CASS COUNTY -- Firearm deer season begins Thursday in Michigan and Saturday in Indiana.
But this year, hunters are expected to see fewer deer because of a disease that's killed thousands. The disease is called epizootic hemorrhagic disease -- or EHD.
At Trails End Sports, right off M-60 in Vandalia, Dale Williams is ready to help hunters with their last minute items before they head out for the season. But this morning, his store is empty.
"There is a lot of people that said they are not going to hunt deer this year," says Williams.
Williams isn't surprised. He is a hunter himself and has seen the effects of EHD this year: dead deer -- everywhere.
"If you wanted to find the majority of them you went by the water," says Williams who has been out hunting. "When they get sick they go to the water. They have a fever and they try to cool off the swamps and the lakes they would be floating by the shorelines."
EHD is spread from deer-to-deer by a bug.
Some deer will survive the disease, many will not.
It happens every year, but this year, in Michigan, the DNR says it is the worst they have ever seen.
"We are looking at the hooves," says Dave Brauer a wildlife specialist at the DNR Crane Pond Field Office in Jones. "The hooves will show an abnormality. It (EHD) interrupts the growth of the hooves and all four hooves should show this if they had the disease and recovered from it."
As of last week, there have been more than 13,000 reported cases of the disease in 30 Michigan counties. Brauer says because of this, hunters are going to see fewer deer.
Ultimately, that is bad for Williams' business.
"They are not buying the clothing, they are not buying the guns, they are not buying the ammunition and it is bad," says Williams, "They are not buying licenses either."
Williams though it not letting it get him down. He knows next year the deer population will come back and so will the hunters.
The number of confirmed cases in Indiana is much lower than in Michigan. Both DNR offices, want hunters to report any dead deer they find.
Also, you can still eat deer with EHD. It is not transmittable to humans in any manner.