Hunters on the lookout for deer disease
Prairie State Outdoors
Hot and dry weather has raised concerns about the possibility of an outbreak of hemorrhagic disease among Illinois’ white-tailed deer.
Every year, Illinois loses deer to HD, caused by a virus spread by biting flies and midges.
“Dry years tend to highlight HD outbreaks primarily due to relatively limited water sources putting more deer and the insect vector in close proximity,” said Tom Micetich, deer program manager with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “Multiple dead deer in or near water tends to cause alarm.”
HD is caused by one of two closely related viruses.
Most deer die around water because they develop high fevers and are seeking relief, according to the Quality Deer Management Association.
Micetich said the only reports of dead deer so far have been due to deer/vehicle collisions.
“We usually begin getting reports as bowhunters head to the woods to prepare stand sites for the upcoming season in the late summer and early fall,” Micetich said.
The significant outbreak was in 2007 when DNR received 449 reports of 1,966 deer in 54 counties.
The onset of cold weather puts an end to the outbreak.
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The Illinois Department of Natural Resources follows up on reports of dead or dying deer so biologists can collect samples and attempt to isolate the virus.
During the summer of 2011, DNR staff documented 14 calls reporting 38 dead deer from 8 counties.
Affected counties were Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Effingham, Franklin, Jasper, Massac, and Richland.
In 2010 there were 43 reports of 127 dead deer from 18 counties.
In 2009 there were 11 reports of 15 deer in 8 counties.
During 2008 DNR received reports of 27 deer in 9 counties.
The last significant outbreak was during 2007, when DNR received 449 reports of 1,966 deer in 54 counties.
~ Source: Illinois Department of Natural Resources