Many hunters including myself not only love to hunt but we have a passion to hunt but this obsession might come to an end because of some deadly killers that are taking out the deer population. Not only are we a predator for the deer along with many carnivores that are taking down the deer but the most deadly killer for the deer is a disease called EHD (Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease). EHD also known as bluetongue is a virus transmitted by small biting flies called midges. This disease is the number one killer of white-tailed deer around the Midwest and all around the United States.
The way most deer get this disease is when the white-tailed deer need to get a drink from a water source the exposed mud around the water is the breeding ground for these flies so they can just inject the virus into the deer. This disease has taken out whole herds around the U.S. while in other spots there has been no sign of this disease. In the hardest-hit areas of EHD the unusual steps were taken of altering hunting seasons and decreasing the number of deer licenses available for hunters.
When white-tailed deer are infected with this disease they usually don’t get any symptoms until 7 days after they are infected. Deer usually lose their appetite and the fear of humans. They also develop a rapid pulse and get a really bad fever. Then 8-36 hours after they have this disease they go into a shock-like state and die. This disease occurs mostly from mid-August through October and usually don’t go through winter since the flies can’t make it through the cold winter.
Although this virus is usually most common in white-tailed deer there has also been signs of mule deer and pronghorn antelope have been known to carry it too. However farmers don’t have to worry about their cattle because cattle can’t be affected by EHD. Even though they are not affected by this virus they can still get it. Studies have shown that cattle and sheep can get EHD but they will not die. They will isolate themselves and be alone while they have this disease but they won’t die from it.
Even if people want to try to stop this disease there is little to none that can be done to stop this virus. The best way is to regulate the deer populations through hunting. You can maybe regulate the antlerless deer from being shot from hunters or just create habitat for these deer. Overall, I do think this is a problem for the deer population and I think we have something done to try to save these deer for future hunting years.
What is EHD and who carries it?
How do deer get this virus and how is it transmitted?
Why is this virus so deadly to deer and other animals?