HUNTING -- Freeze them, don't eat them, Montana wildlife officials are telling hunters who have killed snow geese in the Butte and Dillon areas recently.
The meat of snow geese and possibly of other waterfowl that may have landed in the contaminated water of the old open Berkeley Pit mine may be contaminated with heavy metals.
Hundreds and maybe thousands of birds died shortly after landing in the toxic stew of the "lake" within the pit.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials are asking hunters to freeze the geese until investigators can determine how the water affected the birds.
Tens of thousands of snow geese landed in the 700-acre Berkeley Pit in Butte during a snowstorm on Nov. 28. Mine officials have worked to haze the birds off the water and prevent others from landing at the Superfund site.
Several thousand birds are believed to have died so far.
The pit holds an estimated 45 billion gallons of acidic, metal-laden water.