Montana Public Radio

Dan Vermillion

Cow elk.
PD

A citizens group met for the first time Thursday to begin the process of revising the 15-year-old statewide elk management plan in Montana.

Elk numbers in Montana have rebounded from about 8,000 in the 1920s to more than 150,000 today. But agreeing on how many of those ungulates there should be — and where — is a complicated affair.

Vacation Rental Data Suggests Visitors Seeking Shelter In Montana

Mar 27, 2020
Montana vacation rentals' revenues were up as outbreak spread in early March. Zip code-level revenue estimates by AirDNA for March 1-16. Montana reported its first COVID-19 case March 13.
Eric Dietrich, Data: AirDNA. / Montana Free Press

LIVINGSTON — One day late last week, Dan Vermillion, owner of Sweetwater Travel in Livingston, woke up to a flurry of emails.

There were seven different requests to book his vacation rentals for up to six months. Normally, a booking is three days, five days, maybe a week.

“Something had changed very quickly,” Vermillion said.

Montana Won't Allow Yellowstone-Area Grizzly Bear Hunts In 2018

Feb 15, 2018
Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana won't hold a grizzly bear hunt in 2018 after state officials said Thursday they want to avoid complicating lawsuits over the animal's legal status.

Federal officials last year lifted Endangered Species Act protections for about 700 bears in and around Yellowstone National Park, opening the door to potential hunting in the three-state region.

Elk at a feed ground in Wyoming.
USGS (PD)

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission sent a letter to Wyoming last week asking wildlife managers to reconsider the use of winter feeding grounds in order to help prevent chronic wasting disease.

Dan Vermillion, the chairman of the commission, said "it’s not our position to tell them what to do. It’s not our position to tell them how to manage their wildlife. We’re just asking them as a neighbor to help us."

Invasive species decontamination in Montana includes some firefighting aircraft
Nicky Ouellet

Montana faces twin threats this summer: On land, crews are battling some of the biggest and most destructive fires in the country. In the water, officials are staving off the spread of invasive mussels that could cause millions of dollars of damage to hydropower dams and irrigation lines. These threats come together for wildland firefighters, who often use equipment that travels across the country and has the potential to carry invasive hitchhikers with it. But firefighters are tackling the potential contamination head on.

The grizzly bear is Montana’s state mammal, famous for its size, strength and intelligence. Grizzlies have been hunted for centuries by first peoples to obtain mythic power and by farmers and ranchers to protect livestock. In large swaths of the U.S., market hunters exterminated the great bear for its fur. With the grizzly off the endangered species list, should Montana allow trophy hunting? Dan Vermillion, chair of Montana's Fish & Wildlife Commission, joins us to discus on this episode of "Home Ground Radio."

State Wildlife officials today re-opened portions of the Yellowstone River and most of its tributaries, but it kept a popular stretch of the waterway closed to all recreational activity because of a parasite that’s killed thousands of fish.

The closure has been in place since August 19.

Dead mountain whitefish in the Yellowstone River on August 24, 2016. Officials estimated that tens of thousands of fish have been killed by a rare parasite.
Eric Whitney

About 400 people came to the public meeting in Livingston last night about the fish kill that’s caused the closure of a 180-mile section of the Yellowstone River and hundreds of miles of its tributaries, from the boundary of Yellowstone National Park downstream to Laurel.

A bill that would ban sport hunting of grizzly bears in the lower 48 states gets a hearing in a U.S. House committee Wednesday. It would extend protections for grizzlies even if they’re removed from the endangered species list.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Montana’s Fish and Wildlife Commission approved hunting guidelines for grizzly bears Wednesday in Helena.

A bill that would ban sport hunting of grizzly bears in the lower 48 states gets a hearing in a U.S. House committee Wednesday. It would extend protections for grizzlies even if they’re removed from the endangered species list.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Montana’s Fish and Wildlife Commission Thursday unanimously approved draft grizzly bear hunting regulations. Dan Vermillion, chair of the Commission, says it’s a very preliminary step.

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