Pennsylvania hunters say they know of at least 21 deer that dropped dead and that's just the beginning.
Hunters in Dauphin County Pennsylvania began seeing whitetail deer exhibiting mysterious symptoms, and then reports of deer deaths started coming in. An easy explanation was nowhere to be found, and it's got some worried.
Dennis Morgan, a resident near Carsonville, Penn., lamented like other like-minded deer hunting folks when he said, "Are these deer safe to eat? We've got a lot of people that show up to this valley during hunting season and a lot of people that depend on venison to eat, and we don't know what's causing this."
"After the season ended, we started going out walking our properties a little more thorough, and we're up to 21 deer found dead, in their beds, rolled up," said Morgan, "No holes, no broken bones, nowhere near water like a normal injured deer will go."
He made a Facebook post about the problems, and that attracted people in surrounding towns like Elizabethville and Millersburg who said they found dying deer with the same symptoms, it seemed like it was time for the state agency to step in and investigate. Here's a video with more:
Morgan has since given one of the deceased deer to the Pennsylvania Game Commission for a toxicology report and is now awaiting the results. Being that the issue is far from being resolved, Morgan and his hunting family have decided to pause their hunting season until more is known.
"We told our group that we're going to cease hunting," said Morgan, adding that, "We're not going to go out to kill something to kill it. We don't know if it's safe to eat, so at this point, there's no reason to take an animal. With that said, we've already processed most of our deer for the year and it has been ingested."
Though CWD (chronic wasting disease) or EHD (epizootic hemorrhagic disease) connections haven't been brought up, the prevalence of that disease likely has a lot of hunters on edge. Large numbers of dead deer with zero explanation would have just about anyone worried.
But putting a voluntary end to your deer season had to have been a tough decision. Deer disease is nothing to be ignored, and American deer hunters have a vested interested in the health of their local herds, especially those who eat deer meat as a main staple of their yearly diet.
The PA Game Commission has advised the hunting community to take the necessary safety precautions and only consume deer that look healthy.