Hunters in some Indiana counties won’t be able to harvest as many female deer this year.
The state is lowering some bonus antlerless quotas because of how a virus is impacting the deer population. Hunters are allowed to bag additional female deer in some Indiana counties to help with the size of the herd.
Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD, is transmitted through gnat bites and is often fatal in infected deer.
The Department of Natural Resources is reducing the number of bonus antlerless deer hunters can bag in counties where EHD is present to just two.
Dr. Joe Caudell is a deer biologist with the DNR. He says the quota reduction isn’t necessarily because more deer are dying from EHD this year, but because the state has better data.
"We took the data that we were getting really three or four weeks ago and saw that coming in and I was able to use that to look at the projected effect on the deer herd," he says.
The agency asks the public to report any dead or sick deer to help the state track the spread of EHD.
"As hunters are seeing this they can report these. And, basically, we have this known mortality that occurred early enough in the year that we can make adjustments to the hunting season just to account for deer that are dying from a particular event," Caudell says.
The DNR also looks at how deer-vehicle collisions and the previous hunting season impacted the deer population when setting its bonus quotas.