A helping hand: North Dakota hunters assisting Game and Fish in EHD sightings
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department doesn't have the ability to comb every inch of the state.
So, Game and Fish appreciates all the help it can get, whether it's from hunters, landowners or people traveling throughout public lands.
Late summer and early fall is the beginning of hunting seasons where hunters and landowners are trekking across North Dakota in search of wildlife.
However, hunters and landowners in southwest North Dakota are finding dead deer. There are have been 20 reports of around 100 deer, which died from epizootic hemorrhagic disease or more commonly referred to as blue tongue. Brett Wiedmann, a Game and Fish big game biologist, said any help they can get from hunters or landowners reporting EHD is valued.
"When you get 1000s of extra eyes and ears out there, especially walking through that back country," Wiedmann said. "That's why a lot of times EHD really comes into our knowledge when pheasant, grouse and archery hunters out in the field. The Game and Fish can't comb every inch of the state and it really broadens the scope of determining an EHD outbreak."
Curt Glasoe, an avid hunter from Dickinson, said every hunter across the state should take it upon themselves to help Game and Fish in its efforts of collecting as much data as possible.
"Anybody that combs is the fields and they find something amiss, they should contact the Game and Fish to investigate on," he said. "That's everybody's responsibility, especially on public lands and even on private land."
EHD is caused by a biting midge, which is found around water -- creeks, streams, stock dugouts or dams. The breeding ground for the biting midge is a wet spring or a lot of standing water. The water retracts and leaves mud.
Wiedmann said there isn't a way to keep EHD away from white-tailed deer or mule deer. The only way to stop the midge from continuing to spread is the first hard freeze of the fall.
"There's no real way to prevent it," he said. "Once it begins and what stops it is a frost that kills the midges. Hopefully, that will occur in the next couple of weeks."
If a hunter or landowner finds a dead animal on their property, they are urged to contact Game and Fish as soon as possible. The Dickinson office is 701-227-7431 and its website is gf.nd.gov.
"We try to monitor the severity of an EHD outbreak," Wiedmann said. "We appreciate any calls and if they are freshly dead we can go out there and collect samples and confirm if it was EHD. However, even if we can't get samples, we like to document the location. The species they found. The number they found."