Wildlife officials say bears are becoming more active as they search for food before hibernation

A grizzly bear in Stillwater County had to be shot after it killed a herd of cows. Wildlife officials say bears are becoming more active as they search for food before hibernation. The bear was responsible for a dozen cattle deaths in the Fishtail and Fiddler Creek area since mid August. It was killed by U.S. Wildlife Services officials late last week.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund which uses fees paid by offshore oil and gas drilling companies for conservation programs, has suffered a significant defeat in Congress.

Missing Bowhunter Found Dead, Autopsy Planned

Sep 28, 2015

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — An eight-day search for a Kalispell man who went missing during a bow hunting trip in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest ended over the weekend with the discovery of his body about a mile uphill from his pickup truck.

Bowhunter Still Missing In Wisdom Area

Sep 25, 2015

After a week, search and rescue teams that have been looking for a 53-year-old Kalispell man who failed to return from a bowhunting trip west of Wisdom are beginning to lose hope.

Robert Carter Jr. had been hunting a few miles west of Big Hole Battlefield National Park. Searchers found his campsite and later his pickup truck.

A crew working in the Bob Marshall Wilderness rebuilds a main line trail that was damaged during a fire this summer.
Corin Cates-Carney

Hunting and fishing licenses generate about $48 million a year in Montana, and 70 percent of that revenue comes from people from out of state. But this year some of those hunters and fishers had to cancel their trips because of the intense fire season. And that makes it tough on the businesses that serve them.

Apprentice Program Aims To Get Kids Interested In Hunting
Flickr User Jeff Noble (CC-BY-2)

Kids in Montana can now hunt without taking hunter education classes. State lawmakers passed a new law allowing that this year.

The Apprentice Hunter Program allows kids age 10 to 17 to get some Montana hunting licenses without the education previously required.

State wildlife officials are investigating a Moose poaching near Kalispell.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Game Warden Weston Oedekoven says we’ve entered a time of the year when some hunters are getting a little antsy.

Montana FWP is seeking public comment on proposed guidelines for reducing elk populations.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking public comment on proposed guidelines to establish additional elk hunting seasons, called "shoulder seasons". Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Quentin Kujala says they’d be used as a tool to reduce elk populations.

Bighorn sheep

Hunters have less than a week to throw their name in the hat to win the chance for a dream hunt. Corin Cates-Carney reports on Montana’s SuperTag lottery deadline.

Mountain Lion in the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge
USFWS Mountain-Prairie (CC-BY-2.0)

Anyone who’s ever hunted mountain lions will tell you that finding just one cougar in the wild is hard. Imagine trying to count all the mountain lions in Montana….that’s a lot harder.

A Wisconsin man was fined more than$2,000 Monday for accidently killing a grizzly bear in Northwest Montana.

Mike Korn's Career Spans Folklife And Wildlife

May 10, 2015

What's the connection between traditional American folk music, convincing landowners to allow hunters on their land, and the supervising of game wardens? Brian Kahn talks with Mike Korn, retired deputy chief of law enforcement at Montana's Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Senate Committee Endorses Price Increase For Hunting, Fishing Licenses

Apr 17, 2015
U.S. Forest Service Northern Region

Today at the Montana Legislature, the Senate Finance and Claims Committee passed a bill to increase prices on hunting tags. House Bill 140 would increase fishing license prices by a few dollars, and would introduce a base license fee for any hunter of $8 for residents and $10 for nonresidents. Other special nonresident permit prices would also increase.

National Science Foundation - National Teacher Enhancement Network

Kurt Alt worked as a wildlife biologist for the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department of the State of Montana from 1975 till his retirement in 2010. As Wildlife Manager for Southwest Montana, Alt supervised work in the Gallatin and Madison drainages of southwest Montana, collecting and analyzing data on moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, deer, mountain lions, bears, antelope, and many other native species of the area.

Hunting Groups Take Aim At 'Crowd Shooting'

Apr 6, 2015
Flickr User Ian Sane CC-BY-2.0

Last week, a citizen’s advisory group to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks started fundraising to produce an education campaign in direct response to controversial "crowd-shooting" incidents last November.

Montana hunters won a victory in the state House Wednesday as lawmakers and the Governor came together over a bill to let sportsmen used sound suppressors on their rifles.

Sound suppressors quiet the noise of a rifle to reduce ear damage to the hunter. Many hunters like them, but game wardens oppose them, because they say suppressors help poachers get away with breaking the law. 

A Campaign To End Big Game 'Crowd Shooting'

Mar 27, 2015
Public Domain

Two mass elk shootings in November and December that angered many in Montana have prompted a hunting group to launch an ethical hunting campaign.

Mike England is with the Bozeman-based Citizens’ Advisory Committee, a public group that gives feedback to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. His says the irresponsible behavior of the hunters who surrounded and shot into elk herds last last year near Helena motivated his group to move from advice to action.

The Montana House is considering whether hunters should be allowed to use rifles fitted with sound suppressors, a move that’s favored by hunting organizations but opposed by game wardens.

Suppressors are not the silencers we often see in movies but they do cut down the sound, or “report” from a hunting rifle. Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association says suppressors are allowed in 34 other states because they help protect a hunter’s hearing, in situations where it’s not practical to wear earplugs or earmuffs.

Jackie Yamanaka

Another nearly 4-dozen Yellowstone National Park bison are scheduled to be loaded up today at the Stephens Creek Capture facility and delivered for slaughter in Big Timber and Columbus.

It’s part of the population control measures spelled out under the Interagency Bison Management Plan.

Yellowstone officials held a tour of the Stephens Creek facility yesterday.

Rick Wallen is the lead wildlife biologist for Yellowstone’s bison program.

Ranchers who lose livestock to mountain lion attacks would get compensation from the state of Montana under a bill the Senate approved Friday. The state already pays ranchers who lose animals to wolves and grizzly bears. Hamilton Republican Pat Connell says mountain lions are a scourge for Montana’s ranchers.

Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks

This story was updated on 1/23/15 to correct an error describing the process of amending the state constitution.

State lawmakers are considering a bill to reaffirm that trapping is a form of hunting protected by the state Constitution.

Legislative News Roundup - Week 2

Jan 20, 2015
William Marcus

In the second week of the 64th Montana Legislature, two initiatives from Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock’s budget were opened up in joint appropriations subcommittees.

Jim Peaco (CC-BY-2.0)

Yellowstone National Park has started capturing bison near the park's north entrance and bison advocates have sued to stop it.

Disease management and carrying capacity are at the center of the operation.

Park spokesman Al Nash says a total of 800 to 900 bison that migrate out of the park could be removed.

"We're doing so to be able to approach the target bison population and to see if we can reduce the potential for a mass-migration of bison into Montana where there is still some limited tolerance."

Crossbows, Fantasy Sports On This Week's Legislative Agenda

Jan 14, 2015
William Marcus

Thursday and Friday at the Montana Legislature will set the stage for some interesting new bills by freshman Columbus Representative Forrest Mandeville.

On Thursday, he’s presenting House Bill 176, which would allow crossbows to be used for hunting during archery season.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Organizers have canceled the coyote and wolf hunting event in Sanders County, Montana that was scheduled for January 16 - 18. The owner of the hotel where registration was going to take place tells us he received death threats against himself and his family, and threats of "character assassination and business assassination," but has no comment beyond that.

Click here to see the Facebook post announcing the event's cancelation.

The Top Stories Of 2014 On MTPR

Dec 29, 2014
Dan Boyce

With a new year just around the corner, it's time to look back at the year's big stories. Here are some of the most popular stories from 2014 on

Ancient Human Remains Come From Montana Ancestor Of Most Native Americans

DNA evidence recovered from ancient human remains found in Montana is providing definitive answers to the origin of Native Americans.

Clay Scott

80-year-old leather worker Pauline Olson of Augusta, Montana, talks about God, deer hunting, and a life of struggling to keep afloat along the Rocky Mountain Front.

Courtesy Montana Legislature

A state lawmaker says he wants to introduce legislation to address ongoing hunting violations in Montana. Republican state Representative Kelly Flynn lives near Townsend where a second so-called "crowd-shooting" incident took place last week.

There’s been another “crowd shooting” incident involving a herd of elk in Montana.

Broadwater County Undersheriff Wynn Meehan says that on Thanksgiving day hundreds of elk near Townsend were hazed by trucks for at least five miles before getting boxed-in and fired on by dozens of Montanans. 

Some of the elk eventually split-off from the main herd, but were immediately pursued into adjacent private land near Highway 12.

Meehan says the trouble resumed first thing Friday morning:

A “crowd-shooting” incident on the east side of Canyon Ferry Reservoir last weekend has opened a discussion about hunter ethics; specifically, when is it OK to shoot a game animal?

Justin Feddes says the shooting in the White's Gulch area outside Helena started at first light last Sunday morning.

"If I had to guess, I'd say probably around 30 elk were killed. Probably 18 - 20 bulls, the rest were probably cows. We had two wounded," said Feddes.