A severe wave of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease has already killed hundreds of deer in East Tennessee.
Tennessee State wildlife leaders have shared that the state has experienced its worst EHD outbreak in decades.
The news comes at an extra difficult time, with the deer season underway. The EHD wipeout could hinder the population for years to come.
The disease is often associated with warm temperatures alongside a drought. With those conditions, the midge fly lives around small watering holes where they bite and infect whitetail deer. However, once the first frost of the year occurs, the midge fly dies and the threat of the disease is eliminated for the year.
Mime Barnes, Tennesse Wildlife Resources Agency informati0on and education officer, stated they have a reported account of 158 dead deer in just Morgan County.
A local farmer and hunter Ben Gamble shared his thoughts: "Usually we mow a lot of crops down there at night so the deer come out into the fields when they get used to the tractor. There weren't any deer, so I just made the dreaded walk one day and just found them dead everywhere. I walked the creek one day and found about a dozen in a 300-yard walk, and that answered all my questions. That was all I needed to see."
Gamble also shared, when scouting the various farms they would sometimes see up to 100 deer. This year, they'd be lucky to see one deer.
Unfortunately, EHD has hit many states this year because of the dry spells and warm temperatures.
It's clear, Tennessee got the worst of the outbreak this year.
This year, be conscientious on your decision to fill tags. Because let's face it, the best person to manage a particular parcel is you. By not filling a doe tag, it could accelerate the resurgence of the deer population.
Enjoy the outdoors?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.