This time of year, many people express concern about the potential risk of Lyme disease from eating venison. The thinking seems to be that when infected ticks feed on deer they naturally transmit the infection to these animals. While the first part is true, infected ticks do feed on deer, the second is not. It turns out that deer are not competent hosts for Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterial cause of Lyme disease. This means that deer tissues, including muscles and blood, do not harbor the bacteria. This was first demonstrated in 1988 and a very recent European study looked for evidence of the bacteria in Slovakia deer tissues and didn’t find any (although 96.1% were pcr positive for Anaplasma phagocytophilum DNA)., Bottom line: cook the meat properly and you’ll be fine.
 Telford SR et al. Incompetence of deer as reservoirs of the Lyme disease spirochete. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1988 Jul;39(1):105-9.
 Kazimírová M et al. Diverse tick-borne microorganisms identified in free-living ungulates in Slovakia.
Parasit Vectors. 2018 Sep 3;11(1):495. doi: 10.1186/s13071-018-3068-1.