Minnesota DNR Examines Possible Case of Deer Mange

Minnesota DNR Examines Possible Case of Deer Mange

Seemingly straight out of an episode of the popular show The Walking Dead, recent sightings of hairless, scabbed over and decrepit looking whitetails in Minnesota has local residents and officials concerned. After the recent epidemic of EHD across the Midwest, whitetail hunters are growing increasingly worried about the impacts of disease on deer.

At the recent North American Whitetail Summit deer disease ranked as one of the top six issues impacting whitetails. That said, the first assumption many have jumped to regarding the cause of these "zombie deer" in Minnesota is mange. So, could whitetails in Minnesota be contracting mange? And, if so, what does that mean for whitetails and us?

While most often seen in coyotes, mange can, in fact, be found in whitetails. According to a report from the University of Missouri School of Natural Resources and Missouri Department of Conservation, "Although most deer will not show symptoms of mange, those that do will exhibit hair loss and skin thickening with small pus-filled lesions." Luckily, however, "mange does not cause a herd health issue and is not a concern for humans."

This description of mange seems to fit the symptoms seen in Minnesota, but Tom Rusch, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Manager working on this case, states that preliminary test results have come back without any sign of the mite that causes mange. One of the affected deer was put down last month and sent to the lab for testing. Results have been inconclusive thus far.


According to the wildlife health program supervisor handling the analysis, "the pathologist was not able to come up with anything to explain the hair loss. No infection, no microscopic parasites, nothing to go on."


While there currently isn't much evidence, several theories have emerged. One theory offered by the same wildlife health program manager is that the combination of a harsh winter and allergic reactions are to blame.

"Perhaps the hard winter and poor body condition (post-winter) had intensified the allergic reactions of some deer to external parasites (mites or lice), and the hair loss is due to self-grooming from this irritation."

Another theory that Rusch shared was that this hair loss and skin irritation could be caused by dietary factors. It has been found that dogs on a diet too heavy in corn have displayed similar symptoms. Supporting this theory is the fact that affected deer were sighted at emergency feeding areas this winter, where residents had been providing corn as supplemental food for deer struggling in the harsh conditions.

With the lack of a solid answer, it seems that this mystery is far from over. The Minnesota DNR is still investigating, while more impacted deer have been sighted in several counties. If you're in Minnesota and see deer with these symptoms, please contact your DNR representative as soon as possible.


Beginners Luck?

First time shed hunter Amber found these impressive racks. Just goes to show that it doesn't matter if it's your first or tenth time, success is all about getting afield.

A Winter Shed Head

Ben Williams found this massive 173-inch gross, 3.5 mainframe set in New York. Nice find, Ben!

Central Illinois' Finest

Rain, snow, or shine, sheds are out there for you and Brian Gauge to find. Brian found this nice set in west central Illinois.

Shed Hunter in Training

Shed hunting is a great way to get your kids out in the field while providing an excellent opportunity to teach them a thing or two. Casey Charlton's 4-year-old son looks like he's going to be a full-time shed hunter before long.

Shed Hunting Like a Pro

Craig Bell shows off his impressive 10-pointer set.

A Shed Head

Shed Head's Craig Bell with yet another impressive set of sheds.

Ethan Bailey's Rack Room

Ethan Bailey certainly knows his whitetails.

The Great Anticipation

Jeff Schoeps with a great set he picked up. This buck carried match for eight days and had Jeff walking with great anticipation.

Collect Your Thoughts

Joe Kelly with the biggest set from his collection. Found on his private property, 214 1/8 in.

Kansas Rack

Jason Bethel: "First ones of the year here in Kansas, what a find! Match set." Awesome!

Start 'Em Young

Kelly Lynn starting out the little one right! Now that's parenting!

Dead Heads

Matt Davis: "It's a shame when you find quality dead heads on your farm."

All Grins Here

A happy Ryan Dreher poses with his matching 7-point set.

Breaking the Ice

An 8-point set like this is enough to bring a smile to any shed hunter's face.

Know Where to Look

Often times bucks will bed just off the edges of food sources, such as corn, bean or other agricultural fields during the night while feeding and drop their antlers.

A Needle in a Haystack

Sometimes the best place to find sheds is near the bedding area of a buck. Look for thick cover, cedars and other conifers, or south facing hillsides. All of these types of areas can be popular bedding areas during the winter. This shed hunter obviously did his homework.

The Rack Room

It won't be tough finding room for a giant set like this. Very nice!

The Big Score

Finding matching sheds like this 20-point set is what shed hunting is all about.

Sheds Abound

Craig Bell shows that with persistence comes great results.

Winter Sheds

Regardless of the temperature, now is the perfect time to get afield and find those sheds!

The First Set is the Toughest

Nothing breaks the ice quicker than finding your first sheds of the year. For Shelby here, this rack looks to be the first of many in Kansas.

Take a Load Off

Is there anything better than laying down after a hard days work shed hunting? We didn't think so.

Hunting for All Ages

Tyler Treft: "My daughter natalee found this matching set today in Kansas. And found 7 all together." Wonderful to see kids out and about. Great set Natalee!

Fetch the Bone

Zachary Pearson and his lab doing some training with the shed she found last year.

About the Author

Mark Kenyon runs Wired To Hunt, one of the top deer hunting resources online, featuring daily deer hunting news, stories and strategies for the whitetail addict.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Battling Breeding Bucks

Battling Breeding Bucks

Stan Potts heads to his home state of Illinois to hunt whitetails with his bow during the November rut.

Fundamentals of the Bow Selection

Fundamentals of the Bow Selection

On this edition of "On Target," Pat Hogan highlights the importance of applying the fundamentals of the draw cycle when it comes to the bow you select.

Deer Factory: Minnesota Property Overview

Deer Factory: Minnesota Property Overview

James Kroll and Pat Hogan begin a new Deer Factory project in west central Minnesota.

Gordon

Gordon's First NAW Hunt

This segment features Gordon Whittington's very first on camera hunt for North American Whitetail.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

We'll explain which supplements whitetails can obtain in the field, and the best ways to provide them with the ones they can't. Off-Season

Which Minerals Do Deer Need?

Dr. James C. Kroll

We'll explain which supplements whitetails can obtain in the field, and the best ways to...

Here's a look at some of the new deer rifles from SHOT Show 2020! Guns

Best New Deer Hunting Rifles for 2020

Lynn Burkhead - January 29, 2020

Here's a look at some of the new deer rifles from SHOT Show 2020!

Understanding what deer eat and how they adjust their diets to meet changing nutritional requirements will not only increase your chances of harvesting a good buck, but also your enjoyment of whitetail hunting. Land Management

What Do Deer Eat?

Dr. James C. Kroll

Understanding what deer eat and how they adjust their diets to meet changing nutritional...

Good location is just part of the equation. Scouting

The Best Summer Trail Camera Strategy

Tony J. Peterson

Good location is just part of the equation.

See More Trending Articles

More Industry

A trip to the deer-rich state of Kansas is going to cost you more this season, a lot more. Starting Industry

Bigger Bucks: Kansas Raises Cost of Non-Resident Deer Tags

David Hart - June 07, 2016

A trip to the deer-rich state of Kansas is going to cost you more this season, a lot more....

I really didn't think I'd ever write this piece. Not that I didn't think I'd be around to do it. Industry

20th Anniversary: Milo Hanson's World Record Buck

Gordon Whittington

I really didn't think I'd ever write this piece. Not that I didn't think I'd be around to do...

As Hurricane Harvey struck the upper Texas coast in late August, video and photos of swimming deer Industry

Texas Whitetails Riding Out Hurricane Harvey

Gordon Whittington - March 08, 2018

As Hurricane Harvey struck the upper Texas coast in late August, video and photos of swimming...

The quest for fame and fortune may have claimed another victim from the hunting world.

This time, Industry

NAW TV: Marc Anthony Talks About Buck He Allegedly Faked

David Hart - May 20, 2014

The quest for fame and fortune may have claimed another victim from the hunting world. This...

See More Industry

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All North American Whitetail subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now