I received Wisconsin DNR test results a few days ago from the buck I shot on the second day of the recent gun-deer season.
"Tissue from the deer you provided the Wisconsin DNR for chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing has been examined for CWD prions. There were no CWD prions found and therefore no evidence that the deer was infected with CWD. However, the inability to find CWD prions in the tissue examined is NOT equivalent to pronouncing this deer absolutely free of CWD prions or stating that it is safe to consume. All laboratory tests for CWD only assess the presence or absence of a detectable amount of prions in the specific tissue examined at the time the tissue was collected. A recently infected animal may not test positive because prions have not yet reached a detectable level in the tissue that was tested. CWD testing is clearly of value for disease surveillance to learn where the disease exists, but it has limited value in the context of food safety testing. If you have additional questions about CWD, check the DNR website."
I wrote about the "strange acting" spike buck in another blog two weeks ago and said at the time I would publish the results once I found out.
Out hunt began when we made our way down a deer trail to the bottom of a ravine and were within about 15 yards from our youngest son's half-rack 8-pointer that he shot several minutes earlier.
Pausing to rest, I turned and glanced down the ravine. There, no more than 20 yards away, was a deer staring at us.
Evan and I agreed the buck didn't act right, although it appeared healthy. It didn't move a muscle while staring directly at us as we whispered back and forth.
The deer continued to stare at us, almost frozen in its tracks.
"There's definitely something wrong with it," I replied, before raising my rifle and dropping it in a heap. The mercy killing was finished.
We approached the spike buck and noticed frozen pus around the eyes. The antler base, or pedicle, where one spike was missing, also showed pus. We agreed, this deer had to be put down. We also agreed I should get it tested for CWD.
Anna Jahns, a DNR wildlife technician working at a CWD testing station at Neshonoc Sports in West Salem, aged the 1 1/2-year-old deer and removed lymph nodes for CWD testing. After I described how the deer acted and Jahns looked at the eyes and antler bases where pus was evident, she believed the deer had cranial abscessation syndrome (CAS).
Later, I discovered more about cranial abscessation syndrome, a disorder regularly found in Wisconsin's wild deer.
The bacterium that causes CAS, Arcanobacterium pyogenes, is found naturally in the mouths of healthy Wisconsin deer, but can cause infections through broken antlers, abrasions in antler velvet, or through any open wound on a deer's head. After entering through the skin, the bacterium can "eat" through the deer's skull, causing abscesses in the brain.CAS occurs most commonly between October and April and may account for up to six percent of the natural mortality in bucks. This disease affects adult antlered deer almost exclusively, according to Kerry Beheler, DNR wildlife health specialist. The annual cycle of shedding antlers, getting nicks when new antlers are in velvet, and rutting battles provide plenty of opportunity for head wounds through which CAS bacteria can enter. Beheler said CAS can cause loose or deformed antlers, or kill trophy bucks, but DNR experts don't have enough data to gauge the impact on the entire buck population.In theory, meat from a deer infected with CAS isn't unhealthy and can be eaten if cooked thoroughly until the juices run clear. In practice, it's not advisable to eat such meat because the bacterial infection can make the meat tough and unpalatable.
So far, the venison from my CAS buck, is tender, juicy and delicious, just like all the other deer I harvested through the years.