Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Biologist reports no cases of CWD found in Region 2

Mineral Independent | November 15, 2023 12:00 AM

Last Tuesday, the Mineral County Resource Coalition met in the county commissioners room and attendance was light. So light that there wasn’t a quorum, but the agenda moved forward.

Highlights of the meeting started with Ryan Klimstra, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks biologist for Region 2, sharing that the numbers for the 2023 big game hunting season are close to normal after the first three weeks of the season. 

He explained that the Fish Creek game check station wasn’t open the previous weekend because the numbers had been low, and FWP is shorthanded, but to plan on the next three weeks to check the species, their age and if any wolves had been spotted. 

“One thing going for Region 2 is that there have been no reported cases of CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease), but it’s only a matter of time. We’ve dodged the bullet but eventually our first case will show up,” Klimstra reported. “But to help keep it out of the area as long as possible, we’ve placed four dumpsters for hunters to discard the bones and scrap meat of the animals if they butcher it themselves. Storm Mountain Trailhead has one. The Department of Transportation in Superior has one.  We’ve placed one at the Loge Ranch in St. Regis and the last one is at the Petty Creek access to I-90. We’re staying on top of this as best as we can and ask that after processing animals that everyone use a dumpster or a large garbage receptacle rather than driving into the woods and leaving them for the scavengers. That’s how this can get out of hand, quickly.” 

Hunters can take the animal(s) to FWP headquarters on Spurgin Road in Missoula for free testing with results expected back in two to six weeks. Klimstra said if there is enough interest, he will come out on a certain day, yet to be determined, and test animals. Call 406-542-5516 for details.

He also explained that they are in their second of a three-year study of the Canada lynx and he has hung six game cameras along game trails or decommissioned roads and has about that many more to go. 

“We have hardly any data from last year so this winter we expect to get a better count. This is for a baseline data exploratory project that Idaho and Wyoming are also conducting. Basic information of where they are, and where they aren’t.” 

Hunters will notice small signs indicating that they are in the area of FWP research and to continue hunting as normal as these are to post ownership of the cameras. They have added some extra cameras to find out the same information on fishers.

Christmas tree permits for harvesting in the Lolo National Forest are available at the Superior Ranger District in Superior at 209 West Riverside Avenue, reported Abby Lane, District Ranger. They remain at $5 and can also be purchased at permits.  

She also shared what was accomplished at Savenac Nursery this summer with volunteers and made mention that next year they will be drilling a new well and the entire property will be closed during this period. 

Several RAC (Resource Advisory Committee) members term out in December, so recruiting has begun for those who have experience, knowledge or just enjoy the outdoor recreation opportunities in the area. It’s a two-year commitment but only a few meetings per year. For more information call 406-822-4233.

Recent Headlines