No CWD found in buck, probably had CAS

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.

It states:
"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.

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Bob's Blog: It was a strange deer hunt

It was quite a gun deer season opener for me last weekend.
I have hunted Wisconsin's woods, fields and swamps for more than six decades and this season is certainly one for the books... not for the deer I shot, but how it acted.
Here's the scene:
Our youngest son, Evan, and I were hunting from our usual stands in a steep valley in northern La Crosse County. I never saw a deer on opening day, but Ev missed the buck of his lifetime. I felt sorry for Ev, but assured him it wouldn't be the last deer he misses with his 30-06 rifle, handed down to him from his late grandpa.
Sunday was a different story. One nice-sized buck sneaked past me about 7:30 a.m., before I could get a clear shot.
Shortly after 8 o'clock, I heard a loud bark from Ev's rifle. "Kaa-whop!"
Instantly, I knew Evan hit something this time. Longtime hunters have learned there is a distinct difference in sound from a hit or a miss. A missed shot sounds more like a "twang," while a good hit sounds like a "kaa-whop." This was definitely a "kaa-whop, followed several seconds later by another "kaa-whop."
"Got a buck down Dad," Evan radioed on his walkie-talkie.
I climbed down the steps from my "condo stand" that the late Friendly Farmer's kids built for me several years ago, and trudged up the old logging road to meet Ev.
He told me it was a large buck, but only had a half-rack. Ev said it dropped in its tracks, struggled to get back up, before he finished it off. Ev pointed to the massive deer sandwiched between logs about 40 yards uphill and across a deep ravine.
As we made our way down a deer trail to the bottom of the ravine and were within about 15 yards from Ev's dead buck, I turned and glanced down the ravine. There, no more than 20 yards away, was a deer staring at us. I whispered to Ev that I thought I could see one small spike.
"Shoot it," I whispered.
"You shoot it," he whispered back. I've got my buck."
The deer didn't move, not a muscle, and continued staring at us.
"Go ahead and shoot it," I said as my whisper grew louder.
"No, you shoot it. Besides, it doesn't look right," Ev replied.
The deer continued to look straight at us, almost frozen in its tracks.
"OK. It certainly looks healthy, but I don't want to leave a sick deer in the woods. There's definitely something wrong with it. I'll put it out of its misery," I countered.
Setting down my walking stick quietly and shouldering my .223 rifle, I pulled down on the front of the deer and shot. It fell in a heap.
The mercy killing was finished. We approached the spike buck and noticed frozen pus below both eyelids. The antler base, or pedicle, where one spike was missing, also showed some pus. We agreed. This deer had to be shot. We also agreed it wasn't emaciated. The body appeared fully grown and healthy.
We left it to field-dress Ev's buck before returning to field-dress the smaller buck. We also called the Friendly Farmer's kids to come and help us.
The deer I shot looked fine except for the head which was infected. It skinned out fine and the venison looked just like the one from Ev's large buck.
Our venison processor cut off the head and neck from the young buck. I drove to Neshonoc Sports in West Salem. Anna Jahns, a DNR wildlife technician, aged the deer and removed lymph nodes for CWD testing. After I described what happened, Jahns said she believed the deer had cranial abscessation syndrome (CAS). That was the same thing Gerald Sheperd, from Shep's Taxidermy, told me several years ago when I described to him that I shot a half-rack 6-point buck with a very wobbly remaining antler which rattled the skull when I wiggled it. The only difference was that deer acted normal like any other deer.  
After recalling what Shep said and what Jahns just told me, I went home, looked up cranial abscessation syndrome and found this DNR story reported from Bill Ishmael.
Ishmael, a DNR wildlife biologist in Spring Green, responded promptly when he received reports that a deer in northwestern Sauk County was walking in circles, acting disoriented and lacking any fear of people.
When Ishmael arrived on the scene, the deer was standing with its head down and did not react to him. As he got closer, Ishmael noticed the buck's antlers had broken off. Pus was exuding from the base of the antlers and the animal's eye sockets.
"It seemed as if it were blind," Ishmael noted.
All of these symptoms are characteristic of 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," says 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.
"We know that CAS can cause loose or deformed antlers, or kill trophy bucks," Beheler said, "but we don't have enough data to gauge the impact on the whole 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.
I picked up our deer from the meat processor on Tuesday and Dan assured me the meat from my deer looked as good as Evan's buck.
Personally, I plan to eat the venison from this young buck just like I did with the similar tender buck I shot several years ago.

Let's tip our caps to Brewers' National League Reliever of the Year

Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers is the recipient of the 2019 Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award, Major League Baseball and presenting sponsor The Hartford announced Saturday.
It was certainly well deserving.
Remember that "immaculate inning" of relief early in the season?
Sitting in front of the TV with thousands of viewers, we watched Hader strike out the side in the ninth inning to preserve the Milwaukee Brewers' 4-2 victory over the the St. Louis Cardinals in Miller Park.
Hader performed what is called an "immaculate inning," by throwing the minimum nine pitches, all strikes. Incredible to say the least.
Yeah, I know. We also remember his blown saves later in the season, but his numbers still prove his overall performance in 2019.
This is Hader’s second consecutive season winning the award, joining Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen as the only two-time winners.
Hader posted a 2.62 ERA in his 61 games in 2019 and struck out 138 batters – the most of any reliever in MLB for a second straight year. In his 75.2 innings, he surrendered only 41 hits and 20 walks, limiting opponents to a .155 batting average. Hader averaged 16.4 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.
“Winning NL Reliever of the Year for the second time is an honor that I don’t take for granted," Hader said. "It is especially humbling when you consider the panel of all-time greats who vote on the award. I want to thank Craig Counsell (Brewers' manager), my coaches and especially my teammates, without whom I would not be in this position. I also want to thank the passionate Brewers fans, who have always been very supportive.”



Packers 'flat' in stunning loss to Chargers

Losing coaches, whether it's at the amateur or professional level, detest this popular media question:
"Did your team come out flat?"
I don't need to ask head coach Matt LaFleur that question. He knows his Green Bay Packers were "F-L-A-T." They were downright embarrassing in their 26-11 loss to the LA Chargers on Sunday.
Penalties. Poor performances on both sides of the ball, another rough day for the special teams and little enthusiasm spelled defeat. You could see it in the eyes of several Packer players after the Chargers 9-0 halftime lead. They not only looked deflated, but down-trodden.
Despite a 3-5 record, the Chargers and veteran quarterback Philip Rivers strung together a four-quarter performance to upset the previously once-beaten Packers.
Green Bay could have... and should have... put some distance between themselves and the rest of the NFC North Division, too. The Vikings lost to the Chiefs on a last-second field goal, dropping them to 6-3. The Bears and Lions also lost on Sunday.
A victory would have put Green Bay in the driver’s seat in the NFC North with a two-game lead and seven games remaining. But that’s all gone.
The Packers (7-2) must regroup quickly as they entertain the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field on Sunday before a well-deserved bye.
“The whole game, we were flat, couldn't really figure out how to beat their defense," said receiver Davante Adams, who had seven catches for 41 yards. "They were running the same coverages pretty much the whole game, and we couldn't really figure out a way to consistently move the ball.”
The Packers’ offense was coming off a huge October in which it averaged 32.5 points a game during the team’s four-game winning streak. However, it struggled to move the ball consistently through  the air (139 yards) or on the ground (45 yards).
The Packers must come up with a remedy quickly, or the season could turn worse in a hurry.

Old coach's wisdom proves true

Once upon a time during my long journalistic career, I came across a Hall of Fame football coach who told me this:
"More times than not, the last two minutes of the first half and the first two minutes of the second half dictate the outcome of the game."
Those words came back to me quickly with less than 2 minutes left in the first half of the Green Bay Packers' victory over the Oakland Raiders at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
At the 1:55 mark of the first half, Raiders' quarterback Derek Carr scrambled around right end from the 2-yard line, but stepped out of bounds while pushing the ball across the goal line pylon. The replay official ruled the ball was fumbled out of bounds in the end zone resulting in a touchback and turned the ball over to the Packers.
Green Bay marched right down the field with quarterback Aaron Rodgers eventually tossing a 37-yard touchdown pass to Jake Kumerow with 20 seconds remaining.
Rather than a possible 14-13 deficit or 17-14 Raiders' lead, the turnaround gave the Packers a 21-10 halftime advantage.
Wait, there's more.
The second half became even more interesting with the Packers extending their lead to 28-10 with 12:04 left in the third quarter.
For all practical purposes, the game was over.
Oh sure, the Raiders counter-punched and cut the deficit to 28-17 in the third quarter, but the Packers responded with another TD for a 35-17 lead.
The end result was a convincing 42-24 victory for the Green and Gold. Next up?
The mighty Chiefs in Kansas City this Sunday. It doesn't get any easier, but who would have thought the Packers would be 6-1 at this point in the season?

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