A sudden spike in the whitetail deer fatality rate in Missoula County has garnered the attention of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

"What we have been seeing is dead white tail deer in the west Missoula Valley," said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokeswoman Vivica Crowser. "We've found some along the river bottom area from Harper's bridge to the west and also in some drainages in the Frenchtown area. To date we have confirmed 103 white tail deer that have been found dead in these areas."

Officials suspect a virus may be the cause of death.

"What we're trying to determine right now is the cause of death," Crowser said. "On the outward appearance the deer really look asymptomatic, but we're taking samples from the deer, sending them to the laboratory in Bozeman for analysis, and should know in the next week or week and a half if there's a confirmed disease cause for these deaths."

People have reported seeing healthy deer falling over dead. The reports have led some to believe that the deer in the area may be suffering from Epizoic Hemorrhagic Disease, a disease that although fatal to deer, does not effect humans.