Montana Public Radio

wildlife

Montana legislators heard testimony Friday on a bill that, if passed, would ask voters to amend language in the state constitution related to harvesting and managing wildlife.

Correction 3/11/2021: A previous version of this story implied that a fee was being added to domesticated bison. This fee already exists. House Bill 318 seeks to change the definition of domestic bison to include animals that have ever been subjected to a per-capita fee.

Montana’s legislature is considering four bison-related bills this session. The two bills that would have helped tribal nations expand bison herds were voted down, while tribal leaders say the surviving bills could harm long-standing bison management on reservations.

Correction: The original post said the American Prairie Reserve will expand its disease management plan by testing 325 bison each year for the bacterial disease brucellosis for the first five years and then 150 bison annually for the next five years. The story has been updated to reflect the American Prairie Reserve will test 325 bison total during the first five years of the settlement agreement and another 150 over the next five years.

An informational sign at the entrance of the National Bison Range near Moiese, MT.
Josh Burnham

The U.S. Interior Department Friday signed an order that will start the transfer of the National Bison Range to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

USFWS

Wildlife advocates on Thursday asked a federal court to overturn a U.S. government decision that stripped Endangered Species Act protections for wolves across most of the nation.

Two coalitions of advocacy groups filed lawsuits in U.S. District Court in Northern California seeking to restore safeguards for a predator that is revered by wildlife watchers but feared by many livestock producers.

Bison walking through deep snow.
Jim Peaco / National Park Service

The U.S. Forest Service this week proposed closing hunting with firearms in part of a controversial pinch-point where bison migrate out of Yellowstone National Park.

Two grizzly bear cubs killed by a train near Trego were discovered Oct. 15, 2019.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

The BNSF Railway Company Tuesday published a long-awaited habitat conservation plan intended to reduce grizzly bear mortalities in Northwest Montana.

White-tailed deer.
(PD)

Wildlife officials say new data show that the Ruby Valley in southwest Montana has become a hotspot for chronic wasting disease, a disease fatal to deer, elk and moose.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks spokesperson Greg Lemon says this year’s data has shed light on the prevalence of the disease in the Ruby Valley near Sheridan, where CWD showed up in 23 percent of samples.

Wolverine
Gerald and Buff Corsi, California Academy of Sciences. (USFS)

Conservation groups have filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to withhold Endangered Species Act protection from wolverines in the lower 48 states. That’s where no more than 300 of the animals are thought to remain. 

Fish cooking over a campfire.
iStock

Wildlife managers across the region noted a drastic increase in the number of people recreating in bear country this year, but that spike didn’t lead to a bump in conflicts between humans and grizzlies. 

That's the takeaway from a year-end review of grizzly management in the Lower 48 states this week.

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