South Dakota is once again feeling the brutal effects of EHD this year.
2012 was a tough year for deer herds across the country. South Dakota, like many Midwestern states, was no exception. Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, more commonly known as EHD, took a significant toll on the deer population that year.
Fast-forward to early 2016, and almost every state was seeing rebounding population numbers. A feature published in May of this year discussed how South Dakota was making an extra 15,000 tags available for the 2016 season. (See the original article here). This was a direct response to rapidly increasing deer population. Recently, however, counties all across South Dakota are reporting a growing number of EHD cases are again making the rounds.
So far in 2016, the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Department has received more than 2,000 reported cases of EHD. The hardest-hit counties include those just East of the Missouri River. Brule, Aurora, and Beadle counties lead the way, each with more than 200 cases reported to date.
Earlier this year, GFP sent notice to tag holders that they could get a refund by returning their unfilled deer tags. According to an interview with Andy Lindbloom, senior big game biologist with the GFP, over 1,500 licenses have been refunded as of late November.
Also making the rounds in South Dakota is Chronic Wasting Disease. CWD has made a more recent visit to the state than EHD. CWD is difficult to diagnose in a deer herd, and as of this writing, there is no treatment for the disease. The majority of CWD cases have been confined to the western part of the state near the Black Hills.