Deer Allergies… Can They Kill You?

Yes, they absolutely can.  Allergies to deer and other ungulates are fairly rare, but can be quite dangerous for the people that are affected.  A quick google search can provide you with more evidence than would ever seem possible.

At the age of seven years I experienced an allergic reaction that has continued to harass me for more than two decades worth of big game seasons.  A cool fall day, my dad and I were traveling from Laramie to Gillette, Wyoming through Sybil Canyon.  Sybil Canyon was home to (and may still be) a wildlife refuge where animals were kept for a number of reasons.  We passed a couple of big mule deer bucks with swollen necks and dad stopped to allow me to get a better look.  As I walked to the tall fence one of the deer approached me and actually let me rub his nose and the top of his head.  Sporting the biggest grin a toothless seven year old could show, we crawled back into the little Mazda pickup and headed home.  Literally in a matter of minutes my eyes were swollen completely shut, my face and throat were extremely itchy and I became slightly wheezy.  Dad buried the pedal on the four cylinder engine to get to the nearest, well… anything.  We eventually reached a convenience store where I was able to wash my hands and face and almost immediately the swelling, itching and wheeziness subsided.  Since that day, I’ve found that I’m also allergic to antelope, elk, mule deer and whitetails… wild hogs haven’t ever given me a problem.

In 2007 this particular buck gave me a bad reaction, but thanks to Dead Down Wind bar soap I was able to eliminate it fairly quickly. 

Allergy doctors have offered a variety of solutions, but the two that I have personally contacted gave me the one solution that just won’t fly… quit deer hunting.  I have always wondered why I couldn’t be allergic to something like… knitting needles, instead of my favorite activity on the planet.  In the last few years I have met only a few people that suffer from the same allergy and have been able to discuss prevention/treatment tactics for the reactions.  I have found a handful of products and methods that have helped a great deal in preventing the annoyances.

I actually have a small Ziploc in which I carry a few items in my “anti-allergy” kit.  The first thing I pack when it comes to preventing an outbreak is some sort of field dressing gloves.  My personal favorites are the Primos Guttin Gloves, they are a shoulder length glove that come with a regular latex glove so that you still have maneuverability in your fingers.  Shoulder length gloves probably aren’t necessary unless you’re trying to be extremely careful, as you would with an animal that is going on the wall, but that is the main goal of the majority of my hunts.  The second item is a small piece of bar soap.  I usually use Dead Down Wind Bar Soap and I’ll cut off a piece the size of a cheese cube for my kit. The last item in my kit is a standard outdoor wet wipe.  They are biodegradable, have no scent and have a variety of uses.   It goes without saying, but water is extremely important to carry as well.  When I wash my hands and face after field dressing an animal, I generally have very mild if any type of reaction.  A couple of Benadryl tablets always manage to find their place at the bottom of my Ziploc as well.





Primos Guttin Gloves

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Dustin DeCroo

Dustin DeCroo

Hunting Guide at Big Horn Outfitters
Dustin DeCroo

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  1. Nope….never had an Allegie in my life….what is an allegie anyway? 😉

  2. Stephen says:

    As a Lifetime Allergy Sufferer ( I might even have ASTHMA my Allergies are THAT Bad ) > I am always encouraged by New Research results to help Diagnose and treat Allergies…

    > But I often ask > What about those who suffer from Enviro Allergies > NOW ?

    So I did some Research of my own and found that…

    A visit to my Primary Care Doc for an Insurance Covered Enviro > Allergy Blood Test > WILL identify MY > Offending Seasonal & Year-round Allergens specific to MY Geo-Region.


    My Doc CAN prescribe MY Immuno-Allergy DROPs ( Think Allergy SHOTs But No Ouch ) > Which are ordered from and are Custom Formulated to Neutralize the SOURCE of my Test ID'ed Allergens.

    Apparently these kind of DROPs are just NEW to the U.S.A. > But used Successfully in Europe for over 10 Yr.

    NOW > I can STOP Medicating my Symptoms > And finally get to the Source of my Allergy Problem.

    Thank You Doc and Thank You > !

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  4. Licking Branch says:

    Nice write-up Dustin! I'm glad you are able to overcome your alergies and just hunt. I haven't ever heard of this, but its great information! Good luck this fall.

  5. Dam Dustin, that blows!! I have a brother inlaw that goes through the same thing so I know where your comming from!


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