Missouri Department of Conservation says deer hunters don’t need to worry about COVID-19 testing

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 9:23 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - COVID-19 has been found in deer in some states across the country.

The Missouri Department of Conservation says hunters in Missouri don’t need to worry about getting the deer they harvest tested. Conservation agent Francis Skalicky says the US Department of Agriculture has asked them to help test deer in the state.

”Some Missouri Department of Conservation staff who deer hunt, if they harvest a deer, they will collect samples,” Skalicky says. “They will do a nasal swab and blood samples and send that out to be tested.”

Skalicky says since COVID-19 is transmitted with air droplets, it doesn’t impact hunters directly.

“When a hunter kills a deer, either by firearms or by archery methods, by the time it gets to that deer, to harvest the deer, there’s no breathing going on,” Skalicky says.

That’s why Skalicky says it’s safe for hunters to eat the meat.

“We are asking hunters if they want to process their own deer meat if they want to do their own butchering, that they wear gloves when they’re doing it,” Skalicky says. “We ask them to do that for this and for any reason. It’s just a safer process.”

Kodiak Mitchell has been hunting with family for his entire life. He’s not concerned about getting sick from deer meat.

“Every animal no matter what you hunt is gonna have some kind of disease,” Mitchell says. “It’s just what it comes down to. Animals are like people. People get diseases. Animals get diseases. It is what it is.”

As an experienced hunter, Mitchell says it always comes down to preparation.

“As long as you cook your meat and you do things properly like you should like every hunter should, you should be just fine,” Mitchell says. “It’s like hunting squirrel or rabbit. There’s always that chance you can get some disease if you don’t cook your meat right or if you don’t prepare your meat right.”

Skalicky says across the state, he anticipates there will be about 500 deer tested. When agents get those results back, they plan to share that with the public.

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