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Views and opinions: DNR confirms EHD virus killed Clark County deer

Preliminary lab results were positive for epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) virus in a sample of a dead deer from Clark County that the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff submitted to a lab for testing early this month.

Additional testing is required to determine the strain of EHD virus. Results of testing of samples from deer from several other counties are pending.

EHD is a viral disease affecting whitetail deer to some degree every year. It typically occurs during late summer and early fall, and there is evidence that outbreaks may be worse during drought years. EHD is transmitted by flies commonly known as biting midges, sand gnats, and “no-see-ums.” Humans are not at risk for contracting hemorrhagic disease.

The testing came about from investigations DNR staff have been conducting after receiving reports of sick or dead deer in central and south-central Indiana. Clark County seems to be experiencing the most intense outbreaks thus far, but suspect reports have come from 10 counties in all.

Dr. Joe Caudell, DNR deer research biologist, worked with Indiana conservation officers to collect an adequate sample, the one testing positive for EHD, on August 2.

“Deer infected with EHD may appear depressed or weak and often seek out water. Other signs may include a blue-tinged tongue, swelling of the head, neck or eyelids, ulcers on the tongue and the oral cavity, or sloughed hooves,” said Dr. Nancy Boedeker, DNR wildlife veterinarian.

Major outbreaks of EHD have been reported in the United States for decades. Small outbreaks occur yearly in various areas in the United States. Major outbreaks are sporadic occurrences and in many cases do not recur in the same geographic areas. EHD is a naturally occurring disease in our region.

“If you see a deer that you suspect may have died from EHD, you can report it directly to the DNR through our website at,” Caudell said. “Just click on the link for ‘Report a Dead or Sick Deer.’”

APPLE reserved hunt applications

Access Program Providing Land Enhancements (APPLE) offers quail, pheasant, and woodcock hunting opportunities on private property. The hunts are allocated through the online reserved hunt system, and the online application is the only way to apply.

Hunters may apply for one hunting period. Although the period is for two days, selected hunters may only hunt one day of it. Applications are accepted from August 13-Sept. 23. Draw result notifications will be emailed within two weeks of the application deadline.

Successfully drawn applicants will be allowed two hunting partners. All regulations and bag limits apply. Hunters may register for the hunts and check the status of the draw, once it is available, at

APPLE offers financial incentives to landowners who allow controlled public access hunting on their private lands. Wildlife biologists also work with landowners to establish and improve habitat.

New Hudson Lake public access

What had been the largest public freshwater lake in Indiana without a public access site now has one. The DNR received a donation of land adjacent to Hudson Lake in LaPorte County in 2018 for the development of a boat launch. The DeGroote family kindly donated the site, which is dedicated to a family member who lost his life in the early 20th century.

The Division of Fish & Wildlife has prioritized Hudson Lake for public access development for more than 20 years. The limited availability of land surrounding the lake made it a difficult task to complete, but thanks to the family, the site is now a reality.

The newly developed boat launching site is now open to the public and free to use. It will accommodate up to 20 vehicles with trailers, is equipped with handicapped-accessible facilities, and has a portable restroom.

The Hudson Lake launch and all other DNR boat launching facilities can be found by accessing the “Where to Fish Finder” at

Carp persist in J.E. Roush Lake

A large die-off of invasive common carp at J.E. Roush Lake in J.E. Roush Lake Fish & Wildlife Area near Huntington in 2017 failed to reduce the fish’s numbers, according to recent surveys of the lake. The die-off was triggered by the koi herpesvirus (KHv), a contagious virus often found in carp, koi, and goldfish. The virus produces gill lesions eventually causing suffocation.

DNR biologists were hoping the die-off would reduce the number of common carp in the lake, but the aquatic invasive species is still the dominant fish in the 900-acre flood-control reservoir.

“We don’t know the total number of carp that were killed, but apparently not enough to dent the population,” said Jed Pearson, DNR fisheries biologist.

Last summer, he and his sampling crew conducted a follow-up survey of the lake’s fish population using an electrofishing boat, gill nets, and trap nets. During the survey, 69 common carp were collected measuring up to 24 inches. The catch rate was higher than ever.

Carp ranked second in number only to white crappies; they also ranked first by weight. Thirty-one goldfish, a close relative to carp, were also caught. The largest were 10 inches.

“Carp have caused problems at J.E. Roush Lake ever since the lake was created decades ago, despite a DNR attempt to eradicate them prior to impoundment. Many survived and quickly overran the lake,” Pearson explained.

Carp are a nuisance because they compete for food and space with other popular sport fish. They also muddy the water by roiling the bottom and displace the nests of spawning fish. Never use common carp as live bait, and do not transfer carp from one water body to another. If you catch a common carp, eat it or use it as cut bait or garden fertilizer.

Anglers who notice significant numbers of dead or dying carp in Indiana public waters are asked to report them to Austin Taylor, DNR restoration biologist, at 317-232-5821 or

Redbird SRA reopens

Redbird State Recreation Area (SRA), which primarily serves off-road vehicle (ORV) riders, reopened on August 9. Redbird has been closed to the public since March 11. Phase One of the project will allow for construction of a new entrance and office building with a gatehouse.

The new entrance will allow visitors better access to the property’s trails and has been part of a long-term plan for years. Record spring rainfall delayed the early completion of Phase One by six weeks.

Redbird SRA made several improvements during the closure. They include repair and establishment of multiple drainage areas on the most popular trails to provide a more sustainable surface. Staff also continued to work on three miles of new single-track trails for dirt bikers. The new trails will open to the public when complete.

Several volunteers helped with beautification during the closure. Their efforts added new amenities, including benches, landscaping, and a building enclosure.

The reopening allows for the annual fall night ride and hayride to continue as scheduled on Oct. 26. The new pavement will provide easier access to the hayride and kids’ area for the event.

The reopened SRA will resume its normal hours of sunrise to sunset, seven days a week. The daily trail-use fee is $15 for registered ORVs, which includes entrance to property. Out-of-state unregistered vehicles can purchase an annual registration sticker for $20 and then pay the standard daily rate. Non-motorized use of the property is $7 per vehicle for in-state and $9 per vehicle for out-of-state residents.

The second phase of the project is in the planning stage. That will move the current gatehouse to a more user-friendly location on the west side of the County Road 350 N railroad crossing, and provide easy access for Redbird SRA’s recreationists who enjoy hiking, mushroom hunting, dog walking, bird watching, and more.

Patoka Lake needs volunteers

Help clean Patoka Lake and earn a T-shirt and other prizes during the Patoka Lake Watershed Steering Committee’s 13th annual Patoka Lake Clean Up on August 24, at the Patoka Lake Dam beginning at 8 a.m.

Volunteers will be assigned an area to pick up trash and recycling along the shore and roadways. They should meet at the Patoka Lake Corps of Engineers office. Service and youth groups are asked to register in advance.

At 11 a.m. all volunteers will return to the dam to be treated to a fish fry, music, door prizes, goodie bags, and a free T-shirt.

Each year, volunteers pick up more than 2,000 pounds of trash and recycling during the event. All supplies are provided. Volunteers should wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and consider carpooling to the site. For information or advance registration, call 812-685-2447.


The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments may contact Jack Spaulding by email at or by writing to him in care of this publication.