Deer, elk and other animals can have numerous lumps, tumors or abscesses for a variety of different reasons. Most of these are of no concern and the deer can be eaten as normal. However, some abscesses and lumps can contain bacteria or other infections that should not be eaten.
How to know if a deer has an abscess?
An abscess in a deer or elk is very noticeable and contains a sac of pus which is located anywhere on the deers body. It’s typically under the skin or in the muscles. These abscesses are not typically painful or cause any illness to the deer.
Can I eat deer meat with an abscess?
The pus inside of an abscess contains bacteria and can lead to infections transmitted to humans. It’s recommended to cut around that area and wear personal protective equipment such as latex or nitrile gloves when cleaning your harvested deer or elk. Do not puncture or cut open the abscess as it can contaminate other parts of the meat. If you have an open wound or cut, the pus can transmit the infection to you.
If the abscess is small or localized and is not punctured, it is ok to eat the meat.