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EHD Takes Another Swat at North Dakota Whitetail Herd

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September 06, 2011

EHD Takes Another Swat at North Dakota Whitetail Herd

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.

The North Dakota Game & Fish Department is asking early-season deer, elk and small game hunters to keep an eye out for dead deer (or whitetails that appear unhealthy) and provide them with locations of those animals. With an unusually warm summer in many areas, it seems likely that outbreaks of this disease will occur in other states.

What are you seeing or hearing about EHD in your area?

Comments (13)

Top Rated
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from FirstBubba wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Nothing in my area. We've been EXTREMELY hot and dry. The weather set the following three records:
1. Eighty seven days over 100 degrees-it may not be over!
2. Forteen days above 110 degrees. Top was 114 degrees!
3. Forty eight consecutive 100+ degree days.
No rain in sight.
Other than heat stress and few food sources, our deer herds seem to be healthy. The drought is literally killing small trees! Hay and grain crops such as milo didn't make.

But, I've got a question. If you kill a deer you suspect of "having" this EHD, would it be fit for human consumption?

Bubba

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

So let me get this right, these little devils spread the disease during droughts instead of moist conditions?

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from Steward wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Hmmm...deer get water from their food, right? Except with hot dry weather, they would frequent water sources more often?

Found a source of more information:
http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10370_12150-26647--,00.html

This one claims that it does not affect humans and does not "impact the safety of consumed deer," which I take to mean you can safely eat the meat of an infected deer, though I don't intend to.
http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Home/wild_resourcessubhomepage/dealing_with_w...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Malathion for Mosquito Control you think it would help. But the problem with this, it's deadly on Bees!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Does anybody remember the "screw worm" epidemic of south Texas back in the late '50's? Devastating on both livestock AND deer! It was resolved by releasing "sterilized" male flys!
How do you determine male/female? I dunno! Best I remember they "irradiated" male flys and released them into the wild to mate uselessly with the natural females and eventually they died out.
Just a thought!

Bubba

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Clay, the problem is that the deer concentrate together at the few watering holes, where one deer can infect the other 15 within 10 feet of it, when normally they would be spread out and unable to infect to many so efficiently.

Kind of like Asians with the bird flu.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

This points to why we should probably nix baiting and small food plots, especially where the disease risk is already high.

A whitetail population crash is nigh. Disease, unsustainably large/dense populations, and ever more coyotes are the big factors.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SD Bob wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Shane:
This isn't a baiting/food plot issue. Here in South Dakota where baiting isn't legal, this outbreak is not uncommon. With the right weather, or wrong depending on your point of view, the culprit midge proliferates. Similiar to how wet springs and summers are conducive to mosquitos. I hunt an area where this thins the herd on a regular basis and am still holding my breath that an outbreak doesn't occur.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from walmsley wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

guys, in 2007, much of Illinois had the worst EHD outbreak in state history. My comment is on the question as to wether an EHD deer is fit to eat: I can tell you this: In 2007, Coons, Opposums, and Coyote's Did not touch fresh killed EHD deer! The only things that ate them was Turkey Buzzards and Maggots! They simply wrotted into the ground where they fell. You won't see me eating one!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hank111 wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Walmsley, we also had a big breakout in Iowa that year and saw the same thing.Alot of big nursing does and every adult buck I had been watching died on one farm and they just sat and rotted. I thought maybe it was because it was late summer, foods not hard to find for the scavengers then and the fact that there was so many at one time. They are not a pretty sight when they die from it, I dont think anyone would want to eat one.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wgiles wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Here in central Illinois, Macoupin county, It has been very hot and very dry since the first of July. I haven't heard of any reports of disease. I haven't seen many deer lately, but the corn is high. In Southern Illinois, near Jackson and Perry counties, it has been hot, but not unusually dry. I see quite a few deer down there, but all that I have seen look healthy.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from walmsley wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Hank 111, I knew you guys had it bad then too!
The stench in the timber was horrible wasn't it. Let alone all of them laying in ponds- Our DNR down played the hell out of it so as not to loose any NonResident permit revenue! At least Iowa doesn't have to deal with that issue! The outfitters had guides hiding/burying/pitching deer carcusses into rivers so that their clients wouldn't know they were hunting where all the bucks had died! You know-" We're just not seeing anything"- --" Just stay out there, they'll start moving any day"!! HeeHee!

wgiles, there's a couple reports south of Effingham and way south in Williamson county!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Thanks for clarifying that, SD Bob. I learn something new every day.

I still worry about deer populations concentrating together more than they naturally would. We sure aren't helping that, and things only get worse in a drought when they have to crowd around the little water left.

I've always figured a population crash was imminent, but this Outdoor Life article I read about what some biologists are saying backs me up and really has me worried. Not for the deer, they'll be OK eventually, stronger, even, but for hunting.

A short term crash could cause a long term reduction in hunter numbers and license and gear sales. Guess where the already short conservation money comes from.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from FirstBubba wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Nothing in my area. We've been EXTREMELY hot and dry. The weather set the following three records:
1. Eighty seven days over 100 degrees-it may not be over!
2. Forteen days above 110 degrees. Top was 114 degrees!
3. Forty eight consecutive 100+ degree days.
No rain in sight.
Other than heat stress and few food sources, our deer herds seem to be healthy. The drought is literally killing small trees! Hay and grain crops such as milo didn't make.

But, I've got a question. If you kill a deer you suspect of "having" this EHD, would it be fit for human consumption?

Bubba

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Thanks for clarifying that, SD Bob. I learn something new every day.

I still worry about deer populations concentrating together more than they naturally would. We sure aren't helping that, and things only get worse in a drought when they have to crowd around the little water left.

I've always figured a population crash was imminent, but this Outdoor Life article I read about what some biologists are saying backs me up and really has me worried. Not for the deer, they'll be OK eventually, stronger, even, but for hunting.

A short term crash could cause a long term reduction in hunter numbers and license and gear sales. Guess where the already short conservation money comes from.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

So let me get this right, these little devils spread the disease during droughts instead of moist conditions?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steward wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Hmmm...deer get water from their food, right? Except with hot dry weather, they would frequent water sources more often?

Found a source of more information:
http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10370_12150-26647--,00.html

This one claims that it does not affect humans and does not "impact the safety of consumed deer," which I take to mean you can safely eat the meat of an infected deer, though I don't intend to.
http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Home/wild_resourcessubhomepage/dealing_with_w...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Malathion for Mosquito Control you think it would help. But the problem with this, it's deadly on Bees!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Does anybody remember the "screw worm" epidemic of south Texas back in the late '50's? Devastating on both livestock AND deer! It was resolved by releasing "sterilized" male flys!
How do you determine male/female? I dunno! Best I remember they "irradiated" male flys and released them into the wild to mate uselessly with the natural females and eventually they died out.
Just a thought!

Bubba

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Clay, the problem is that the deer concentrate together at the few watering holes, where one deer can infect the other 15 within 10 feet of it, when normally they would be spread out and unable to infect to many so efficiently.

Kind of like Asians with the bird flu.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

This points to why we should probably nix baiting and small food plots, especially where the disease risk is already high.

A whitetail population crash is nigh. Disease, unsustainably large/dense populations, and ever more coyotes are the big factors.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SD Bob wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Shane:
This isn't a baiting/food plot issue. Here in South Dakota where baiting isn't legal, this outbreak is not uncommon. With the right weather, or wrong depending on your point of view, the culprit midge proliferates. Similiar to how wet springs and summers are conducive to mosquitos. I hunt an area where this thins the herd on a regular basis and am still holding my breath that an outbreak doesn't occur.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from walmsley wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

guys, in 2007, much of Illinois had the worst EHD outbreak in state history. My comment is on the question as to wether an EHD deer is fit to eat: I can tell you this: In 2007, Coons, Opposums, and Coyote's Did not touch fresh killed EHD deer! The only things that ate them was Turkey Buzzards and Maggots! They simply wrotted into the ground where they fell. You won't see me eating one!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hank111 wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Walmsley, we also had a big breakout in Iowa that year and saw the same thing.Alot of big nursing does and every adult buck I had been watching died on one farm and they just sat and rotted. I thought maybe it was because it was late summer, foods not hard to find for the scavengers then and the fact that there was so many at one time. They are not a pretty sight when they die from it, I dont think anyone would want to eat one.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wgiles wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Here in central Illinois, Macoupin county, It has been very hot and very dry since the first of July. I haven't heard of any reports of disease. I haven't seen many deer lately, but the corn is high. In Southern Illinois, near Jackson and Perry counties, it has been hot, but not unusually dry. I see quite a few deer down there, but all that I have seen look healthy.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from walmsley wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Hank 111, I knew you guys had it bad then too!
The stench in the timber was horrible wasn't it. Let alone all of them laying in ponds- Our DNR down played the hell out of it so as not to loose any NonResident permit revenue! At least Iowa doesn't have to deal with that issue! The outfitters had guides hiding/burying/pitching deer carcusses into rivers so that their clients wouldn't know they were hunting where all the bucks had died! You know-" We're just not seeing anything"- --" Just stay out there, they'll start moving any day"!! HeeHee!

wgiles, there's a couple reports south of Effingham and way south in Williamson county!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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