Hunters in Montana will be able to get over-the-counter licenses to kill several dozen bighorn sheep in the Tendoy Mountains as the state tries to remove all of the animals from a chronically-diseased herd.

State wildlife commissioners approved the license sales Thursday. They will cost $125 for residents and $750 for non-residents, and be available during a two-week period beginning Aug. 3.

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.

If hunters do not kill all the sheep, state officials would kill them by aerial gunning and other means.

After the population is removed, officials plan to restock the area with about 50 healthy animals.

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