After over 240 reports surfaced last month in the state of Kentucky regarding sick or dead deer suspected of dying from epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), the Kentucky Department of Fish and Game is going digital.
“We’ve created an easy-to-use online survey that allows people to notify the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife of dead or dying deer no matter what time of day,” said Gabe Jenkins, big game coordinator for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “We’ll use this information to create up-to-date maps so the public can see the extent of the disease’s spread.”
The disease, spread by the small flies known as midges or gnats, does not affect humans but causes excessive salivation, swelling of the face and neck and eventually death in deer. Typically speaking, deer that succumb to the disease are often found around watering holes such as lakes, rivers, and creeks.
Despite the increased reports, officials do not believe this year’s outbreak will have a negative effect on hunting seasons. Quite the opposite, in fact.
“After the last major outbreak in 2007, we actually saw an increase in the quality of bucks statewide just a couple years later,” Jenkins noted. “It brought deer populations to better levels in some of the more densely areas, because there was more food on the landscape for the remaining deer.”
Residents are encouraged to use the online form to report any suspicious deer, allowing biologists to effectively manage the outbreak.
For more information on this disease and a current map of the outbreak, visit the main page of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at fw.ky.gov. A Facebook interview with Jenkins and “Kentucky Afield” television host Chad Miles concerning the outbreak is also accessible on the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Facebook page.
Feature Image: Mark Marraccini/Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife