NICHOLAS COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Department of Natural Resources officials say that approximately 64 dead deer have been reported in Nicholas County since July 21, 2019.
Mary Ball, a woman who lives on Muddlety Creek in Nicholas County, says she's used to seeing at least 30 deer on her farm, but hasn't even seen a third of it this year.
"They have gone down significantly," Ball said.
The DPR claim that epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) is to blame.
"This is the first EHD report in Nicholas County," said DNR Wildlife official Sam Cowell. "It is typical to monitor an EHD epidemic every year anywhere in the country, but we were unable to find data on a past outbreak in Nicholas County."
Officials say that EHD is spread by flies that circulate bodies of water such as rivers, water holes or ponds. Flies are more common at this time of year when there is heat and the weather is dry.
"We had spotted one in the creek and then I called the DNR to report and then they told me that this disease was going around this EHD disease," Ball said.
Officials say that EHD causes fever in the deer so that it is typical to find sick or dead roe deer near bodies of water as they attempt to obtain relief. They will also act inappropriately or exhibit unusual behavior such as running into things or walking in circles. There may also be swelling in the face, but unlike deer, they usually look perfectly healthy.
Mary Ball says she is worried about the deer population.
"We love to hunt, this is our favorite thing in the fall. But they won't be able to hunt ̵
Officials say the current deer reporting hot spot is areas south of Somersville, but reports extend from Enon to Webster County, so they believe it is heading northwest. from the county.
They say that the cycle will not stop until the first frost of the year, which is usually mid-October.
The DNR asks anyone who may see a sick or dead deer to report it to the local DNR district office.