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DonBo

North Dakota suspends sale of hunting licenses due to deer disease

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DonBo

September 18, 2013

Curated by Liz O'Connell

A deadly deer disease in southwest North Dakota has prompted the state to suspend the sale of deer hunting licenses.

North Dakota Game and Fish Department says epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) has killed a significant number of white-tailed deer from Bowman to Bismarck since August.

About 1,000 antlerless deer licenses for three southwestern North Dakota hunting zones won’t be issued.

EHD is a naturally occurring virus that is spread by a biting midge and is almost always fatal to infected white-tail deer, according to the department. The disease does not affect humans.

With an extended fall, Wildlife Chief Randy Kreil says the deaths could continue into October. The first hard freeze typically kills the pests that carry the disease, which will slow the spread.

The Associated Press reports the deer gun season opens on Nov. 8 and runs through Nov. 24.

In 2011, deer deaths from the disease occurred well into October and prompted the department to suspend license sales and offer refunds to the holders of 13,000 licenses, the Associated Press said.

Kreil said it’s too early to tell if additional precautions will be needed this year.

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Wanderer

So, they're not issuing 1000 antlerless tags that they normally would - not suspending the sale of licenses entirely is how I read it.

It's terrible what's going on out there with EHD. I hope the tide turns soon!

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CANOPY SAM

I saw this on the news as well. It kind of defies logic though, doesn't it?

I mean in the face of an epidemic fatal disease wouldn't it be more logical to bring down the population as much as possible to prevent further spread of the disease? I think that's what been done in most other cases like this.

But NoDak is choosing to go the opposite direction? I don't presume to know better, just a little curious why they're not following suit.

Last time I hunted deer in central Nodak we jumped hundreds of does out of the cattail sloughs, and I'm not exaggerating. I'd imagine the high population of animals was a big contributing factor to the rapid spread of disease. Wouldn't it be more logical to bring that population way, way down to wipe out the disease?

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harvey lee

I believe the hard winters only a few years ago brought the deer herd way down, at least in the area we hunt.

Our deer herd has recovered a bit in the last 2 years but nowhere to even close to what we had for deer numbers 4-10 years ago.

This EHD is a bad deal and hopefully it does not spread to much.

Years ago in Montana that year when we hunted there, they had the same issues. If I remember correctly, after a hard freeze they opened up the doe tags again.

I was sitting at our camp while the others were hunting as I had filled my buck tag. A Montana CO stopped by and checked my deer and asked why I was not out hunting. I said I was going to buy an extra doe tag but they stop the sale of the tags. The CO said after the last hard freeze, they allowed the sale of tags. I did not have a vechile as the others had it out hunting so the CO gave me a ride to the Game& Parks office and sold me a doe tag.

Thought that was pretty decent of him to do that.

I believe SD also had this issue a few years back if memory serves me well.

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BRULEDRIFTER

Let's hope it doesn't spread east!

MISSOULA, Mont. -

NBC Montana is learning more as a deadly mystery has wildlife biologists tracking down leads in the Missoula Valley. Fish, Wildlife and Parks crews spent Thursday collecting dead deer samples that landowners had called in. A possible virus, called EHD (Epizootic hemorrhagic disease), is suspected in at least 150 White-tailed Deer deaths. That number is up from 103 counted by Tuesday.

EHD is transmitted by a biting midge, or gnat, and appears in late summer and early fall. A hard frost for about a couple weeks could bring the suspected virus to an end. F.W.P. biologists say the virus is not contagious from one animal to the other, but rather spreads through bug bites. The virus can not spread to humans, and when it spreads to livestock, the animals are often not symptomatic at all and do not die.

If the current outbreak is indeed EHD, it could be the first recorded outbreak west of the continental divide. Cases have been documented in Eastern Montana.

“It’s really sad to see these populations that were thriving die off,” said biologist Vickie Edwards.

Biologists say the death zone in Missoula is slowly spreading. The original outbreak was centered between Harper’s Bridge Road and the Erskine Fishing Access site. Now, more carcasses are being found east of that area, toward the Kona Bridge fishing access site. There are also reports of dead deer in the Mill Creek Road area near Frenchtown.

On Thursday, a wildlife veterinarian arrived from Bozeman to Missoula to perform animal autopsies. Samples have already been sent in for lab testing, and wildlife workers hope to have a cause of death over the next week.

Copyright 2013 by KECI, KCFW, KTVM. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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DonBo

I saw this on the news as well. It kind of defies logic though, doesn't it?

I mean in the face of an epidemic fatal disease wouldn't it be more logical to bring down the population as much as possible to prevent further spread of the disease? I think that's what been done in most other cases like this.

EHD is not spread like CWD, it comes from the bite of an infected midge. Therefore it can not spread to other animals that come in contact with an infected one.

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candiru

Last time I hunted deer in central Nodak we jumped hundreds of does out of the cattail sloughs, and I'm not exaggerating. I'd imagine the high population of animals was a big contributing factor to the rapid spread of disease. Wouldn't it be more logical to bring that population way, way down to wipe out the disease?

That must have been a while ago. The numbers have been down the last few years.

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CANOPY SAM

Yes, it was a while ago. I believe 5+ years ago. So the deer numbers are down quite a lot since then? That's too bad, but I imagine it's the natural cycle of things. The winters out there on the prairie can be absolutely brutal. It's amazing anything survives!

I recall many years back hunting pheasants in late November and finding many birds frozen to the sloughs due to freezing rain with a sudden blizzard. Unless you've experienced a whopper of a North Dakota blizzard, you can't even imagine how life-threatening they are. I've seen them when the wind blew so hard it literally sounded like a freight train going by at 70 mph, non-stop roaring power.

Yes, I've noticed the gnats have been very bad this fall up here in NW Minnesota as well. Lots of biting little buggers. Hope we see a good hard frost soon. This weekend's weather looks to be chilly, but I'm not seeing any frost in the forecast yet.

Really hope this outbreak can be put to a stop. Hate to see so many animals die and go to waste.

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