By Scott Bestul
Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) appears to have returned for another swat at the North Dakota whitetail herd. According to a story released yesterday in the Dickinson (ND) Press, dead whitetails—animals suspected to have succumbed to EHD—have been found in four counties in the western part of the state; Hettinger, Slope, Golden Valley and McKenzie.
EHD is transmitted to whitetails by a midge bite, and occurs most often in late summer months marked by extended periods of heat and/or humidity. If biologists are correct in their diagnosis, this will be the third EHD outbreak in North Dakota in the last nine years. EHD also knocked back whitetails in the summers of 2003 and 2007.
I’ve heard concerns about EHD from contacts in Illinois, where rainfall has been basically non-existent for the last two months and temperatures have been high. Though whitetail herds bounce back relatively quickly, the short-term effects of EHD can be devastating, with localized mortality so significant that it will impact hunting opportunity.