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OutdoorMN News - Midge-borne virus causes death of wild deer in Stearns County  


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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the first two cases of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in wild white-tailed deer in Minnesota. EHD is a viral disease that is spread by a biting insect called a midge.  

“All of our neighboring states have been dealing with EHD for years,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. “So it was always a question of when it would show up in Minnesota.”

The DNR suspects several deer in the St. Stephen area have recently died from EHD. Tests from two of the deer were positive for EHD; other deer were too decomposed to test. The outbreak is limited to Stearns County. The disease incubates for 5-10 days, and most infected deer die within 36 hours of exhibiting symptoms.

“EHD is both naturally occurring and seasonal,” Cornicelli said. “Given our cold temperatures, we can expect to see a shortened period of infection as frost will kill both the virus and midge that carries it.”

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health confirmed EHD in two captive deer in Houston County on Sept. 5. Those cases appear unrelated to the Stearns County case. The disease first appeared in Minnesota captive deer in October 2018, when BAH confirmed it in six deer on a Goodhue County farm.

Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio report EHD mortalities almost every year. In some cases, the disease can dramatically reduce a local deer population in the short-term but has a relatively small impact on the overall deer population. Iowa is experiencing an outbreak this year that has killed several hundred deer in the south-central part of the state.

Finding multiple dead deer near a water source is typical of an EHD die-off. Fever drives the animals to seek water, but they die from internal lesions and hemorrhages.

People who find a dead deer should report it to the nearest DNR area wildlife office. Contact information for each office is listed on the DNR website.

EHD is not a threat to humans or animals outside the deer family. Even so, people should not consume deer that appear to be sick or in poor health.

Additional information about EHD is available on the DNR website.

Discuss below - to view set the hook here.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Troy Smutka
      Sorry I haven't posted recently. We have been out hunting pretty regularly. What a weird weather pattern this fall. Guess the weather would be as abnormal as everything else in 2020. Where we hunt in central MN, we have frozen over the small and medium water twice, and then warmed it back open twice. Record snowfall from October is gone in November. With this unusual weather, we have noticed a very irregular migration. Gusty WNW wind and cold days that we thought would be lights out were disappointing, and some good hunts happened on warm SE wind days that we didn't have high expectations. There are still plenty of mallard, bluebills, goldeneyes, buffies, and mergs north of us, but not much using the lakes around central MN right now. We are switching over to field hunting near town, as there are a lot of geese and mallards sitting in town and feeding in surrounding fields. Attached are some pics of our last couple weekends on the water. Hopefully some pics from field hunting with another report will follow after Thanksgiving. Good luck, stay safe, and happy Thanksgiving.
    • Jim Almquist
      I see that Highbanks on Fish lake has a few inches out in the narrows. Not sure if he is letting people out or not. Really need some below zero temps to lock things up.
    • SkunkedAgain
      Looking at a few webcams, we are getting closer to ice-up:    
    • Coleman
      I'm assuming they were panfish beds.  Just seems like such a random spot.  Wish I had an underwater camera with me, I would have checked them out when I first saw them.  
    • IceHawk
      Coleman were they panfish beds? Many times they will still be there the following year if not washed away. 
    • IceHawk
      Eboni labrador retrievers was the kennel. Heard nothing but good things about smith farm labradors
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end...  As we approach Thanksgiving, thin ice covers back bays and a portion of the big lake, otherwise known as Big Traverse Bay.   Roughly half of the lake is covered in ice with the rest open water.  Ice anglers are hoping for cold nights combined with low wind and no snow to create a good early sheet of ice.  Every year is different based on Mother Nature of course, but normally resorts will be able to get their smaller fish houses, called day houses, out around December 10th.  When the ice thickens, resorts will begin marking trails where there is the best ice.  Stay tuned... On the Rainy River...   The river is covered in most places with a layer of thin ice.  Most ice fishing is done on the main lake during the ice season where there isn't current.  With current in the river, most visitors will work through a resort for safety. Up at the NW Angle...  The Angle has a mix of iced over areas with open water in neck down areas.  The ice is forming nicely and the hopes are for colder weather to keep things moving along positively.  Resorts are ready for ice fishing!  A complete list of lodging and ice fishing packages available at www.fishingminnesota.com/Lodging
    • opsirc
      Has anyone been out to check ice on any lakes in area. Heard there was 2-3 inches on strand. 
    • Coleman
      Just as a note, I got on the chain Saturday around noon.  Main lakes had a skim of ice, 1/2", shallow bodies(East lake) look like the ice was actually walkable, please don't take my word for that though.     Anyways, water temps were 34*.  I didn't fish much at all, just broke up enough ice to get some new data for mapping.  I did mark quiet a few fish, which is a plus.     On another note, has anyone else noticed the large group(15-20) of beds on Horseshoe just north of the meth hole, about 8-9FOW?  I noticed these this spring, and they're still there.  Thought it was kind of interesting they'd still be there even after all the boat traffic this year.  
    • Wanderer
      Sounds like a fantastic fall!!
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