Matt Blois

Matt Blois is a reporter and evening news host.

A hunting and conservation group is criticizing the fast food chain Arby’s for offering a new elk sandwich. The Montana Wildlife Federation sent a letter asking the company not to sell the sandwich, which will be available starting on October 21 at the Arby’s in Billings, as well as two other locations in Wyoming and Colorado.

The Helena-Lewis and Clark Forest lifted all fire related closures today. Several other national forests in Montana reduced fire restrictions or closures over the last several weeks. 

One of the Republicans campaigning for Montana’s Senate seat that’s up in 2018 is facing multiple charges for trying to purchase resident hunting and fishing licenses as a nonresident.

Troy Downing of Big Sky has pleaded not guilty to seven misdemeanor citations.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokeswoman Andrea Jones confirmed the citations, which were first reported by Bozeman blogger Kathryn QannaYahu.

The National Weather Service says the rain and snow western Montana is getting should continue through next week, and will potentially end this year’s fire season. The agency issued a winter storm warning for most of western Montana from 9 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Saturday, anticipating a dramatic change to very cold, wet weather.

Meteorologist Jenn Kitsmiller expects that will clear out smoke from the region and slow down fire activity.

Jean Butler is a retired college administrator, but on Saturday she looked more like a character from a John Wayne movie. She wore a straw hat, suspenders and a thick leather belt weighed down with two pistols and a row of red shotgun shells. She had abandoned her old identity and adopted the nom de guerre Clara Allen.

She was one of a few dozen shooters at a cowboy action shooting event in Hamilton last weekend. The competitors dressed up like characters from the old west and adopted cowboy aliases. At each stage, they shot at steel targets and acted out scenes based on stories from Montana mining towns.

Earthquakes continue to shake the area west of Yellowstone National Park today. A sequence of about 30 earthquakes magnitude 2 and larger have hit the area since Monday.

Yesterday a 4.5 magnitude quake occurred in a backcountry area at 6:48 PM, near West Yellowstone. 

Montana’s congressional delegation offered responses to the shooting at the congressional baseball practice today.

The group that proposed the quiet waters initiative says they plan to try again.

The group Backcountry Hunters and Anglers proposed the rule in May 2016 to reduce conflicts between motorized and non-motorized users. But on Friday The Montana Fish and Wildlife commission voted down their proposal that would have restricted the use of motorized boats on some Montana waterways.

The U.S. Forest Service has approved an expansion to Lookout Pass ski area. The expansion roughly doubles the size of the permit area. The ski area plans to add about 100 acres of new ski terrain, install two new chair lifts and upgrade an existing chairlift.