Wisconsin Hunters Urged To Wear A Mask While Field Dressing Deer In The Woods

Deer hunter

Ummm… what?

We’re approaching two years of this global pandemic, and in that time, the “science” or the “rules” or the “recommendations,” whatever you want to call them… they’ve changed a zillion times.

I mean, how many times have all started a sentence with “they say you should…” in the past two years?

In the beginning it was quarantine two weeks to “flatten the curve,” then it was months. Initially, they said you should disinfect all your groceries, then they said you didn’t need to do that. At first, they said masks don’t work, then they said you need one, then they mandated them in some places.

They thought you couldn’t spread the virus if you were vaccinated, now they know that you can…

I’m not declaring a position one way or the other, about any of it, I’m just saying… there’s been A LOT of information, and A LOT of misinformation.

Different studies say different things, different doctors say different things, the virus mutates, variants… and through it all the media has been an absolutely unhelpful circus.

And that long intro brings us to the latest recommendation for hunters… wear a mask while you field dress your deer.

I’m dead serious…

Believe it or not, a number of deer were tested across several states earlier this year, and about 40% of the population tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies. Of the 152 samples taken in the early part of 2021, 60 of them had COVID antibodies present in their blood streams.

Don’t panic, there is ZERO evidence to support that the virus is harmful to deer, nor is there any that it can be spread from deer to humans, especially through meat, but still, pretty weird, right?

However, now that deer season is upon us, out of what appears to be an ABUNDANCE of caution, Wisconsin health officials (NOT the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources) are recommending that hunters wear a mask and gloves while they field dress a deer.

“Hunters are always encouraged to use good hygiene practices when processing animals to reduce their risk of exposure to many possible disease agents.

Incorporating a few additional measures can also help to reduce their risk of possible exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, they recommend a number of precautions including: wearing a mask while field dressing deer; limit cutting into and handling the deer’s lungs, throat, and mouth/nasal cavity to only what is necessary; and if you are immunocompromised, consider finding someone else to help you with the processing.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services also added:

“We still have much to learn about white-tailed deer and SARS-CoV-2 infection, including learning what risk, if any, an infected deer may pose to hunters.

For now, we encourage hunters to follow good hygiene practices when processing their deer and to follow the COVID-19 recommendations outlined to help protect themselves, others and wildlife.”

Remember, there is ZERO evidence that eating deer meat can give you the respiratory virus COVID-19, however please remember to wear an orange surgical mask while you’re outside in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, by yourself, field dressing your big-ass bucks…

You can’t make this up…

But while we’re on the topic of field dressing, here’s a great how-to video from MeatEater host Steve Rinella.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock