Here at The Hunting Report we continue to monitor wildlife diseases worldwide and report information about potential impacts for traveling hunters. Wildlife diseases can have a profound effect on populations and, in turn, hunting opportunities. We’ve witnessed herd declines in US populations of bighorn sheep associated with bacterial pneumonia and in whitetail deer caused by EHD.
This month we have learned that the bluetongue outbreak in livestock in Europe has spilled over into wildlife in Bulgaria, with 25 mouflon and one roe deer confirmed as being killed by the disease near Plovdiv and one herd of red deer in Pazardzik considered at risk.
Bluetongue is caused by a virus and occurs almost everywhere in the world. However, animals are immune to native strains, receiving antibodies from their mothers before birth. Outbreaks, like this one caused by a strain identified as serotype one, are generally the result of an animal being moved from one area to another without sufficient quarantine or vaccination. This outbreak has been identified in livestock in Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzogovina, Hungary, Montenegro and Croatia. The wildlife cases in Bulgaria are the first in huntable wildlife.
Certainly the loss of 25 mouflon sheep isn’t going to affect the quality of sheep hunting in Europe or even in Bulgaria as a whole. But if you’re planning a hunt there it would be wise to ask your hunt operator about the particular area scheduled to be hunted and assure yourself that your hunt will not be impacted.
We will continue to monitor diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease in white-tailed gazelle in Mongolia, EHD and CWD in the deer and elk in the US, African swine fever in Eastern Europe and Erysipelas in muskox to inform the traveling hunter of potential concerns.