Cumberland Times-News

Outdoors

October 6, 2012

Disease killing deer in W.Va.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia wildlife officials say a late-summer outbreak of an often-fatal deer disease has killed hundreds of Mountain State whitetails.

Jim Crum, deer project leader for the state Division of Natural Resources, said hunters and landowners have been finding carcasses of deer killed by epizootic hemorrhagic disease.

“This year’s EHD outbreak is not nearly as prevalent or widespread as the one we had in 2007,” Crum said. “So far we’ve had confirmed mortality in Calhoun, Jefferson, Greenbrier, Hancock, Mason, Monroe and Pleasants counties. I don’t have an accurate count right now, but the numbers are in the hundreds and not the thousands.”

The disease, caused by a particular species of biting aquatic insect called a “midge,” often occurs during the late stages of a hot, dry summer.

“Deer get hot and thirsty, and they go to streams and ponds to drink or cool off. Wet places like that are breeding grounds for the midges. When the midges bite the deer, they transmit the EHD virus,” Crum explained.

Many deer that are bitten never contract the disease, but those that contract it often die from it.

“The mortality rate is pretty high,” Crum said. “When it hits an area, the results are pretty obvious. We’ve had calls from concerned landowners, telling us they’ve found 11 dead deer here, or 13 dead deer there.”

Though hunters and landowners often refer to EHD as “blue tongue,” Crum said the two diseases are not the same.

“The viruses are similar, but what we have here is not blue tongue,” he explained. “We have EHD serotype 2. Deer can get it, but cattle and humans cannot.”

According to officials at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the University of Georgia, EHD has an incubation period of about a week. Once symptoms develop, infected deer grow short of breath, develop high fevers and begin to hemorrhage internally. Death occurs in one to three days.

People who find EHD-killed deer sometimes attribute the death to blue tongue because EHD’s acute symptoms can cause the infected animals’ tongue to swell and become discolored.

Crum said this year’s outbreak is large enough to attract biologists’ attention, but not large enough or widespread enough to affect West Virginia’s 2012 deer-hunting seasons.

“There may be small pockets where the mortality rate is high enough to affect hunting, but in general this outbreak isn’t large enough to affect the statewide deer kill,” he said.

EHD outbreaks usually end a week to 10 days after frost kills off the biting midges.

“We’re coming up on frost time, so it shouldn’t be long before we’ve seen the last of the mortality,” Crum said.

1
Text Only
Outdoors
  • No Bambi for you, Mrs. Doe

    Some people want so badly for deer birth control to work that they actually think it will, even on wild populations.
    I wish I had a couple bridges to sell.
    A week ago on the Outdoors page we ran the deer there do what deer  everywhere do. They eat the easiest food available such as gardens and ornamental plantings. They walk in front of moving cars. They give ticks and  parasites a place to live.

    April 19, 2014

  • Blue catfish Bad catfish should be eaten

    ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has  launched  a  statewide  campaign  to  educate  citizens  about invasive blue and flathead catfish -  their negative impact on native fish species and what anglers can
    do to help.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nice first one Nice first one

    Brett Ishler, 16, Frostburg, bagged his first gobbler during the junior spring turkey hunt. The bird had a 9-inch beard and was taken near Westernport. Ishler was accompanied on the hunt by Rodney Lipscomb.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Archery open house planned May 4

    CUMBERLAND — The Cumberland Bowhunters Club will host an archery open house at its Valley Road facility on May 4 beginning at 1 p.m.

    April 19, 2014

  • Turkey hunting class scheduled

    TYRONE, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Game Com- mission will offer a Successful Turkey Hunting course at the Tyrone Sportsmen Association on April 27 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    April 19, 2014

  • Commission meeting set

    ROANOKE, W.Va. — The next quarterly meeting of the West Virginia Natural Resources Commission will be May 4 at 1 p.m. at Stonewall Resort State Park in Roanoke. The public is invited to make com- ments. Items on the agenda include:
        •    Summary of the 2014 Sectional Meetings – Sportsmen  and  Landowners  Questionnaire.
        •    Approve 2014 - 2015 Big Game Hunting Regula- tions.
     

    April 19, 2014

  • W.Va. cautions about eating certain fish

    CHARLESTON,  W.Va.  (AP)  — West Virginia has updated its advisories for eating fish caught in lakes and rivers.

    April 19, 2014

  • U.S. Army Corps campgrounds open

    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to open campgrounds at five West Virginia lakes.

    April 19, 2014

  • Fishing rodeo slated

    ROCKY GAP — A children’s fishing rodeo will take place at the Rocky Gap State Park Nature Center on May 4 from 9 a.m. to noon.
    Register at canderson@dnr. state.md.us or call 301-722-1480.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crossbow use begins for New York deer hunters

    ALBANY,  N.Y.  (AP)  —  The  new state  budget includes  an  agreement  that  will  give  crossbow hunters their own season in New York.
    Language within the budget will allow  crossbow use for all small game, including turkeys, and any big game season in which firearms are allowed.

    April 19, 2014