Can You Catch COVID-19 from Deer?

As if we needed something else to worry about as we close out the second year of living with COVID-19. News reports are showing up regularly warning that a lot of whitetail deer have COVID and so we now need to take precautions in the woods. Deer are pretty good at socially distancing from us despite our best efforts to get closer. In the last two years, nationwide participation in hunting and other outdoor pursuits has increased tremendously as people found they can escape the confines of quarantine and mask mandates by fleeing to the woods and waters.

Sloppy reporting shows up in scary headlines about deer having COVID-19. Not true. A few studies of whitetail blood samples show evidence that a fairly high percentage (33-40 percent) of the deer tested have been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, but no deer has shown up with any clinical signs of being sick with COVID-19.

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