CWD in Primates: Can Humans Get CWD?

The $10,000 question: “Can humans get Chronic Wasting Disase (CWD) from eating infected venison?” The fact is that meat from deer contaminated with CWD may be more dangerous than originally thought, according to ongoing research.

Stefanie Czub, of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and the University of Calgary, has documented CWD infections in monkeys. During the study, which began in 2009, 18 macaques were exposed to CWD in a variety of ways: by injecting into the brain, through contact with skin, oral administration and intravenously.

CWD Contracted by Monkeys

So far, results are available from 5 animals, according to a release from the CFIA. At this point, 2 animals that were exposed to CWD by direct introduction into the brain, one that was administered infected brain material orally and two that were fed infected meat all have become infected with CWD.

“The ‘supposed’ resistance of macaques was about the only prop remaining in the complacency wall (macaques’ genetics are closer to ours than squirrel monkeys, which also can contract CWD), but this is just the tip of the iceberg. The implications to markets are enormous, and governments here may have finally begun to take notice,” said Darrel Rowledge, director of the Alliance for Public Wildlife in an interview.“

Consumption of CWD-Infected Venision

CWD is a sister disease to bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE — the infamous “mad cow disease” that killed 229 people in the United Kingdom — and is an incurable, always fatal degeneration of the brain, according to an analysis published by the Alliance for Public Wildlife. It was first documented in captive mule deer in the late 1960s.

Estimates show 7,000 to 15,000 CWD-infected animals are being consumed by humans every year, according to the analysis, and these sort of prior diseases are known for jumping between species barriers.

“Results of CWD laboratory challenges of non-human primates are mixed,” the analysis said. “CWD transferred readily to squirrel monkeys orally (92 percent), but macaques, which are genetically closer to humans than squirrel monkeys, have demonstrated significant resistance, even to direct intracerebral injection. It should be noted, however, that recently macaques were shown to be susceptible to scrapie, but only after an extended, silent incubation of ten years.”

CWD and Hunters

The news about CWD in primates has many in the hunting community concerned. Tim Donges, president of the Quality Deer Management Association’s Bluestem branch, recently spoke out about urgency by decision-makers after hearing the recent reports.

“I was in the meeting in Texas with Darrel Rowledge and he is very concerned about public safety,” Donges said. “Once the first human is thought to have contracted CWD, we could see fallout in the ag market because of food safety concerns. This is becoming a very serious situation. I do not see a way to stop the spread. The U.S. government has bought deer farms contaminated by CWD and are considered contaminated super sites.”

Donges said the government has tried several means of containing the disease, including radiation, burning the soil in furnaces and formaldehyde, with no success.

Spread of CWD

“CWD prion can be moved by wind blowing dust or rain water moving contaminated soil,” Donges stated. “Scavengers such as vultures, crows, coyotes, mice, opossum, etc., can move the prions. I have seen a vulture in Kansas that was tagged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it migrated from Venezuela to Marion County, Kan. Deer hunters could move contaminated carcasses from a CWD area such as northwest Kansas to another state or another part of Kansas and spread the disease. Captive deer farmers (could be) moving live infected deer. Prions can come up through plants and other animals or humans could digest it.”

He said he has suggested to the National Deer Alliance that the organization go to Washington, D.C., and lobby for implementation of the “Deer Hunting and Conservation Act,” which would pull in resources from the USFWS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior to combat the disease.

Twenty-four states now have reported CWD. The population model suggests that some day we will no longer hunt deer species in North America. The best thing hunters can do at this point is to start having their deer tested for CWD prior to consumption in order to protect themselves until we can learn more. We should not be moving carcasses around to other parts of the state or country.

Best Long Range Crossbow

The best long range crossbow that we’ve ever seen is here. Ravin Crossbows delivers the R9, a crossbow with a range of 100 yards. The crossbow is being touted as having shot tight groups of bolts at long ranges. Now that sounds like something I could use during whitetail hunting season.

Technology Increases Range

Reliable, long distance shooting starts with superior engineering. With patented HeliCoil™ technology, the Ravin R9 crossbow measures just six inches from axle-to-axle and delivers unprecedented downrange accuracy – with groups as tight as three inches at 100 yards.

R9: A Long Range Crossbow

The hunting world is getting a wake-up call as a new brand is born and a revolutionary crossbow hits the market. Powered by the groundbreaking HeliCoil™technology, the new R9 Crossbow from Ravin delivers rifle-like accuracy, handling and devastating deer-killing power.

Best Engineered Crossbow

Designed from the ground up to be the most accurate and efficient crossbow technology ever, patented HeliCoil technology coils the cables away from both the top and bottom of the cams in helical grooves. This keeps the cams perfectly balanced for increased speed and downrange accuracy. Sounds good, but the real functionality is that it extends the effective range of the hunter.

The exclusive design allows the cams to rotate to a near full rotation of 340 degrees while keeping the cams perfectly level when drawing and shooting the crossbow. This also results in a 100 percent free-floating arrow when fired, eliminating the friction that other crossbows experience. The result for deer hunters: increased speed and deadly accuracy at longer ranges means more tags on deer and fewer left in your pocket.

Long on Thought = Long Shot

“HeliCoil technology is the starting point for a crossbow that literally changes the way crossbows function. Our goal was to reimagine every piece of the bow, with the goal of delivering a rifle-like experience for the shooter. Once we perfected the HeliCoil design, everything else fell into place. The Ravin R9 provides unmatched downrange accuracy and incredible killing power from the most compact axle-to-axle measurement on the market,” stated Ravin’s Mike Weinkauf.

The Best Long Range Crossbow on the Market

Like most crossbows, the R9 can shoot a long distance, but how many are also effective at doing it reliably? Downrange accuracy is Ravin’s calling card with prototype and initial production bows regularly holding six-arrow groups at three inches or less at 100 yards. But the similarities between the new crossbow and a rifle go well beyond accuracy. The overall axle width in the un-cocked position is a mere 10.5 inches, and is an amazing six inches when fully drawn, making Ravin the smallest, most compact crossbow in existence.

Ravin Crossbows

Ravin Crossbows was started by a group of hard-core white-tailed deer hunters and product designers with the single goal of creating the world’s best crossbow. Over the past 20 years this group has had an incredible track record of design and product development. With a wide range of archery products to their credit, they moved their focus to the crossbow industry.

This top notch design and engineering group set out to produce the most accurate crossbow in the hunting world. This was accomplished with the invention of HeliCoil technology. The revolutionary technology has several industry-changing advantages that all work together to create the most accurate crossbow ever designed. Their new R9 is one of the best crossbows ever made and offers real, effective long range deer hunting capabilities.

Deer Stomping Ground?

Deer Stomping Ground?

Have you ever seen a deer stomping its front foot on the ground? It’s not something most of us notice unless we are out in the woods, somewhere that deer do not normally see humans, pets or other things not normally encountered by them in nature. In areas where deer are acclimated to seeing more suburban things, we do not often see deer stomping the ground, though they will too from time to time. In these areas, deer usually just walk away when they see something they don’t approve of.

White-tailed Deer Stomping Hoof on Ground

Whitetail Stomping Ground

A deer is sending a message when it is stomping the ground. The message reads, “I don’t know what you are or what you are up to, but I do not like it. Move on!” In short, a deer stomping a front foot/hoof against the ground is a way of telling you or something else to get lost, go away.

The stomping of foot is not a sign of aggression towards humans, although dogs and coyotes and other mid-sized critters should definitely stay out of the way because these animals ARE seen as an immediate threat.

The stomping of a foot is one way for a deer to “test” what it is looking at. If a deer sees something that it is unsure of, the deer may stomp the ground just to get a response. You may concurrently experience a deer blowing or snorting at you. It’s basically trying to make you or something flinch in order to what it is, if it’s alive and if it is a danger to them.

Don’t Stomp Off Mad

Deer are not necessarily mad when they stomp, but they are telling you that they are aware of you, they see you, even if they do not know what you are. Whitetail deer do not see colors very well. In fact, they have a difficult time seeing colors as we see them, although they do see good the blue spectrum very well.

Just know that when a deer is stomping the ground it’s essentially for two reasons: 1) The deer knows that something is out of the ordinary, and 2) The deer is trying to get a response from something that it has not yet identified as a threat.

Deer Digging Up Yard?

Do Deer Dig?

Both white-tailed deer and mule deer can dig. In fact, they are pretty darn good at it. When they sense, smell something they want they waste no time getting to if, even if they must do a little excavation in the process.

How Do Deer Dig?

Deer are ungulates, which means they have hooves. Hooves are modified feet, but a hoof is engineered quite a bit different from one of our feet. Deer and humans basically have all the same parts/bones, but if humans were built like deer we would essentially be walking on the tips of our toes. A hoof is a larger version of a fingernail, toenail.

Deer Digging by Yard

Though hooves are great for walking on uneven terrain, they are also good for digging things up, such as your yard!

Why Do Deer Dig Yards?

Deer feed on a variety of plants and trees found in our yards. Deer love fruits, flowers and new-growth stems found no shrubs and vines. I think deer often get the blame for digging up residential lawns when in fact they are not the culprit. There are a lot of other animals out there that dig too, like armadillos, skunks and even raccoons.

But deer can and will go below the surface when they need to.

Deer, bucks in particular, scrape the ground during the breeding season but both sexes will dig in search of minerals, tubers and bulbs. This makes most home landscaped yards nothing more than deer buffets. Property owners must be aware of the types of plants they establish in yard, taking steps to use plants not attractive to deer, if they wish to prevent deer digging in the yard.

Early Season Whitetail Hunting Means Safety First!

With white-tailed deer hunting seasons across the country ramping up soon there is no better time than now to mention safety, tree stand safety in particular. Have you been prepping for deer hunting all summer long, but safety has yet to cross your mind? Well, it’s ideal that tree stand safety be considered before the start of deer season.

“Each hunting season we see people getting seriously hurt after falling from a tree stand during the archery and gun season,” said Dave Stowe, an official that follows hunting accidents across the US. “A little prep can help avoid most injuries and fatalities experience by our whitetail hunters.”

Bowhunting can help control urban deer populations

Taking simple precautions can prevent injuries and ensure that hunters return home safe and sound. Tree stand safety recommendations include:

  • Check belts, chains, bolts and attachment cords for damage and wear before use.
  • Be sure to select a healthy, straight tree for your tree stand.
  • Use a full-body safety harness properly at all times.
  • Set up the stand with another person, or at least let someone know where you’re setting up ahead of time.
  • Bring an emergency signal device, such as a cell phone or a whistle.
  • Never carry anything as you climb — use a haul line to raise and lower equipment.
  • Maintain three points of contact when climbing up or down a stand (most falls occur during this time).
  • Don’t exceed manufacturer’s maximum height or weight settings.

“Tree stand hunting accidents are for the most part avoidable,” Stowe state. “Each and every hunter should conduct a safety check of their tree stands at the start of every whitetail hunting season.” It’s good advice to take, especially if you plan on hunting next year, and the year after that.

App for Tagging Deer, Game Animals

Mobile Apps for Licenses & Tagging

Use a mobile app to tag and check in harvested deer, turkey and other game animals? Yes! With the continued “rise of the machine,” wildlife officials across the country are evaluating a whole new way to tag hunter-harvested game animals… smart phones with apps. If all works out, paper licenses and tags may go the way of the dodo bird, since hunters will be able to purchase hunting and fishing licenses online (which they already can), as well as “tag” their deer using an app.

It sounds like a good idea to me. Not only will app reporting allow hunters to document their kill as in the past, but it will also give wildlife officials better information regarding total harvest. This would be great for white-tailed deer and turkey. This improved reporting alone would help with better management of natural resources, which is a good thing. Texas already has an app that can be used to voluntarily report harvest, but I suspect it’s not long before their wildlife department fully adopts it. Arkansas already has a deer tagging app for iPhones up and running live. Continue reading App for Tagging Deer, Game Animals

Driving Deer: Pushing White-tailed Deer is Legal

Deer Hunting Comment: “I know why there is deer pushing in Iowa, but I look on it as slaughter of whatever moves. And in my eyes deer drives are not the sport of hunting at all. If Iowa legislature seems to think this is necessary then maybe they should allow drives once a year (one weekend). Then, the landowner needs to apply for a permit and every person the land owner has participating needs to be accounted for and checked for a permit.

It is ridiculous deer hunters have to holler and tromp the timber and scare the deer herd out into a clearing to be ambushed by a line of hunters standing in the clearing to shoot whatever comes out. I have nothing against hunting white-tailed deer, but as I said prior this is NOT hunting. I have contacted the DNR and all I got was an explanation of why hunters are allowed to drive and push deer.

Landowners that enjoy the sport of deer hunting in tree stands, and have family and friends that teach their kids to hunt this way, want fair chase. Deer hunting is ruined by these people that back up to the fence lines and commence pushing with their groups, while across the fence where the tree stands are set up.

I am hoping this way of slaughter is either stopped or better managed. Also, some people hike in the winter and even though they shouldn’t be hiking on private land, it does happen, and this puts them in danger.” Continue reading Driving Deer: Pushing White-tailed Deer is Legal

Deer Rut in Brown County Texas

Question: “Got a new deer hunting lease in Brown County, Texas, this year and am looking forward to chasing whitetail. I will be getting to head to my deer lease this coming weekend for the very first time this year. Not familiar with rut activity up there, so looking for a little help. Has there been any rut activity seen, or did I already miss it being that it’s late November? Thanks for any hunting help you can give me.”

Response: I work with several ranches in Callahan, Taylor, and a few others counties up that way. Most of the whitetail rutting activity is usually observed around the last week of October or the first week of November. We actually saw a lot of bucks chasing earlier in the month, so the primary rut is, unfortunately, over in that part of Texas. But don’t let that stop you from getting in the field. Continue reading Deer Rut in Brown County Texas