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Print

SD panel cuts deer hunting licenses due to EHD

June 12, 2013 at 10:46 AM

The Associated Press


PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission set hunting rules Thursday that will reduce the number of deer that can be shot this fall to help the population recover from losses caused by a disease.

Chad Switzer, a program manager for the state Game, Fish and Parks Department, said the changes were prompted by epizootic hemorrhagic disease, a virus spread by a biting midge. Officials have said at least 3,400 deer died of EHD last year, and many more likely were killed by the disease because they were never found.

The commission approved an East River rifle season that will allow a total of 50,635 deer to be shot east of the Missouri River. That's a reduction of 7,950 tags from last year. The season runs Nov. 23-Dec. 8, and will reopen Dec. 28-Jan. 5 for hunters with unfilled tags for antlerless deer.

The West River season will allow resident hunters to shoot slightly more than 45,000 deer on western prairies, down more than 1,000 from last year. A small number of licenses also are issued for nonresidents. The rifle season in western South Dakota will run Nov. 16-Dec. 1 in most areas. Unfilled antlerless tags will be good Dec. 28-Jan. 5.

The number of licenses available in the Black Hills will be reduced only slightly from last year, with a few more than 3,500 being issued.

No one testified in person on the deer seasons at Thursday's meeting, but the commission received letters from several hunters urging that licenses be kept low so the population can recover.

The archery deer season will run Sept. 28-Jan. 15 statewide, with no limit on numbers sold.

Officials have said EHD hit particularly hard in parts of southeastern South Dakota. The losses were high enough to cause several thousand tags to be returned by hunters or withdrawn by wildlife officials before the hunting seasons started.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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