Mortality from hemorrhagic disease may approach 50 percent in NW North Carolina deer herd

Biologists hope hunters adjust their harvest plans in affected areas

Dan Kibler

September 24, 2012 at 10:49 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Hunters in Northwest North Carolina may want to voluntarily limit their deer harvest this fall because the herd has suffered widespread and heavy mortality from disease.
Dan Kibler
Hunters in Northwest North Carolina may want to voluntarily limit their deer harvest this fall because the herd has suffered widespread and heavy mortality from disease.
Hunters in a handful of counties in Northwest North Carolina may need to rethink how they want to approach deer season this fall, as biologists continue to study the outbreak of a disease that may have wiped out up to half the herd.

Hemorrhagic disease, which is spread by tiny, biting insects, broke out in late summer in herds in more than a dozen counties in the northwestern corner of the state. The counties most impacted are Surry, Wilkes and Caldwell, and the heaviest occurrence of fatalities is in areas along the base of the Appalachian escarpment – the eastern slope of mountain ranges that rise up to the eastern continental divide. Other counties with a significant number of reported fatalities include Mitchell, Burke, Alleghany and Cleveland.

Chris Kreh, a wildlife biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, estimated that mortality may run between 30 and 50 percent in most areas, even higher in the most-affected spots in those counties. The disease may have already killed more deer than hunters did in the 2011-12 season, and a steep drop in the early season archery harvest bears that out.

 

“We believe the disease mortality will be one to two times more than the hunting mortality,” Kreh said.

 

The Commission cannot change regulations or bag limits before muzzleloader and gun seasons open in the affected areas. Biologists are hoping that hunters take into account the depressed state of the herd when deciding how many deer to harvest.

 

“There will be (fewer) opportunities for hunters to harvest deer this fall. I think there will be a strong, voluntary holding-back on the harvest of deer this year by hunters,” Kreh said. “Landowners and hunt clubs need to be aware of the significant disease mortality and adjust their doe harvest accordingly.”

 

Through the first eight days of archery season, according to Kreh, the harvest was down 57 percent in Wilkes County and, 45 percent in Surry County, compared to the period in the 2011 season. Through the entire 2011-12 season, hunters in Wilkes County took 9.7 deer per square mile, and hunters in Surry County took 6.8 per square mile. Kreh estimates the disease mortality appears to be 12.4 deer per square mile, roughly two-thirds does and one-third antlered bucks.

 

Humans cannot contract hemorrhagic disease, either through contact with biting flies or “midges” or through consumption of venison from affected animals. The disease appears in several different strains, and biologists say the strain that has infected deer this summer and fall is among the quickest-acting, most virulent. The time between infection and death, Kreh said, may be as short as three days.

 

Deer that are infected develop an extremely high fever; they often react by going to water sources – creeks, rivers, ponds and lakes – which accounts for the fact that most dead animals are found in water.

 

The disease is cyclical, appearing in different strains every four or five years in different parts of North Carolina and the Southeast. Less-virulent strains may provide some immunity to affected deer, and the immunity can be passed down from does to their offspring. The disease also shows up more often in years with hot, wet summers, especially following mild winters. These conditions promote the hatching or more of the tiny insects, which go by the biological name colicoides.

 

“This is the most important disease of the whitetail deer; it’s likely been killing deer as long as deer have been around,” Kreh said. “The frequency of when it hits varies greatly, and it’s not a disease brought on by an overpopulated deer herd.

 

“It’s primarily a disease of the Southeast; the farther south and east you go, the worse it becomes. The farther north and west you go in the area, it’s less frequent, the deer have less immunity, and you get higher mortality.”

 

The first freeze of the fall usually puts an end to the disease, killing the insects, which is why biologists describe hemorrhagic disease as being most prevalent from July through September.


View other articles written Dan Kibler


Reports / Forum
Tagged out in two days  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 11:26 am | 997 Views | 3 Comments
Sport fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 10:39 am | 901 Views | 0 Comments
Twin Girls First Turkey!  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 8:51 am | 803 Views | 2 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 8:03 pm | 637 Views | 2 Comments
Heaviest bird yet  This report contains photos  
April 19 at 9:31 am | 633 Views | 0 Comments
Take a tree stand, please  This report contains photos  
April 20 at 1:21 pm | 629 Views | 0 Comments
TAGGED OUT!!  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 6:43 am | 573 Views | 2 Comments
Catawba Catfish Club Lake Wateree,SC 5-3-14 Tournament 
April 19 at 5:15 pm | 509 Views | 0 Comments
Youth Day  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 11:10 am | 471 Views | 1 Comments
weyerhaeuser hunting land 
April 19 at 2:12 pm | 439 Views | 0 Comments
Double with Golden  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:45 pm | 381 Views | 0 Comments
Caleb's First Turkey  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 6:47 pm | 375 Views | 1 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
April 18 at 6:15 am | 335 Views | 0 Comments
First turkey and with a bow!  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 3:29 pm | 299 Views | 0 Comments
Paisley's first turkey 
April 18 at 10:59 am | 295 Views | 0 Comments
Cold, Rainy and Windy Tough on Fishing 
April 20 at 2:23 pm | 253 Views | 0 Comments
Golden Wings  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:42 pm | 251 Views | 0 Comments
GT and Viper 
Yesterday at 7:46 pm | 221 Views | 0 Comments
taking the boat and 2 year old out(high rock lake) 
April 19 at 1:55 pm | 211 Views | 0 Comments
Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 9:18 am | 209 Views | 0 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum
Tagged out in two days  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 11:26 am | 997 Views | 3 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 8:03 pm | 637 Views | 2 Comments
TAGGED OUT!!  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 6:43 am | 573 Views | 2 Comments
Twin Girls First Turkey!  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 8:51 am | 803 Views | 2 Comments
Youth Day  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 11:10 am | 471 Views | 1 Comments
Caleb's First Turkey  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 6:47 pm | 375 Views | 1 Comments
Golden Wings  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:42 pm | 251 Views | 0 Comments
First turkey and with a bow!  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 3:29 pm | 299 Views | 0 Comments
Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 9:18 am | 209 Views | 0 Comments
Cold, Rainy and Windy Tough on Fishing 
April 20 at 2:23 pm | 253 Views | 0 Comments
Take a tree stand, please  This report contains photos  
April 20 at 1:21 pm | 629 Views | 0 Comments
Catawba Catfish Club Lake Wateree,SC 5-3-14 Tournament 
April 19 at 5:15 pm | 509 Views | 0 Comments
weyerhaeuser hunting land 
April 19 at 2:12 pm | 439 Views | 0 Comments
taking the boat and 2 year old out(high rock lake) 
April 19 at 1:55 pm | 211 Views | 0 Comments
Heaviest bird yet  This report contains photos  
April 19 at 9:31 am | 633 Views | 0 Comments
Paisley's first turkey 
April 18 at 10:59 am | 295 Views | 0 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
April 18 at 6:15 am | 335 Views | 0 Comments
Sport fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 10:39 am | 901 Views | 0 Comments
GT and Viper 
Yesterday at 7:46 pm | 221 Views | 0 Comments
Double with Golden  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:45 pm | 381 Views | 0 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum
GT and Viper 
Yesterday at 7:46 pm | 221 Views | 0 Comments
Double with Golden  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:45 pm | 381 Views | 0 Comments
Golden Wings  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:42 pm | 251 Views | 0 Comments
First turkey and with a bow!  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 3:29 pm | 299 Views | 0 Comments
Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 9:18 am | 209 Views | 0 Comments
Cold, Rainy and Windy Tough on Fishing 
April 20 at 2:23 pm | 253 Views | 0 Comments
Take a tree stand, please  This report contains photos  
April 20 at 1:21 pm | 629 Views | 0 Comments
Catawba Catfish Club Lake Wateree,SC 5-3-14 Tournament 
April 19 at 5:15 pm | 509 Views | 0 Comments
weyerhaeuser hunting land 
April 19 at 2:12 pm | 439 Views | 0 Comments
taking the boat and 2 year old out(high rock lake) 
April 19 at 1:55 pm | 211 Views | 0 Comments
Heaviest bird yet  This report contains photos  
April 19 at 9:31 am | 633 Views | 0 Comments
Paisley's first turkey 
April 18 at 10:59 am | 295 Views | 0 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
April 18 at 6:15 am | 335 Views | 0 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 8:03 pm | 637 Views | 2 Comments
Youth Day  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 11:10 am | 471 Views | 1 Comments
Sport fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 10:39 am | 901 Views | 0 Comments
TAGGED OUT!!  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 6:43 am | 573 Views | 2 Comments
Caleb's First Turkey  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 6:47 pm | 375 Views | 1 Comments
Tagged out in two days  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 11:26 am | 997 Views | 3 Comments
Twin Girls First Turkey!  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 8:51 am | 803 Views | 2 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum

Free Classifieds

1998 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4x4
1998 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4x4
Very good condition 1998 Jeep Wrangler Sport. It has been very wellrnkept. It appears to have always been garaged and only driven on cityrnstreets and not been offroaded. This Jeep was owned and cared for by arnperson who appreciated nice things....
April 17 at 5:06 pm | 94 Views
Still Hunting Deer Club
Still Hunting Deer Club
Membership available in still hunting deer club for the 2014-15 season. Club has almost 4,000 acres of leased land and owns 55 acres with a two story club house. Club is located in Warren county about 5 miles from Littleton. Club dues are $725.00....
April 21 at 7:43 am | 93 Views
G3 Gator Tough 1860 CC Tunnel
G3 Gator Tough 1860 CC Tunnel
70hp Yamaha 4 stroke with 6' jack plate, only 25 hours. 2012 custom fit float on/off trailer w/removable tongue, Mossy oak W/ Bimini top. Fish finder, GPS, 55lb Min Kota trolling motor, live well, cooler bench seat with leaning post, two lockable...
April 19 at 11:35 am | 119 Views
Late 60\'s Early 70\'s Zabala 20 Gauge Double Barrell
Late 60\'s Early 70\'s Zabala 20 Gauge Double Barrell
Late 60's Early 70's Eagle Arms by Zabala 20 Gauge Double Barrel Shotgun. 26' Barrel, 3' shells. This gun was handed down to me and I am not a gun enthusiast, so do not have a need for it. Can provide more pics, info if necessary. Email...
April 16 at 5:30 pm | 108 Views
Baby Desert Eagle 40 S&W for $250
Baby Desert Eagle 40 S&W for $250
Excellent Desert Eagle 40 caliber Hand Gun For Sale,6 ' barrel,semi rnrnautomatic,& made by Magnum Research,right here in the USA,& comes with 1-7 rnrnround magazine, super heavy duty fitted carry case with soft rummer rnrninside,take down...
April 20 at 3:18 am | 39 Views
MDBR Hunting Club has 4 openings!
MDBR Hunting Club has 4 openings!
MDBR Hunting Club is a small 10 member club with a 350 acre lease near Gulf, NC (Chatham County). No Dog Hunting in Chatham county! Very peaceful area! Membership dues pay for lease & insurance. Anyone interested should visit our website at...
18 hours ago | 20 Views
Baby Desert Eagle 40 S&W for $250
Baby Desert Eagle 40 S&W for $250
Excellent Desert Eagle 40 caliber Hand Gun For Sale,6 ' barrel,semi rnrnautomatic,& made by Magnum Research,right here in the USA,& comes with 1-7 rnrnround magazine, super heavy duty fitted carry case with soft rummer rnrninside,take down...
April 20 at 3:13 am | 28 Views
Wanted anything Dan Wesson.
Wanted anything Dan Wesson.
Looking for revolvers anything Dan Wesson, thanks please call Will at 919-937-7687...
April 16 at 5:04 pm | 30 Views