The AirGun Guild

General Category => Airgun Hunting => Topic started by: Alan on April 22, 2018, 06:16:57 AM

Title: (UPDATE) Animal diseases
Post by: Alan on April 22, 2018, 06:16:57 AM
Spring (read that as varmint hunting season) is upon us, and this is my annual be careful of the plague, and other animal diseases.

All rodents, including rats, prairie dogs, and rock chucks, can and do carry the plague, Parvovirus, and other infectious diseases. Unless you take precautions when handling varmints, you can be infected by fleas which are indigenous within the rodent population.

Rabbits, hares, and squirrels, also carry diseases which can be contracted by poor handling, skinning, and dressing. These include Tularemia, Coccidiosis, and Pasteurellosis among others.

Ruminants like deer, elk, and moose carry their own set of diseases.

Using rubber gloves when handling games is the first step. If you're aware of diseases in your area, spaying small game with a mild mixture of bleach will kill most parasites. Your local office of the Fish & Game department is a good source of the local diseases.

It is interesting to note a few odd facts.

Prairies dogs are resistant little carnivores, and they're cannibals too as they eat their own species. It it impossible to poison out a prairie dog town. There are always resistant survivors, whose offspring will become resistant to the poison used. All forms of plague are quite common within towns, but over the millennia, they've become rather resistant to the disease. However, plague can decimate a large town, but again, there are always survivors. The one thing which will eradicate a prairie dog town is canine Parvovirus! Usually carried by an infected coyote, once contracted by even one prairie dog, within 30 days, every single prairie dog will die! The reason it spreads so quickly, are the indigenous fleas which all prairie dogs carry. And you too can be infected! The typical result is what is called a slap-rash. If you need more information on Parvovirus, search for it on Wikipedia.

Coccidiosis is carried by almost every kind of bird. Some species are resistant enough, they have no ill effects—common pigeons and Canada geese are a typical examples. However, their feces, which they deposit everywhere (!), carry the diseases. It is then transmitted to cattle when they eat feces-infected hay and grains. This fact requires cattle farmers to treat their cattle against the disease—an expensive proposition. Now you know why large feed lots and dairies are so eager to have air gunners around to help reduce the bird populations.

My personal plea to all Guild members! Please be careful when handling any game, especially varmints! And please resist doing group-kill photos!

Lots of folks think Canada Geese are cute, and just have to be fed. Well, read this!
Title: Re: Animal diseases
Post by: steveoh on April 22, 2018, 09:36:08 AM
Nice write up Alan! I usually have a 3’ mechanical hand I use to pickup and move rats and mice I shoot. Short of that I wrap a sturdy leaf around their tail and drop them at the offering place for Skunks and possums. Thinking my mechanical hand is a better choice after reading your article.
Title: Re: Animal diseases
Post by: Briar Patch on April 22, 2018, 09:53:27 AM
Thank you for the heads up Alan.   While I'm aware that animals do carry diseases - I'm not as educated as to which animals  carry what.  My education has now improved a bit.

Great point on the rubber gloves.  A couple pair of them take up next to no room in a pocket.  And they're a good thing to have if - heaven forbid - you ever have to perform any first aid.  They're very cheap insurance against blood born pathogens.