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EHD vs. CWD: Which Deer Disease is Actually Deadlier?

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease and Chronic Wasting Disease aren't the same illness, though many hunters confuse the two. In fact, one kills far more whitetails than the other, and (contrary to what you might read online) we'll explain which.

EHD vs. CWD: Which Deer Disease is Actually Deadlier?

In some years, Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) kills perhaps thousands of deer (whitetail and mule deer) over the range of the species. Landowners indeed know when die-offs occur, since they can see and smell the dead animals. In these areas, it may take years for the herd to recover. Yet, we still have whitetails in these areas, and most herds eventually recover, a testament to the resilience of the whitetail. (Photo by Samray, Shutterstock)

When Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) showed up in southern Wisconsin in 2002, it may have been the first time the average American hunter realized that deer have diseases! Yet, all animals and humans have a host of diseases, some of which can be restricted just to a single species or group (Endemic) or spread across several species, even to humans (Zoonotic).

The appearance of CWD sparked a general panic among the public, and the blame rests squarely on the outdoor media. For starters, it was falsely reported three men had died from eating CWD tainted venison. Later, anti-hunting groups applied the term “Zombie Deer Disease” to CWD, again reporting falsely that humans can...

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