Hunting deer is no great difficulty if you own land, or have private land you can hunt, where you won’t be interrupted by other hunters and deer maintain a routine for at least a few days. Game cameras and corn feeders have really simplified deer hunting. On my own place, my camera has not only showed me the deer that pass before it, only a few yards from the tree stand I hunt, but it shows me what time of day they pass there. Sure, I know all about the two or three nice bucks on that camera, and the forkhorns as well. Corn spread liberally on the ground, and a game camera in early October, is all you need to give you that information. If I climb up in that tree stand with a rifle and scope, and I can be patient enough to sit there and wait long enough, getting one of those deer is pretty much a sure thing.

If that makes anyone a great outdoorsman, there are millions of us. And truthfully, I think that in this day and time I would like to photograph a big buck much more than shoot one with a rifle that I can use to hit a golf ball at $150 yards. Muzzle-loader hunting is much more of a joy to me because I can get off to myself and walk, saying to heck with patience. And the suburban ‘once a year hunter’ is gone. With a muzzle-loader you can really be a ‘hunter.’ Same thing with a bow or crossbow, but the latter makes any deer within 40 yards a fairly easy target.

Remembering the old deer hunters from my boyhood, there never was one of them who sat in a tree stand. A stump perhaps, looking at a scrape or a deer trail into the wind, sometimes with nothing more than a shotgun with slugs. That breed of hunter is gone today. They had so much fewer deer to hunt in the Ozarks, none of them would believe how easy it is today, with the number of deer we have. When all facts and truth about the Chronic Wasting disease finally come out… if it ever does…. and in some future day fewer hunters go forth to kill deer in the late fall and winter, we may be up to our ears in deer, because they live very well in cattle country and hunter numbers are certain to decline.

It may never be known if those people who die from Jakob-Kruetzfeld disease got it from a prion-diseased deer or elk or cow or goat or sheep, but right now, those who say it will not be spread by eating a CWD deer are talking with their fingers crossed. If any biologist or doctor is willing to say that, would those people willing show us their convictions in the matter are solid by eating prion tainted meat from a deer known to have CWD, or a mad cow infected in England with those same prions? Have people in England really died from eating the meat of those diseased steers or was that all just made up?

The news media needs to find and talk with folks who have lost loved ones to Jakob-Kruetzfeldt disease and feel sure they got it from eating a diseased deer. One of those families lives right near Joplin. In the meantime, here is a common sense plan I have adopted. First I will eat no venison but the meat from deer I killed and cleaned. I will not cut through any bone, and I will not shoot a deer in the head or spine.

I would not eat venison someone else has killed and butchered, nor from the ‘share your harvest’ program, but that is not anything that spells much danger to a lot of people. If tainted meat with prions in the flesh is eaten, there isn’t anyone willing to say it will cause you to have the disease. The ‘share your harvest’ program, if it involves deer with Chronic Wasting disease, may not kill one person. Maybe if it does, it will only be one or two people and it won’t be me or you.

But this I know… when deer killed by hunters are tested this year and some are found to have the disease, all the nay-sayers who insist it is nothing to worry about, will not eat that meat. What does that tell you?

The best advice to any hunter that I can give… kill any deer that looks sick, contact the conservation department and have them come to test it. If you kill a healthy deer, hang it up and skin it and cut all the meat from the bone without cutting the spinal column. Cutting into bone marrow may not cause a problem but I won’t do it. And since prions have been found in the urine, be very careful to not rupture the bladder.

For the first time in my life, I will probably use rubber gloves to clean, skin and butcher my deer. And just maybe it will be the last year I hunt deer in the Ozarks, I don’t know. There just aren’t enough facts yet to tell us what will come. And anyone who goes around saying there is nothing to worry about might just be right. Or they might be wrong.

The center for Disease Control has sent out a news release saying that no one has been proven to have died of Chronic Wasting Disease. I cannot believe they have done this… it is the heighth of deception. Chronic Wasting Disease is the name given to DEER and ElK ‘prion’ disease… it is caused by the same ‘prions’ that has killed who knows how many humans. It is known as Jakob-Kruetzfeldt disease. Why the Center for Disease Control wants to be part of this deception is beyond me. They could say… “There has been no humans die from the infection of ‘prions’in the human body.” Instead they give the name of the commonly used term which involves deer and elk. If they are sure you cannot get Jakob Kruetzfeldt disease from those prions in deer, they should say that.

But they won’t.