How long does it take for a deer population to recover from an H.D. outbreak?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersDeer Biology
How has the deer herd recovered from your more recent EHD outbreak? The reason I ask is that here in Virginia 2014 was the worst outbreak in recorded history and I wondered what to expect?


A severe outbreak of Hemorrhagic disease (H.D.) occurred at The Proving Grounds during 2012.  It was so severe that I got tired of my wife (she really enjoys shed hunting) bringing in skulls versus sheds.  Finding a mature buck was like finding a needle in a haystack during the fall of 2012 and 2013.  There were a few more mature bucks during the 2014 season.  This year there are more mature bucks on the property than any time during my Tracy’s and my ownership of this property (13 years).  

Based on other experiences as a hunter and biologist it seems to take about three years for herds to fully recover from and H.D. outbreak.  The recover rate will be impacted by the amount of hunter harvest after the die-off, predation rates, etc.  

I backed off the doe harvest after the H.D. outbreak and have been aggressively removing predators for years.  This allowed the local deer population to recover rapidly.

Enjoy creation,