If you kill a deer in certain Michigan counties, you should exercise caution and get your deer tested for bovine tuberculosis before consuming it.
Officials from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are reminding all hunters to be careful with any deer that they kill this year and get it checked for bovine tuberculosis before eating it if it was taken in an infected area.
According to WCMU, there are six counties in the northeast portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula that have had confirmed cases of bovine tuberculosis in the deer population: Presque Isle, Montmorency, Alpena, Oscoda, Alcona, and Iosco counties. Officials from the DNR highly recommend that all hunters who shoot a deer in any of those counties bring the deer into a check station to ensure that the deer is disease free before eating it.
Bovine tuberculosis is transferable to humans. Though unlikely, it is possible for an infected deer to pass the disease on to a human. Luckily, only about 2% of the deer population in the infected areas actually has bovine tuberculosis. However, older deer (such as trophy bucks) are the most likely ones to be infected.
Fortunately, the disease appears to be contained in those six counties. Additionally, the State of Michigan is offering replacement tags to hunters who do happen to shoot an infected deer.
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As always, hunters should exercise caution when handling meat from any wild animal. If possible, wear gloves and eye protection, wash all utensils used to prepare the meat, and thoroughly cook the meat before consuming. This will reduce your chances of contracting any disease that the animal may be carrying.
Have you ever encountered a deer that was infected with bovine tuberculosis? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.