Tri-states report uptick in big game virus cases

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(KCAU) — Hunters may find that some deer populations may have been more affected than previous years by a virus that is fatal to the tri-states big game as hunting season begins. 

Epizootic Hemorrhage Disease (EHD) is a virus that is transmitted by a midge bite and is fatal to deer in the Midwest. EHD is often worsened by drought conditions because deer congregate in water patches where midges, the virus-host, reproduce.  

State Wildlife Veterinarian for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said they had seen an uptick in reports of EHD in late August, and now that hunting season is beginning and farmers are harvesting their crop more reports are coming in.  

“We’re seeing it a little bit in the east and central part of the state, and since [August] we’ve seen it pick up along our west coast,” Ruden said “It’s not a remarkable year, I would say, that’s just where our reports are coming from and it seems like as farmers start harvesting fields that tends to be the case that we’ll find more carcasses that died earlier but they were just discovered now.”  

Ruden said that a deer being found in a farmer’s field shouldn’t have any effect on crops or other livestock, as well as humans. Hunters getting out into the field may also come across a debilitated deer, and are encouraged to call their local conservation officer, game commissioner, or department of natural resources to report it.  

Click here to see deer disease information from previous years up to 2021 in Iowa.  

To find contact information for Iowa by county, click here

Nebraska Big Game Program Manager Luke Meduna said they have received more reports of deer with EHD than in previous years, “It’s nothing near what we saw in 2012 and even 2013, but the northeastern part of Nebraska is seeing it worse than say the southern portion of the state.” 

Communications Manager for South Dakota’s Game and Parks said deer will continue to be at risk of the virus until the first frost when the infecting midge dies off.  

Click here to see a map of EHD cases in South Dakota.  

To find contact information for South Dakota, visit the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks website

“This is a localized outbreak, so you might get one portion of the land that was hit really hard then go a couple of miles up the road and there may only one or two deer on the property. It can really be localized and that’s what we’re seeing this year.”  

To find contact information for Nebraska, visit the Nebraska Game and Parks website

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