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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Local deer fall victim to dry climate

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The dry conditions have been a menace to everyone living in Putnam County -- including the deer.

Lowered water levels have created a larger habitat for biting midge, insects that spread the virus for EHD to deer and other hoofed animals.

More than 20 dead deer have been found so far, primarily in the Putnamville and Reelsville area, Department of Natural Resources District Wildlife Biologist Dean Zimmerman said.

Although EHD, also commonly called bluetongue, has not been confirmed, Zimmerman said evidence strongly supports that possibility.

"Humans are not at risk for contracting the disease," Zimmerman said. "It's a disease that is specific to deer and hoofed animals."

Biting midge live in mud banks near creeks and other bodies of water, areas often frequented by deer. The disease is spread when midge bites an infected deer, then bites a different healthy animal.

Fifty to 90 percent of deer that acquire EHD (epizootic hemorrhagic disease) will die within the next day or two.

Outbreaks normally occur in the fall during the dry season, but the ongoing drought has allowed this to occur in the summer, Zimmerman said.

EHD generally continues until a frost kills off all of the biting midge in an area, or until the density of the deer population becomes so low that there is little room for it to continue to spread.

It is unknown what percentage of the deer population is affected, or what the lasting results will be.

The deer population generally recovers within two years, Zimmerman said.

He has also asked that if anyone finds a dead deer near a body of water that they contact the DNR, especially if the body has died within the past 10 hours, so a test can be done to confirm EHD.

Prior to death, infected deer exhibit fever, blue tinted tongue or eyes, sloughed hooves or an eroded dental pad.

There is a small risk the EHD could infect cattle, if they frequent the same area as deer, though Zimmerman said this is extremely unlikely.

To report deer or for more information, Zimmerman can be reached by calling (765) 567-2152.

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