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Print

Nebraska considers reducing number of deer permits due to EHD outbreak

September 22, 2012 at 10:03 PM

The Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is considering a plan to reduce the number of deer hunting permits it will issue this year as a viral disease continues to kill deer across the state.

Epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD, is believed to have killed more than 3,000 deer in Nebraska in the last few months, the commission said.

At its Oct. 26 meeting in North Platte, it will consider reducing the number of antlerless deer permits it will issue for the rest of the year. If the changes are approved, they will go into effect immediately. All permits purchased before any changes will remain valid, the commission said.

The proposal being studied by the commission would amount to nearly 9,000 fewer antlerless permits, but would leave more than 17,000 antlerless permits still available.

Biologists believe the permit reductions are needed to moderate EHD losses.

EHD spreads from deer to deer by the bite of a small insect known as a midge. The disease causes hemorrhaging within the deer’s body. Deer suffering from the virus may develop a high fever and seek water, which is why many deer killed by the disease are found in or near water.

The spread of the disease is expected to stop with the first hard freeze, which should kill the midge.

The disease is not a threat to humans, and people are not at risk by handling or eating infected deer.

The Game and Parks Commission also is encouraging hunters to talk to landowners about local deer populations and to be thoughtful about where they buy permits to hunt this year. The commission said the severity of losses to EHD “can be highly localized,” and drought and wildfires in the state may also have changed where deer congregate this fall.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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