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On the frozen tundra

Notes from the North Woods

Temperatures of 15 degrees below, prompted a field of frost flowers to form on the surface of Moody Pond, in Saranac Lake.

Temperatures of 15 degrees below, prompted a field of frost flowers to form on the surface of Moody Pond, in Saranac Lake.

Weird whitetails

The NYSDEC is asking the public to report any sightings of whitetail deer that appear to be acting sick, odd or abnormal. The department is only interested in investigating deer that appear to have died from an unknown cause. They are not looking to investigate deer that have obviously been killed by a vehicle.

The department is currently seeking information from the public following the discovery of a distressed whitetail deer in the town of Thurman, Warren County that was afflicted with an uncommon bacterial disease. Although the bacterial disease does not appear to affect humans, the DEC is seeking public input to determine the prevalence of the disease among the state’s deer herd.

The unusual bacterial affliction, which has been found in several other states, appears to disorient the animals, so that “they act kind of odd.” An affected deer may exhibit a swollen neck, head or brisket, which is often accompanied by excessive drooling, nasal discharge or respiratory distress.

Since 2002, biologists in several other states, including Georgia, Michigan and Idaho have been discovered whitetails with signs of a similar bacterial disease, which appears to cause an unusual swelling around the head, neck and muzzle.

The NYSDEC advises people not handle or eat any deer that appears sick or acts abnormally. Sightings of sick, dying or dead deer should be reported to the nearest DEC regional office or an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger.

Several years ago, the DEC successfully addressed a potential outbreak of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the state’s whitetail herd. Although the CWD outbreak appeared to be the result of farm raised deer, it resulted in an emergency ban that continues to prohibit the supplemental feeding of deer statewide. It remains a point of contention to this day.

Survivor, without the cash

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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