Wildlife

*UPDATED 06/13 

The U.S. Agriculture Secretary visited Missoula Friday to announce a blueprint to prioritize work for the U.S Forest Service.

Supporters say it will modernize the agency and cut unnecessary red tape. Opponents, however, counter it will undermine the nation’s laws aimed at protecting the environment.

A grizzly bear was sighted nearly 80 miles northeast of Great Falls Sunday, according to state wildlife officials. The area near Big Sandy where the bear was spotted is the farthest a grizzly is known to have ventured toward the eastern plains of Montana from either the Yellowstone or Glacier area populations.

A grizzly bear was euthanized roughly 12 miles south of Eureka after it became habituated to people and food conditioned, according to a Tuesday press release from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

As bear activity is picking up across northwest Montana, grizzly bear managers are juggling the uncertain and unexpected impacts of COVID-19 on wild places.

On Friday, state, federal and tribal wildlife officials met remotely over Zoom for their semi-annual meeting. The group discussed how to manage the largest grizzly populations in the lower 48 states – the bears in and around Glacier National Park.

The M-44 is a spring-loaded device that realeases sodium cyanide when triggered. This particular device used a non-toxic substance since it was for a demonstration in Lewistown, June 21, 2019.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio


A federal agency agreed to temporarily limit how and where it kills wildlife that threaten livestock in Montana. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reached the settlement in federal court with WildEarth Guardians May 14.

Bear managers around Glacier National Park say they’ve had a busy spring season with conflicts between bears and humans. Mortality numbers are on pace with last year, the second highest on record for the area.

A "mortality" counts any bear removed from the ecosystem for any reason.

Grizzly bears are repopulating areas of Montana that haven’t seen them for decades, creating more conflict between livestock, people and bears. Some ranchers are learning they need to do something that doesn’t come naturally — change how they live on the land.

As bears were hibernating in their dens this winter, the Blackfeet Stockgrowers Association held a meeting in Choteau to provide a space for ranchers like Mark Hitchcock to talk about working alongside the growing number of grizzly bears on the Rocky Mountain Front.

A Wyoming rancher was awarded nearly $340,000 last month after disputing wildlife managers’ initial offer to pay for several livestock killed by grizzlies and wolves. 

While the large payout is unusual, Montana ranchers say it’s calling attention to funding issues for livestock losses on this side of the border.

State wildlife managers in Montana’s northwest corner want to change wolf hunting regulations. Under a new proposal from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 1, general hunting and trapping seasons for wolves would lengthen and the individual kill limit would double.

Grizzly bears that make their way into the Bitterroot Ecosystem will have Endangered Species Act protections. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials made that announcement a letter to National Forests in the area Tuesday.

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