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Entries in Montana FWP (61)


Bison relocation plan set for meeting in Deer Lodge next week

(DEER LODGE)- A controversial plan to relocate about 150-Yellowstone bison to as many as four different locations in Montana will be reviewed during a public meeting next week.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks are attempting to put together a plan to develop "interim placement locations" where the state could begin developing herds and experimenting with the idea of having wild herds in the state. 

Those locations include the 28,000 Spotted Dog Wildlife Management Area near Avon and the 5,800 acre Marias River WMA near Shelby. Two other sites on the Fort Belknap and Fork Peck Indian Reservations are also on the list as possible homes for up to 150 "disease free" bison.

FWP is working on the environmental assessment for the plan, and the meeting at Deer Lodge is part of gathering the public comments on the idea. The public meeting in Deer Lodge will be held Oct. 5 at 6:30 p.m. Additional meetings are scheduled at the Community Center, 146 Cottonwood Street; in Shelby on Oct. 6, at 6:30 the Marias River Electric Cooperative, 910 Roosevelt Highway; and Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Glasgow Civic Center, 319 3rd Street S.

The bison are part of a project that began in 2004 aimed at determining if bison can be kept free of the bacteria that causes brucellosis, a disease that results in miscarriages in some pregnant animals, including domestic cattle, and bison and elk. The bison, which were repeatedly tested for the disease, are considered brucellosis-free, but to complete the feasibility study additional follow-up testing will continue.

FWP Wildlife Bureau Chief Ken McDonald said the goal is to relocate bison from the quarantine facility and from a temporary site at the Green Ranch near Bozeman. A “no action” alternative would have the bison remain at these locations.

Should the animals be relocated to the WMAs, FWP managers say the bison would be held for an interim period pending completion of a statewide conservation strategy which is expected by 2015. That conservation strategy would identify potential permanent locations for brucellosis-free bison.

There are no infrastructure costs associated with the interim tribal lands under consideration. A range of infrastructure improvement costs between $637,000 to $2 million are possible on the wildlife management areas for potential boundary fences, pasture fences, gates, corrals, chutes, and outbuildings.



Grizzly swims Flathead Lake

FWP photo shows bear's swim across Flathead(FLATHEAD LAKE)- Maybe he was trying to show long-distance swimmer Emily von Jentzen she's not the only one who can swim the big waters of Flathead Lake.

Whatever the motivation, biologists with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks are marveling over a young grizzly's all day marathon swim across the lake, proven by a recovered radio collar.

The Daily Interlake reports a GPS radio collar recovered Monday from the woods near Swan Lake shows the young sow made several long-distance crossings in the lake last year, including a 7-mile swim across the main lake north of Polson.

The bear had been relocated last June because she was hanging around close to a church camp near Lakeside, taken up into the mountains near Blacktail. But FWP says the bear then wandered south to Rollins, taking to the lake initially on a swim from Painted Rocks to Cedar Island on Labor Day last year, then swimming the 3-miles to Wild Horse Island. Three days after that she swan back to the mainland in the foothills north of Polson.

Apparently those were just "training swims" because after that FWP says the grizzly swam straight across the lake, with a brief stop over on Bird Island outside of Skidoo Bay.

The grizzly spent the winter in the Mission Mountains, and biologists picked up her collar today where it automatically released.

Too bad no one got pictures. A bear with a swim cap would have been priceless.



FWP has to kill trouble-causing grizzly

(WHITEFISH)- Agents with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have had to destroy a bear with a taste for chickens and causing other mayhem.

The male 4-year old grizzly is the same one FWP trapped at Trumbell Creek last month and relocated to Frozen Lake, which is right on the Canadian Border west of the North Fork Valley.

The bear returned to the Whitefish/Columbia Falls area this week.

Grizzly Bear Management Specialist Tim Manley noted that the 370-pound bear approached residences in the Whitefish area and got into cat food, broke into a chicken coop, and killed chickens. The same bear was suspected to have broken into camper shells, broke a window in a garage, broke into a chicken coop, got dog food, cat food, and garbage in the same area. 

Based on the level of food conditioning and property damage demonstrated by the grizzly, the decision was made to kill the bear in the interest of human safety. 

Manley reminds residents that pet food and garbage first attracted the grizzly to residences.  Residents should secure all attractants, pick ripe fruit, and pick up apples from the ground as they fall.  Ultimately, attractants resulted in the bear breaking into campers and structures.

In other grizzly news, Manley added that traps are set an adult male grizzly in the Swan Valley that is breaking into garages to get bird seed and grain in the Shay Lake area.  A trap is also set in the Coram area for another grizzly that got into garbage in the back of a pickup truck. 


FWP moves Flathead grizzlies with appetites for chicken and apples

(FLATHEAD COUNTY)- Agents with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks are keeping busy moving grizzlies who’ve been feasting on “people food.”

Two grizzly bears were captured near Lake Five, a few miles from West Glacier late last week. The adult female grizzly and yearling male had killed nearly 100 chickens at a residence over the period of two nights.  Most of the birds killed were chicks.

The bears were relocated on August 25 in the Deep Creek area along Hungry Horse Reservoir, about 10 miles southwest of Firefighter Mountain.

Grizzly Bear Management Specialist Tim Manley noted that the landowners were assisted in installing an electric fence around the chicken pen and a nearby rabbit pen.  He said that this should greatly reduce the chance of another occurrence.

Elsewhere, a female grizzly with two yearlings had been frequenting the area of Middle Road off highway 206 near the Silver Bullet Bar.  FWP agents say the bears had been eating apples that were just beginning to ripen.  As of Monday, Manley says that the adult female and one yearling have been captured.  The trapping operation will continue until the second yearling is captured.

“We’re concerned that these grizzlies will get into more attractants in the area like dog food and garbage, or bird seed,” said Manley.  He added that the bears had been eating apples within 50 feet of residences, but have not acted aggressively.

Manley acknowledged that landowners in the area have been very helpful in noting the bears’ locations and providing safe trap sites.

FWP is also tracking another grizzly who was frequenting the creek along Two Mile Drive west of Kalispell.  A trap was set about 10 days ago, along with remote cameras to document any presence of the bear.  Because no activity was seen, the trap has been pulled.


2000 MT wolf tags sold in first few days

(KALISPELL)- Business remains brisk for those permits for Montana's upcoming wolf hunt, with more than 2000 sold in the first few days.

The Flathead Beacon is reporting Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks sold "nearly 2000" in the first couple of days. The permits went on sale Monday for the seasons, which begin with an archery season on September 3rd and a rifle season in mid-September.

This is the second wolf hunt the state has staged since packs were re-introduced to the Northern Rockies in the mid-1990s. Over 15,000 tags were sold for the first hunt in 2009, resulting in more than 70-wolves being killed statewide. Last year's hunt was stopped when U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy restored Endangered Species protection for the Montana and Idaho wolves just weeks before the hunts would have started.

This time around, Montana has a quota of 220 wolves, with biologists hoping to thin down the wolf populations, especially in Northwestern and Western Montana.

Conservation groups are seeking a federal injunction in a last-ditch effort to stop the 2011 hunts in both states.