The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department has been monitoring die-offs of white-tailed deer across portions of the state and must make adjustments to some West River deer hunting units.
Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) has been confirmed in white-tailed deer, and many of the deer deaths being reported by the public are suspected to be the result of that disease.
In response to the disease, all unsold licenses will be removed from the following deer hunting units for the West River deer season: Bennett County: 11A-09 and 11B-17; Gregory County: 30A-19 and 30B-19; and Jackson County: 39B-09. In addition, 200 licenses will be removed for Meade County: 49B-09.
Hunters desiring a refund for a deer license should send their license, including all associated tags, to: GFP Licensing Office; 20641 SD Highway 1806; Fort Pierre, SD 57532.
EHD is common in white-tailed deer and is typically detected in late summer or early fall. The virus is spread by a biting midge and causes extensive internal hemorrhaging. Many deer exhibit no clinical signs and appear perfectly healthy, while others may have symptoms such as respiratory distress, fever, and swelling of the tongue. With highly virulent strains of the virus, deer can be dead within one to three days. In an attempt to combat the high fever, affected deer are often found in low-lying areas or near rivers, ponds and other waters.
GFP continues to ask individuals who see sick deer or find dead deer to contact their local conservation officer or call the Pierre office at 605-773-5913.
EHD is not infectious to humans. For more information on the EHD virus, visit gfp.sd.gov.