When Will Brantley asked if I’d be interested in handling the new Realtree Outdoor News blog, it took about half a second to think about the offer and reply, “Yes, please!” What a grand opportunity we all will have not only to learn more about what’s happening in the outdoor arena, but also to comment and to make a difference, too.
My background as a small-town newspaper editor will serve me well, I hope, for this task, which is turning a story quickly. We want to keep you updated about policies, regulations, laws and news items that affect those of us who hunt. This isn’t a wire and it’s not an e-zine. It’s a blog – which means we want to read what you think.
I’m delighted to be here. And let’s kick off the first of what we hope to be thousands of posts to come …
Mother Nature’s EHD Eradicates Whitetail Population in Parts of Northern Plains
I’m a mom. Three boys and one princess. We all hunt whitetails. Every year. The rut brings our children home from far away places to hunt. I’m just glad today that I don’t live in Montana or my home state of North Dakota because those folks are in the hurt-bag, as my football coach dad would say, and so are their whitetail populations.
According to a recent Associated Press release, eastern Montana and other locations in the Northern Plains will not bounce back quickly from epizootic hemorrhagic disease, aka EHD. Carried by midges, EHD causes internal bleeding that kills an animal within days. Whitetails – even more than elk, bighorn sheep and pronghorn – are particularly susceptible to the disease.
Even though this story broke last summer and you may have heard that some of the Northern Plains’ states reduced their deer tag numbers, and even offered refunds for already purchased tags, the story is not over. Now, we wait for the numbers to come in, from state agencies’ winter population counts and fall hunting harvest numbers.
This is where conservation comes into play. Not only the taking, the harvesting, but the giving – the willingness to sit back and allow herds to repopulate.
Have you ever seen an EHD kill in your area?
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Brian Lovett, Realtree's news blogger, has been an outdoors reporter, writer, magazine editor and book author for 27 years. Spring turkey hunting and autumn waterfowling take up most of his outside time, but he also enjoys fishing, deer hunting and upland-bird hunting. Lovett lives in Oshkosh, Wis., with his wife, Jenny, and their retriever.