EHD may be hitting more deer than we realize.
According to the Indiana Whitetail Deer Herd Management, two dead deer were reported by a farmer to a conservation officer in Parke County.
Both were found on waterways, a sure sign of EHD or Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease. One perished recently and has been sent in for testing, while the other was too far decomposed.
Based on the conditions and factors involved with the deer, the officers expect the reports to be positive. Two reports were turned in from deer farms in Madison and Hamilton counties, while this is the first wild report.
Midges, gnats, and mosquitos are the biological vectors that transmit EHD, which targets ruminants. While the disease has been found in mule deer, pronghorn, and cattle, it is a much more serious threat to the whitetail deer.
Wet years (such as the one we have experienced this season) intensify the occurrence, as the transmitters have higher populations. When the disease hits high density populations, hunters should be concerned and aware of the impacts. Bucks, does, and fawns are all equally susceptible to the disease.
Late August to early October, or the onset of frost and end of the seasonal vectors, mark the time frame which you will encounter this disease.
This year will likely be a tough one with more deaths than one would hope. Hunters could lose bucks during this time of year that they were hoping to encounter in the fall.
Swollen tongue, panting, and attraction to water are signs of the disease. If you encounter a dead deer this time of year, please report it to your local conservation officer or law enforcement, since the time window is short for valid testing.