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STATEWIDE -- With the start of bow hunting season this weekend, deer hunters are being asked to keep an eye out and report any sick, dying, or dead animals they come across. The State Department of Environmental Conservation conducted preliminary tests on deer carcasses found earlier this week in Voorheesville.

Officials say the results indicate the deer may have died of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease or EHD. They say the disease does not pose a threat to humans. If the test holds true, it would be the first time the disease has been found in New York.

The DEC says you can contact them if you find any sick or dead deer at 1-800-847-7332.
 

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VOORHEESVILLE, N.Y. -- "We've got some nice size bucks in this area and everyone wants to get at them," Robert Oddy Sr., a Voorheesville deer hunter said.

The problem is something else is getting to them first.

Neighbors along Grant Hill Road in Voorhesville first started spotting the dead deer deep in the woods around Columbus Day. DEC is waiting the results of tests to confirm it, but officials there say more than 20 deer found in the area have shown symptoms of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD.

Dr. Ward Stone, a DEC Wildlife Pathologist, said, "I am really quite sure. I am more than quite sure that this is the disease we have."

Stone says the disease is passed deer-to-deer by miges, or small black flies. And although common in the south, there's never been a confirmed case in New York State. He says the warmer weather may be to blame for the bugs migrating north.

DEC investigating deer deaths

State wildlife officials are worried an outbreak of a deadly deer disease may have made it's way to the Capital District.

Sportsmen like Robert Oddy say the idea has the hunting community nervous.

"They don't know if they can hunt the deer, if it's going to ruin their season, if it's going to make their family sick. There's a lot of concerns with this," he said.

EHD isn't a threat to humans so there's no reason to be nervous there, but what officials are concerned about is the spread of another disease in an area where it hasn't been seen before.

"We're concerned as we add new diseases what this is going to do to our deer population," Stone said.

After the first frost, Stone says EHD can no longer spread because the miges die off. But in an area where hunting is a way of life, some fear that it may be too late.

"To spend all that money and then not see any deer because they're dropping dead from a disease, it wears on a hunter," Oddy said.
 
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