PIERRE – As planned testing from the fall and winter of 2002-03 draws to a close, two more deer collected in the Black Hills have been returned from a laboratory having tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

One of the deer was a hunter-collected white-tailed buck deer taken in West River firearms deer unit 327B in Fall River County. The other was a road-kill white-tailed buck deer collected in Black Hills deer unit 403A in Pennington County.

A total of 1,950 deer and elk have been submitted for chronic wasting disease testing this fall and winter. The results have been returned on all but four deer and one elk. So far a total of nine deer from these samples have tested positive for the disease. No hunter-collected elk have been returned with a positive test.

“We continue to evaluate the data we have received from our extensive testing of the past few months,” said Ron Fowler, game program manager for the Department of Game, Fish and Parks. “We will now have to review our short and long term management plans for chronic wasting disease with these results in mind.”

Chronic wasting disease affects the nervous system of white-tailed deer, mule deer and elk and is always fatal. Scientists have found no evidence that CWD can be transmitted naturally to humans or livestock.

Updated information on the CWD testing program can be seen on the Game, Fish and Parks web site at www.state.sd.us/gfp/DivisionWildlife/hunting/BigGame/CWD.htm.

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