Hunters concerned with disease killing hundreds of Pa. deer

Hunters concerned with disease killing hundreds of Pa. deer

Avid hunter Mark Iacona says the smell is all over his 93-acre property in Independence Township property in Beaver County.

It's coming from dead deer, and he's finding them all over the place.

“I have found a lot of dead deer,” he said. “A total of 16 right now.

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“The stench is so bad with them laying in it.”


According to the state game commission, Beaver County isn’t alone. Nearly 1,000 deer have died in that county after being infected with a virus called epizootic hemorrhagic disease, better known as EHD.

It’s spread by the midge fly. A bite causes a deer to bleed internally.

Experts say there's no threat to humans. Still, some hunters are proceeding this hunting season with caution.

“To take that chance … I have a couple grandkids that love eating the jerky and processed deer meat, but I don’t want to give them any of it,” Iacona said. “I am worried."

Everybody Adventures outdoors editor Bob Frye says EHD has hit the state in years past, including 2007 and 2011.

“The experts will tell you the (deer) population can recover from this but it will take a season or two, at least,” he said.

He says hunters this season should consider passing on deer they think may be infected.

“Decide where you will hunt,” Frye said. “If it’s an area where deer has been hit hard, that might be a place you don't want to hunt for a while and let those deer have a break and rebound a little bit.”