HUNTING -- In a state-endorsed effort to eliminate disease-prone wild sheep, hunters in Montana have harvested about half of a bighorn herd in the Tendoy Mountains.
The wild sheep in the Tendoys southeast of Dillon have experienced major die-offs due to pneumonia twice in the last 25 years.
Attempts to augment the population by bringing in healthy sheep have been unsuccessful.
The intentions to use hunters to kill off the herd were proposed in June.
The Independent Record reports that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has approved a plan calling for total elimination of the herd to end the illnesses. So far hunters have harvested 18 bighorn sheep since hunting began Sept. 5 for bow hunters and Sept. 15 for the general season.
There are between 30 and 40 animals in the herd.
Once the population is removed, officials plan to restock the area with about 50 healthy animals.