Viral Disease Killing More Deer in Mid-Michigan

It's a disease known as EHD (Epizootic Hemorrhagic) and we first told you about it earlier this week.  The DNR said it killed off a dozen deer in Ionia and Branch counties. It comes from a midge, a type of gnat. The hot weather we've seen lately, seems to have brought them out early. But from those dozen we first told you about, the numbers have more than quadrupled and the count could become much higher.

Jeff Pung who lives on some 28 acres in Ionia county, Lyons Township has counted six deer so far on his land and fears there could be more. By the third deer he knew something was wrong and called the DNR, where he learned his neighbors already called with the same findings.

John Carter said “I mean I own property about a mile up the river here and I've found 10 on my place just along the river.” Pung says “everybody's just sick around here about it.”

Carter is coordinating with the local DNR office to tally visual counts of dead deer. Many of which have been found by bodies of water due to the high fever that comes with the disease. Carter's tally so far is 134  throughout the area, he says his phone has been ringing off the hook all day.

From Ionia county to Branch some are starting to worry. While the disease has been around since 1955 and has occurred every year since 2006, the fact that its happened this early has now infected some with concern.

Pung says “its going to be devistating to our hunting season im sure it is because were finding some pretty nice quality bucks dead.” Carter echoes his concern “we've spent a lot of years managing the herd and letting smaller ones go and getting bigger bucks and its very disheartening, its depressing to go out in the woods and find all these dead deer.”

There is no known threat, of EHD to humans or pets. Experts say there's no cause for alarm because the effects aren't long term but say this could keep happening until the first frost. The dnr urges property owners to call them if they see anything.

To find out more information and numbers on who to call check out this link: http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10371_10402-283540–,00.html

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