PIERRE, S.D. – Increased efforts to determine the presence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in South Dakota have led to positive results out of Harding, Meade and Tripp counties. Thanks to the cooperation of hunters, 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,” said GFP wildlife program administrator Chad Switzer. “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,” he said.

One male mule deer from both Harding and Meade counties tested positive, while three male and one female white-tailed deer were positive from Tripp County.

“We understand hunters are anxious to obtain test results from samples provided,” said Switzer. “Hunters will be notified as soon as possible with either a not detected or positive result.”

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal brain disease of deer, elk, and moose caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. Animals in the later stages of infection with CWD may show progressive loss of weight and body condition, behavioral changes, excessive salivation, loss of muscle control and eventual death. Chronic wasting disease is always fatal for the afflicted animal. CWD 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, visit gfp.sd.gov/chronic-wasting-disease or contact your local GFP office.