Hunters and landowners give FWP an earful on game

Print Article

A whitetail buck pauses in the woods of Glacier National Park.

Hunters and landowners gave Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists and earful last week during a hearing on proposed changes to the upcoming hunting season.

The changes themselves aren’t all that dramatic in Region 1, which includes most of Northwest Montana.

The bulk of the regulation changes focus on merging hunting districts and changing the boundaries, so private land is all in one district and public land is in others.

It was the regulations that were already on the books that were rankling some sportsmen and landowners.

Two Whitefish area landowners said they owned property and enjoyed watching deer, but they were in a district that had unlimited B tags. As a result, they claimed, the deer population they once enjoyed watching out their windows had been thinned considerably — by hunters.

“Get hunting out of rural residential,” said one landowner.

Hunters, by contrast, claimed FWP wasn’t doing enough to control predator populations.

Two hunters said they hunt hard in the Middle Fork and Whitefish range, and they’re lucky to even see a mule deer anymore, nevertheless shoot one.

“We have to address the predator situation,” said Columbia Falls hunter Rich Birdsell.

That should include extending hunting season and more liberal quotas for everything from black bears to mountain lions and wolves, he suggested.

Another hunter was critical of liberalized deer hunting regulations in the Libby area, which are designed to thin the herd in that area because it has chronic wasting a disease, a fatal brain condition that infects ungulates.

He claimed FWP was trying to “kill” its way out of the chronic wasting disease problem.

He also claimed that predators were spreading the disease.

In a follow up question, FWP spokesman Dillon Tabish said after the meeting that biologists say that the probability of a predator spreading the disease is very low.

“It’s possible that scavengers could eat infected meat and their feces would have prions (the protein that causes the disease) in them. However, the prions would be diluted and the concentration would be reduced to a point where the chance of environmental contamination is highly unlikely. In fact, evidence has shown that predators, like lions and wolves, can help reduce the spread and prevalence of CWD because they target (eat) infected animals that are slower and weaker,” Tabish said in an email.

Print Article

Read More Front Page Slider

‘It’s the greatest job in the world,’ Hagen reflects on career

January 22, 2020 at 7:21 am | Hungry Horse News After more than 34 years of fires, wrecks and just plain old helping folks out in need, Columbia Falls Fire Chief Rick Hagen is hanging up his takeout gear. Hagen has been the chief of the Columbia ...


Read More

School fires PA announcer after comment at basketball game

January 22, 2020 at 7:20 am | Hungry Horse News Columbia Falls High School fired public address announcer Jerry Smalley after a comment he made while announcing the Browning girls’ basketball team in Columbia Falls Thursday (Jan. 16) . Smalley r...


Read More

High school grad rate 90.6 percent

January 22, 2020 at 7:20 am | Hungry Horse News Columbia Falls High School’s graduation rate is now 90.6 percent, the highest it’s ever been. The school’s graduation rate in recent years has been around 87 to 88 percent, principal Scott Gaiser sa...


Read More

Community members seek Medal of Honor for fallen soldier

January 22, 2020 at 7:08 am | Hungry Horse News Ten years ago, 19-year-old Pfc. Nicholas Cook arrived for his first tour with the Army in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. Two months later the Hungry Horse man would die in a fierce insurgency ambush...


Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2020 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy