PIERRE, South Dakota (KCAU) – Three counties in South Dakota have deer that tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), all thanks to the cooperation of hunters.
Harding, Meade, and Tripp counties have all had deer test positive for CWD. These detections were obtained from samples provided through collection stations.
“While not the news we wanted to learn, we did expect to find CWD in new areas with the increased sampling and testing effort. From a disease surveillance standpoint, we are grateful for the cooperation from hunters in providing voluntary samples from their harvested deer, along with participating taxidermists and businesses that provided areas for sample collection stations,” Chad Switzer, GFP (Game, Fish, & Parks) wildlife program administrator said in a recent press release.
One male mule from both Harding and Meade counties tested positive, while three male and one female white-tailed deer tested positive from Tripp County.
“We understand hunters are anxious to obtain test results from samples provided. Hunters will be notified as soon as possible with either a not detected or positive result,” Switzer added.
CWD is a fatal brain disease of deer, elk, and moose caused by an abnormal protein called prion. Animals in the later stages of CWD may show progressive loss of weight and body conditions, behavioral changes, excessive salivation, loss of muscle control, and eventually death.
CWD is always fatal for the affected animal, and it poses serious problems for wildlife managers, and the implications of long-term management for free-ranging deer and elk is unknown.
The Game, Fish and Parks Commission recently created regulations for the transportation and disposal of deer and elk carcasses from other states and from hunting units within South Dakota’s confirmed CWD areas.
The new regulations will not go into effect until 2020.
For more information on CWD, you can contact your local GFP office or visit the chronic wasting disease section of the South Dakota GFP website by clicking here.