Tag Archives: Idaho

BREAKING: Judge suspends Wyoming, Idaho grizzly hunts

Grizzly bear sow with three cubs - NPS photo
Grizzly bear sow with three cubs – NPS photo

In response to oral arguments by a coalition of wildlife advocates, U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen just granted a 14-day temporary restraining order suspending grizzly bear hunts in Wyoming and Idaho while decides whether the federal government should reinstate federal protections for the bears.

Recommended reading for more background . . .

Groups Seek Temporary Restraining Order to Stop Grizzly Hunt (Sierra Club)
Wildlife Groups Press Judge to Nix Grizzly Hunts in Rockies (Flathead Beacon)

Wolverine caught on camera in West-central Idaho

Roaming wolverine - USFWS
Roaming wolverine – USFWS

They’re still turning up Wolverines in odd places . . .

A wolverine has been recorded on an Idaho Fish and Game camera near McCall in west-central Idaho as part of a four-state study to determine where the elusive mammals live.

A remote camera recorded at least one wolverine earlier this winter feeding on a deer leg attached to a tree about 12 miles northeast of McCall, the agency reported Friday.

Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Washington state are taking part in the study to find out if the animals that look like small bears with big claws can be reintroduced to some regions to boost their numbers.

Read more . . .

Researchers plan wolverine study across four western states

Wolverine in snow - Steve Kroschel
Wolverine in snow – Steve Kroschel

A wide-ranging wolverine study starts up next winter . . .

Researchers are working on a plan to study wolverines in four Rocky Mountain states to see if the animals that look like small bears with big claws can be reintroduced to some regions to boost their numbers and see how they might travel between mountain ranges.

Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Washington state are working together because there are so few wolverines and they are spread across a wide area, a researcher with Montana’s wildlife agency said.

“It doesn’t occur that often that four states start to think about managing a species together,” said Bob Inman, carnivore and fur bearer coordinator for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Read more . . .

Also read: First verified North Dakota wolverine since 1870 may have come from Montana (Missoulian)

Conservationists seek to defend recommended wilderness against snowmobiler lawsuit

NEWS RELEASE: January 25, 2016

CONTACT: Tim Preso, Earthjustice, (406) 586-9699, tpreso@earthjustice.org

Missoula, MT – A coalition of conservationists, represented by Earthjustice, today requested to intervene in a lawsuit filed by snowmobilers that seeks to overturn restrictions on motorized use in recommended wilderness areas on the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

At issue are the Forest Service’s 2015 revised forest management plans for the two forests, which recommended certain rugged and pristine areas for wilderness designation and prohibited motorized use within their boundaries to protect wilderness character and preserve the opportunity for permanent protection under the federal Wilderness Act. Snowmobile interest groups filed a lawsuit in November 2015 that asks a federal judge to overturn these recommended wilderness designations and open the protected areas to motorized use by snowmobiles and four-wheelers.

“Snowmobilers already have access to 86 percent of the Kootenai forest and 70 percent of the Idaho Panhandle forest,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso, who is representing the conservationists. “We are standing up to defend the peace and solitude of the last pockets of wilderness-quality lands in these otherwise heavily logged and motorized forests.”

The recommended wilderness areas at issue include landscapes prized for their outstanding backcountry recreation opportunities, including Scotchman Peaks and Roderick Mountain in Montana and the Mallard Larkins and Selkirk Range in Idaho. These areas are home to mountain goats, grizzly bears, Canada lynx, wolverines, and a wide variety of other species, including the last remnant population of woodland caribou in the continental United States. In total, they constitute just 4 percent of the 2.2-million-acre Kootenai National Forest and 7 percent of the 2.5-million-acre Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

Earthjustice is representing The Wilderness Society, Headwaters Montana, Idaho Conservation League, Montana Wilderness Association, Panhandle Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club and Winter Wildlands Alliance. The groups seek to defend the Forest Service’s designation of recommended wilderness areas and wild and scenic river eligible areas and its decision to restrict motorized access in these areas.

Earthjustice, the nation’s premier nonprofit environmental law organization, wields the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. Because the earth needs a good lawyer.

States divvy up potential Yellowstone region grizzly hunt

Brown Grizzly Bear - Wikipedia User Mousse

You know grizzly bear delisting is getting serious when they start discussing who gets to shoot how many . . .

Wildlife officials have divvied up how many grizzly bears could be killed by hunters in the Yellowstone region of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho as the states seek control of a species shielded from hunting for the past 40 years, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.

The region’s grizzlies currently are under federal protection, but that could change in coming months, turning control over to the states. A draft agreement detailing the states’ plans for the animals was obtained by The Associated Press.

The agreement puts no limits on grizzly bear hunting outside a 19,300-square mile management zone centered on Yellowstone National Park. Inside the zone, which includes wilderness and forest lands adjacent to the park, hunters in Wyoming would get a 58 percent share of the harvest, a reflection that it’s home to the bulk of the region’s bears. Montana would get 34 percent and Idaho 8 percent.

Read more . . .

New fish species found in Idaho and Montana

U.S. Forest Service researchers discovered a new species of fish, the cedar sculpin, living in mountain rivers in Montana and Idaho . . .

A tiny fish characterized by a disproportionately large head and previously unknown to scientists has been found in mountain rivers of Idaho and Montana, in what biologists said on Thursday marked a rare discovery.

The new aquatic species is a type of freshwater sculpin, a class of fish that dwell at the bottom of cold, swift-flowing streams throughout North America and are known for their oversized head and shoulder structure.

“The discovery of a new fish is something I never thought would happen in my career, because it’s very rare in the United States,” said Michael Young, co-author of a scientific description of the find that has been published in the latest edition of the peer-reviewed journal Zootaxa.

Read more . . .

Flathead Valley’s smoky haze coming from Idaho

In case you were wondering why the air looked a little murky . . .

The Flathead Valley was socked in with smoke Thursday for the first time this summer, and according to the National Weather Service most of it was drifting in from wildfires in Idaho.

“Throughout Idaho there’s a lot of smoke,” meteorologist Marty Whitmore said Thursday morning. “We were in a westerly [wind] flow earlier this week, but now we are in much more of a southwesterly flow.”

There are five fires in Idaho that have exceed 10,000 acres, including the 108,094-acre Beaver Creek Fire and the 131,258-acre Elk Complex.

Continue reading . . .

Wolf hunt totals up in Montana, down in Idaho

It looks like the final numbers are now in for the Montana and Idaho wolf hunts. Montana, which added a trapping season this year, is up by about a third. Curiously, Idaho’s totals are down quite a bit.

Here are the stories . . .

Wolf Hunt Ends with 36 Percent Increase Over Last Season – Flathead Beacon

Idaho officials report 245 wolves killed this season, down from 379 – Missoulian

Wolf impact on northwest deer populations small

Field and Stream magazine has an articel up on the impact wolves are having on deer populations in this corner of the country. Short version: Mountain lions and coyotes take far more deer than wolves, but the effects of all three are dwarfed by the impact of the weather. The North Fork gets a specific mention in the discussion . . .

In 2011, for the first time ever in Idaho, hunters harvested fewer mule deer than whitetails–big news for a state with a deer harvest that has long been dominated by muleys, and whose recent-big game headlines have been dominated by wolves and stories of their impacts (some exaggerated, some true). Wolf kills, scat, howls, and tracks… are frequent reminders of wolves’ presence in the Western whitetail woods.

Continue reading . . .

Safety issues kept Flathead Hotshots off fatal fire

A Flathead-based fire fighting crew pulled themselves off the Steep Corner fire in Idaho due to safety issues the day before Anne Veseth was killed while working that fire . . .

One day before a 20-year-old firefighter was killed by a falling tree on the Steep Corner fire, a U.S. Forest Service hotshot crew from Montana refused to fight the fire because of safety concerns.

In a report filed Aug. 14 on the National Interagency Fire Center’s SAFENET website, an unnamed superintendent of the Flathead Hotshots said firefighting conditions on the fire, managed by the Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association, were “extremely unsafe” because of falling snags, lack of communication, lack of a command structure and mixed crews with no leadership. The report was written Aug. 11.

The next day Anne Veseth of Moscow, Idaho, a two-year wildland firefighter with the Forest Service, was killed when she was struck by a falling tree while working on the Steep Corner fire.

Continue reading . . .