What You Should Know About EHD and How it Affects Deer

Deer hunters often know a lot but always can learn more, which is where advice and knowledge from experienced folks pays off.

What do you know about epizootic hemorrhagic disease? It’s one of several deer diseases that hunters hear about but often don’t know much about.

Here’s a description of EHD from the Michigan DNR: “Epizootic hemorrhagic disease is an acute, infectious, often fatal viral disease of some wild ruminants. This malady, characterized by extensive hemorrhages, has been responsible for significant epizootics in deer in the northern United States and southern Canada. A similar hemorrhagic disease called bluetongue also occurs throughout the U.S. and Canada. The two diseases are antigenically different.”

EHD is starting to hit in several states pretty hard, including eastern Tennessee and eastern Kentucky. Wildlife officials in other states are on the lookout, as the usual 5- to 6-year cycle of midges combined with weather patterns of drought and/or heavy rain seem to be in play this summer. The disease is contracted almost always around water sources by biting midges, and then infected deer usually return to or find a water source as the disease and dehydration sets in.

The Michigan DNR has a good video about EHD, hosted by Tim Hart and with DNR biologist and pathologist Tom Cooley. Solid info like this can help you know more about this disease.

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