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Clusters of Dead or Dying Deer Found in Southern Counties; Fatal, Viral Disease Suspected in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts heading into the woods and fields this weekend are asked to report any sightings of sick or multiple dead deer to the Department of Natural Resources.

In the last two weeks, the DNR has received reports of clusters of dead or dying deer in Columbia, Rock, Waukesha and Walworth counties. DNR researchers are on the case and suspect the cause might be an acute, infectious disease known for its extensive hemorrhages. It’s called Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease — or EHD. It is no threat to humans. The disease is spread to deer by small biting flies which die with the first frost, making it a short-lived outbreak.

The disease has been reported in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. Once a deer is infected, it often is dead within seven days.

How will you know if the deer is sick?

Look for these signs:

  • Excessive salivating or foaming around the nose and mouth.
  • The deer appears weak and is approachable by humans.
  • And, the deer is either in or near the water. Sick deer will lay in water to cool or drink.

To report a sick deer observation, please call the DNR call center toll free at 1-888-WDNR- INFo (1-888-963-7463). Or, you can e-mail DNRInfo@Wisconsin.gov, or use the chat feature on the DNR website at http://dnr.wi.gov/contact. Staff are available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Please be prepared to provide details about the condition of the deer and the exact location where the deer was observed. Individuals interested in finding more information on sick deer in Wisconsin can visit the Wisconsin DNR website at http://dnr.wi.gov keyword “sick deer.”

Image courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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