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Entries in Montana FWP (61)


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.


Latest poaching case involves moose in the Little Belt Mts

Two calves standby dead cow moose shot by poachers in late October- FWP photo(GREAT FALLS)- The latest in a rash of poaching cases this fall has Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks hoping a tip will help them find whoever shot and killed a cow moose in the Little Belt Mountains.

FWP reports the poaching happened on October 25th on Belt Park Road, which is at the south end of the range. FWP wardens say someone simply shot the cow, and when they found the kill two young calves were still standing nearby. 

Anyone with information can help catch the poachers by calling 1-800-TIP-MONT. That allows informants to remain anonymous and rewards are offered. 

The poaching comes after incidents where elk were killed near Whitehall and there have been several cases of deer and elk being poached in Western Montana. 


Alberton man shoots bear in backyard

(ALBERTON)- Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is reminding hunters to properly store their game after getting home following an incident in which a Mineral County man had to shoot and kill a bear in his backyard. 

KPAX TV reports the incident happened Friday evening when the bear and two cubs were apparently attracted by a dead elk hanging up in the yard of a home in Alberton. FWP says the man had let his dogs out for the evening when they started fighting with the bear. 

Biologists say the man went outside with his shotgun, and was scratched or bitten in the stomach when he got between the bear and the dogs before he shot and killed the bear. The two orphaned cubs will be cared for at a facility in Helena. 


Bears miss check out time at Missoula motel

KPAX TV photo(MISSOULA)- Remember the old Travelodge ads with the sleepy bear in the nightcap? They found his relatives Thursday at the Days Inn west of Missoula.

Agents with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks were called by excited motel staff Thursday when they spotted the mama bear and two cubs right outside the motel. The motel manager told KPAX TV she was outside and felt something nudge her leg. That something turned out to be a bear cub. 

While she ran into the motel, the bears took to the trees, starting a "standoff" that went well beyond check out time. 

After the motel staff had put pillows all around the trees to cushion any fall, FWP agents moved in and were able to shoot each bear with a tranquilizer dart. The young male cub fell harmlessly into a net, followed by the mother. The female cub was the last to fall sleep. She had climbed to the top of the tree and agents were able to hoist her back down. 

FWP says the bears were taken down to the Clark Fork River, which is where they were probably headed for food. 

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