What Happens If You Eat a Deer With Cwd? 5 Shocking Outcomes Revealed

What Happens If You Eat a Deer With CWD

In recent years, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has become a growing concern among hunters and wildlife enthusiasts. CWD is a contagious neurological disease that affects deer, elk, and moose. It is caused by misfolded proteins called prions, which gradually damage the brain and spinal cord. While CWD primarily affects animals, there are concerns about the potential risks it poses to human health.

What is CWD?

CWD is a progressive disease that affects the nervous system of cervids, which include deer, elk, and moose. It belongs to a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), which also include Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or “mad cow disease”) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) in humans.

Infected animals may show symptoms such as weight loss, abnormal behaviors, lack of coordination, and drooping ears. Unfortunately, CWD is always fatal, and there is currently no known cure.

Can Humans Get CWD?

While there have been no documented cases of CWD spreading to humans, research suggests that it may be possible. However, the transmission rate from cervids to humans is currently considered to be low. It is important to note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against consuming meat from animals known to be infected with CWD.

The Risks of Eating Deer with CWD

Since there is a potential risk of CWD transmission from infected animals to humans, it is crucial to understand the risks associated with consuming meat from deer with CWD. The consumption of contaminated meat may lead to the following:

  • Prion Transmission: The misfolded prions present in the infected meat are resistant to normal cooking methods, making them difficult to eliminate. If consumed, these prions could potentially cause TSEs in humans.
  • Health Issues: Consumption of CWD-infected meat may increase the risk of developing prion-related diseases such as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) in humans.
  • Cautious Approach: To mitigate the risks, it is advisable to adopt a cautious approach and follow the guidelines provided by health authorities.

Guidelines for Hunters and Consumers

If you are a hunter or a consumer of venison, it is important to take certain precautions to minimize the risk of exposure to CWD:

Guidelines Explanation
1. Avoid Hunting in CWD-Endemic Areas Hunting in areas where CWD is prevalent increases the chances of harvesting an infected animal.
2. Get the Meat Tested Consider getting the harvested animal tested for CWD before consuming the meat.
3. Proper Field Dressing Ensure the field dressing process is done carefully to avoid coming into contact with the brain, spinal cord, or lymph nodes, where CWD prions are highly concentrated.
4. Use Dedicated Knives and Tools Designate specific tools or knives for field dressing and avoid cross-contamination with other equipment or meat.
5. Do Not Consume High-Risk Parts High-risk parts, such as the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, and lymph nodes, should be discarded to reduce the potential exposure to prions.
6. Proper Processing Techniques Follow appropriate processing techniques to minimize the risk of contamination during butchering and handling of the meat.
7. Use Gloves and Protective Gear Wear disposable gloves and use protective gear while field dressing and butchering to avoid direct contact with potentially contaminated tissues.
8. Cook Meat Thoroughly Cook venison to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) to reduce the risk of prion transmission.

Precautionary Measures Should Be Taken To Ensure The Safety Of Individuals Who Consume Venison.

By following these guidelines, hunters and consumers can make informed decisions to reduce the potential risks associated with eating deer that may be infected with CWD.

Frequently Asked Questions For What Happens If You Eat A Deer With Cwd? 5 Shocking Outcomes Revealed

What Happens If You Eat A Deer With Cwd?

Eating a deer with chronic wasting disease (CWD) poses potential health risks, as the prion could be transmitted to humans.

Can Humans Get Cwd From Eating Deer Meat?

There is a risk of humans contracting CWD from consuming infected deer meat, although it is not yet fully understood.

How Is Chronic Wasting Disease Transmitted To Humans?

The prions responsible for chronic wasting disease can be transmitted to humans through the consumption of infected deer meat.

What Are The Symptoms Of Cwd In Humans?

Symptoms of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in humans may include cognitive decline, muscle rigidity, and neurological disturbances.


Chronic Wasting Disease poses a threat to the population of cervids and raises concerns about the transmission of the disease to humans. While there is currently no conclusive evidence of CWD transmission to humans, it is crucial to handle and consume deer meat with caution.

Preventive measures such as avoiding hunting in CWD-endemic areas, testing harvested animals, practicing proper field dressing, and cooking meat thoroughly can minimize the risk of exposure to CWD. By staying informed and adopting safe practices, hunters and consumers can enjoy venison while prioritizing their health and well-being.

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