Conservation officials' tips for harvesting safe, healthy meat t - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Conservation officials' tips for harvesting safe, healthy meat this deer season

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Many of you have the camouflage ready and the rifle sighted-in, all ready for first day of firearm season for deer hunting.

Don't forget the orange hat and vest, but that's not all to remember when it comes to safety, experts say, you also want to make sure the meat is okay to eat.

At Foutz's Hunting and Fishing, hunters are gearing up to head out.

“I'm getting my orange. Getting some warm gear,” Hunter Josh Brands said.

Worker Brook Welker says they sold more than 30 deer tags on Friday morning alone. She says the shop has been busy with hunters hoping for a safe and successful hunt.

“The biggest one I killed last year, weighed in at 189 but only had one point,” Brands said.

When you're out in the woods, conservation agents say hunting safety always comes first, but also when you're field dressing your deer, it's important to make sure the meat is safe as well.

“Be sure and look real closely at the meat. If you have any concerns about it being healthy, or being damaged in any way, then certainly find or contact a conservation agent,” Conservation Agent Ken West said.

West says the good news is they have not seen any cases of diseases like blue tongue or chronic wasting in this area.

“So far this year in terms of health, our Southeast Missouri deer herd seems to be doing very, very well,” West said.

However, West says if the deer was injured, there could be other problems.

“It may have gotten stuck with an antler, and that wound may have become infected, may have some puss in the meat, could turn green,” West said.

He suggests, if something looks wrong, don't risk it.

"Go ahead and cut those pieces out,” West said.

As for hunters, they're hoping for a healthy harvest.

“I love eating deer meat,” Brands said.

“Most of the men kill are only just killing does for the meat,” Welker said.

Most importantly, they wish everyone a safe hunt.

“Everybody be safe this weekend,” Brands said.

West says when you call the conservation department to report something wrong with your deer meat, in most cases they will issue you a replacement tag.

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