I have recently come across a deer disease that I was previously unaware of.
Social media has produced pictures of a gross yellow fluid poring out of swelled areas on deer. I decided to check it out so we can all be aware of the precaution we need to take.
A hydrocyst is a fluid-filled cyst that occurs in the subcutaneous space usually in the brisket area of a deer. It has been seen in the shoulder and hindquarter areas as well. The cyst develops in response to a traumatic injury at the site (usually on the ventral aspect of the body) with a resultant accumulation and encapsulation of fluid.
A hydrocyst is usually small in size and is not a significant mortality factor to the individual animal or the population. A severely affected animal may have some difficulty moving, thereby making it more susceptible to predation or harvesting by a hunter. Most of the reports of a hydrocyst in a deer have occurred in fall harvested animals. The meat of a deer with a hydrocyst is safe to eat.
Even though the meat is safe to eat many hunters are still not convinced. would you eat the meat? Personally I would eat it in the areas away from the hydrocyst.