Deer Tuberculosis Monitoring
Due to the spread of tuberculosis in deer in Michigan and Minnesota, and the discovery of bovine TB in captive cervid facilities and a cattle farm in Indiana, the Indiana DNR and Board of Animal Health (BOAH) are monitoring Indiana’s deer herd for signs of the disease.
No wild white-tailed deer have tested positive for bovine TB in Indiana.
You can assist this effort to protect Indiana’s domestic and wild animal populations by helping verify Hoosier deer continue to be disease free. The following procedures provide guidance in the event you harvest a deer that you suspect might be diseased.
Inspect Your Deer
To contact a BOAH veterinarian, call (877) 747-3038 (toll free). This number is answered 8 a.m to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Messages left on weekends or holidays will be returned as soon as possible.
A BOAH veterinarian will advise, free-of-charge, about the appropriate use of the animal and may collect tissue samples for further testing. Reporting any suspicious lesion helps protect the health status of Indiana’s white-tailed deer resource.
If a veterinarian asks a hunter to submit a deer for further testing, the DNR will replace the hunter’s permanent/temporary deer tag to revalidate an existing license.
After field dressing or handling any carcass or other raw meat, wash your hands with soap and water. Hand washing removes disease-causing bacteria, including tuberculosis. This practice should always be followed, even if the animal appears healthy.
For more information on Indiana’s deer TB monitoring program, contact BOAH:
Toll-free phone: (877) 747-3038
Web page: IN.gov/boah
Mail: Board of Animal Health
Discovery Hall, Suite 100
1202 East 38th St
Indianapolis, IN 46205-2898
Chronic Wasting Disease and Out-of-State Deer, Elk and Moose
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a neurological disease found in deer, elk, and moose.
Although it has been associated with captive deer and elk in the past, CWD more recently has been found in free-ranging white-tailed deer in the Midwest. It belongs to a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) or prion diseases.
Although the methods of transmission are not completely known, evidence suggests that infected animals may transmit the disease by animal-to-animal contact or by environmental contamination.
CWD is always fatal to the infected animal.
Although CWD is similar to mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep, there is no known relationship between CWD and other TSEs found in humans. There is currently no evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans, though it is not recommended to consume meat from a deer that is known CWD positive.
The Indiana DNR has had a CWD surveillance program in place since 2002. In addition to responding to calls regarding deer exhibiting CWD symptoms, DNR biologists collect samples from hunter harvested deer and road-kill deer.
CWD has not been found in Indiana.
Because CWD has been transmitted in experiments where healthy deer were exposed to skeletons of infected deer, bringing into Indiana the carcasses and/or parts of deer and other cervids harvested out-of-state is strictly limited by BOAH. Only the following may be brought into Indiana:
A person licensed as a disposal plant or collection service under state law (Indiana Code 15-2.1-16) may move carcasses and parts into the state if the carcasses and parts are moved directly to a licensed disposal plant.
For up-to-date information on CWD and the state’s prevention and monitoring program visit deer.dnr.IN.gov.
The most common disease among white-tailed deer in Indiana is EHD, or epizootic hemorrhagic disease, often called bluetongue.
It is a viral disease that affects deer almost every year. EHD is passed by small flies known as biting midges, which transmit the virus when they are most abundant, typically in late summer and early fall. Evidence shows that outbreaks can be worse in drought years.
The onset of freezing temperatures often brings an end to outbreaks.
Infected deer often seek comfort in or around water. Other signs include blue-tinted tongue or eyes, ulcers on the tongue, or an eroded dental pad.
EHD is often fatal to deer, though some will survive. Severity and distribution is variable and unpredictable. Death losses can range from negligible to more than 50 percent. Severe outbreaks rarely occur in subsequent years due to immunity gathered from previous infections.
There currently is no management for EHD. If you suspect an outbreak is occurring, contact your local DNR wildlife biologist.
Humans are not at risk for contracting hemorrhagic disease in any manner.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.