PIERRE, S.D. – Last week, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) issued information about epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) and removing left-over deer licenses and offering refunds to East River firearm hunters for the 2016 season.
Reports of deer loss continued as hunters took to the fields for the traditional pheasant hunting opener.
In response, GFP is now offering a refund to any hunter with an archery, youth or muzzleloader deer hunting license as long as the hunter has not already hunted with the license.
In addition, voluntary refunds will be offered to individuals who have already received a deer license for any East River firearm hunting unit and the West River hunting units 45A and 45B in Lyman County.
Deer hunters questioning the return of their license for a refund are encouraged to visit with those landowners in areas where they have permission to hunt to best determine the local status and impact from EHD.
Those who want to take advantage of the option to return a license for a refund need to mail the license/tags to: GFP Licensing Office, 20641 SD Hwy 1806, Fort Pierre, SD 57532. Archery and youth licenses returned for a refund must be post-marked by Nov. 1, 2016. All other licenses must be returned prior to those seasons starting.
This disease 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. 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. EHD is not infectious to humans. For more information on the EHD virus and to view a map updated weekly of reported dead deer, visit http://gfp.sd.gov/wildlife/diseases/epizootic-hemorrhagic-disease.aspx.