That didn't take long.
Specially issued deer B hunting licenses, 1,200 of which were offered for sale at 5 a.m. Monday, sold out in only three hours.
"They went fast," said Greg Lemon, Fish, Wildlife & Parks' Communication and Education Bureau chief. "I was surprised."
The licenses were offered for the first special hunt to measure the spread of chronic wasting disease in south-central Montana's Carbon County. Six hundred tags each were offered for mule deer and whitetail deer. Lemon said he saw on some Facebook posts that the 200 either-sex deer tags sold out in only 10 minutes.
The season opens on Friday, Dec. 15, and could extend until Feb. 15. The season will be halted for either or both species if the quota of 200 whitetail deer and 200 mule deer is reached.
"All of this is so new we didn't anticipate this level of interest in license sales," Lemon said, adding that he hopes that interest will translate into the department reaching its harvest goals.
The harvest of 400 deer is meant to give FWP a solid sampling of deer to statistically determine the prevalence of chronic wasting disease in the Carbon County deer population. All successful hunters are required to submit their deer for testing and must not move a deer shot in the area out of Carbon or Yellowstone counties unless it is boned out and the antlers contain no flesh.
So far, six deer in the area have tested positive for exposure to chronic wasting disease: four mule deer bucks, one mule deer doe and one whitetail doe.
For more information on the hunt, log on to fwp.mt.gov/cwd.