State officials: Deer with viral warts not pretty but still safe to consume

The division made a post on Facebook saying the virus, cutaneous fibromas, or "deer warts," are hairless tumors on the neck or head area of the deer.

Posted: Jan 8, 2020 9:42 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2020 8:05 AM

Warts and tumors are found in deer throughout the state of Alabama according to a post from The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division.

The division made a post on Facebook saying the virus, cutaneous fibromas, or "deer warts," are hairless tumors on the neck or head area of the deer. They say the meat, though, is safe to eat and the infected deer are not a concern. 

Kyle Lybarger has been hunting deer for more than 15 years, and says he won't be eating every deer, even if the state says it's safe.

"The real bad ones look gruesome and the ones that are taking over as huge masses and oozing, those are probably something I wouldn't want to eat," Lybarger said. 

In the social media post, The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division says the virus can spread from deer to deer through biting insects or contact from contaminated abrasions and cuts on a deer's hide. They say humans and farm animals cannot get the virus.

The division says only a large tumor with a bacterial infection, and oozing into the deer, would make the meat dangerous to eat. Lybarger says he will evaluate the deer and determine which is safe to eat, but won't take a chance. He says awareness of this virus is important. 

"Definitely be aware of what you're consuming and if it's worrisome to you I'd probably play it on the safe side," Lybarger said.

The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division says this will not impact the deer population. The virus can be found anywhere there are whitetail deer. 

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