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RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks department is proposing a rule to require deer killed by hunters in Custer State Park to be tested for a deadly brain disease.

The proposal introduced this month is aimed at determining the prevalence of chronic wasting disease in the park’s deer population, the Rapid City Journal reported . It’s similar to a current requirement for elk killed in the park.

“What we want to do is get a better handle on the prevalence rate of the disease in deer,” said Tony Lief, the agency’s state wildlife division director. “We took that step to require samples from all elk, but we are harvesting deer, and deer is susceptible to the same disease so we wanted to get samples from those animals as well.”

Chronic wasting disease affects deer, elk and moose. Animals with the disease show symptoms of weight loss, behavioral changes, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, depression, muscle control loss and eventual death.

In South Dakota, the fatal disease has been detected in wildlife from Lawrence, Pennington, Custer and Fall River counties, along with Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park.

Hunters should avoid eating meat from animals that appear to be sick or test positive for the disease in order to minimize risk of exposure. No link has been found between the animal’s disease and any neurological disease in humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The deer proposal will be considered for adoption after a June 7 public hearing during the next Game, Fish and Parks Commission meeting in Aberdeen.


Information from: Rapid City Journal,