Hunters beware

Posted October 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

OCT. 24 SPORTS COLUMN — MARK SPENSLEY, CO-PUBLISHER

In the next couple of weeks and into November, many hunters, like myself, will be ramping up the amount of time we will be spending in the deer woods and in our stands.

There have been a few news articles out in the press lately about a fatal disease that could potentially affect Iowa’s deer herd.

The DNR has been receiving scattered reports of dead deer being found around water. According to the DNR, these deaths are most likely due to Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD.

From what I have read about EHD, it seems to be worse in dry years as deer populations become more concentrated around water. The disease is spread by a biting midge.

EHD causes a high fever in infected deer and can cause the cell walls in their heart, lungs and diaphragm to weaken and burst. The affected deer head towards water to combat the high fever and dehydration.

I have heard of one nice deer found dead that appeared to look healthy, and the other day a friend sent me a picture of a small buck he found dead that also didn’t appear to be shot or hit by a vehicle.

DNR officials are asking that anyone finding a sick or dead deer near water to call your local conservation officer.

Two seasons ago I walked right up to a small buck that appeared to be going downhill. I was able to walk right up to it and he had no idea I was within 10 yards of him.

I tried making noise, as I was on the other side of the creek, to get his attention but he basically just staggered away, seemingly in a zombie like state.

Now I wonder if maybe he had EHD. I know of one or two other hunters who thought they saw the same buck and from where they saw him to where he ended up, he definitely went to a water source.

As a sportsmen, I hope we do not see a wide spread epidemic of EHD around our parts. I’m guessing others might not feel the same. Deer do a lot of damage to crops and can be a nuisance to traffic. I guess time will tell as the hunting season ramps up!

Bla