Fawn losses

Popcorn

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There are countless conversations about fawn recruitment, predation by yotes, dogs, buzzards and more but I dont see a lot of conversation on losses due to flys, fleas and ticks. This little guy has no chance of survival as every oraface is covered with ticks or fly eggs, the fleas are crawling and the flys are swarming. His eyes are useless and his hours are few. I have seen new fawns everywhere all week, the things I have noticed or have looked for are related to these infestations and fawn losses due to them. Fawns out in row crop fields are relatively parasite free. Fawns in areas burned this past spring are also relatively parasite free. Fawns in pastures where cattle graze have a few but they are survivable numbers. Fawns in uncut hay fields have a much higher number of ticks. fawns in areas that are in the 1st or 2nd year of a 3 year burn rotation have a few parasites but nothing devestating. Fawns in thickets, unmanaged waterways and unmanaged woodlands have much higher numbers, many fatally infested with ticks, fleas and yes flys. I see that row crop ground is mostly free of habitat conducive to parasites, ground that is part of a prescribed fire rotation has less parasite habitat and I think the smokey / charred debris may well be undesirable to parasites plus prescribed burns likely toasts a lot of these critters. Grazing cattle are protected with a parasiticide and they tend to severely disrupt the habitat of the parasites. uncut hay fields are very similar to thickets in habitat for parasites. There is every reason to believe that this same principle applies to turkey poults. I will add that I am aware of a land owner who (small acreage) uses a tractor mounted fan to mist parasiticide over larger areas and I know several who treat corn with pour on parasiticide and feed it with success in controlling parasites on their game animals. Really just thinking out loud, in areas where population growth is desired like Putnam and Jackson county, TN and east this is food for thought, in western KY and Stewart County, TN it is mute as they are overrun.
 

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tree_ghost

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Interesting post. I do find it strange that from one property to the next, even in very close proximity to each other, there can be a huge difference in the tick populations. I hate them suckers!!!!!
 
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It will seem likely that predator numbers will be higher where the fawns are weaker from parasites too. The type of cover that you describe will host more rats, voles, rabbits etc, as well as easy prey of fawns will draw them.
 

BSK

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Great post on the difference in parasite loads by habitat type. Last year I had a buck using my place that consistently used a powerline right-of-way as his primary travel route. The habitat in the right-of-way is all tall grasses and briers. Every time I walk through it I get ticks. When this particular buck was killed by my daughter, we found him so covered with ticks it was gruesome. Other bucks we kill that are roamers through primarily big woods have few ticks.
 

BSK

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And for those who question whether insects can cause mortality in large mammals, I remember reading after one of the last big hurricanes came ashore in the Louisiana Delta area that so many mosquitoes were blown northwards that hundreds of cattle in northern LA and central MS were bled to death. I can't imagine mosquitoes so thick they can drain cattle of their blood.
 

JCDEERMAN

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Very good post and thanks for sharing, Popcorn. Particularly the part about fire. Add another benefit to the list that I haven't seen talked about on here. Even burning the litter on the ground in hardwoods can vastly reduce the tick population. It is very low intense and easily done. If you remove the leaf litter and it doesn't rain for a couple days, most all the ticks should die, as they thrive in moist areas under that litter. Rotational burning in select-cut areas can vastly reduce ticks and are typically repopulated from deer and other critters entering those areas and they shed off, breed, etc....But doing this every 3 years or so can keep them in check. Pics like these makes my heart break.
 

DoubleRidge

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Interesting....and disturbing....I hate ticks...and it seems this spring has been especially worse than previous years.....around our house anyway.... normally working around yard and garden I never have an issue...this year wife and I both have gotten 3 or 4 ticks each....going out into the field or timber I spray down....never had too doing yard work ..until this year.
 

Quailman

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Speaking of parasites, we hunted a new farm in Williamson County last season, and a friend of mine and I both killed mature bucks in late December. Both of these deer were covered with deer keds (louse), mainly on the hind quarters/groin area. It's the first time I've ever killed a deer (to my knowledge) that had keds. My brother and I also shot 2 does on the same property in mid-November that were extremely healthy and had no visible ticks or keds. ?
 

backyardtndeer

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Flies this year in this part of west Tennessee are about the worst I have seen in a very long time. Our cows are covered up and needing hit with wormer again. No doubt parasites take a toll and not just on the little ones. The midges that cause ehd kill a lot of deer.
 

rifle02

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It is strange how those conditions vary from one year to the next. In 2016 in Hamilton County I took a young buck that was totally covered with keds. Later that same season another man hunting the same property took a really good eight point with the same thing. That buck also was covered with keds. I've never seen that many insects crawling on an animal before. I've taken two deer per year every year since then on the same small property and have yet to see another ked on any deer. What's up with that?
 

Popcorn

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It is strange how those conditions vary from one year to the next. In 2016 in Hamilton County I took a young buck that was totally covered with keds. Later that same season another man hunting the same property took a really good eight point with the same thing. That buck also was covered with keds. I've never seen that many insects crawling on an animal before. I've taken two deer per year every year since then on the same small property and have yet to see another ked on any deer. What's up with that?
I have not studied these (hog lice to me) in particular but have noticed that they seem to be more previlant in wetter areas and wetter years. When I was very young we raised hogs and they were how we utilized swampy ground and wet woodland. Hog lice were a common issue. When we moved shoats to ridgetop pastures and limestone branches for water the lice were not there.
 

BSK

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I have not studied these (hog lice to me) in particular but have noticed that they seem to be more previlant in wetter areas and wetter years. When I was very young we raised hogs and they were how we utilized swampy ground and wet woodland. Hog lice were a common issue. When we moved shoats to ridgetop pastures and limestone branches for water the lice were not there.
That's intersting.
 

BSK

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Flies this year in this part of west Tennessee are about the worst I have seen in a very long time. Our cows are covered up and needing hit with wormer again. No doubt parasites take a toll and not just on the little ones. The midges that cause ehd kill a lot of deer.
I was working in the field yesterday and noticed that. Biting flies at an all-time high back in the woods. And with the rain we've had, I think mosquitoes ae going to be brutal in a couple weeks.
 

Andy S.

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I saw this pic online recently and the guy in the pic said he “pulled a kabillion ticks off this fawn”.

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rifle02

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I have not studied these (hog lice to me) in particular but have noticed that they seem to be more previlant in wetter areas and wetter years. When I was very young we raised hogs and they were how we utilized swampy ground and wet woodland. Hog lice were a common issue. When we moved shoats to ridgetop pastures and limestone branches for water the lice were not there.
2016 was a drought year in Hamiltln Co anyway. Maybe the deer had sought out a muddy creek bottom because of that. The drought was pretty well over by the time either deer was taken.
 

backyardtndeer

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I was working in the field yesterday and noticed that. Biting flies at an all-time high back in the woods. And with the rain we've had, I think mosquitoes ae going to be brutal in a couple weeks.
Bad year for sure, for most predatory insects. Wife and daughter hit our cows with pour on ivermectin wormer early this morning to help with the flies.

Being 3 weeks into open heart recovery, I was pretty well on the sidelines. Even still the little flies were biting me through my thick black socks. These bite like deer flies, but look like a small common house fly, relentless. Sure the flies are hitting the deer hard in the bottoms.

Deer flies and horse flies are bad this year too.
 
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