BILLINGS – Hunters killed at least nine infected deer during a pair of special hunts intended to gauge the prevalence of a newly-found wildlife disease in Montana.
State officials announced Friday that hunters killed more than 450 deer before the special hunts ended this week in Bridger and Liberty counties.
Tests on some animals are still pending. Biologists are looking for chronic wasting disease, a fatal neurological illness that first appeared in Montana last fall.
On Thursday, wildlife commissioners approved maximum quotas of up to 5,000 deer, 1,000 elk and 20 moose that could be killed during any additional special hunts over the next two years.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Greg Lemon said the agency hopes to keep the prevalence rate below 5 percent of animals in any given population.
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