Deer Hunting and the Human Connection

Can you hear rifles being fired nearby? The annual deer hunting season is underway. To those who don’t hunt, the arrival of deer season means little. However, licensed hunters have been anticipating the first day of the 2017 hunting season since the last day of the 2016 season. In truth, the census and health of the deer population is of real importance to all of us.  Read this to understand why and to learn more about prions.

Almost three million deer are legally harvested annually by licensed hunters using firearms and bows. Untold millions more are killed illegally by poachers or legally by farmers and property owners who find burgeoning deer populations doing great damage to crops and other vegetation. Add those taken by natural predators: bears, coyotes and bobcats. Finally, there is the kill that occurs when deer are stuck by vehicles on our highways. In other words, it is not easy for a deer to live to a ripe old age.

What else is killing deer? From the qdma.com website we learn more. “The spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) is killing more of them every year. Chronic wasting disease is an always fatal disease found in most deer species, including elk, moose, mule and white-tailed deer, and CWD has now been identified in 23 U.S. states, two Canadian provinces and Korea.  Contagions spread through urine, feces, saliva, blood, deer parts, and especially via live deer. Importantly, there is no vaccine or cure.

This disease was reported by state wildlife agencies as the single biggest deer management issue they deal with on a daily basis. Research shows that plants can uptake CWD prions and pass them to animals.”            Hunting reduces the density of the population which, in turn, reduces the spread of CWD. To review details see:

www.qdma.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/2016_Whitetail_Report.pdf

For more on what prions are and their potential for impacting human health and life read: www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/nervous_system_disorders/prion_diseases_134,56

Note: I am not now nor have I ever been a hunter. However, I respect licensed hunters and thank them for helping to sustain a healthy population of deer.

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