Officials with the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department say at least 3,400 deer have died this year from a midge-borne virus.
This is more than twice the reported deaths in 2011 from epizootic hemorrhagic disease.
EHD is a common cause for typically small, localized losses in western and central South Dakota. But this year it hit particularly hard in southeast South Dakota, sharply reducing some deer herds in southeast counties along the Missouri River.
The losses were high enough to cause several thousand deer tags to be returned or withdrawn prior to hunting seasons in areas where EHD hit especially hard and deer numbers were noticeably reduced.
Andy Lindbloom with GF&P says about 4,300 tags were returned at hunter requests.