Significant Hemorrhagic Outbreak in Deer in Western South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) has removed additional unsold antlerless deer licenses from some hunting units in western South Dakota due to a fatal deer disease. GFP is also encouraging all West River deer hunters to inquire with local landowners and wildlife conservation officers on local conditions, to decide if they should return their current deer license because of these issues.

“Based on mortality we have previously documented and the continued reports from landowners, hunters and other individuals in the field regarding dead deer, we have determined we have a significant hemorrhagic disease outbreak in western South Dakota,” said wildlife division director, Tom Kirschenmann.

In response to this outbreak, GFP has removed an additional 379 unsold antlerless deer licenses in Harding, Meade, and Perkins counties. Just a week ago, GFP removed 559 antlerless deer licenses valid on private land only in Harding and Meade counties.

GFP is urging all deer hunters to reach out to local landowners to help decide if they should return their deer license for a refund, regardless where they would be hunting.

“GFP’s license return policy allows hunters to return their license for any reason, as long as they are postmarked prior to the start of the respective season, for a full refund and reinstatement of preference points,” Kirschenmann said. “Regardless where you plan to hunt in the state, please do your research and if you feel the area you plan to hunt has been impacted you are welcome to take advantage of this opportunity to return your license.”

Currently, hemorrhagic disease has been confirmed in 15 counties across the state. A complete map of impacted counties can be found online. GFP encourages hunters and landowners to continue to report dead deer to their local GFP conservation officer or GFP office.

About Hemorrhagic Disease

Hemorrhagic disease, caused by epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) or blue tongue (BT) virus, is spread by a biting midge and causes extensive internal hemorrhaging in infected animals. Both EHD and BT viral caused mortalities have been detected this year in South Dakota, particularly in western South Dakota. Many deer exhibit no clinical signs and appear perfectly healthy, while others may have symptoms such as respiratory distress, fever, swelling of the tongue, or ultimately death.

For more information on hemorrhagic disease visit https://gfp.sd.gov/epizootic-hemorrhagic-disease/.