It’s been a very warm and dry summer and while the record highs and drought conditions make it miserable for us, they’re a recipe for disaster for Kentucky’s whitetail population.
In Kentucky, the Department of Fish and Wildlife along with the state’s sportsmen are concerned that the deer herd could soon be under attack by the midge fly – a tiny biting insect that can spread Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD as it’s commonly referred to.
EHD is an extremely dangerous disease in the whitetail world and it has hurt whitetail populations in both Montana and North Dakota. The disease causes deer to bleed internally, loose their appetite and uncontrollably salivate.
Although EHD hasn’t been detected in Kentucky yet, Ricky Waldon, owner of Waldon Lodge, says, “We’re expecting it [EHD] here in Kentucky.” The Michigan DNR states on its website that “All documented outbreaks of EHD have occurred during late summer and early fall (August-October) and have ceased abruptly with the onset of frost.” If the same holds true in Kentucky, the worst might be yet to come.
Justin Mason, a land specialist for Whitetail Properties, has been walking several properties and is “constantly looking close to water sources,” but hasn’t seen signs of EHD yet.
Although it’s not transferable to humans, EHD can wreak havoc on a deer herd. While it only takes a matter of weeks to kill off large numbers of deer, it can take several years for the deer to rebound.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking citizens to report any encounters with an infected deer to contact their local office.