Indiana hunters need to watch out for possible deer disease during this fall's hunting season, according to a statement from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
This year, three diseases are of particular concern: epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), bovine tuberculosis (bTB) and chronic loss disease (CWD).
EHD cases have been detected in central and southern Indiana so far this year. EHD is transmitted to deer by mosquito bites 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 hornless bonus quota for several affected municipalities has been reduced to a maximum of two to protect the population. Learn more about EHD here.
BTB can affect cattle, deer and other mammals. Humans can also get this bacterial disease. There are currently no known cases in the Indiana deer population, but DNR "recommends that hunters continue to inspect harvested deer for white or tan lesions on the internal organs or the inner wall of the deer chest cavity." DNR requests that hunters contact an Indiana State Board of Animal Health Veterinarian if injuries are discovered.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease found in white-tailed deer. It is transmitted by the body's body fluids, including feces, sage, 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 tests are positive, hunters are encouraged to follow proper disposal protocol by calling the Indiana Deer Hotline, 812-334-3795.
Hunters are encouraged to wear disposable gloves, wash their hands, clean and disinfect instruments and cook meat thoroughly to avoid contact with these diseases.