Because of the severe drought and unusually hot weather the state of Washington experienced this summer, deer populations are being hit hard by Blue Tongue.
The record drought in Washington is responsible not only for severe wildfires, but also an outbreak of Blue Tongue disease.
Since deer are more concentrated around the few remaining water sources after the long, dry summer, they are particularly vulnerable to Blue Tongue, which is spread by disease carrying gnats that live in pools of stagnant water.
Fortunately, the outbreak of Blue Tongue disease does not appear to be severe enough to negatively impact hunting season this year.
The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife is cautioning hunters not to shoot or eat any deer that appears to be ill. A deer with Blue Tongue disease will appear depressed, will not appear to be afraid of people, and may be foaming at the mouth.
While Blue Tongue disease is not dangerous to humans, it is still a good idea to only eat deer that appear to be healthy.
The onset of freezing temperatures this winter should end this outbreak of Blue Tongue disease by killing off the gnats that spread the disease.