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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Why is Montana FISH, WILDLIFE & PARKS(FWP) so quick to call for expanded hunts of carnivores simply based on "hunter sightings"??????...............This State Wildlife Dept. tends to "hipshoot" it's population estimates of Bears, Pumas and Wolves as Jay Mallonee and other independent biologists have pointed out to us time and time again

Black bear numbers growing in SE Montana
Black bear numbers have climbed over the past seven years in southeastern Montana, prompting the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission to recently double the harvest quota this fall from four to eight bears.
The season in FWP's Region 7 started in 2006 in response to increased bear sightings and sportsmen interest. 
During the 2012 Region 7 black bear hunting seasons, regionwide either-sex quotas of two and four were in place for the spring and fall. Five black bears were shot; one in the spring and four in the fall. Three were males and two were females. 

This marked the third consecutive year and the fourth time in seven years that the fall quota was met. Fifty-five percent of Region 7 black bear harvests were by hunters targeting some other species. The spring quota has never been met.
Since the inaugural 2006 seasons, 20 black bears have been legally harvested in Region 7; 14 males and six females. Of those 20, 12 were aged through lab analysis of their teeth. Eleven were subadults (1-5 years old) and one was an adult (6-10 years old).
Wildlife biologist Dean Waltee expects ages of harvested bears to increase. A bear that was 10 years old was harvested during the 2011 seasons -- the first bear older than 4 that was harvested in Region 7.
"I suspect there are more bears across the region than most people think, and plenty of bears have been surviving hunting seasons," Waltee said. "We are getting more reports of sows with cubs every year and Montana research has shown that sows rarely reproduce prior to 4 years old and the average age of first reproduction is 6. Sows with cubs indicates to me that there are older bears on the landscape that we are not harvesting."
In addition to hunter harvests, six incidental harvests have been reported since 2003. Those include road kills and livestock and crop depredation removals. Incidental harvests do not count toward the regional harvest quota.

Black bears actively harassing or attacking livestock can be killed without a license by livestock owners; however, the killings are required to be reported to FWP. One male was removed in 2012 by a livestock producer after it killed a flock of sheep. Five additional incidental harvests have been reported since 2003.
The most common complaint to date has been damage to stock tank floats; which bears break while utilizing stock tanks for water and to cool down. Overall, social tolerance of black bears across southeast Montana remains high and reported livestock depredations have been few.
Looking forward, Waltee expects black bear populations to continue to grow and expand across the region. An analysis of suitable black bear habitat and population potential demonstrated that black bear habitat across Region 7 exceeds previous estimations.
"The natural black bear forage base present across southeast Montana -- which includes deer, elk, antelope, insects, a variety of small mammals and birds, green vegetation and berries -- is annually plentiful," Waltee said. "Disease and weather have not been limiting factors; although prolonged drought could become one."
Waltee emphasized that management of black bears across southeast Montana will be a continual process of balancing sustained populations and desired recreational opportunities with tolerance from private landowners and big-game hunters.
"When it comes to managing large carnivores in southeast Montana, we need to recognize that the region is mostly privately owned and utilized for livestock production," Waltee said. "Too many black bears can become very problematic. We also need to remain cognizant that overharvest could result in an unnecessary loss of recreational opportunities and negatively impact our ability to utilize regulated harvest on federal lands, as has occurred in other states."
Anyone interested in more information about black bear management in Region 7 should contact Waltee at 406-436-2327 or

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