STATEWIDE — Today is the start of deer season for bow hunters throughout the state of Indiana.
Biologists with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources are reminding hunters that on top of the normal safety precautions that you should take before you head out to the blind, this year you have one extra thing to keep in mind.
“EHD is Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease and it’s just a natural disease that’s native to deer here in Indiana, White Tail Deer,” said Joe Caudell, a deer biologist for the DNR on Indiana Outdoors.
Caudell said EHD is something that occurs in Indiana’s deer population every 5-to-6 years and is spread by gnats that bite deer. It’s been seven years since the last major outbreak of the disease.
“It happens when we have the wrong confluence of conditions,” Caudell said. “You see it when the deer population is starting to get a little bit bigger. It happens every few years when you have less deer that are immune to it. And when you have drought conditions, it makes the deer bunch up, and it has a larger probability of affecting the larger part of the deer herd.”
He said it’s hard to know how bad the outbreak is right now and they won’t know for certain until after deer season is over and they can check the log books of all the deer killed throughout in Indiana.
So far only deer in Parke and Perry Counties have tested positive for the virus.
The good news is EHD is not a threat to humans. If you come across a sick or dead deer infected with EHD while out hunting, make sure you report it to the DNR on their website.
Overall, Caudell said Indiana’s deer population is plentiful. If you want a greater chance of getting a deer, he recommends hunting in the northern part of the state. Only bow hunting is allowed for now. Next month, firearms season starts the first Saturday after Veterans’ Day, which is November 9th.
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