Hunters can soon register online for Game Damage Hunt Roster
HELENA – Hunters interested in participating in game damage hunt opportunities need to register online for the Hunt Roster beginning Wednesday, June 15, through MyFWP. The roster is used by Fish, Wildlife & Parks to quickly respond to landowners who are eligible for game damage assistance in the prevention or reduction of property or crop damage primarily caused by deer, elk and/or antelope.
New this year, hunters can register to be placed on a bison game damage roster. The Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the addition at its February meeting and set the quota at 10 bison in Region 3. Occasionally, a bison is found outside of the authorized hunting season and outside of the bison tolerance zone. FWP is compiling a list of interested hunters to call for quick removal of the animal. These hunts could be during the warmer months of summer and will require quickly field dressing the animal with a team of people armed with the appropriate tools. For more information about bison hunting, click here.
To register, hunters can log into their MyFWP account or click “look up draw results, register for lists” within the menu. Then select a preferred hunting district(s) for potential deer, elk, antelope, and bison damage hunts and submit. Hunters are asked to sign up for districts where they know the landscape and can respond quickly to game damage issues typically within 24 to 48 hours.
The Hunt Roster sign-up closes July 15, and a randomly generated list will be created from the online registrations and will be posted to MyFWP accounts by July 20.
FWP will contact hunters if they are selected for a damage hunt opportunity via phone and/or email, so hunters are asked to ensure they have accurate contact information in their licensing profile. FWP may also utilize other means of hunter selection in lieu of the Hunt Roster, including first-come, first-served advertised opportunities, unsuccessful special license or permit applicant lists or lists of names supplied by landowners depending upon each damage situation. For more details on the FWP game damage assistance program visit: https://fwp.mt.gov/conservation/landowner-programs/game-damage-program
Trail Ambassadors Remind Hikers to Keep Distance From Wild Animals
The days are getting longer, the snow is melting, wildflowers are blooming. That means it’s time to get out and hike Scotchman Peak. The iconic ridge that looms over Lake Pend Oreille lends itself to fantastic views and the opportunity to see wild mountain goats in their craggy home.
While it is tempting to get up close and personal with these herbivorous creatures, it’s important to remember that they are still wild creatures with sharp horns and tough attitudes.
Like horses and cows, these ungulates crave salt. They will walk many miles to find it in the wild. On top of Scotchman Peak, they don’t need to travel far, as our backpacks, shirts, and urine all possess the precious mineral. The mountain goats of Scotchman Peak have learned that an easier way to find salt is to lick hikers and their equipment, not to mention the urine left behind on the ground.
While it can be an amazing feeling to be that close to a wild animal, please remember that it is not only dangerous for you, but also for the goats and future hikers. If a goat becomes a “problem,” it may face the death penalty. Future hikers will be harassed by salt-seeking goats. And as we’ve seen in other busy mountainous places, aggressive goats can lead to trail closures at best and hiker fatalities at worst.
Please remember when hiking in the home of these amazing wild animals – give them space. The recommended safe distance is 100 feet. If mountain goats are approaching you, be loud and intimidating. Maybe even wave your arms and do a little summit dance. Show the goat you’re not an easy target for salt. If you see other hikers getting too close to the goats, politely let them know that they should stay away because these wild animals can be dangerous.
If you care about keeping mountain goats wild and the Scotchman Peak Trail open, volunteer as a Scotchman Peak Trail Ambassador this summer. As a Trail Ambassador, you get to do a little extra good on your day-hike. You’ll be outfitted with a t-shirt and hat by the Friends of Scotchman Peak Wilderness. As you hike, you’ll chat with fellow hikers about goat etiquette and safety. To become a volunteer Trail Ambassador or learn more about hiking safely in mountain goat territory visit: Scotchmanpeaks.org.
Last but not least, when encountering a mountain goat on the Scotchman Peak trail, remember where you are. You’re in their home, not the other way around.
Mountain Goats licking salt- Photo courtesy of Cameron Rasmussen