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Originally published: 2013-12-04 13:49:14
Last modified: 2013-12-04 13:50:00

Deer disease impacts expected to be short-lived in Foothills, Watauga not hit hard

by Anna Oakes

With the recent opening of gun season in Watauga, deer hunters should not notice a significant difference in the population due to last year's hemorrhagic disease outbreak, according to Wildlife Resources Commission biologist Chris Kreh.

"For the most part, the herd in Watauga was not hit all that hard," Kreh said.

The disease did noticeably decrease the deer population in the Foothills counties of Caldwell, Wilkes and Surry, Kreh said, as well as the southern parts of Watauga below the Blue Ridge Parkway, along Elk Creek and Stoney Fork.

But the commission said in September that the outbreak would not result in a long-term decline in the area's deer population and did not make any changes to doe or buck harvest restrictions.

Hemorrhagic disease has no human health implications but is one of the most significant endemic viral and sometimes fatal diseases of white-tailed deer in the southeastern U.S., the WRC said.