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Entries in Montana FWP (59)


State hopes additive can solve sheep problem near Thompson Falls

Mag chloride has brought sheep right onto highway for past several winters- KPAX TV photo(THOMPSON FALLS)- Highway and wildlife managers are hoping a new additive, and possibly a speed limit change will be enough to stop the number of accidents involving bighorn sheep in the Lower Clark Fork Valley.

Montana Department of Transportation and Fish, Wildlife and Parks are hoping to find out this winter if a new product used to de-ice the roads can help from attracting the sheep to the highway. 

Repeatedly over the years, and again this past summer, people have collided with the sheep when they come down on the highway from the cliffs above the river. MDT has erected warning signs, and the adjacent railroad tracks are fenced off. But the sheep are drawn to the pavement like moths to a flame, especially in the winter, when highway crews apply magnesium chloride to the pavement as a deicer. 

This winter, MDT is trying something different, using a product called "Game Away" as an additive to a more traditional salt/sand solution in hopes that it won't attract the sheep to the salty taste of mag chloride. It's effectiveness will be studied all winter in three test periods.

In addition, Sanders County leaders have agreed to look at a speed study to see if that might also help reduce the number of serious collisions between sheep and cars. 

In the meantime, FWP biologist Bruce Sterling says the best thing for people to do is slow down and drive defensively, especially on the blind corners and curves. He says even if the additive works, there's still potential for the sheep to be down along the highway, especially where the cliff face is close to the road.


Start of MT wolf trapping sparks protests

KPAX TV photo by Bernie Riggs(MISSOULA)- As wolf trappers hit the hills, protesters are hitting streets, showing strong opposition to Montana allowing trapping to be used as part of the efforts to control wolf populations. 

Wolf trapping season started Saturday, as Montana follows the lead set by Idaho in adding trapping to hunting as means of controlling wolf populations last year. 

But the move set off protests from anti-trapping group Footloose Montana, which staged protests in Missoula yesterday. 

KPAX TV reports the group maintains the trapping, most of which is being done on public lands, puts other animals and even humans in jeopardy. It would prefer that FWP do a better job of educating hunters on how to be successful in killing wolves and focus solely on that as the way to reduce wolf populations in the Northern Rockies. 

FWP has certified about 2400 people to trap wolves this season. 


Florence woman attacked by captive deer

(FLORENCE)- Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks agents say it was captive deer that attacked and injured a woman in the Bitterroot Valley on Monday.

FWP says the woman was in the process of entering the deer's pen on her property in Florence Tuesday morning when the adult buck attacked. She was hurt seriously enough to require a trip to the hospital to treat her injuries. 

FWP and the Ravalli County Sherriff’s Department responded and FWP conducted an investigation of the scene today.  The deer was euthanized by a veterinarian and will be transported to the state wildlife lab in Bozeman. State law says that is unlawful to possess live game animals.


FWP approves controversial ranch purchase

People packed a Helena hearing Monday on the Milk River ranch proposal- KRTV photo(HELENA)- Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission has given the go-ahead to shell out millions of dollars to purchase several thousand acres of private ranch land on the Hi-Line. 

The state's plans to purchase the Milk River Ranch lands for conservation and wildlife habitat drew heated opposition from adjoining landowners, who worried about the additional public access, as well as critics who were concerned about how much the state was spending for the land. 

However, KRTV reports the commission opted to go ahead with the purchase on a 4-1 vote despite the strong testimony against the plan. 

FWP will spend $4.7 million to purchase 3,000 acres using money from the "Habitat Montana" fund. Montana DNRC is already spending just over $1-million for an additional 1,000 acres. The state will also be buying the rights to archaeological and paleontological artifacts, bringing the total purchase price to nearly $8-million. 



Deal reached to protect wildlife area near Seeley Lake

Deer Creek- Five Valleys Land Trust photo(SEELEY LAKE)- More than 600-acres of forest near Seeley Lake are going to be protected for wildlife habitat under an agreement worked out by the state, two conservation groups and Plum Creek Timber. 

The 640-acres lie along Deer Creek, which is a major “cold water” tributary leading into Seeley Lake, and considered to be key wildlife and riparian habitat on the Clearwater watershed and the adjacent Mission Mountains Wilderness Area. In addition to bull trout and cutthroat trout habitat, the land is known to be used by elk, grizzly bears and the endangered Canada Lynx. 

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Five Valleys Land Trust and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks worked together to work out funding and details of the transfer from Plum Creek. The land will become a permanent part of FWP’s adjacent Marshall Creek Wildlife Management Area. It will be managed for public recreational use, including hunting, hiking, bird watching and snowmobile use in the winter. 

“This small tract of wild Montana land is extremely important for a variety of wildlife—from elk to trout,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “We’re glad we could utilize our strategic land protection fund and money raised by our RMEF chapters in Montana to help make this purchase possible.”

“Recent research data proved what locals have known for years—Deer Creek is heavily used by bears, lynx, moose, elk and dozens of other species as primary habitat and as a forested corridor connecting the Mission Mountains and Clearwater River Valley,” said Jay Kolbe, FWP wildlife biologist. 

“These lands provide clean drinking water, places for people to enjoy the outdoors, and unrivaled wildlife habitat,” said FVLT Manager Lewis Kogan. “Protecting these lands is a great outcome for the Seeley Lake community.” 

In addition to FVLT, FWP and RMEF funding, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, local government agencies, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust, and several foundations also provided financial backing.

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