob-Kruetzfeldt disease. It is a horrible disease for humans to deal with and you can learn all about it on the internet. It has been a disease dealt with in England for more than 30 years because of “Mad Cow” disease-- another name for it. In the U.S. it exists in deer and elk and goats and is known as “Mad Deer” disease.
In the fall issue of my magazine, the Lightnin’ Ridge Journal, on the newsstands in about a week, there is a letter from a Texas doctor you should read, concerning this horrible disease. I am not suggesting that you buy the magazine. You can just find it and read the doctor’s letter on page 64 without buying it. It won’t take long.
This is that sick buck found last fall in Polk County. Stumbling
and staggering, he went down and then couldn't stand.
Hunters in Missouri have been grossly misinformed about this disease, spreading to new counties each year. It is likely that it exists to some degree in the Ozarks right now, and there is no holding it back. In the Ozarks of north Arkansas it has been found in whitetail deer and elk in large numbers. I believe a Polk county landowner found a deer on his place with chronic wasting disease.He made several calls to the MDC asking them to come and check the sick deer, but no one would come.
I think that state agency is looking at this disease too much in the economic line. They really stress what it will do to the state’s economy to lose deer hunters. They say less about what it will cost them in deer tag sales. What they need to talk about, and do not, is what the disease can do to those of us who eat deer meat.
My daughter, a doctor for more than fifteen years now, has not been willing to say much to me about it when I question her, because there is so much not yet known. She did tell me that she saw a case of it in a patient at Columbia Missouri when she was finishing her doctorate at the University of Missouri. A disease created by something known as a ‘prion’, Jakob-Kruetzfeldt destroys the brain, and it is complicated to diagnose. The bodies of those known to have died from it are not taken to a coroner, but immediately cremated, as apparently instructed by the Center of Disease Control.
no wild elk or deer tested for ‘mad deer’ disease to date have
tested positive in that state.
Why didn’t Missouri do that? The answer is money!!! It was becoming a big business. North Missouri deer pen operators were spending thousands and thousands on deer purchase in Ohio and Michigan, brought into our state without testing. And some of those Amish deer pen operations were making tremendous profits they had never seen in farming or ranching, tens of thousands of dollars off the sale of just one buck. The disease then started to occur in wild deer around those north Missouri operations.
I am going to continue to eat deer meat only when it is a deer I have killed. The prions that cause the disease are supposedly not found in blood, but in spinal fluid, and in the brain. If you do not cut the spine or brain in anyway, it may be that you could eat an infected deer and not contract the disease. But who knows for sure? No one! The doctor who wrote the article on page 64 of my magazine says that people have been known to get Jakob-Kruetzfeldt disease from eating meat. Perhaps that was because the meat was tainted by spinal fluid.
As for me, I will heart-shoot any deer I hunt and remove the meat from the bone without ever cutting a bone. I worry about the bone marrow as well as the spinal fluid. If you are a deer hunter, I would suggest you do the same. I process all my deer meat, and have never taken it to a processor. There is a worry that meat processors might accidentally get your meat mixed up with someone else’s. There is no problem if you are very familiar with your meat processor and confident that won’t happen.
That ridiculous “seven-point-or-better” regulation the Missouri Department of Conservation installed in two-thirds of the state was never biologically sound, never achievable for the majority of deer hunters not using binoculars from a stationary stand. It was done to bring in more money from out of state hunters who were looking for trophies, and would pay large sums to buy a non-resident tag. A few conservation agents said they never had enforced it and never would.
Now that regulation has been ditched in nineteen counties where it is feared the disease exists. It needs to be repealed everywhere, but the common sense in doing it escapes the decision makers who still think that a fork-horn will always become an 8 or 10 point trophy in just a year or so. It doesn’t work that way, and never has. Antlers don’t always progress to trophy size by letting them grow. Many factors can make a spindly six-point rack remain that way throughout the buck’s life.
My decision on whether to take a deer on my place will be whether or not he appears healthy and whether or not I can make steaks, stew meat, hamburger and jerky from the meat. I have enough big sets of antlers laying around for the squirrels to chew on, I don’t need any more. Any hunter who is out there trying to bag a trophy set of antlers again and again, needs to examine what makes him think that way.
Human greed created Jakob-Kruetzveldt disease. They created it in England by feeding meat by-products to cattle, a creature God created to eat grass and grain… not meat. Too often, the greedy don’t go along so well with God’s ideas. Their idea was to put more weight on the cow, by making it a meat eater. The added weight would mean more beef and more money. Instead, it meant a horrible disease for the cattle, and a horrible death for humans who were infected by eating the beef. In England there were many, many deaths in humans.
In the deer and elk pens, similar meat and bone by-products were mixed into the deer feed to try to make bigger antlers and more money from them. Good idea wasn’t it? No one knows where it is going to end, or how bad it might get. When the MDC people talk about controlling chronic wasting disease or keeping it limited, they are doing a disservice to those who believe them. It is not just limited to that 19 county area now, and in the Ozarks, it will move north from Arkansas soon if it isn’t already here.
Notice that our state conservation department never mentions the disease spreading to humans, but it needs to be talked about, because several known cases have occurred in Missouri. Talking to their relatives, I learned that in at least three of those deaths, venison was a big part of the diet. I’ll hunt deer this fall once again, and hope I feel comfortable eating venison for a few years to come. But I am sure that in time, deer hunting will just be too much of an uncertainty for many.