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Oregon’s Biggest Threat to Its Blacktail Deer Populations Looms

Blacktail deer populations in Oregon are in danger of a deadly virus that seems to be spreading.

The Mail Tribune recently reported on southern Oregon’s blacktail herds, which have begun to succumb to a deadly adenovirus hemorrhagic disease that’s affecting urban deer.

Fear of the virus spreading to more forested areas is high, with reports coming in from atypical areas.

“It makes us a little more nervous than when you hear about a dead deer in east Medford or Ashland or somewhere else where we know it’s chronic,” Steve Niemela, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) biologist, told the Mail Tribune. “It’s pretty widespread.”

This is the third year since 2009 that the disease has been reported in urban areas, and may surpass the 2002 outbreak that say more than 1,000 blacktails dead from the adenovirus.

The symptoms can cause real damage to deer before their near-inevitable deaths, and include blood in stool, mouth lesions that affect eating, hemorrhaging and liquid in the lungs.

The ODFW is encouraging hunters or anyone else to report dead blacktail deer they find by calling 541-826-8774.

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Oregon’s Biggest Threat to Its Blacktail Deer Populations Looms