EHD killing deer in Nicholas County

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NICHOLAS COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ)-- Division of Natural Resource officials say roughly 64 dead deer findings have been reported since July 21, 2019 in Nicholas County.

Mary Ball, a woman who lives by Muddlety Creek in Nicholas County, say she's used to seeing at least 30 deer on her farm but this year she hasn't even seen a third of that.

"They have went down considerably," said Ball.

DNR officials say Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) is to blame.

"This is the first report of EHD in Nicholas County," said DNR Wildlife official, Sam Cowell. "It's typical to see an EHD outbreak every year somewhere in the nation but we couldn't find any records of a past outbreak in Nicholas County."

Officials say EHD is spread by flies that circle bodies of water such as creeks, water holes or ponds. The flies are more common at this time of year when there is heat and weather is dry.

"We had noticed one in the creek and then I had called the DNR to report and then they told me that that disease was going around that EHD disease," said Ball.

Officials say EHD causes fever in deer so it's typical to find sick or dead deer near bodies of water as they are trying to get relief. They will also act non-responsive or exhibit unusual behaviors such as running into things or walking in circles. There could also be some swelling in the face but other than that the deer usually look perfectly healthy.

Mary Ball says she's worried about the deer population.

"We love to hunt that's our favorite thing in the fall. But they're not going to be able to hunt--I mean they can this year but you wouldn't really want to because, you have no clue how many there's going to be and I don't want the population to go down too bad."

Officials say the current hotspot for reports of dead deer is the areas south of Summersville but reports stretch from Enon to Webster County so they believe it's moving Northwest of the county.

They say the cycle won't stop until the first frost of the year which is usually mid-October.

DNR asks anyone who may see a sick or dead deer to report it to their local DNR District Office.