Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Deer Hunting in February

       Beyond any doubt; beyond any question, this meat and bone meal by-product from beef-butchering, fed to deer in commercial deer-pen operations, is what brought chronic wasting disease to wild deer in the Midwest… and still it continues

         After this column I will begin to write about spring fishing, mostly, but I intend to hunt deer this week while it is cold and there is some snow on the ground.
         I never thought that I would ever hunt deer again, but a young biologist from the Kansas City office of the Conservation Department called me and asked me if I would kill at least two deer off of my land in St. Clair county to be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease. 

         I only agreed to that after he said that if the deer tested negative for the disease I could butcher them and put the meat to good use.  He also said that I could spotlight them at night or use bait. I may use corn as bait, but I wouldn’t shoot any deer with a night-light and I cannot believe they would ever permit that. 

         He also said that in doing what they are authorizing, they were hoping to thin the deer herd.  But they are approaching their objectives all wrong, and while I talked to him, a man who had grown up in St. Louis, I told him some things he said he hadn’t thought about.

         First of all, deer on my land are not overpopulated, and no one would know if any area has too many deer but those landowners who live there.  Secondly, thinning any areas ‘deer herd’ (herd being a term that really doesn’t fit deer at all) will have nothing to do with the presence or the spread of the disease.  If it exists, it will spread among 20 deer just as easily as it will among 40 deer. 

         Why would they not know that?  Why, if they feel there are too many deer in this state, do they restrict the number a landowner can take during the season to one per landowners tag, then require that landowner to buy the next one?

         The ‘biologist’ told me it didn’t matter what sex I kill or how old it is.  I told him that in young deer, the ones born last April, May or June, the presence of the disease likely would be far less than if you were killing a two- or three-year old deer, so it would be best to pass them up. 

         Also, if you want to thin the numbers of deer produced this spring, you cannot do it by killing bucks, you have to restrict your shooting to does at least a year and a half old.  Research in several states shows that among does there is a lower percentage of the disease than in bucks, so testing 100 does will give you a lower result than testing 100 bucks, IF that research is correct. 

         Very soon, bucks will begin to shed their antlers, and there are some landowners and hunters who will not know a thing about the age and sex of a deer at 100 yards unless it has antlers.  The ‘testing’ is to go on until the middle of March.

         I won’t be collecting deer in March, if I can’t get a couple this week or next I will be hanging up the rifle and fixing up my tackle box.  I urge all readers to scroll down and read the research information.  Tell others to read it too.  I will reprint it all in my spring Lightnin’ Ridge magazine. Though it is long, consisting of 4 or 5 different articles, it gives a world of information that you need to know.  The MDC will tell you none of it.

         One of the most stunning things I found there is the statement about the testing of the brains of many Alzheimers patients.  A number of them had prions in their brains.  To me that means it is likely they were misdiagnosed, and may not have had Alzheimers at all. You know how they separate that prion disease in deer and men? They refer to it in men as CJD… and in deer and elk as CWD.  Same disease, different names.  When you hear that humans do not get it from eating venison or beef or goat, someone is lying to you.  It is the way the disease started, in England, from eating beef, and something they called mad cow disease.

         Our Conservation Department is worried about losing tons of money if large numbers of deer hunters stop buying deer tags, so they lean heavily on letting people think there is a “species barrier” which means you can’t get the CJD from a deer.  In years to come, folks are going to find out that is big-time deception. But there is a way they can keep selling deer tags.  They have to test each and every deer killed and report to the hunter that the deer he killed does not have CWD.  If they do that, setting up check stations in each county, it will be costly and take great planning but it will work. If I feel they will do that I may kill and butcher a deer again.  But I have to know they can reliably test my deer.  There is no other way I will hunt deer ever again!

         With all this, that “share your harvest” program should be ended.  Trophy hunters, and pen-raised deer people are in my eyes, a sorry lot.  Any one who just wants to kill a deer for the antlers, should not be in the woods.  Those pen raised deer and the shooters who want a “trophy” are the people who made CWD a thing we will always have to deal with, because without the feeding of meat and bone meal to bucks in order to create bigger antlers, it would never have gotten a foothold in our state or any other.
         And yet it continues unchecked, because there is big money in it.  Any one feeding tame deer a meat and bone meal diet in a pen somewhere, trying to get rich, should know that many people have died of CJD, and likely some have died from eating prion infected venison or elk.

         And yes, several people are known to have died from the disease in Missouri, and I can give you the names of their next of kin, if you want to double check that.  What is worse is, more will die, and for a few years at least, know one will know what killed them, because doctors say they know little about prions, or how to find them in their patients.

         To cooperate, I will kill a couple of deer on my place, gut them with rubber glove on, then hang them in the shed until I hear they are CWD free.  If they are then I will make steaks from much of the ham and loin and cut chunks of choice venison for stew meat, grind up what is left for summer sausage or jerky. But I won’t be out there hunting a ‘trophy’ this week.  And if you want to call me a trophy hunter, I will take offense. In the outdoors, ‘trophy’ is an ugly word that brings to our words and waters people we should all look down on, those who can only talk of their hunt in terms of numbers they use to score their great feat of pulling a trigger. Those people should play golf or tennis or something else that furnishes them some useless trophy.  And in those pastimes, participants were never guilty of helping produce and spread a horrible disease.

         Call me at 417-777-5227 or email My mailing address is Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613

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