Every now and then the deer season in South Dakota gets marred by disease. Of course, 2020 would be one of those years.

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks announced that epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), also known as bluetongue disease, has been confirmed in dead deer found in the central part of the state.

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“With hunters now out in the field and landowner’s surveillance of wildlife on their properties, we ask those that encounter dead deer to report those to their local conservation officer or GFP office”, said Chad Switzer, wildlife program administrator. “This information will assist wildlife managers in making recommendations to respond accordingly”.

EHD is a viral disease that pops up in white-tailed deer in the late summer or early fall and is spread by a biting midge. Deer will get the disease and end up losing their appetite, salivate excessively, and run a high body temperature which is why often the dead deer will be found near bodies of water where they attempted to cool off. They can be dead within just three days. It often pops up in dry years.

So far the disease has hit central South Dakota the hardest. Hyde County has had the greatest impact with 112 suspected dead deer due to EHD. Hand County has 39 suspected cases, however, no cases are confirmed in either of those counties.

Three confirmed cases of EHD have been found in Hughes County, and one has been found in Sully County.

In 2015 and 2016 saw fairly large outbreaks of EHD that had a significant enough impact that hunters were offered refunds and preference points if they chose to. I hunted both of those years in Sully County and had success with healthy deer both years, however the only