deer with EHD or CWD drowns in river
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Watch: Diseased Buck Walks Straight Into a Lake to Its Death

The otherwise healthy looking buck walked straight into a river.

If you're a deer hunter (or, frankly, even if you're not), you've probably heard of chronic wasting disease. Caused by a misshapen protein, chronic wasting disease (CWD) damages a deer's brain and causes progressive loss of bodily functions, with symptoms ranging from excessing saliva to tremors, emaciation, and a lack of fear of humans. CWD is very contagious, and the bane of deer hunters in the Lower 48.

But, while CWD is well known, you might not have heard much of its cousin, epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD). Unlike CWD, which is naturally occurring in some deer, EHD is a virus that is spread by biting midge flies. Symptoms in deer include lethargy and swollen necks and tongues. EHD also causes fevers, leading to infected deer to some strange behaviors.

Jayson Cooper caught some of these behaviors on video, posted to Drury Outdoors' Facebook page back in 2019. In the video, an otherwise healthy-looking buck wanders aimlessly through a campground, looking confused. He tromps through bushes on his way to the beach, at one point walking right through a smoldering campfire without any reaction.

Then, things get even weirder.

The buck walks straight into the water, heading for the deepest part of the river. Instead of swimming to keep afloat, the buck's head submerges as he moves in circles. According to the caption, the buck drowned.

Drury Outdoors writes in the caption that the buck was likely suffering from EHD: "These poor animals absolutely burn up and will do anything to cool down...including drown themselves, like this buck did."

While CWD is a fatal disease, EHD doesn't always lead to death. Deer do sometimes recover, provided they don't drown themselves, and develop antibodies that give them future immunity. Like CWD, however, EHD has no treatment and no cure.

If you see a sick or unhealthy-looking deer, call wildlife control in your area. And, while CWD and EHD are not thought to be transmissible to humans, it's always a good idea to cook your game meat thoroughly.

READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know About "Zombie Deer Disease"