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Entries in Montana FWP (61)


Trapping helping to boost wolf harvest numbers

(HELENA)- Hunters, and trappers, have taken more than 200-wolves this season according to the latest numbers from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. 

And that's putting the state closer to the target populations of wolves it hopes to manage in the future. 

The latest totals from FWP Monday show a total of 207-wolves have been killed during the current season. 121-wolves were taken by hunters and 86-wolves were taken by trappers. That's ahead last year, when hunters alone took 166-wolves, far short of the target of 220-wolves set by state biologists. 

While most of the wolves have been killed by hunters, the first year of trapping is actually bringing a greater reduction of wolf numbers in some areas of the state. In Wolf Management Unit 101 west of Kalispell 15-wolves were caught by trappers while 7-were killed by hunters. In Unit 290 east of Missoula more than twice as many wolves had been killed by trappers. Three times as many wolves were harvested by trapping in the sprawling Game Management Unit 400, which extends from the Rocky Mountain Front east to the North Dakota border. 

The largest number of wolves taken by both hunting and trapping have been in Unit 390, which stretches from Helena and Central Montana through the southeast corner of the state. 

On the West Fork of the Bitterroot, where hunters have been concerned about wolves killing off elk herds, 15-wolves were killed, split almost evenly between hunters and trappers. 

Quotas for wolf hunts are being calculated statewide this year, except for the North Fork of the Flathead where a quota is still in place. 

Montana biologists estimated the state had 650-wolves a year ago, prior to last spring's litters. The state's target has been a total population of 450-wolves.  


Bill to allow wolf hunting with silencers advances in Helena

USFWS photo by J. & K. Hollingsworth(HELENA)- That proposal to allow Montana hunters to use silencers on their guns when stalking wolves clears another hurdle in Helena. 

Montana Public Media reports the House has passed second reading on House Bill 27, which would make it okay for wolf hunters to use silencers once the general big game hunting season is over. Hunters and biologists have argued the additional measure will help hunters be more successful in taking wolves, and meeting the objectives to use hunting to control wolf numbers in Montana. 

Silencers are already legal for hunting other predatory game animals including coyotes and foxes. 


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.

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