With the recent onset of hard frosts across southern Wisconsin, state Department of Natural Resources officials are declaring that the 2012 epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) outbreak is over. The disease has been confirmed in samples submitted from deer found dead in Waukesha, Columbia, Iowa, Rock, Sauk, Dane, Jefferson and Marquette counties.
“Hunters, landowners, and outdoor recreationists have been very helpful in the documentation of this outbreak,” said Eric Lobner, DNR Wildlife Supervisor. “We greatly appreciate the extra eyes and ears on the landscape and the subsequent efforts folks made to help us determine the numbers of deer impacted and the geographic extent of the outbreak.”
In total, nearly 350 deer were suspected to have died from the disease in southern Wisconsin with Dane and Columbia counties having the highest numbers. As a result there may be pockets on the landscape where deer numbers are down, Lobner said.
“Though the outbreak is over, the DNR still wants to hear from people who identify groups of dead deer on the landscape,” Lobner said. “We will continue to assess the impacts and adjust management strategies if determined necessary going into next year.”
Wisconsin was not unique in experiencing an EHD outbreak this year. Other Midwestern states, including Michigan, Iowa and Illinois also had EHD outbreaks in 2012. According to Lobner, it was also quite pervasive in several other states across the nation with Michigan and Nebraska being some of the hardest hit.
There was a previous EHD observation in Wisconsin in 2002 in Iowa County where 14 deer died from the virus. EHD is common across southern states and occasionally shows up as far north as the upper Midwest.
Additional information on EHD in Wisconsin and how to report a sick deer can be found at dnr.wi.gov, search keyword “sick deer.”