Eating Bad Deer Meat: What will Happen?

Short Answer: If you accidentally eat bad deer meat, you may get food poisoning, parasitic infections, or chronic wasting disease, which can cause various symptoms and complications.

Deer meat is the meat of deer, which are wild animals that can be hunted for food.

Deer meat is also known as venison, and it is a lean and healthy source of protein.

However, deer meat can also be contaminated by bacteria, parasites, or diseases that can make you sick if you eat it when it is bad.

If you accidentally eat bad deer meat, you may experience symptoms of food poisoning, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and headache.

These symptoms can start within hours or days after eating the spoiled meat, and they can last for several days or weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.

In some cases, you may also develop more serious complications, such as dehydration, kidney failure, or neurological disorders.

This is because bad deer meat can contain harmful microorganisms, such as Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter, or Listeria, which can cause bacterial infections in your digestive system.

Bad deer meat can also contain parasites, such as Trichinella, Toxoplasma, or Taenia, which can invade your muscles, brain, or other organs.

Additionally, bad deer meat can carry diseases, such as chronic wasting disease, which is a fatal neurological disorder that affects deer and other cervids.

Chronic wasting disease is similar to mad cow disease, and it can potentially infect humans who consume infected deer meat.

It is quite uncommon to eat bad deer meat, because most hunters and consumers are aware of the risks and take precautions to prevent spoilage and contamination.

However, some factors that can increase the chances of eating bad deer meat are:

  • Hunting deer that look sick, injured, or abnormal.
  • Not gutting, skinning, or cooling the deer carcass properly and promptly after killing it.
  • Not inspecting, cleaning, or trimming the deer meat before cooking or freezing it.
  • Not cooking the deer meat to a safe internal temperature of at least 160°F (71°C) to kill any bacteria or parasites.
  • Not storing the deer meat in a refrigerator or freezer at a temperature below 40°F (4°C) to prevent spoilage.
  • Not consuming or discarding the deer meat within a reasonable time frame (usually within 3 to 4 days for refrigerated meat and within 6 to 12 months for frozen meat).

You can treat mild cases of food poisoning from bad deer meat by drinking plenty of fluids, eating bland foods, and taking over-the-counter medications to relieve your symptoms.

However, if you have severe or persistent symptoms, or if you suspect that you have been exposed to chronic wasting disease, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, antiparasitics, or other treatments depending on the cause and extent of your infection.

To avoid accidental eating of bad deer meat, you should follow these tips:

  • Only hunt deer that look healthy and normal, and avoid deer that are in areas where chronic wasting disease has been reported.
  • Wear gloves, use clean tools, and avoid contact with the deer’s brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, and lymph nodes when gutting and skinning the deer.
  • Refrigerate or freeze the deer meat as soon as possible after processing it, and label it with the date and source of the meat.
  • Thaw the deer meat in the refrigerator or microwave, not at room temperature, and cook it thoroughly before eating it.
  • Discard any deer meat that looks, smells, or tastes bad, or that has been stored for too long.

Finally, remember, deer meat is a nutritious and delicious food, but it can also pose health risks if it is not handled, cooked, and stored properly.

Therefore, you should always be careful and cautious when hunting, processing, and consuming deer meat.

About the Author

Abdur Rahman Choudhury

Abdur Rahman Choudhury is a nutrition coach with over 7 years of experience in the field of nutrition.

He holds a Bachelor's (B.Sc.) and Master's (M.Sc.) degree in Biochemistry from The University of Burdwan, India. He was also involved with a research project about genetic variations in the CYP11A gene among PCOS and Metabolic Syndrome patients.

He has completed the following online courses: Stanford Introduction to Food and Health by Stanford University (US) through Coursera, Certificate in Nutrition from Fabulous Body Inc. (US), Lose Weight and Keep It Off certificate course from Harvard Medical School (US), and Nutrition and Disease Prevention by Taipei Medical University (Taiwan) through FutureLearn.

Abdur currently lives in India and keeps fit by weight training and eating mainly home-cooked meals.

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