MITCHELL, S.D. -

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks issued more deer licenses this year, but the animals may be hard to find.

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, a viral disease that killed more than 3,700 deer in 2012, has impacted the population this year, with more than 2,000 deer reported dead in 23 counties. The heaviest losses have been in Brule, Aurora and Beadle counties.

The state issued about 29,000 resident licenses this year. It also issued about 42,000 individual tags, a 33 percent increase from last year.

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks senior big game biologist Andy Lindbloom says about 1,500 licenses were returned as of noon Friday. They had to be postmarked by Friday to be refunded.

Lindbloom says the disease can lead to different hunting opportunities from one piece of land to another nearby.