2019 Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) Outbreak: Where to Hunt to Avoid EHD Impacts this Fall
If you would have talked to most deer hunters in the Midwest 15 years ago, they would have looked at you cross-eyed if you asked if they had heard of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease – or more commonly called EHD. In the 2000s, the disease seemed to be a rare occurrence in the region. Though more common in the southern US, the term EHD was not something that many deer hunters would have been familiar with. Fast forward to the last 10 years and watch a Midwest deer hunter’s face when you mention the disease. Since a major outbreak in 2012, it seems that the Midwest deer hunting meccas have been hammered by the high-frequency fatal disease. Though not “always” fatal like some other diseases, EHD tends to hit fast and hard. Often leaving specific farms in areas devasted and others untouched.
Deer found on Indiana Farm from suspected 2019 EHD Outbreak.
Seemingly a more occurring event than not, 2019 is shaping up to be no different. With deer herds being hammered by the disease from Missouri to Ohio staring in late June, some of the country’s prime deer herds are left in shambles. The Mississippi River Valley for Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois has been blasted after a severe flood event left behind standing water drying to mud flats – the prime breeding ground for the Culicoides midge, a known carrier of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease.
From the fertile river valleys to the heart of Indiana and Kentucky, hunters are finding their targets on the ground long before the season has even opened – and we aren’t out of the woods quite yet. Though we have definitely reached the peak, unseasonably dry and warm conditions will drive whitetails to congregate at waterholes and flats where the midges feast, infecting more and more whitetails each day.
For many hunters, the once “Christmas Eve” like feeling has turned to complete sickness. A trip that they may look forward to each year to hunt Midwest giants is now in jeopardy of even happening, as many outfitters may be forced to cancel hunts this year in order to preserve the remaining herd.
Reports from across the Midwest that some outfitters in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, western Kentucky and Indiana may be forced to cancel their bookings for the 2019 season with the impacts of EHD preventing the harvest of more deer without destroying their local herd – and ultimately their business.
Fortunately, one of the Midwest powerhouse whitetail states, Ohio, seems to be spared or at least reporting significantly less EHD cases. This is great news for the state’s whitetail hunters for 2019 as great ag growing conditions has produced some absolute monsters.
Healthy buck on Briarwood Sporting Club’s Property shedding velvet.
On the Briarwood Sporting Club properties totaling more than 3,000 acres, the bucks have been plentiful and big this year. Briarwood Sporting Club owner and operator Chris Daniels states, “We have seen tremendous antler growth this summer, with several properties holding mature bucks, I can only see it getting better the closer we get to the season.”
To date, Briarwood Sporting Club is happy to report that the deer herd is in great health with not a single EHD deer discovered on any of the properties. “We have cellular trail cameras running on all of the properties, and the overall condition of the herd appears to be in excellent condition.” Daniels adds. “Hopefully this is a sign that our intense habitat, food plot, and feeding regime have been successful in order to ensure our hunters are chasing the best bucks this area of Ohio can produce.”
In an area known for producing multiple Boone and Crockett caliber whitetails, Briarwood Sporting Club is looking forward to an amazing 2019 season for its hunters.
Reach out today for any available spots for 2019 and ask about the “EHD Cancellation” promotion for those who had to cancel a booked hunt where EHD has hit hard, Briarwood Sporting Club will look to accommodate those hunters to ensure the season is still one to remember.