Here's an update on the story.

GFP has been monitoring a die-off of white-tailed deer in parts of the state due to EHD. In some areas the loss of deer has been significant.

We are taking two actions effective immediately:

  • the number of unsold licenses available in some areas has been adjusted
  • you are being offered the opportunity to return your deer license and tags for a refund

For now, unsold licenses will be eliminated in West River units Bennett County: 11A-09 and 11B-17; Gregory County: 30A-19 and 30B-19; and Jackson County: 39B-09. In addition, 200 licenses will be removed for Meade County: 49B-09.

Monitoring will continue and more adjustments may be made, including the East River counties of Hutchinson, Bon Homme, Yankton, Charles Mix and Brule. We will provide news of updates as they develop.

The option to receive a refund for your license will be available until the opening day of your respective deer season. Archery Deer opens Sept. 22, so Sept. 21 is the last day refunds could be taken.

Hunters seeking a refund should send their license, including all associated tags, to:
GFP Licensing Office
20641 SD Hwy. 1806
Ft. Pierre, SD 57532


Story By Associated Press 9.18/2012

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 KEVN-TV in Rapid City.

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 Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan newspaper 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.