Disease hitting deer in South Dakota hardYANKTON (AP) — South Dakota wildlife officials are considering reducing the number of deer hunting licenses this fall because of an outbreak of disease.
YANKTON (AP) — South Dakota wildlife officials are considering reducing the number of deer hunting licenses this fall because of an outbreak of disease.
Hunters, farmers and game wardens have reported more than 1,100 cases of Epizootic hemorrhagic disease, commonly known as EHD, Game, Fish and Parks regional wildlife manager John Kanta told the media.
EHD is spread by a small insect known as a midge and almost always is fatal for white-tailed deer. It is not known to affect people. The disease also has been reported in deer in other states this summer, as well as in cattle in southeastern South Dakota.
That region also is where the heaviest deer losses have come in the state, the media reported.
"We have seen a late surge the last three weeks. And from what I have been told, it's going to get worse," Yankton County Conservation Officer Sam Schelhaas said.
"The first few calls were isolated here and there," he said. "Now, in talking to officers in other counties, some of the bigger landowners are finding 10 and 12 dead deer on their property. Hutchinson County has really been hit."
The owner of a Hutchinson County hunting preserve said the heavy deer losses have hurt his business.
"As far as the deer in my hunting area, there were more than 50 dead by the 18th of August," said Mark Bauer, who operates Martin Creek Outfitters & Lodge west of Freeman.
South Dakota wildlife officials are considering taking away some leftover licenses, or even granting refunds to hunters who already have deer tags, Kanta said. That happened in North Dakota last year, when wildlife officials suspended the sale of some licenses and offered refunds to holders of 13,000 licenses that already had been sold because of an EHD outbreak in the western part of the state.
Bauer has asked South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks officials to revisit the number of deer licenses being made available. Hutchinson County is allowed 800 deer tags, which he said would decimate what's left of the county's deer population.