Winter Ecology Day Outdoor
Education Program Jan. 14, 2023
Submitted by Brian Baxter
Come share a winter day studying the interactions of area wildlife with their environment, in the beautiful outdoors of northwestern Montana! We’ll meet on Sat. Jan. 14th, at 9 a.m. Mountain Time, in the Viking Room of the Venture Inn at 1015 US Highway 2 in Libby. Over coffee, we will go over a brief set of handouts describing specialized predator / prey relationships such as the one between Canadian lynx and Snowshoe hare, and other species interesting winter relationships in the wild. The group will additionally focus on some botanical terminology that will help us spot and identify the more predominant characteristics of coniferous trees, evergreen shrubs and forbs. At about 9:30 a.m., we will head to the field!
We’ll visit two to four different types of areas, where we will hunt as a wildlife research team to find tracks, sign, and scat of area wildlife and look for birds, identify both evergreen and deciduous vegetation, analyze habitats, and connect animal behavior with the local environs. Please come prepared for the day with full gas tanks, proper layers, lunch, water, good boots, snowshoes if you have them, hats and gloves, cameras, binoculars, and ski poles can be helpful walking in deep snow. This adult class will take road tours, do a couple of short hikes on private lands, and wrap up will be around 2:30 p.m. Mountain Time. This class is sponsored by Libby Hostel Base Camp, and you can check them out at Airbnb. The Venture Inn and The Country Inn are also good accommodations in the area if you need them. ALL Participants Must Register To Attend! Senior Citizens welcome. Not super strenuous, slots limited to small group. For More Info: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 406-291-2154.
Wolf trapping opens in all occupied grizzly bear habitat across the state
Submitted by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks wildlife staff completed its final assessment of grizzly bear activity in occupied grizzly bear habitat. Effective Saturday, Dec. 24, wolf trapping season is open in all areas of occupied grizzly bear habitat across the state, including deer and elk hunting district (HD) 130 in northwest Montana.
Hunters and trappers should note that wolf harvest quotas exist in each FWP trapping district and wolf management unit 313. Those harvest quotas can be viewed and followed on the FWP Wolf Dashboard.
In August, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved wolf hunting and trapping regulations for the 2022 season, which ends March 15, 2023. The regulations include a floating start date for wolf trapping in occupied grizzly bear habitat. The intent of the floating start date is to avoid conflict with grizzly bears that have yet to den for the winter
FWP makes a decision opening trapping in occupied bear habitat each Monday in December with input from field staff on bear activity.
Trappers still need to exercise caution when out in the field. Black bears are still active is some parts of the state. In addition, grizzly bears can leave dens at any point during winter; trappers are encouraged to avoid trapping in areas where grizzly sign is detected.
Wolf hunters and trappers should make sure to be familiar with the 2022 Furbearer, Wolf and Trapping Regulations, which include maps of occupied grizzly bear habitat.
Upcoming meetings to discuss conservation easements in northwest Montana, Jan. 10
Submitted by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
The public is invited to attend upcoming meetings between Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, conservation partners, and private landowners whose land is under conservation easement in northwest Montana.
These meetings will focus on lands under the following easements: Haskill Basin near Whitefish, Trumbull Creek near Whitefish, and Lost Trail near Marion.
A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land to protect its conservation values. FWP holds conservation easements to protect vital fish and wildlife habitat, retain working lands, and maintain recreational access opportunities for the public. Lands under easement remain in private ownership and management, and landowners continue to pay property taxes.
The upcoming meetings are required annually by the conservation easement agreements and provide a forum for discussion of any issues related to public use, land use, access issues, conditions, or other unanticipated issues involving conservation easement lands.
Jan. 5 – Haskill Basin (3,020 acres) and Trumbull (7,068 acres) conservation easements near Whitefish, 5:30 p.m., Whitefish City Hall, Whitefish Room, 418 East Second St.
Jan. 10 – Lost Trail Conservation Easement (7,300 acres) near Marion, 10 a.m., Libby City Hall, Ponderosa Room, 952 E. Spruce St.
The Lost Trail meeting was previously scheduled for Dec. 15 but postponed and rescheduled to this later date. Earlier this winter, meetings were held with landowners and partners involved in the Swan Valley, Lazy Creek, Kootenai Valleys, Kootenai Forestlands, and Thompson-Fisher conservation easements.
For more information, contact Leah Breidinger at email@example.com or 406-751-4573.