GFP Seeking Assistance from Hunters with CWD Surveillance

November 14, 2019

GFP Seeking Assistance from Hunters with CWD Surveillance

PIERRE, S.D. – With the much-anticipated arrival of the West and East River deer seasons, Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is seeking the assistance of hunters in providing samples for chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance efforts.
“With a majority of the deer harvest occurring during the firearm seasons, hunters play a critical role in determining the distribution of CWD across South Dakota,” said GFP wildlife program administrator Chad Switzer. “When we developed the CWD action plan, we identified high priority surveillance areas to focus effort and resources where wildlife managers are working to determine if CWD is present. Findings from these sampling efforts will help us implement regulations for transportation and carcass disposal, which are critical to reducing the spread of CWD.”
Hunters can provide samples from their deer in a number of ways.
“There are numerous sample collection stations within and around the high priority surveillance areas, and sampling kits are available at GFP offices,” said Switzer. “Also, a hunter can contact any GFP office and make arrangements to have a sample removed from a harvested deer.” 
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. The disease cannot be diagnosed by observation of physical symptoms because many big game diseases affect animals in similar ways.
While GFP’s focus will be to collect samples from high priority surveillance areas, samples from anywhere in South Dakota can be tested. For more information on CWD and how to submit samples from a harvested deer or elk, visit or contact your local GFP office.


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