Is this one of the first EHD buck casualties of the massive drought?
We don’t know for sure, but my buddy Mark Drury posted on FB: This mature buck was found dead in the creek about a mile south of my IA farm. It seems early but given the extreme drought conditions and where he was found I assume the cause may have been EHD. Has anyone else found or heard of any dead deer this summer?
Biologists are monitoring drought-stricken areas for outbreaks of EHD, or epizootic hemorrhagic disease, which is often referred to by hunters as blue tongue (a different but similar nasty virus). Mature bucks are especially susceptible in hot, dry years, though drought does not cause EHD; it is carried to deer by biting midges.
According to QDMA, symptoms are: Five to 10 days following exposure, deer appear weak and feverish and have a swollen head, tongue or eyelids; they have difficulty breathing; and they lose their appetite and fear of man. Deer not previously exposed to the disease die within 5 to 10 days. Whitetails that survive HD develop immunity to the disease.
Most HD-infected deer die around creeks and rivers because they develop high fevers and seek water to cool their bodies, hence Mark Drury’s concern with the grisly picture.
If you hear about or see any dead bucks in creeks or rivers, let the authorities (and me) know. This bears careful momitoring.