Over at the Flathead Beacon, Tristan Scott posted an article on a recently released report by the National Wildlife Federation . . .
Montana’s hunters and anglers have as much vested in the Paris climate negotiations as the state’s abundant suite of wildlife, according to research compiled by the National Wildlife Federation, which recently released a report detailing what’s at stake culturally, ecologically and economically if a solution is not forthcoming.
As 150 world leaders at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference hash out a binding agreement for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, scientists studying moose, cutthroat trout, mountain goats, and other wild animals in Montana are sounding the alarm about climate impacts in the Treasure State.
The National Wildlife Federation’s report is entitled “Game Changers: Climate Impacts to America’s Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Heritage,” and outlines the historic role of hunters and anglers in conservation and the many ways in which the changing climate is affecting hunting and fishing opportunities and the state’s robust outdoor economy.
There is a rally at noon on President’s Day, Monday, February 16, in Helena to protect access to public lands. The immediate trigger for this event is a movement within Montana to give up federal lands to state control. Such a move would mean a sharp increase in the state bureaucracy, a hefty bump in the tax burden and, more than likely, lead to much of the land being sold off to private interests to help finance the whole mess. Everyone from traditional hunting and fishing groups, to motorized recreation outfits to old-line enviros is pretty wound up about this.
A group of researchers is performing a very interesting study on how bears and hunters interact . . .
From almost four miles away, the grizzly bear appeared to have picked up the elk carcass’ stench.
Researchers were able to revisit the grizzly’s trek as it walked along the edge of a lake, eventually swimming across the end of the water to reach the carcass, because the bear was wearing a GPS collar. The same location information showed the bear visiting and moving away from the carcass several times in following days.
Over at the Flathead Beacon, Rob Breeding doesn’t think much of this whole idea of devolving federal lands to state control . . .
If your goal is to destroy hunting there’s a clear path to follow: transfer ownership of federal lands to the states. It might take a couple decades, but if you put that ball in motion this is the inevitable result.
Maybe you think I’m exaggerating? Consider the opportunities federal lands offer hunters. Montana has large accessible tracts all over the state that we can enter, without need to seek permission, or the burden of entrance fees, to hunt.
Now imagine Montana without those resources. Understand that the real impetus behind the “transfer” movement is the eventual privatization of these lands. The states will never be able to afford to manage these properties, and once title is transferred to the state, the pressure to sell some or all of these lands will be overwhelming.
Reminder: As we mentioned here earlier, there is a rally at noon this Saturday, September 27, in Helena to protect access to public lands. The immediate trigger for this event is a movement within Montana to give up federal lands to state control. Such a move would mean a sharp increase in the state bureaucracy, a hefty bump in the tax burden and, more than likely, lead to much of the land being sold off to private interests to help finance the whole mess. Everyone from traditional hunting and fishing groups, to motorized recreation outfits to old-line enviros is pretty wound up about this.
Here’s a chance to make yourself heard regarding wolf and sage grouse management . . .
The Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission is seeking comment though June 23 on some upcoming hunting seasons and additional proposals related to sage grouse and wolves.
For sage grouse, the commission is seeking comment on a proposal that would either maintain the same 30-day season and two-bird daily bag and four bird possession limit as last season; adopt shorter seasons and reduced bag and possession limits; impose region-specific hunting opportunities or closures; or close the sage grouse hunting season statewide.
The sage grouse proposal comes in response to surveys on sage grouse breeding grounds called “leks” that show a continued population decline of the state’s largest native upland game bird. Montana’s 2004 management plan identifies a season closure when lek counts are significantly reduced from historical observations.
The commission also seeks comment on the following wolf-related proposals:
the 2014-15 wolf season, which includes adjustments that would close the hunting and trapping season in Wolf Management Units 313 and 316 within 12 hours of the harvests quotas there being reached. These WMUs border Yellowstone National Park. The proposal also includes reducing the harvest quota in WMU 313 from four to three wolves.
to offer the opportunity to trap wolves via a drawing on three western Montana wildlife management areas, including the Blackfoot-Clearwater, Fish Creek and Mount Haggin WMAs.
a statewide annual quota of 100 wolves taken under a new state law that provides for landowners to take wolves without a license that are a potential threat to human safety, livestock or pets.
With the sage grouse population in decline, Montana will stop hunting them . . .
With preliminary results from Montana’s spring surveys showing a continued population decline of the state’s largest native upland game bird, wildlife officials will seek to close sage grouse hunting for the 2014 season.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will propose the season closure at the Fish & Wildlife Commission meeting in Fort Peck, Thursday, May 22.
Jeff Hagener, FWP director in Helena, said state biologists counted an average of 14.9 males per sage grouse strutting ground, or lek, last year and noted that preliminary indications show little or no improvement this year. Last year’s count was the lowest recorded since 1980…
Grizzly bears have recovered in some areas to the point where some very limited hunting may be permitted in a couple of years . . .
With bear-human conflicts on the rise, wildlife managers in the Northern Rockies are laying the groundwork for trophy hunts for grizzlies in anticipation of the government lifting their threatened species status.
It’s expected to be 2014 before about 600 bears around Yellowstone National Park lose their federal protections, and possibly longer for about 1,000 bears in the region centered on Glacier National Park.
Yet already government officials say those populations have recovered to the point that limited hunting for small numbers of bears could occur after protections are lifted…