deer virus

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Tens of thousands of deer hunters are in Michigan’s woods and fields this weekend.

Michigan’s firearms deer season started today.

Russ Mason is the chief of the wildlife division of the Michigan DNR. He says the herd is still recovering from a virus that killed thousands of deer in 2012.

“(Bow) hunters are having pretty good reports seeing bigger bucks than they expected to see otherwise,” says Mason.

mikehanback.com

This is a big day for thousands of Michigan deer hunters. It’s the beginning of bow season.

Hunters should expect to see more deer in southern Michigan this fall.

Last year, nearly 15 thousand deer died of Epizootic hemorrhagic disease or EHD.

The disease is spread to deer by small insects. It was the largest EHD outbreak in Michigan history.

Deer
Noel Zia Lee/Flickr

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — The state says it has confirmed an outbreak of an insect-spread disease among white-tail deer in Muskegon County.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan State University announced Monday that a deer has been found with epizootic hemorrhagic disease, known as EHD.

The DNR says it's the first confirmed outbreak this fall.

The department says a type of midge spreads the virus that causes EHD. It says the disease doesn't affect humans and venison from infected deer is safe to eat.

The DNR says infected deer can suffer extensive internal bleeding, lose their appetite and fear of humans, grow weaker, salivate excessively and lose consciousness. It says sick or dying deer often are found along or in bodies of water.

mwanner_wc / creative commons

Hunters in much of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula will have a cap on the number of deer they can take home this season. A disease that’s killing thousands of deer has prompted the state to enforce new hunting restrictions.

Last winter was unusually warm and that’s helped create fertile breeding ground for the biting fly that spreads Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease. It has infected deer in a record 30 Michigan counties; killing at least 13,000 deer this year. EHD does not affect humans.

Brent Rudolph runs the deer and elk program at the Department of Natural Resources.

Michigan's archery season began this morning.
Charles Dawley / flickr

Michigan’s deer season has officially begun.

Thousands of archers took to the woods this morning to mark the start of bow season, which runs through November 14, then resumes from December 1 – January 1.

According to a state report, over 300,000 archers participated during last year’s ten week season.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

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Hunters track deer virus

"State wildlife officials are looking to hunters to help track a virus that's been killing thousands of Michigan deer. Many hunters spent this weekend in the woods, a few of them deer-hunting legally, but most stalking deer ahead of next month's opening of bow season. Some 4,000 deer have died of the virus in Michigan since July. And there are outbreaks in eleven other states as well, including Ohio and Indiana. Dan O’Brien is a veterinarian with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He says the Michigan outbreak has affected deer in 24 counties. O’Brien says the outbreak will continue until a hard freeze kills off the insects that spread the virus to the deer.  The virus is not harmful to humans," Steve Carmody reports.