Osage County Deer EHD Deaths Highest Statewide

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OSAGE COUNTY - A fatal deer disease is sweeping through Osage County this summer.  125 deer have fallen to Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD. 

EHD comes from a biting fly which hatches during droughts.

"It's a viral disease," Conservationsit Lonnie Hansen said.  "the fly transmits it from deer to deer and it causes bleeding throughout the deer's body."

Although outbreaks like this usually come about every ten years,  mid-Missouri has been hit twice since 2007, and this summer's has been the worst since.  This year, Osage County has five times the amount of dead deer due to EHD than all the counties surrounding it, combined.

But all is not lost in Osage County.  "It's been really bad this year, but it's not like all the deer are wiped out," former Osage County Conservation Agent Mark Haviland said. "Used to, you would see around 30-40 deer in one of these bottoms where this year you'd see 15-20."

The disease doesn't affect humans, it cannot kill livestock, and people who find a dead deer need to report them immediately.

Hansen says the worst part behind the numbers is how many aren't reported. "It's hard to see the true effects of this disease this year."  The county will have to count the total dear population in the next few years to analyize this summer's loss and that number could restrict limits on hunting on years to come.

The fly which spreads the disease will die with the first freeze.


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