How does PFAS affect hunting?

Recent studies have confirmed that PFAS can be found in our wildlife populations. This happens when animals consume water or food contaminated by PFAS. Sadly, this means that even the deer we hunt could be contaminated with toxic PFAS.

Residents of Arenac County hold around 3,300 hunting licenses, and hunters from all over the state have traveled Up North for generations to hunt. The Department of Natural Resources collected samples from 60 white-tailed deer from across the state for PFAS testing in 2018. The investigation found that deer in Oscoda were contaminated with PFAS, but other deer populations across the state were found to have no PFAS or very low levels of the chemicals. Since the most recent data is from 4 years ago, hunters should use caution when consuming venison because it is possible that even more deer are contaminated today.

The organs (including liver and kidneys) of deer may contain higher levels of chemicals than muscle. For this reason, MDHHS recommends that people not eat the organs from any deer, fish, or other wild game statewide, as many chemicals, including PFAS, can accumulate in these organs.