Perhaps the greatest advantage to posting blogs here on a daily basis is the ability to bring Outdoor Life readers important news about hunting, angling and shooting issues the moment it occurs. Last week’s story about the significant epizootic hemorrhagic disease outbreak in the mid-South covered here and over at Mike Hanback’s blog is a perfect example.
Back in the old days (before the Internet), it’s entirely likely that the news of the EHD outbreak and its potentially devastating effect on regional whitetail herds would not even be reported in the pages of Outdoor Life and other outdoor magazines. Why? Because by the time the story saw print, the news would be old and irrelevant.
In short, it wouldn’t be news any more.
Wildlife agencies in the EHD-affected states of Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia are stressing that the deer fatalities are expected to be far from catastrophic. But hunters should remember that agencies focus on the big picture, and their main concern the total deer herd in a county or region of the state.
Individual hunters, on the other hand, have reason to be justifiably worried about their personal hunting area if it’s apparent that deer are succumbing to blue tongue. After all, there’s always a chance the big buck you’ve been watching all year could be an EHD victim.
Early archery season opened this past weekend in Kentucky, one of the states that is apparently getting hammered pretty substantially by EHD.
My good friend Gary Garth, OL contributor and outdoor editor for the Louisville Courier-Journal wrote yesterday that one Kentucky wildlife official admitted while EHD has been around since the days of the early settlers, the 2007 outbreak is noteworthy.
“There are probably deer that die from hemorrhagic disease somewhere in the state every year, but this is probably the most significant outbreak in 10 years,” said David Yancy, a senior wildlife biologist and whitetail specialist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
Garth wrote that all hunters can do is report any sick or dead deer they see, be extra selective with their shots and wait for cold weather.
“There’s nothing you can really do about it,” Yancy said. “Most of the infected deer will be dead before the hunters see them. It’s not going to decimate deer numbers.”
Yancy’s right, but then he doesn’t know about that 10-point you’ve been seeing in the apple orchard all summer, either.