Home > Mass Animal Deaths, Pestilence > Montana: Devastating Disease Kills 90% of Whitetail Deer Along 100-Mile Stretch of the Milk River

Montana: Devastating Disease Kills 90% of Whitetail Deer Along 100-Mile Stretch of the Milk River

By MATTHEW BROWN – “BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — White-tailed deer populations in parts of eastern Montana and elsewhere in the Northern Plains could take years to recover from a devastating disease that killed thousands of the animals in recent months, wildlife officials and hunting outfitters said.

In northeast Montana, officials said 90 percent or more of whitetail have been killed along a 100-mile stretch of the Milk River from Malta to east of Glasgow. Whitetail deaths also have been reported along the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers in western North Dakota and eastern Montana and scattered sites in Wyoming, South Dakota and eastern Kansas.

The deaths are being attributed to an outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD. Transmitted by biting midges, EHD causes internal bleeding that can kill infected animals within just a few days.

‘I’ve been here 21 years and it was worse than any of us here have seen,’ said Pat Gunderson, the Glasgow-based regional supervisor for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. ‘Right now it’s going to take a few years to get things back to even a moderate population.’

In North Dakota, state wildlife chief Randy Kreil described the outbreak as the most extensive and deadly in two decades.

Mule deer, bighorn sheep, elk and pronghorn also are susceptible to EHD, but it is particularly damaging to whitetail herds, animal health experts said. Livestock can be infected but typically show few symptoms.

Researchers say the virus that causes EHD does not infect people and there is no risk of eating or handling infected deer,

More precise estimates of the number of whitetail killed are expected after agencies conduct winter population counts and survey fall hunter success.” Read more.

  1. 10/30/2012 at 12:33 PM

    What is happening with all of these species specific mass deaths? Especially peculiar is the manner of affect. These instances occur within such a concentrated area. This is a link to track all of these on google maps. What do we need to do to raise awareness of this?



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