View Full Version : TSE diseases in deer predators?

July 15, 2006, 12:03 PM
I've been chewing over the comparative virtues of 7mm-08 and .280 Remington in several threads. JohnKSa had a great comment in the "Bullets that Blow Up" thread, on the hazards of CNS shots on deer.

"Not going to argue about the ethics or efficacy of head shots, but if you use them (or spine/neck shots) then be very careful during clean up and field dressing. Although CWD has not infected humans to date, it's still smart to be careful.

The TSE/prion diseases (Chronic Wasting Disease/CWD, Mad Cow/BSE, Creutzfeldt Jakob/CJD) are thought to be spread primarily by ingestion of CNS (brain & spine) neural tissue. Cooking will not eliminate the disease agent and symptoms often appear LONG after infection so it is not possible to tell for sure if a given animal is infected.

Cleaning up any neural tissue from the area is the responsible thing to do in order to prevent spread in the wild. That would involve carefully gathering up all the material and burying deeply enough to prevent a predator from unearthing it."

I replied to JohnKSa, and to an unrelated comment by VA, as follows:

"Nice point on the TSE, and that'd never even crossed my mind. I won't realize my life's dream of being murdered by an outraged husband at the age of 130 if I waste my brain that way. A good argument for heart/lung shots.

Not to minimize the risk at all, but is there ANY documented case of infected deer or elk causing any neural disorder in coyote, bear, wolf, mountain lion or any other natural predator of deer or elk? .... this is interesting enough to deserve a thread of its' own; I'll put it up in the Hunting Forum. I've never heard of it, yet if deer or elk can be vectors, it HAS to be happening.

So there's the reposted question for forum review and comment. TSE diseases are real, some unpleasant pruning of public-land deer has been done in several states, and nobody'd take an unnecessary chance of eating prion-tainted meat. Since the normal predators and scavengers of deer don't read Fish and Game warnings (not sure how many hunters do, either, but that's a different thread) they ought to contact CNS diseases if they are out there. Are there any documented cases of tainted deer infecting scavengers? Coyotes would be the likeliest victims, if only because there are so many of them. Is this known to have happened? Do regular hunters see coyotes that are displaying TSE/Mad Cow type behaviors?

July 15, 2006, 12:07 PM
I have never seen a wild animal displaying that kind of behavior but it is good information. Thanks.