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CWD means hunters must exercise caution

October 16, 2005|By BILL ANDERSON

As has been reported, the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources has confirmed positive occurrences of Chronic Wasting Disease in the Slanesville area in Hampshire County.

With the opening of the archery season for deer this weekend, the department has issued a number of recommendations to hunters on how to care for deer, both when in the field and when butchering the deer for the table.

The DNR stresses that there is no scientific evidence that CWD can be spread to humans, but it's common sense that hunters should exercise caution when handling and processing deer from areas in or near to where CWD has been confirmed.

The following are a some of the recommendations from the DNR:

· Do not eat the meat from any deer that has tested positive for CWD, or from any deer that appears to be sick. Symptoms of a sick animal include poor body condition, staggering or other similar behavior.

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· It is recommended that hunters wear latex gloves when field dressing a deer.

Hunters are encouraged to thoroughly wash hands and all tools after processing a deer.

· It is recommended that you bone out the meat from your deer and do not saw through the bone. Hunters should avoid cutting through the brain or spinal cord and should avoid handling tissue from the brain or spinal column area.

You should clean and sanitize all tools and the work area with household bleach solution after processing your deer. The DNR did not specify the dilution factor of the bleach, but another Web site recommended that you use two parts water to one part regular household bleach. This same site recommends that you soak butchering tools in the bleach solution for 12 hours after completing the processing of the deer.

· If you use a saw to cut the skull cap of a deer to remove the antlers, do not even think about using that same saw for processing the edible meat. The DNR actually recommends that you dispose of the saw blade in a landfill with the other garbage.

Yep, this is pretty sobering stuff.

· Hunters are advised to dispose of all carcass material such as the head, bones, skin, etc. in a garbage bag and make sure this material is disposed of in a landfill with regular household garbage. No dumping in a field to feed the coyotes and foxes.

· The DNR also recommends that hunters avoid eating tissue from the brain, spinal cord, lymph nodes and spleen of deer. I've never known of anyone that does eat those parts, but apparently some people do eat them. Also, as noted in the DNR release, typical field dressing and the de-boning of the carcass will remove most, if not all, of these body parts.

The above are the latest recommendations from the DNR on how to deal with this CWD situation. It's worth noting again, that the biologists point out that there is no scientific evidence that CWD can be or has been passed to humans. It's also worth noting again that the only confirmed cases have come from a small area near Slanesville, W.Va.

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