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PIERRE Hunters considering a trip to a portion of Harding County this fall need to be aware that a common deer disease is effecting the white-tailed deer population.

A die-off of white-tailed deer has been documented in the southwest corner of Harding County. According to the Department of Game, Fish and Parks, the probable cause of the die-off is Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD). This is an acute, infectious disease that occurs almost exclusively in white-tailed deer and is often fatal to the deer. It is not a health risk to humans. The disease is spread by tiny biting midges, and infected deer are most often found near water. The disease is especially prevalent during late summer periods of high temperatures and drought.

"We have encountered EHD a number of times over the past several years, and with the weather conditions we have had the past several weeks, we are not surprised to have reports of an outbreak like this," said Ron Fowler, game program manager for the Division of Wildlife.

Fowler said the West River deer hunting unit where the die-off of white-tailed deer has been most significant is in the unit 335B area of Harding County. Hunters planning to apply for a unit 335B leftover license in the second drawing may want to consider applying for a leftover license in a different West River deer area.

Fowler added that GFP staff have and will continue to monitor for signs of EHD breakouts. "These die-offs occur in some remote areas, so it is necessary to rely on landowners who are out working their property and hunters who may be out in the field as information sources for EHD outbreaks," he said.

If several deer are found dead in a specific area, it is important that individuals contact a GFP office or a conservation officer with information on where and when the discovery was made and how many deer were involved.

"We will continue to monitor the EHD situation throughout the state," Fowler said. "We have specific management plans in place for handling these events once we are notified and verify them. If the situation is serious enough, we will notify hunters of possible changes in the hunting situation in their area."

Information on leftover licenses may be obtained online at or by calling the GFP Information Office at 605/773-3393 or 605/773-3485.






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