EHD taking out hundreds of Illinois deer

A disease is spreading among the deer population across the state of Illinois that resembles Blue Tongue Disease.

Whitetail deer are dropping fast in West Central Illinois, but not only by the pull of a trigger.

A disease is spreading among the deer population across the state of Illinois that resembles Blue Tongue Disease.

Along many Illinois river beds and creeks, you may find the carcass of a deer.

This is due to a disease called Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD, but how dangerous is EHD to our area that is densely populated with deer?

Kyle Pavlick runs Golden Triangle Whitetails Outfitter.

He has seen six cases of EHD taking the lives of deer this season.

"In the last couple years it really affected us. Last year being the worst year. We found a few bucks here and there. Mostly does. You know, it's just the dry summers that really hurt us," Pavlick said.

Doug Dufford with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said EHD has been a problem across the state for the past two years.

The dry summers have a lot to do with it.

EHD is spread through a gnat called a "midge."

The midge bites into one infected deer and is able to carry the disease to the next deer it bites.

An infected deer generally will die within 24 to 48 hours.

"The creeks dry up, they don't flow any more. Those shallow pools in the creeks, that's where these gnats really like to thrive. They reproduce in the mud. Little cattle holes that dry up. That's where the main problem is," Pavlick said.

Pavlick isn't too concerned on the affect this will have on his outfitter.

"We probably have one of the most out of state hunter rates around. This area has been getting hunted hard for years, and there is still a nuisance problem. There is still a lack of food for these deer. So I think it's mother nature's cruel way of thinning the herd out," Pavlick said.

Last year across the state of Illinois, nearly 2000 dear died from this disease.

This year, we are looking at 420.

It is a major dip from last year across the state, but out of the 420, a 61 came from Adams and Pike counties.

EHD is a larger problem in other states than Illinois.

Montana is seeing up to 90 percent of its deer population affected by the virus.

This problem usually stops around the first frost of the year.