Hemal Nodes


Commonly Infected Wildlife

Various mammals and some birds can contain these structures.

Is This Animal Infected?

Hemal nodes are not indicative of a disease process.

Hemal nodes are pea-sized spherical structures embedded within the fatty tissues of the body.

Hemal nodes are usually maroon or black and may be either solid or fluid-filled. They resemble a very small blood clot and are often misinterpreted as tumors or bird shot.

Can I Get It?

No. These are normal lymphoid organs in an animal’s body.

How bad can it get?

There is no known risk to humans.

Symptoms in humans

None. People are not at risk.

Closeup of Hemal Nodes
Kelly Straka

Protect Myself and Others

Hemal nodes may look unappetizing, but they are of no concern and are safe for consumption.

Safe for Pets?


What Causes It?

Hemal nodes are normal anatomical structures that can worry hunters who don’t know what they are.

These nodes are important filtering organs for animals’ circulatory systems, and they are typically trimmed out with excess fat during processing.

These nodes are numerous in ruminants such as deer and elk, although many hunters may harvest and process several deer before noticing them.