The fall hunting season is upon us, and folks are pumped to get out there. There are all sorts of good game to go after, including hunting feral hogs. These hogs have spread like wildfire over the Lone Star State and other areas of the West Coast and South.
Many states even classify hogs as “invasive,” meaning you can catch as many as you want…and you don’t even need a hunting license to catch the oinking monsters.
However, there’s something important that hunters should know if they’re going after hogs, elk, deer, and similar game. They can carry a dangerous disease that you need to watch out for: brucellosis.
What is Brucellosis?
Animals like feral hogs are bad news for everyone. They ravage the land and don’t serve a useful purpose; plus, they carry diseases like the brucellosis bacteria. This is a very bad infection and it’s fairly easy to get if you’re chopping up one of these hogs or other game (like elks and deer) that have it.
Brucellosis comes from the brucella bacteria, which you can get while skinning or butchering these animals. It’s a very hard disease to shake and attacks your central nervous system.
Trying to use antibiotics is not usually very effective; the symptoms can get really nasty, including intense pain through your body, heavy sweating, a high fever, and trouble walking. The even worse thing about brucellosis is even if you get the symptoms to go down in intensity, they can keep flaring back up your whole life and never completely go away.
While there are some strong antibiotics that can treat most of the bacteria’s bad effects, the far better option is to never catch brucellosis at all. That means you have to be careful out there.
The feral hog problem is so out of control in Texas that some people hunt them from helicopters with automatic rifles. They call it pork-chopping. 🐷😂
— Maximus MUGWUMP 🪓 (@PatrickDowns) October 2, 2021
Avoiding the Danger of Brucellosis
Danger doesn’t just come from hogs when it comes to brucellosis. You can also pick up this nasty bacteria from caribous, deer, bison, elk, and moose. Thankfully, there are various practical ways to avoid this bacteria.
Most important is to isolate yourself from getting any of the blood or animal’s organs near your eyes, mouth, nose, or open cuts. It’s important to field dress carefully so you don’t end up getting exposed to these kinds of dangerous bacteria like brucella.
For one thing, gloves and eye protection are highly recommended, as is thorough cleanup of any surfaces, knives, or tools you’re using. You should also be disinfecting and washing your hands very well with regular soap or antibacterial soap.
By following basic safety tips, you can ensure you enjoy the fall hunting season without any danger of harmful bacteria or bothersome problems of getting sick down the line.
Good luck out there!
Brucella: Montana. State officials say the livestock disease brucellosis has been found in elk in southwestern Montana's Ruby Mountains, the latest evidence the disease continues to slowly spread among wildlife in the Yellowstone region.
— PATRICBRC (@PATRICBRC) February 17, 2020