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Old July 12, 2007, 08:44 AM   #1
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Question for hunters who live in Elk Country

Do residents of Elk inhabited areas who have relied on the meat for years have any new concerns because of Chronic Wasting Disease.Since it is such a large part of the economy in some areas you know you will get a sugar coated answer from outfitters etc.Maybe I am just paranoid, but my brain is getting bad enough without any help.
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Old July 12, 2007, 08:52 AM   #2
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I hunt elk but I don't rely on the meat, I don't need to subsistance hunt. I don't worry too much about CWD, I look for healthy animals to shoot. I get the heads tested if they come from an area where CWD is known to be in the herds. The only problem is with the testing is it takes a while to get back to you so you may have your elk sitting in the freezer for some time before you can eat it.
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Old July 20, 2007, 04:36 AM   #3
Jack O'Conner
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I was raised on wild game brought home by my Dad and Grandad. I've raised my own family the same way.

I never shoot an unhealthy looking animal. Here in the open West, a hunter can usually look the animal over with binoculars at long range before starting the stalk.

South Dakota and Wyoming offer free testing if a hunter is concerned. But I'm doubtful that a healthy animal has this wasting condition.

Once I shot a big mulie that had gangrene in its hind quarter. Someone had shot him with a pointed pellet that penetrated at least 4 inches. I tossed out that hind quarter.

Fire up the grill! Deer hunting IS NOT catch and release.
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Old July 20, 2007, 08:09 AM   #4
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Colorado as well has free testing for CWD. They'll even give you another tag if your animal comes back positive.

There are four major diseases of the same type (TSEs) that occupy different species. CWD (deer), BSE (bovines), and Scrapie (sheep, goats & rodents), CJD (homo) are all related diseases. It has not been definitively proven though that any of the diseases have ever crossed from one species to another. Scrapie, being a degenerative disease that is fatal in sheep has been 'known' as a disease since the 18th century. Strangely the incidence rate in humans of CJD is still relatively low (approx 1 in 1 million) given that if the other prion diseases should cross lines humans should have a rate close to that of sheep/goats (approx 1 in 75,000). This is based upon the fact that it is a hereditary disease (maternal) and that the consumption of brain, nerve and organ meat was much more prevalent in western countries a half century ago and prior than it is today. The low incidence in humans of CJD indicates that it is improbable that consumption of meat, nerve, and organs of tainted animals will lead to infection. Additionally predator populations in areas that have a high incidence of TSEs show a very low incidence of TSEs, being not higher than the overall mean for the species, this further indicates that eating meat and even brain and organ tissue of another species is unlikely to transmit the disease. There may be a genetic factor at play that makes some members of a predator species more suspectible to contracting it across species lines. Personally I think that the danger posed by CWD is much less than the media makes it out to be.

If you are concerned a few steps will greatly lessen your chances of eating material that is tainted with the malformed prions that cause the disease. 1) Shoot only older animals that 'appear' healthy. Ones that are vigorous and coordinated in their movements. If a deer or elk is not acting like other deer or elk, then this is a sign that it possibly has the disease. Unfortunately CWD is a rapid onset/rapid death disease. Even shooting healthy looking animals does not reduce the risk to 0, it only lessens it. 2) Wear gloves while butchering the animal. Not only will this decrease the risk, but it also decreases the risk of other blood borne pathogens. 3) Leave the spine and the braincase intact. This neccessitates a heart/lung shot. 4) Do not consume the organ meat. (liver, kidneys etc).
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Old July 20, 2007, 08:58 AM   #5
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Taralon,Thanks for taking the time.My concerns have been the lack of knowledge about the incubation period.I have heard some reports that indicate it could take years for the symptoms to manifest.So,a healthy appearing animal might not be.Also, spongiforms not being denatured by heat stymies the age old method of cooking until well done stuff you were not sure of.I suspect when all is said and done the odds are extremely remote.Otherwise,as you say,more people would have it.
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