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EHD in deer

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  • EHD in deer

    The toll EHD took on the deer population in Columbia County was staggering in 2021. The local deer population just disappeared. I understand it was wide-spread in the lower Hudson Valley the previous year, but until last year no one here had even heard of it. How bad was it? I had a dead doe in my yard; one neighbor had a dead deer in his pond and another neighbor had two dead deer in his pond. In the town of Hudson five dead deer were found in a lake. It was bad.
    EHD is spread by tiny midges and they were, in fact, very much in evidence and annoying. It's believed they blew up from the south along with hurricanes. I hope nothing like this takes hold further north, but you never know.

  • #2
    Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease in White-Tailed Deer (Updated January 11, 2022) | Cornell Wildlife Health Lab


    • #3
      I cut and pasted this from Hudson Valley One magazine:

      What the hunters are saying about the effect EHD had on the 2021 hunting season:

      "Hunters back up this claim, many of them saying that this was the leanest hunting season they've ever experienced. "Ive been hunting since I was a kid, and in 25 years, I've never had a problem shooting a mature buck," said Richie Felter, an avid hunter from Tillson who works at Smittys Body Shop in New Paltz. "This year, I had a problem finding one. I sat out there on opening day for seven hours and didn't see a deer." Felter said that he hunts on a private tract of land that's owned by a friend of his in Ulster County, where There are always plenty of deer. Not this year."

      Felter said that he doesn't shoot the young ones or the does. An avid outdoorsman, hunting and fishing are the way he has always stocked the freezer. "This is the first time in I don't know how long that I don't have any venison. I think that disease [EHD] is really impacting the mature deer." Felter first noticed the difference in the population toward the end of June. "In the spring I would see eight or nine bucks near where I live, but as it got warmer, they really started to become scarce. I usually drive to work before the sun comes up, and I'm careful because there are deer everywhere, but I haven't seen any along the roads this fall."

      Frank Kouhout, another lifelong hunter, concurred with Felter's experience. "I basically hunted at Mohonk this season. I think the entire season I saw seven deer, and they were young. The ranger station tallies how many deer are taken off the mountain, and this year there were less than 30, when usually it's way more than that," he said.

      The Mohonk Preserve concurred with Kouhout on this observation. According to research ecologist Megan Napoli, the Preserve's Deer Management Program experienced a record low harvest season in 2021, with only 27 deer harvests reported, well below the average harvest of 60 deer per season. Noting that harvest numbers fluctuate from season to season, Napoli added that this year there were "some extenuating circumstances" that may have contributed to the record low harvest total, including climate change with "above-average air temperatures and precipitation, and an outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease."

      Both Felter and Kouhout believe that the numbers reported by the DEC do not reflect the true number of how many deer have died from the disease. "That's just what has been reported to them," said Felter. "I have friends that just quit hunting. It was that bad. Jay Coddington, who owns Black Creek Taxidermy, couldn't get a decent buck either, and he just stopped hunting."

      Hunters where I live in Columbia County, where deer were formerly common and everywhere, had similar reactions. here. One said he saw no deer on his game camera and doubted he would hunt at all. He wasn't sure he would want to eat the meat. In December at the end of the big game season I greeted a group of three hunters returning to their truck and asked them if they'd seen any deer. They said no, nothing to shoot, just a couple of young ones.
      DEC may say they confirmed 700 or 1000 cases - both figures are out there - but the real total is likely 10 times that. Cases go largely unreported, deer die in the woods..
      Last edited by Deb dePeyster; 05-28-2022, 10:04 PM.


      • #4
        On a happier note.....
        Be careful, don't spread invasive species!!

        When a dog runs at you,whistle for him.
        Henry David Thoreau



        • #5
          Got this from a friend not sure of the source for the info below but it seems accurate from what I experienced.

          While the 2021-2022 statewide deer harvest fell by 17%, Dutchess County hunters saw their harvest plummet by a hefty 42%.
          According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, factors contributing to the lower harvest included the resurgence of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease in certain regions of the state and a reduction in the number of Deer Management Permits allocated.
          Hunters in New York harvested an estimated 211,269 deer during the 2021-22 hunting seasons, which was a significant drop from the 254,990 they took during the 2020-2021 season. In Dutchess, the harvest fell from 2,942 to 1,709.
          Wildlife Management Area 3F Western Dutchess County fell from 1,193 to 541 deer, or 54%, and WMA 3G Eastern Dutchess County fell from 1,673 to 1,138, or 32%.
          The 2021-22 estimated deer take included 110,839 antlered bucks and 100,430 antlerless deer. Although the buck harvest only fell by 5%, the antlerless harvest fell by 25% from last season. Locally, hunters complained they were not shooting deer because they were not seeing deer. Many hunters were of the opinion that EHD had exacted a heavy toll on the Hudson Valley?s deer population, much more so than it did during the 2019-2020 season. This season, the disease also impacted hunter success on Long Island, and near the eastern shore of Lake Ontario.


          • #6
            No apparent reduction of deer population on my property in Elizabethtown, nor where I used to live in Suffolk Co. (LI).


            • #7
              I've been following the EHD situation pretty heavy and have seen some awful pictures and heard some sad stories. In 2020, it was mostly Southeastern NY, but last year it was further north and into VT. So far, not much for Adirondacks.

              Here's a few resources:

              We'll see what this summer brings.
              Life's short, hunt hard!


              • #8
                If there are reports of EHD in the periphery, it's in the Adirondacks as well