EHD Hitting Deer Hard in Central South Dakota
Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) is killing deer off and putting a damper on hunting seasons in the middle of South Dakota. Again.
The Department of Game, Fish and Parks announced on Friday in a press release that they have pulled leftover deer licenses in eleven units and are offering refunds for anyone with an East River tag or a tag in 45A or 45B in Lyman County. Preference points will also be awarded for those who got their tags in the first draw.
"These actions are intended to lessen the impact on deer populations in hunting units where management objectives are to maintain or increase deer populations," Chad Switzer, wildlife program administrator, said in a press release. "We appreciate the landowners and hunters who have contacted staff to report and document these losses. This is a great example of how the information exchange between our agency and our customers helps manage our natural resources."
The GFP has received over 1,200 reports of dead deer.
The same deal was offered to Sully County hunters last year as the disease had a small outbreak that lead to a few dead deer.
I had a tag last year in Sully County and I can say that we saw a lot of deer. I also saw a dead buck along the shore of Lake Oahe. No one in my party sent their tags in for a refund but I know of a couple who did.
This year may be a different story. I talked to a landowner in Davison County yesterday and he told me that as the harvest progresses more and more dead deer are being discovered.
I have a tags for Sully and Stanley Counties. I still plan on hunting, especially since Stanley County has had no dead deer reported so far.
Those who want to take advantage of the option to return a license for a refund need to mail the license/tags to: GFP Licensing Office, 20641 SD Hwy 1806, Fort Pierre, SD 57532. East River deer licenses must be post-marked by Nov. 19, 2016. West River deer licenses (45A and 45B in Lyman County) must be post-marked by Nov. 12, 2016. Refund checks will be mailed after these dates.