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Health Team

South Dakota loses more than 2,000 deer in disease outbreak

Posted November 28

— South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks issued more deer licenses this year, but the animals may be hard to find.

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, a viral disease that killed more than 3,700 deer in 2012, has impacted the population this year, with more than 2,000 deer found dead in 23 counties, The Daily Republic (http://bit.ly/2go0hdm ) reported. The heaviest losses have been in Brule, Aurora and Beadle counties.

The state issued about 29,000 resident licenses this year. It also issued about 42,000 individual tags, a 33 percent increase from last year.

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks senior big game biologist Andy Lindbloom said about 1,500 licenses were returned as of noon Friday. They had to be postmarked by Friday to be refunded.

Lindbloom said the disease can lead to different hunting opportunities from one piece of land to another nearby.

According to Conservation Officer Andy Peterson the disease hit his county of Davison and the county of Hanson hard, but he's still seen some healthy population of deer in some areas. He said it all depends on how EHD spreads.

"I think some people will still have deer and be able to have decent hunts," said Peterson. "Other areas, it's going to be kind of tough to find some deer."

Davison County was just recovering from the last outbreak it suffered when the EHD epidemic began to spread, said Peterson.

Licenses issued for the new year will be dependent on factors which include fawn-to-doe ratios, aerial surveys, survival rates and harvest success.

Lindbloom said GF&P is currently working to put together a statewide deer management plan.

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