Deadly Deer Sickness May Be Responsible for the Deaths of Hunters!

Deadly Deer Sickness May Be Responsible for the Deaths of Hunters!

A deadly illness affecting deer has raised concerns among hunters and venison enthusiasts, as a recent medical study suggests the possibility of cross-species transmission. Chronic wasting disease (CWD), highly contagious and invariably fatal to deer, may have evolved to affect humans who consume contaminated meat, as indicated by two deaths among hunters in Wyoming.

Though CWD cases in Alabama deer remain limited, its emergence in the state’s northwest corner has sparked attention. Despite a new study highlighting the potential risks associated with consuming CWD-infected meat, local hunters appear largely unconcerned.

Joe Phillips, an ardent deer hunter and employee at Marks Outdoor Sports in Hoover, notes, “I don’t believe customers have any concern for the most part. And, you know, you just hope it’s isolated up there and in control.”

However, hunters express worries about the deer population and the potential consequences of increased CWD cases in the state. In other regions, authorities have resorted to herd quarantines and culls to stem the disease’s spread. Phillips emphasizes, “We don’t want to see anything like that because I believe once that starts happening, then you’re going to have hunter numbers probably drop. And it might make people just want to, you know, pass up deer hunting for a little while until it’s corrected. We don’t want that.”

In 2021, over half a million Alabamians obtained hunting licenses, underscoring the sport’s significance to the state’s economy. Phillips emphasizes that any disruption to hunting activities could have adverse economic effects, stating, “I wouldn’t ever want to think about a fall without deer season that might rival no college football in the fall, and that would probably not be good for the economy.”

The study’s researchers referenced two deaths attributed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, acknowledging the need for further investigation to conclusively establish a link to CWD.

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