Wild Things: Deer disease spreading

Jeff Lampe

Epizootic hemorrhagic disease is suspected in the deaths of wild whitetail deer in 28 Illinois counties and in captive herds in Franklin and Randolph counties.

Also known as blue tongue, EHD is spread by biting midges and typically arises in late summer, particularly when dry conditions concentrate deer at water sources.

EHD poses no threat to humans, according to Dr. Colleen O'Keefe of the Food Safety and Animal Protection agency. Landowners who believe they have a deer suffering from EHD should call Tom Micetich at (309) 543-3316, ext. 231.

Deer Pin Details

The Department of Natural Resources will issue harvest pins for the upcoming deer-hunting seasons. As was the practice last year, pins will not be mailed but must be picked up at license vendors or at DNR offices.

Visit www.dnr.state.il.us/vcheck for a list of license vendors and DNR offices that will have pins. All pins (including the archery sample at right) commemorate 50 years of modern deer hunting in Illinois.

Caviar Causing Changes

Demand for caviar has led to regulation changes for three species that yield the pricey fish eggs in Illinois waters: shovelnose sturgeon, paddlefish and bowfin.

Starting Oct. 1, commercial anglers must buy roe harvester permits, and anyone who buys fish eggs must have a roe buyer permit. Also, shovelnose sturgeon season is closed Oct. 1 to May 31 on the Mississippi, Wabash and Ohio rivers. At that point, the Mississippi River will have a slot limit allowing anglers to take sturgeon between 24 and 32 inches. The species is protected on other waters.

Mosquito Outbreak

Whatever else recent wet weather has done, it has spurred an impressive mosquito hatch. This is typically a peak time of year for mosquitoes anyway. But birders, hunters, anglers and all outdoor users report sizable swarms of biting pests. So if you are headed outside, bring the bug spray.

You Speak

"I just read the story on rising river conditions affecting the local duck hunting, and I was thinking of the time in the early 1970s when it seemed to rain every other day during September and October.

"My dad had drawn blind No. 17 at Marshall. On opening day our blind had 18 inches sticking out of the water. To put your boat in at Marshall, you backed into the river alongside the check station and parked your trailer on Illinois Route 26.

"All of our decoy cords had to be lengthened to 12 feet or more to touch bottom, and everybody had to hunt out of their boats.

"Despite the record water depth, I think that turned out to the biggest season in Marshall hunting history. Blind 17 harvested more than 450 ducks. I have never seen so many ducks as I did that season."

- Dave McWilliams, South Pekin

This 'n That

Peoria's chapter of the Izaak Walton League celebrates its 50th anniversary next Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. at the clubhouse off Spring Bay Road. … Iowa's roadside surveys show pheasant numbers are on par with 2006 despite a March blizzard and flooding during the spring nesting season. Northwest, north-central and central Iowa had best bird counts. ... Gene Holmes of Peoria said 1,500 people attended the Central Illinois Herpetological Society's reptile and amphibian show in late August.

Peoria Journal Star