Wyoming: Massive Black Hills Deer Die-Off Could Be Worst In Decades
Called epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD, the disease typically strikes fawns and bucks and is worse during droughts. Biologists first found the disease in the Black Hills in the 1950s.
‘Our deer numbers are down right now anyway, and this sure isn’t helping anything,’ said Joe Sandrini, a Wyoming Game and Fish Department biologist based in Newcastle.
The disease is spread by a type of biting gnat. White-tailed deer are most often affected. It’s worse during dry years because deer congregate in larger groups near diminishing water sources. A hard frost will kill the gnats, but when temperatures don’t drop low enough, the gnats — and the disease — persist, Sandrini said.
It cannot be spread to humans or most other wildlife and is not a threat to humans, Sandrini said.
Dying deer may be lethargic, appear to be drooling and congregate near water. If a deer succumbs to the disease, it typically dies within three days of infection, Sandrini said.
Biologists won’t know the extent of the die-off until mid-October after they begin calculating the herd estimates. It seems to be worse in the northern part of the Black Hills, Sandrini said.
Sundance Game Warden Chris Teter started fielding calls from concerned residents around the first of September and has since received dozens reporting dead or dying deer.
‘I’ve not had this many calls ever before, even during an outbreak,’ said Teter, who has been the game warden for 22 years.” Read more.
Flashback: Illinois: Virus Previously Unknown To Area Kills Hundreds Of Deer Around Chicago – “Hundreds of deer in the Chicago area have been killed by a virus previously unknown in the area. The Daily Herald reports that roughly 200 deer in Cook County have died. Six suspected cases have been reported in Kane County. The disease is known as EHD, or epizootic hemorrhagic disease. It’s a virus that kills deer in about a week and is spread among them by bites from flies known as midges.” Read more.
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