Posted: Sep 18, 2013 8:30 AM by MTN News
MISSOULA - State wildlife officials report that more than 100 dead white-tailed deer have been reported in the west Missoula Valley.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say they are waiting for lab results to come back so they can try to determine what's caused the deaths.
The public is also being asked to report observations of dead deer to help determine how big of an area is being affected area.
Spokesperson Vivaca Crowser says FWP first responded to reports from local fishing guides and landowners who reported numerous dead deer in and along the Clark Fork River and fields near and downstream from Harper's Bridge.
She adds in a news release that dead deer have also been found in the Mill Creek area northeast of Frenchtown.
FWP biologists and wardens had accounted for 103 dead deer by Tuesday, with deer still dying and more dead deer undetected.
"The deer may show no outward symptoms of disease," said Vickie Edwards, FWP wildlife biologist in Missoula. "People are seeing healthy looking deer fall over dead."
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) is a potential culprit, and is spread by a biting midge, or gnat - and generally strikes in late summer and early fall. The disease event typically ends within a couple weeks of the first hard frost.
"Hemorrhagic disease viruses are not contagious from one animal to another and are not transmissible to humans," said Jennifer Ramsey, FWP Wildlife Veterinarian in Bozeman. "Transmission is only known to occur through the bite of the gnat."
Anyone who sees more dead deer is asked to call FWP at (406) 542.5515 with observations and locations of dead white-tailed deer.