According to officials from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, two deer in South Jersey have tested positive for COVID-19.

The two deer were found in Atlantic and Cumberland Counties. With those positive results, New Jersey becomes the seventh state to report COVID in deer; others include New York and Pennsylvania.

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Luckily, according to the CDC, there is no evidence that wildlife, including deer, can transmit COVID to humans nor can COVID-19 be contracted from preparing or eating harvested game meat.

As for the deer themselves, "while the virus has been shown to be prevalent in deer they have not been reported to exhibit any clinical signs."

TSM, Tom P.
TSM, Tom P.

State officials are not recommending that hunters have their deer tested for COVID-19, however, the CDC recommends many common-sense practices when hunting or preparing game meat. They include the following:

  • Do not allow contact between wildlife and domestic animals, including pets and hunting dogs.
  • Do not harvest animals that appear sick or are found dead.
  • Wear a mask and disposable gloves to reduce your risk of coming into contact with pathogens.
  • Avoid cutting through the backbone and spinal tissues and do not eat the brains of wildlife.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Clean knives, equipment, and surfaces that were in contact with game meat with soap and water and then disinfect them.
  • Cook all game meat thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165°F or higher.

Additional tips and information are available on the NJDFW website.

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