GFP removes unsold deer licenses as a response to hemorrhagic disease

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PIERRE, S.D. — The South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks (GFP) has removed a total of 559 unsold double tag antlerless deer licenses from some hunting units in western South Dakota due to a fatal deer 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 ten counties across South Dakota.

“Based on documented mortality and disease detection from radio-marked deer, reports from landowners, and considering the population objectives of deer hunting units, our first step in addressing this year’s EHD situation is to remove a total of 559 unsold antlerless whitetail deer licenses valid on private land only in Harding and Meade counties,” said wildlife division director, Tom Kirschenmann.

Many deer exhibit no signs and appear perfectly healthy, while others may have symptoms such as respiratory distress, fever, swelling of the tongue, or ultimately death. GFP will continue to monitor these reported deer losses to determine if additional changes are needed for other hunting units and future deer hunting seasons.

“We are encouraging hunters and landowners to continue to report dead deer to their local GFP conservation officer or GFP office. As a result of these deer losses, hunters are reminded to contact landowners or local GFP staff to learn more about local conditions,” Kirschenmann said. “GFP’s new license return policy allows hunters to return licenses 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”.

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

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News