“Don’t drink the (untreated) water!” is a good rule of thumb when hunting or hiking. Bring your own safe supply of drinking water, or boil or treat water before drinking it. You may think that the water five miles from the nearest road will be pure…but both humans and animals carry disease! “Beaver fever” (giardiasis) is a very unpleasant illness that is easily avoided—drink only water that you carry in or treat.
Wild animals serve as the host to a variety of parasites, but very few of them become problems for hunters. However, wildlife-transmitted diseases have been reported in Washington in recent years, including Lyme disease, Hantavirus, and bubonic plague. While these are not common, they are potentially present.
Check your body for bites and unusual marks if you notice a large number of ticks on an animal you have just harvested. Visit a doctor if you have come into contact with wild animals and experience unusual symptoms after returning from a hunting trip.