Outdoor briefs for Nov. 4, 2015
Hunters: store meat properly to avoid bear conflict
News from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
MONTANA — With the general deer and elk rifle season now open, and in light of the considerable increase of bear activity and bear-human encounters, hunters and other recreationists are reminded to properly store game meat, food, livestock feed, garbage, and all other attractants in a bear-resistant manner while in National Forest lands.
When you are not present, all food and attractants, including game meat, must be stored in either a hard-sided camper, vehicle trunk or cab, enclosed horse trailer, approved bear resistant container, suspended at least ten feet above the ground and four feet from the vertical support or by using an approved electric fencing system. In addition, wildlife carcasses that are within one-half mile of a camp or sleeping area must be stored in a bear resistant manner during nighttime hours.
Hunters are encouraged to carry and know how to use bear pepper spray and to have it in reach when dressing out your animal. Hunt with a partner and be alert for signs of bear activity. Field dress, butcher and pack out your meat as soon as possible. Separate the gut pile from the carcass and be mindful of keeping gut piles and cutting up the carcass away from trails and roads so not to attract bears and create a safety hazard for other hunters.
For more information, contact the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region One office, 406-752-5501, or any of the Flathead National Forest ranger district offices.
Legally-harvested game can be donated to food banks
MONTANA — Hunters who legally harvest big game during the hunting season are able to donate the meat to help Montanans in need at no cost to the hunter.
The option is the result of 2013 legislation that allows individuals to make a contribution that will help nonprofit groups process donated wild game for free distribution by Montana Food Bank Network to help feed people in need.
Only legally harvested or confiscated big game animals can be donated (deer, elk, antelope, moose and wild buffalo). No road kill can be donated. Any hunters interested in donating their game can deliver the big game to the nearest participating meat processor.
The cost of processing the donated game is reimbursed to the processors by the Montana Food Bank Network. In 2014, the average cost of processing was $1.74/pound.
As a result of the 2013 legislation and the Montana Food Bank Network’s implementation of the Hunters Against Hunger program, hunters were able to donate over 38,000 pounds of big game to 24 different hunger-fighting organizations throughout Montana in 2014.
Authorized processors and more information for hunters can be found at mfbn.org/hunters-against-hunger. For more information about the Hunters Against Hunger program, can contact Jeff Gutierrez at the Montana Food Bank Network, 406-215-1775. or visit mfbn.org/hunters-against-hunger.
Register online for trapper certification
KALISPELL — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will hold a Wolf Trapper Certification class on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the FWP Headquarters on North Meridian Road in Kalispell. This one-time certification is required for all wolf trappers in Montana. Individuals that have been certified in years past do not need to take the class again.
The class is free, and interested students can check the schedule and register online at fwp.mt.gov. Follow the links to “hunter education.” Online registration is required for all participants.
FWP staff and experienced wolf trappers teach classes. In addition to specifics on equipment and techniques, participants will learn about the history, ethics, management, regulations and requirements of wolves and wolf trapping. The class will be taught in a rotating-station format. Students should bring a lunch and dress for the weather for the outside station.
Public input sought for commercial use fees
News from Montana State Parks
HELENA — Public comment is being sought on the proposed Montana State Parks Commercial Use Permit Fee Rule. Commercial Use Permits are required for commercial activities at a Montana State Parks such as filming, photography, water based outfitting, guided tours, and special events.
The current fee rule was adopted by the Montana State Parks and Recreation Board in December 2013 and an updated fee rule is needed. The proposed fee rule would simplify existing fee rule categories, eliminate categories and associated fee ranges that are no longer relevant, and re-evaluate the existing fee structure.
The complete Commercial Use Fee Rule can be viewed at: http://1.usa.gov/1M0v6An.
A public comment period will be open for 30 days. Public comments will be accepted through Friday, Nov. 27, at 5 p.m.
To comment online visit stateparks.mt.gov and click on “submit comments” or by direct link here: http://1.usa.gov/1M0v6An.