Here in Kansas whitetails were hit hard by the deadly disease EHD and it made for some tough deer hunting. Although I didn’t personally find any dead deer I did get several different reports from local farmers and hunters that found many dead deer. It seems our area was on the outer edge, getting worse as you go north of here of what was supposedly one of the hardest hit areas in Kansas. I talked to an outfitter who found seventeen bucks in one small pond. That had to be heart breaking. I also talked to a friend who was hunting WIHA (walk in hunting access) land that found several big bucks when they were hunting in November, the biggest being aroud 170″. You just hate hearing the stories of all the dead deer being found.
What is the deadly disease EHD? What causes it? Can it be prevented? These are just a few of the questions I had when I heard that it was the cause of the dead deer everyone was finding around here. So I started trying to learn as much as I could about this deadly disease EHD, and these are a few of the things I learned from various sources.
Deadly Disease EHD
- Epizootic hemorrhagic disease the deadly disease EHD is caused by viruses that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, cows, and sheep, but is worse most often for the white-tailed deer
- most commonly occurs during the late summer and early fall usually ends after the first frost
- characterized by extensive hemorrhages
- closely related to the blue-tongue virus
- very high mortality rate
- transmitted by a virus transmitted by a small biting fly genus Culicoides, some call them gnats, midges, no-see-ums, they are a small fly, three species are the primary transmitters of the viruses, the most significant transmitter is Culicoides sonorensis
- high fevers lead deer to water where they lay in it to cool off because of the high fever they eventually become unconscious and die
- not known to infect humans
- worse in abnormally hot, dry summers
- occurs in places that are ideal midge breeding areas – warm, shallow, murky, exposed to direct sun, with muddy bank that is often visited by deer, cattle, or feral hogs
Can EHD Be Prevented?
I found that there are some things you can do to help slow EHD and I’m all for that. I found a great article by Quality Deer Management Association that has some awesome information on ways to help slow EHD in your areas, please go and read this QDMA article and learn ways to help prevent EHD.
EHD is a terrible disease for the white-tailed deer and can really have a huge impact on a herd in certain locations hit hard. If you love whitetails as much as I do it would be smart to learn what can be done to help slow this disease and help spread that information to local farmers, neighbors, hunters, land owners and such.
Links for more Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Information
- Hemmorhagic Disease of White-Tailed Deer source: UGA.edu/scwds
- Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in White-Tailed Deer source: Michigan.gov
- EHD in Nebraska source: Nebraska Game Parks
- Whitetail Mangament: EHD Hits Home? source: GrowingDeer.Tv
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