North Dakota suspends sale of hunting licenses due to deer disease

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A deadly deer disease in southwest North Dakota has prompted the state to suspend the sale of deer hunting licenses.

North Dakota Game and Fish Department says epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) has killed a significant number of white-tailed deer from Bowman to Bismarck since August.

About 1,000 antlerless deer licenses for three southwestern North Dakota hunting zones won't be issued.

EHD is a naturally occurring virus that is spread by a biting midge and is almost always fatal to infected white-tail deer, according to the department. The disease does not affect humans.

With an extended fall, Wildlife Chief Randy Kreil says the deaths could continue into October. The first hard freeze typically kills the pests that carry the disease, which will slow the spread.

The Associated Press reports the deer gun season opens on Nov. 8 and runs through Nov. 24.

In 2011, deer deaths from the disease occurred well into October and prompted the department to suspend license sales and offer refunds to the holders of 13,000 licenses, the Associated Press said.

Kreil said it's too early to tell if additional precautions will be needed this year.

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