MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Big-game hunters looking forward to bighorn sheep outside Plains will be disappointed after Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks closed the area's hunting district because of disease outbreak.

The Missoulian reports that a population survey found only 18 bighorns in Hunting District 122, which Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokeswoman Joleen Tadej said is the lowest number since the herd's introduction in 1979.

The application deadline for bighorns is May 1. About 200 people had already applied for the 10 licenses available in district 122 as of a Monday meeting to discuss the closure. They will be offered a chance to request a different district or receive a refund for their application.

An unrelated bighorn die-off near Gardiner prompted a closure in Hunting District 305 after pneumonia killed 34 sheep.

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Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com