BISMARCK — North Dakota Game and Fish is offering hunters with whitetail licenses in the western units 3D1, 3D2, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F the option of turning those licenses in for refunds.

This comes after continuing reports of white-tailed deer mortality in western North Dakota caused by epizootic hemorrhagic disease.

Hunters who return their licenses will have their bonus points restored, if applicable, to the same number of points prior to the 2020 deer gun lottery.

Bruce Stillings, big game supervisor, said the decision is based on evidence of moderate to significant white-tailed deer losses in some areas that might affect hunting success in those locations.

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EHD, a naturally occurring virus that is spread by a biting midge, is almost always fatal to infected white-tailed deer, while mule deer do not usually die from the disease. Hunters do not have to worry about handling or consuming meat from infected deer because the virus that causes EHD is not known to cause disease in humans.

Before deciding to turn in a license, Stillings urges whitetail license holders to make local contacts to find out the extent of mortality in their hunting area. Large portions of affected units had no reports of white-tailed deaths.

White-tailed deer license holders who want a refund must mail their tag, along with a note requesting a refund due to EHD, to the Game and Fish Department’s Bismarck office no later than Nov. 5. Envelopes postmarked Nov. 5 will be accepted.

The deer gun season opens at noon central time Friday, Nov. 6.