Indiana hunters need to beware of possible deer diseases during this fall’s hunting season, according to a statement by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
This year, three diseases are of particular concern: epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), bovine tuberculosis (bTB) and chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Cases of EHD have been detected in central and southern Indiana so far this year. EHD is transmitted to deer by biting midges and does not affect humans, and deer infected with the disease are safe to consume. However, the disease can substantially weaken the deer population. The bonus antlerless quota for several affected counties has been reduced to a maximum of two in order to safeguard the population. Learn more about EHD here.
bTB can affect cattle, deer and other mammals. Humans can also contract this bacterial disease. Currently, there are no known cases in Indiana’s deer population, but the DNR “recommends that hunters continue to inspect harvested deer for white or tan lesions on the internal organs or inner wall of the deer’s chest cavity.” The DNR requests that hunters contact an Indiana State Board of Animal Health veterinarian if lesions are discovered.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease that is found in white-tailed deer. It is transmitted by the bodily fluids of the deer, including feces, salvia, blood and urine. CWD has been found in Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin but has not yet been detected in Indiana. Any hunters who hunt in these states should have their harvested deer tested for the disease. If the tests are positive, hunters are encouraged to follow proper disposal protocol by calling Indiana’s Deer Hotline at 812-334-3795.
Hunters are encouraged to wear disposable gloves, wash their hands, clean and disinfect instruments and cook meat thoroughly in order to avoid coming into contact with these diseases.