Hunters take note, EHD affecting deer population


Opening day for Ohio deer hunters is Monday, but for some, especially those used to seeing several deer by noon, it may be slim pickings.

Yes, the deer herd in some areas of Ohio has been noticeably affected by epizootic hemorrhagic disease, a cruel and quick deer killer born by tiny midges, which most typically live around water sources.


Some experts suggest that EHD becomes more apparent during drought periods, as seen this summer in Ohio.

EHD isn’t a new discovery. It was first identified in 1955 and has been noted in much of the nation and it does affect other big game animals such as mule deer, elk, antelope and bighorn sheep, as well as domestic livestock, such as cows.

Fortunately, EHD seldom proves fatal in livestock. Once bitten by an EHD-carrying midge, the effects on whitetail are seen almost immediately, often within five to 10 days.


Infected deer lose their fear of man, become weaker, salivate heavily and quit eating. Infected deer can die as soon as 36 hours after symptoms appear. The good news is that EHD-affected animals do not pass the disease to other animals or humans.

Although summer and fall EHD kills seemed to be localized, the effects may impact overall hunter success.

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Sport show and boat show fans can double-down this winter as the Cleveland Outdoor Adventure Show and the Mid-American Boat Show share the IX Center for the same mid-January days.

The double feature proved popular and well attended last year and both will likely be bigger and better as the economy continues to improve. Note that both shows have been shortened and include just one weekend run. Dates are Jan. 17-21.

The Cleveland Outdoor Adventure Show will feature some TV personalities, including a couple of colorful Cajun gator hunters, Joe Lafont and his stepson, Tommy “Trigger” Chauvin. These guys hold the secret to alligator favorite “goo goo juice” and other gator hunting secrets.

Also appearing will be TV personality Brian “Pigman” Quaca; and world-traveled archer Byron Ferguson, one of the very best stick and string trick shooters.

The show is also well stacked with travel and adventure destinations. Check it out at


On the boat side, look for more of everything from an industry on the rebound. In the past, deals made at the Cleveland show are the best of the coming year with dealers anxious to kick their sales year off on a positive note.

According to area dealers, the 2013 models and show displays are being prepared already and boat shoppers will be pleased.


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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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