FWP Investigating Death of More than 100 Deer near Missoula

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA — State wildlife officials are trying to determine why more than 100 whitetail deer have died along the Clark Fork River west of Missoula.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Vickie Edwards says some of the deer have shown no outward signs of being ill and people have seen healthy-looking deer fall over dead.

Fishing guides and landowners started reporting the dead deer on Sunday. Dead deer have also been found northeast of Frenchtown. Other deer in those areas appear to be sick.

Wildlife biologists collected lung, spleen and blood samples to try to determine why the deer died.

One possible cause is epizootic hemorrhagic disease, which is transmitted by biting midges or gnats. FWP veterinarian Jennifer Ramsey says the disease is not contagious and is only known to be spread by insects.