PIERRE, S.D. – Game, Fish and Parks officials say South Dakota now has four animals that have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease. Results include three deer and, most recently, one elk. All positive tests are from free ranging animals that were tested from July 1, 2004 to Jan. 27, 2005.

“We have collected 2,647 samples since last July 1, “said Wildlife Biologist Steve Griffin of Rapid City. “As of Jan. 27, the breakdown of those samples includes 688 elk, 728 mule deer and 1,231 white-tailed deer. All samples are from the Black Hills and from prairie hunting units in Fall River, Custer and eastern Pennington counties of western South Dakota.” He noted that most samples were taken from hunter-harvested animals.

Of the 2,646 samples received, tests have revealed three CWD positive deer and one CWD positive elk. A summary of these animals includes:

1. White-tailed deer male from Unit 327B in Fall River County. (hunter harvested), 2. Mule deer male from Unit 327B in Fall River County. (hunter harvested), 3. White-tailed deer male from unit 327B in Fall River County. (hunter harvested),

4. Elk female from unit 403B in Fall River County. (hunter harvested).

Since testing began in 1997/98, South Dakota has found 26 cases of CWD (20 deer and six elk) in free ranging deer and elk. Wind Cave National Park accounts for eight of these animals (three elk, five deer). A total of 9,006 wild deer and elk have been tested for CWD since 1997/98.

Hunters may get their animal tested for chronic wasting disease by making their own arrangements directly through the SDSU Diagnostic Lab at (605) 688-5171.