Does EHD impact one gender or age class more than another?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersDeer Biology
Dr. Woods,

I have been to several of your lectures, and I have used the information from those lectures and your website to improve the deer herd on our farm in Southern IL. I was hoping you could provide some insight into EHD. With the way that EHD is spread, I understand that no particular age/sex of deer are at a greater risk of contracting EHD. What I’d like to know is if any data suggests that a certain age/sex of deer are more likely to succumb to the disease? I thought I remembered in one of you lectures that you mentioned mature bucks seem to be at a slightly increased risk of death after being exposed to EHD, but I could easily be misremembering. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time, Merry Christmas, and thank you for all that you do for the whitetail hunting community!



Researchers have been studying EHD for more than five decades!  (There is MUCH more known about EHD than CWD).  During most of this time there weren’t many mature bucks as hunters shot the first buck they saw.  During those decades researchers reported there was no difference in susceptibility of any gender or age class to EHD.

During the 2012 EHD outbreak several of my clients and other landowners reported finding a substantially higher percentage of mature bucks than younger bucks or does that apparently died from EHD.  

This “may” be due to the fact that large velvet antlers are much easier for the biting flies to get a blood meal than through the hair and skin.  If this is the case, mature bucks may be more successible to the vector (the biting flies) than younger bucks or does.

Hopefully researchers will test this theory. However, this information won’t decrease the damage from EHD outbreaks. Unfortunately, there were several new strains of EHD in the United States and I suspect EHD outbreaks may become more common.

Enjoy creation,


December 15, 2015