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Disease killing wild deer in west central Indiana
Spaulding Outdoors
By Jack Spaulding

A viral disease called EHD appears to be infecting, and often killing, wild white-tailed deer in west central Indiana. EHD is not normally found in domestic animals, and is not transmissible to humans.

Hoosier hunters and hikers have recently been finding and reporting to the DNR an unusual number of dead wild deer in Greene, Clay, Owen, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion, Fountain and Vigo counties.

Outdoorsmen and women have discovered as many as 30 dead deer while hiking or canoeing along stretches of streams. Initial investigations by DNR biologists point to a viral disease called EHD (Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease), transmitted by small flying insects called biting midges. DNR biologists have submitted tissue samples to the Purdue Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab for confirmation.

EHD causes severe, flu-like symptoms in the deer, including a high fever. The symptoms cause infected deer to seek open water in streams or ponds to cool off. Many of the reported dead deer were found near water.

Sick deer may lose their appetites, coordination and their fear of normal dangers. Animals become dehydrated and progressively weaker, with mouth and eye tissue often showing a rosy or bluish color. A significant percentage of deer that contract EHD die within one to three days.

Indiana deer hunters are asked to observe deer they intend to take for a brief time. If the deer’s posture or behavior indicates the deer may be sick, don’t take it. There appears to be no risk associated with direct exposure to or consumption of an EHD infected deer.

Use common sense when cleaning and preparing any deer. Never kill or eat a sick deer. Use rubber gloves. Be sure meat is cooked thoroughly to kill any bacteria or organisms that may be present. EHD usually affects local deer populations until the first hard frost, which kills the biting midges spreading the disease. The last major Hoosier EHD outbreak occurred in southern Indiana in the fall of 1996.

Port security focus of grant
The Department of Homeland Security recently awarded the DNR Law Enforcement Division a $1,216,044 federal grant to protect Indiana’s ports. The grant is divided into two portions. The vast majority of the money, $931,518, is for protecting the more than 350 miles of the state’s Ohio River shoreline. The balance, $284,526, is for protecting Indiana’s Lake Michigan area.

“The purpose of this grant is to strengthen Indiana’s ability to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies that could strike our state’s maritime locations,” said DNR Director Kyle Hupfer. “We have 13 counties and more than 40 major assets along the Ohio River. This money will increase the Division of Law Enforcement’s ability to protect against threats to these areas.”

The division will spend the money on four, 27-foot, enclosed cabin powerboats and trucks to tow them. The new boats will enable officers to stay on patrol longer, travel more quickly between locations and use new equipment. Three boats will be located along the Ohio River. One boat will be stationed on Lake Michigan.

“DNR Law Enforcement Division plays a critical role in the security of Indiana,” said law enforcement Director Rob Carter. “These new boats will expand our ability to prevent and respond to threats of all kinds beyond our traditional role of enforcing hunting and fishing laws.”

The grant will also be used to equip the boats with thermo-imaging devices and highly advanced side-scan sonar units. Officers in districts with Ohio River shoreline will be equipped with fourth-generation night-vision devices as well. The primary use of the boats and equipment will be for anti-terrorism, but will also be applicable to more traditional law enforcement tasks.

Crappie USA returns to Illinois
Crappie USA will hold a qualifying event on the Smithland Pool of the Ohio River at Metropolis, Ill. on Oct. 21. The Smithland Pool is an excellent fall fishery with many tributaries off the river holding good fish in the fall. Anglers will be fishing for a seven-fish limit of crappie.

A pretournament seminar will be held on Friday evening, Oct. 20, at the Community Center, 516 Market St in Metropolis. Sign up begins at 5 p.m. with the meeting, and a National Sponsor Field Test Product Drawing starting at 7 p.m. local time. The seminar is open to the public.

The tournament weigh-in will be held on Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Massac County Courthouse Square in Metropolis beginning at 3 p.m.

Anglers can enter the tournaments by filling out and sending in an entry form or by registering on Crappie’s website at before the deadline listed on the form. Teams may also enter at the pretournament seminar on Friday night. All late entries will be subject to a $20 late fee. Teams may consist of one or two partners.

Entry fees in all qualifying tournaments are $75 per team in the Amateur Division and $155 in the Semi-Pro Division. Entry fees in both divisions include the Big Fish Pot. All participants must be a member of the American Crappie Association to fish in the events. American Crappie Association membership is $20 for adults and $10 for spouse and youth memberships.

For more information call Crappie USA Inc. at 270-395-4204 or Media Specialist Larry Crecelius at 812-525-2707, email at or the website at

This farm news was published in the Oct. 18, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.