Montana Public Radio

ranching

Electric fencing can be an effective tool for protecting livestock such as chickens, goats and young cattle.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Grizzly bears are repopulating areas of Montana that haven’t seen them for decades, creating more conflict between livestock, people and bears. Some ranchers are learning they need to do something that doesn’t come naturally — change how they live on the land.

As bears were hibernating in their dens this winter, the Blackfeet Stockgrowers Association held a meeting in Choteau to provide a space for ranchers like Mark Hitchcock to talk about working alongside the growing number of grizzly bears on the Rocky Mountain Front.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced Monday that an elk herd in the Bangtail Mountains has tested negative for brucellosis. State wildlife managers recently completed the two-year project aimed at understanding the risk and spread of the disease in wildlife and livestock.

A landowner advocacy group in Montana filed a complaint this week against Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks saying that the department has not thoroughly explored the consequences of allowing free-roaming wild bison in the state.

Herford cattle.
USDA

A Wyoming rancher was awarded nearly $340,000 last month after disputing wildlife managers’ initial offer to pay for several livestock killed by grizzlies and wolves. 

While the large payout is unusual, Montana ranchers say it’s calling attention to funding issues for livestock losses on this side of the border.

 

Many are calling for the fast resolution to the Trump Administration's trade war with China. Among them are Montana cattle producers who see opportunity in Chinese markets.

Sheep.
iStock

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt canceled a planned visit to Montana this week. Bernhardt had planned to meet with Montana ranchers and farmers about grizzly bear conflicts along the Rocky Mountain Front as part of his visit.

For the environmentally minded carnivore, meat poses a culinary conundrum. Producing it requires a great deal of land and water resources, and ruminants such as cows and sheep are responsible for half of all greenhouse gas emissions associated with agriculture, according to the World Resources Institute.

A sheep research flock at U.S. Sheep Experiment Station
USDA (PD)

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A judge says he won't block sheep grazing in a mountain range on the Idaho-Montana border despite worries by wildlife advocates that federally-protected grizzly bears could be harmed.

Electric fencing can be an effective tool for protecting livestock such as chickens, goats and young cattle.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

The following is a press release from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

Great Falls, MT — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks euthanized a young male grizzly bear on July 19 along the Marias River near the inlet of Tiber Dam due to food conditioning and sheep depredations. The action followed protocol under the Endangered Species Act and under authority of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Airedale Terrier puppy Hilda wanders across Gene Swanson's driveway. Swanson relies on Airedales to help prevent conflicts with grizzly bears at his ranch near Augusta, MT.
Rosie Costain / Montana Public Radio

Grizzly bear populations across the state are growing, as is talk about how to minimize human-bear conflict. A Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks report released in April showed wildlife officials in northwest Montana received about 150 calls related to grizzly conflicts last year.

Some people, like residents of the Rocky Mountain Front, have dealt with the bears for a long time. MTPR's Rosie Costain reports on one of these conflict-reducing methods: dogs.

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