A survey by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has found that the white-tailed deer population along the Beartooth Front has increased while mule deer numbers continue to decline.
Biologist Shawn Stewart tells the Billings Gazette ( that he's seen whitetail numbers rise from about 250 in the 1980s to a record high of more than 1,700 this year.
Whitetails tend to live along river bottoms and near agricultural fields where food is plentiful, while mule deer typically rely on sagebrush during the winter.
He says the Derby fire in 2006 burned about half the sagebrush in southern Sweet Grass and Stillwater counties, taking out much of the winter range mule deer need.
He says moose numbers have increased by about 40 percent over last year in the survey area.