PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota’s most recent Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) testing results indicate that two white-tailed deer and one mule deer were found to have the disease. All of these deer were bucks and were harvested by hunters in eastern Fall River County.

“The area where these three deer were harvested is the same area where deer tested positive for the disease in 2001 and 2002,” said Game, Fish and Parks Wildlife Biologist Steve Griffin of Rapid City. “Overall, prevalence rates for CWD still remain low in this area.”

Griffin noted that the CWD surveillance season is starting to slow down as hunting seasons are coming to an end, but the department will continue to monitor for CWD in wild deer and elk throughout the year by sampling animals that appear sick. He said that most of the samples come from deer and elk harvested by hunters during the fall hunting seasons.

South Dakota’s 2004 Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance Program has been in full operation since the start of last September’s youth deer season. Since that time, Game, Fish and Parks has collected 2,586 samples from deer and elk and have received results on 2,511 of these samples. The department is still waiting for results on 62 deer and 13 elk that were harvested during late hunting seasons.

As in past years, GFP has focused its efforts for the CWD surveillance program in areas where CWD has been detected in captive animals, and/or in wild free-roaming populations of deer and elk. Surveillance is being concentrated in the southwestern part of South Dakota, which includes Fall River County, Custer County, parts of Pennington County and the Black Hills. Testing is also being conducted on any sick animals that are discovered in South Dakota as part of the surveillance program.

All hunters who submit a sample will receive a letter with the results of the CWD test as soon as the results are returned from the lab.