The vast majority of South Dakota's deer are healthy. And while their presence makes for a pretty picture, or is the perfect sight for hunters, there is a threat on the horizon.
A disease known as EHD (Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease) is spreading, especially in the southern portion of the state. It's transmitted by biting flies and South Dakota's Department of Game, Fish and Parks has already received 1,200 reports of deer that have died from the disease.
Wildlife officials are asking landowners and hunters to report any other sick or dead deer because they may have to adjust this year's hunting season if the numbers continue to climb.
GF&P officials are currently considering holding back on some licenses that are usually issued in a second-chance drawing East River. Additional West River tags that are available first-come, first-serve could also be held back. It is also possible that the state could ask hunters to voluntarily return some licenses for a refund.
Wildlife officials say it is also important to note that the disease has no known effect on people, and the spread of it will slow after a hard freeze kills off the biting flies for the season.
The sick deer often get a fever which leads them to water or a low-lying area to cool off, which is where they often die. The sick deer can also look tired and slow.
If you find dead deer, contact Game, Fish and Parks by calling 605-773-5913.