South Dakota GFP Commission streamlines CWD-control plan for deer and elk

Capitol News Bureau

SPEARFISH, S.D. (KELO) — Hunters as well as butchers and taxidermists could face complex new restrictions in South Dakota starting next summer on how they handle deer and elk.

The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission holds a 2 p.m. CT public hearing October 3 on ways to possibly better control the spread of chronic wasting disease in those species.

The state Wildlife Division wants to limit where some dead deer and elk can be transported.

They’re also looking at where the remains can go after processing.

If the commission adopts the plan, final clearance would be needed from the Legislature’s Rules Review Committee.

The regulations then would take effect July 1, 2020.

Affected would be white-tailed and mule deer and elk in hunting units where the division determines CWD regularly occurs.

Currently those are in the southwestern counties of Custer, Fall River, Lawrence and Pennington.

A handout distributed to the commission Friday identified areas facing the restriction.

For deer, CWD was confirmed in Black Hills firearm units BD1 and BD2, Custer State Park and prairie units 02A, 21A, 21B, 27A, 27B and 27L.

For elk, it was confirmed in Black Hills firearm units H2, H3, H4, H5, H7 and H9, Custer State Park and prairie unit 27A.

Chad Switzer, the division’s wildlife program administrator, said the goal is to minimize the artificial spread of CWD.

Commissioner Russ Olson of Madison asked if testing would be available for hunters. Switzer said the GFP website has information and licensed hunters would be contacted.

Commissioner Robert Whitmyre of Webster asked if special tags could be used to identify animals from the restricted areas. Switzer said the department is working on it. 

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