While the first whitetails that will perish this summer from epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) won’t show up in numbers until August or September, I am starting to study the drought maps and make some predictions.

First the good news. Many areas in the West and Deep South have received plenty of moisture, so I think any outbreaks of EHD will be spotty and insignificant. But I see potential trouble spots in the Midwest, particularly in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri, where conditions range from abnormally dry to exceptional drought in many areas. Moderate drought conditions also exist eastward across the upper Midwest to Pennsylvania and south into the Virginia Piedmont where I have a deer camp, so I’m on the lookout for EHD in these regions too.

According to renowned whitetail biologist Grant Woods of Missouri: One of the worries I have when droughts occur is E.H.D. and B.T. (bluetongue)… (EHD or BT) is transmitted from deer to deer by biting midges (sand flies, gnats, no see ums, etc.). Populations of the biting midges, and therefore EHD/BT outbreaks, seem to explode when a drought has occurred, resulting in lots of mud or moist soil being exposed. If rain occurs following such a drought, there is usually a huge hatch of the midges.

And here’s the kicker: Should widespread rain occur sometime from July until it frosts, conditions could be perfect for a very large EHD/BT outbreak.

For now, it’s wait and see and stay positive and hope for the best, which would be a very light EHD summer across whitetail country.