USA Today reports that due to findings of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans) in wild deer, Wisconsin health officials have added 3 new recommendations for hunters this fall, including wearing a mask when field-dressing deer.
“Hunters are always encouraged to use good hygiene practices when processing animals to reduce their risk of exposure to many possible disease agents,” the agency says. “Incorporating a few additional measures can also help to reduce their risk of possible exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
In addition to wearing a mask while gutting (I might pull up a camo neck gaiter, but I refuse to wear a surgical-type mask for the job) health officials say to limit cutting into and handling a deer’s lungs, throat, and mouth/nasal cavity.
They also note that if you are immunocompromised and shoot a deer, ask a friend for assistance with carcass processing and handling. I believe this is something you definitely should do if immunocompromised.
NOTE: There is no evidence wildlife, including deer, are a source of COVID-19 infection for people.