CWD Found in Mellette County

PIERRE, S.D. – Chronic wasting disease (CWD) was recently confirmed in a new area in western South Dakota. Confirmation of the disease was obtained from hunters assisting with surveillance efforts coming from one adult male mule deer and one adult male white-tailed deer in Mellette County.

Mellette County is now considered in the CWD endemic area, meaning the disease has been confirmed and hunters who harvest deer or elk from this county must now follow the new CWD regulations to help reduce the spread of CWD.

South Dakota has now confirmed CWD in 16 counties of western and central South Dakota, which includes four counties added from deer sampled during the 2020 hunting season.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal brain disease of deer, elk, and moose caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. Most harvested individuals with CWD will appear healthy and display no clinical signs. Animals in the later stages of infection with CWD may show progressive loss of weight and body condition, behavioral changes, excessive salivation, loss of muscle control and eventual death. Chronic wasting disease is always fatal for the afflicted animal. CWD poses serious problems for wildlife managers, and the implications of long-term management for free-ranging deer and elk is unknown.

For more information on CWD, visit or contact your local GFP office.