The Game, Fish and Parks Department has been monitoring die-offs of white-tailed deer in northwestern South Dakota, centered in northern Perkins County, and will now reduce the number of licenses available in the affected area.
The deer die-offs have been linked to Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), which also caused deer die-offs early last fall in many parts of the state.
GFP is taking action to adjust the number of deer hunting licenses available in the affected area, and as a result 41 unsold two-tag antlerless white-tailed deer licenses will be eliminated from Perkins County north of South Dakota Highway 20 issued as West River Deer hunting unit 53A-19.
“Our staff have been keeping a close watch for loss of deer, and as reports have come in from landowners and concerned citizens we have focused our efforts in northern Perkins County,” Tom Kirschenmann, Chief of Wildlife for GFP said. “Eliminating these unsold licenses is an appropriate response based on the current information and we will continue to monitor the area and situation.”
Kirschenmann said GFP will continue to conduct ground surveillance and gather reports from the public.
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 1-3 days. Affected deer are often found near low lying areas or near water like a river or a pond. This is due to the deer attempting to go to the water to combat the high fever.
The Department asks 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 http://gfp.sd.gov/wildlife/diseases/epizootic-hemorrhagic-disease.aspx