Game and Fish tracking rise in deer mortalities due to EHD

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FILE – In this Nov. 17, 2011 file photo, a mature white-tailed deer buck stands alertly in a suburban neighborhood in Moreland Hills, Ohio. An Ohio legislative panel on Wednesday signed off on new deer hunting regulations that cut the number of animals that hunters can kill statewide. The rules also eliminate hunting zone areas and set per-county caps on bag limits. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

Beginning early this month, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department documented whitetail deer deaths attributed to epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), and now wildlife biologists are monitoring the situation.

Dr. Charlie Bahnson, a Game and Fish wildlife veterinarian, says EHD is a viral disease transmitted by biting gnats.

“We see a low level of EHD activity most years, but every so often, environmental factors line up to make for a bad season,” he said.

According to a press release, the hardest-hit area is within a 20 mile radius of the Bismarck-Mandan area, though they’re also tracking smaller outbreaks elsewhere in the state.

Game and Fish is asking the public to report any sick or dead deer to help them better understand the extent of this year’s outbreak.

To report, go through the online wildlife mortality reporting system.

Game and Fish says the virus is not a danger to humans, however, hunters shouldn’t shoot or consume a deer if it appears sick.

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