MTPR

elk

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."

Mule deer.
(PD)

A mule deer buck harvested south of Billings in October has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, officials confirmed Wednesday. CWD is deadly and contagious to deer, elk and moose.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks says a sample collected from the hunter-killed deer 10 miles southeast of Bridger tested positive during an initial round of testing. A second, more thorough test is now being done on the sample at Colorado State University to confirm the presence of the infection.

Mule deer.
(PD)

Big game hunting season is now underway, and this year Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is doing more than ever before to look for Chronic Wasting Disease. The agency has a million dollars to spend on disease surveillance and testing over the next five years.

Emily Almberg is a disease ecologist with FWP. She says it’s inevitable that the disease will be discovered in Montana any day now.

A hunting and conservation group is criticizing the fast food chain Arby’s for offering a new elk sandwich. The Montana Wildlife Federation sent a letter asking the company not to sell the sandwich, which will be available starting on October 21 at the Arby’s in Billings, as well as two other locations in Wyoming and Colorado.

While watching an evening newscast about Montana wildfires, I saw some TV footage of deer and elk fleeing burning areas and listened to speculation by the newscasters of how many animals might be killed during the fires. I was reminded of watching the movie Bambi as a child, and fearing for Bambi’s life as he fled that fictional wildfire many decades ago.

So how devastating are wildfires to deer and elk? Can most of them outrun or outflank a rapidly spreading fire? And what about the survivors when they return to a burned forest? Isn’t their habitat destroyed?

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