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Wildlife Experts Tracking Reports of Recent Deer Deaths

Department Requests Public’s Assistance in Reporting Impaired or Sick White-Tailed Deer

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and others to report any deer they encounter that appear sick or have recently died.

The department’s wildlife experts are tracking possible cases of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease or EHD, a common, naturally-occurring disease among white-tailed deer that typically occurs nationwide in the late summer and early fall.

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease cases typically occur between mid-August and October and is caused by a virus that is transmitted through the bite of tiny flying midges. The onset of freezing weather typically brings an end to a given outbreak as it kills the midges.

Deer contracting the disease may exhibit symptoms of lethargy, often salivate excessively and appear to lose their fear of humans. Hemorrhaging from the mouth and tongue is also a common symptom. Infected deer are often found in or near water.  Severe emaciation may be observed in animals recovering from the disease. EHD poses no threat to humans.

The department is investigating several unconfirmed reports of EHD, primarily on the Eastern Shore. Neighboring states of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia also have received reports. Maryland’s healthy white-tailed deer population is routinely subjected to these outbreaks and easily recovers from the localized effects of the disease.

The department requests that anyone encountering a deer that is showing symptoms not to disturb or remove the animal but instead are encouraged to contact their regional Wildlife and Heritage Service office to report the animal and its location. The department recommends not eating deer which appear visibly sick, regardless of cause.