November 25, 2013 at 3:43 am #1315MikeKeymaster
LA GRANDE, Ore. (AP) — A virus outbreak is being blamed for an
unusually large number of deer found dead in south La Grande.
Ten white-tailed deer and three mule deer have been found dead in the
past month, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Blue tongue, a virus that periodically hits deer populations and
poses no threat to humans, is the likely culprit, said Jim Cadwell,
an ODFW biologist. The disease typically strikes between late August
through October and primarily hits whitetails. The outbreaks, which
occur during dry years, are related to the abundance of tiny biting
flies known as midges.
“When the weather cools the insect is suppressed,” Cadwell said. “The
cause of the disease is shot down.”
The ODFW was finding about two dead deer a day in south La Grande
until the weather cooled a week ago. Then another dead deer was
Samples taken from the deer were sent to Oregon State University to
be tested. Samples from other deer were not submitted because they
were found well after their deaths. Cadwell said biologists need to
reach a deer within hours after its death for it to be tested for the
virus, which kills by causing internal bleeding.
Dead deer have also been reported at Ladd Marsh this month. Dave
Larson, manager of the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area, said that a number
of people reported seeing dead deer there during a youth pheasant
hunt Sept. 9-10.
Information from: The (La Grande) Observer,
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