Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Kill a Deer, Give Away the Meat


            Mike Widner, the Arkansas Biologist I wrote about not long ago, finished his book on quail and quail hunting just a couple of weeks ago and it is published and ready for anyone who wants to learn about hunting and managing the bobwhite quail.  You can order one, entitled, “A Life With Gentleman Bob… Hunting the Midwest Quail.”  It is 288 pages and would make a great Christmas gift for a quail hunter. 

            The cost of the book is ten dollars, postpaid, and we have about 50 of the signed and numbered copies here which can be inscribed to whomever you wish.  You may send a check payable to Lightnin’ Ridge Publishing, Box 22, Bolivar, Mo 65613, or pay by credit card by calling 417-777-5227.

             Mike and I were talking about how widespread the chronic wasting disease has become in North Arkansas where a number of elk and whitetail deer have been found to have it.  But then he told me something very scary about diseases spread by ticks.  He said that three of his friends and hunting partners have died in the past couple of years from tick-born diseases.  The most recent was a middle-aged man who developed a ‘red meat allergy’ which they attribute to a strange kind of disease that ticks carry. I don’t know much about these diseases, though most of us have a familiarity with Rocky Mountain spotted fever and lyme disease, both spread by tick bite. I am going to talk with some doctors about these and try to pass on the information to our readers.

            The Department of Conservation is once again encouraging deer hunters to donate deer meat to their “Share the Harvest” program, wherein a deer hunter who doesn’t want to risk getting the deadly prion disease known as Chronic Wasting in deer and elk, (Jakob Kruetzfeldt disease in humans) can kill deer and give the meat to a processing plant, then have it distributed to the hungry masses in the state.  I would not take my deer meat to any processor, nor would I eat any meat I hadn’t killed and taken care of myself, but that is a matter of personal conviction I suppose. There are lots of ways to feed a hungry family without doing this. It has become a way for trophy hunters to go after antlers without having to mess with the meat. People who receive the meat, in general, know nothing of the disease.  They should be told that the disease has killed many people, as the Center For Disease Control in Atlanta can attest.  But they will not be informed about it, and if just one or two people in the state get that horrible disease from eating ‘Share the Harvest’ venison, no one will know how they got it. 

This news release was recently sent out by the Missouri Department of Conservation for deer hunters…   Deer donated to Share the Harvest that were harvested in the seven Missouri counties where chronic wasting disease has been found will be tested for the deer disease. Deer that test positive for CWD will not be used and will be properly disposed of. The seven counties are Adair, Cole, Franklin, Jefferson, Linn, Macon, and St. Clair.  Nearly 4,300 Missouri deer hunters donated more than 198,000 pounds of venison to the program last deer season. Find participating processors in MDC’s ‘2017 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information’ booklet, online or by calling MDC at 573-751-4115 or CFM at 573-634-2322.”

          Of course, Chronic Wasting Disease occurs in many other counties of Missouri, as Missourians will soon find out.  If it has been found in many north Arkansas deer, of course it is going to be found in the southernmost counties of Missouri also.  But I have no objection to seeing those who want the shared meat to have it.  I just think they should be told that there is a risk involved, no matter how slight it may be.
          Anyone who doubts that this disease has killed hunters in Missouri, should talk to the many people who have contacted me to say they have lost loved ones. One of them is Bill Zippro of Joplin Missouri, who lost his brother to the disease a year or so after he killed and ate a buck that appeared to be half-tame.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the news media of this state would talk with many of these people just to let the truth come out.
That won’t happen, the Missouri Department of Conservation would not allow it.   But in my February magazine, I intend to do just that.

            If some of that meat given away by the MDC was found to have prions in the blood or muscle fiber, I wonder if anyone could be sued. The sponsors of the share your harvest meat distribution program ought to think of that.  Sponsors the MDC lists include:  Bass Pro Shops, the Conservation Federation of Missouri, Missouri Chapter Whitetails Unlimited, Missouri Chapter Safari Club International, Missouri Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation, Drury Hotels, Midway USA Inc., Missouri Deer Hunters Assoc. and Missouri Food Banks Association.

           Again, I believe the truth about this terrible disease that has killed so many humans should be ferreted out and reported to the public without a worry of the money it might cost the MDC.  And I will be the first to tell you there’s a lot I do not understand about it.  But what I have learned by talking with doctors, visiting with families of those who died from it, and reading all I can, convinces me that there is a concentrated effort to deceive those who hunt deer and eat venison in this state.

            I think that it needs to be known that sheep and goats in this state can acquire the disease too, and I think there is a possibility that it could be spread from deer to cattle.  We need to find all of that out.  If the new controls on selling deer urine as an attractant are not baseless, then there is no way to control the disease through banning salt and mineral licks, as the scrapes made by deer in the fall and early winter mating season involve deer urinating in the scrapes, and other deer licking those scrapes and branches above them.

           Someday, the truth and the facts about this deer disease will be known, and the public will know how it got started and what it can do.  It may be awhile, but it will happen.  When that comes about, the MDC and the deer pen operators are going to be known for the deception they have intentionally created.  And I think they and the sponsors of the ‘share the harvest’ are setting themselves up for some big time lawsuits.

That doctor’s article I mentioned awhile back is now available to be sent via email to those who want to read it.  Just email me at lightninridge@windstream.net or call our office at 417 777 5227 and we will send it to you.

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