Where Does CWD Occur?

Where is CWD found?

CWD was first described in a Colorado Division of Wildlife captive deer research facility in 1967 and a few years later in a similar Wyoming research facility. CWD was first identified in South Dakota in 7 captive cervid herds in the winter of 1997-1998. More recently, CWD was identified in captive cervid herds in Meade and Clark counties in 2019, a captive elk in Custer County in October 2020, and a captive deer herd in Haakon County in 2021. CWD was first found in free-ranging wildlife in a white-tailed deer in Fall River County during the 2001 big game hunting season. In South Dakota, CWD has been detected in free-ranging wildlife in Bennett, Buffalo, Butte, Corson, Custer, Fall River, Haakon, Harding, Jackson, Lawrence, Lyman, Meade, Mellette, Pennington, Perkins, Stanley, Sully, Tripp, and Ziebach counties, Custer State Park, and Wind Cave National Park. A map of the known distribution of CWD within free-ranging deer and elk can be found at the bottom of the page under "Related Maps". 

The map below illustrates where CWD has been confirmed by county in South Dakota.

How often does CWD occur?

Surveillance from hunter-harvest and testing of sick deer and elk implies CWD is relatively rare in free-roaming cervids when the number of animals present is considered. South Dakota is reporting a total of 54 positive deer and elk (13 mule deer, 31 white-tailed deer and 10 elk) in the testing period of July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. As of June 30, 2022, South Dakota has found 663 cases of CWD (404 deer and 259 elk) in free-ranging deer and elk since testing began in 1997. Wind Cave National Park (WICA) accounts for 181 of these animals (166 elk, 15 deer). Thirty-three elk and 12 deer have been found in Custer State Park. A total of 32,878 wild deer and elk have been tested for CWD since 1997.