A dead deer on the side of the road.  It might be commonplace in most areas throughout the Capital Region but still, it's never an easy thing to see when you're taking a road trip.  In most cases, you're able to chalk it up to a hungry deer that wandered too close to the road, or one that simply got seduced by the headlights of oncoming traffic.

But how do you explain the rash of dead deers reported by hunters near water sources throughout the Capital Region and the entire state?

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From Albany County to Westchester County, and almost every place in between, a deadly outbreak seems to be causing many white-tailed deer to turn up deceased, usually near water.

Photo: NYS DEC
Photo: NYS DEC

The New York State Department of Environment Conservation has an explanation for it.

They say that New York's deer are currently being affected by an "outbreak of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD). EHD is a fatal viral disease of white-tailed deer caused by a tiny biting fly"

They say that it cannot be contracted by humans and does not pass from deer to deer.

A deer that has this disease according to the DEC, may appear dehydrated and may look to be swollen in the head, neck, tongue, or eyelids.  They also say that hundreds have turned up near water sources, a tell-tale sign of EHD.

According to the DEC, dehydration caused by the disease will weaken the deer, and as they seek refuge near water, they are dying near the source.

"Until we have widespread frosts that kill the midges that transmit the virus, new cases of EHD are likely to persist."


The DEC is asking anyone, hunter or otherwise, to contact them if you come across a dead deer that you believe may have died from EHD.

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