Maxine Speier

Maxine is a UM Journalism School graduate student working on Montana news for MTPR.

The Bureau of Land Management will be holding a public hearing in Billings in a couple of weeks on the use of motorized vehicles in managing wild horses and burros.

Jerrie Bertola, the Wild Horse and Burro Program lead for Montana and the Dakotas, says the BLM uses motorized vehicles to get population estimates and collect monitoring information as well as general management.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks says it has almost reached its quota for mule deer in the state’s first ever special chronic wasting disease hunt in Carbon County. But the number of harvested whitetails lags behind.

Bob Gibson, a spokesman for FWP, says 183 mule deer have been taken. That means the special hunt for mule deer could end as early as Sunday evening if the quota of 200 is reached.

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission gave the go-ahead for a second chronic wasting disease hunt Thursday. The hunt will take place north of Chester along the Canadian border.

Nick Gevock, the conservation director for the Montana Wildlife Federation, says special CWD hunts are part of an initial response and help wildlife managers determine prevalence of the disease.

Senator Jon Tester introduced legislation today to help in the fight against chronic wasting disease. The introduction of Tester’s bill follows the discovery of the first cases of the disease in Montana’s wildlife.

“We’re seeing it crop up in Montana with regularity and that’s very concerning because it can be very devastating to wildlife,” Tester said.

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission sent a letter to Wyoming last week asking wildlife managers to reconsider the use of winter feeding grounds in order to help prevent chronic wasting disease.

Dan Vermillion, the chairman of the commission, said "it’s not our position to tell them what to do. It’s not our position to tell them how to manage their wildlife. We’re just asking them as a neighbor to help us."

Bighorn rams in Yellowstone National Park are getting a lot of attention over some not-so-pretty close ups. Photos on the park’s Flickr page show multiple rams with swollen, distorted mouths.

Park officials said Monday that the photos are believed to depict the park’s first known cases of a sore mouth disease known as contagious ecthyma.

Biologists with Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks have traced the origin of two illegally introduced walleye discovered in Swan Lake.

FWP announced Tuesday that researchers traced the fish back to Lake Helena by looking at their otoliths, or inner ear bones.

Deer hunting season in Montana ended on Sunday, but Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is getting ready to sell another 1,000 deer licenses as part of a special hunt. FWP wants to gather 300 additional deer samples to determine the prevalence of chronic wasting disease.

Montana is celebrating the 35th anniversary of a sister state relationship with Kumamoto, Japan this week. On Monday a delegation from Kumamoto that included Kumamoto’s Governor Ikuo Kabashima visited Missoula to celebrate and kick off a tour of the treasure state.

It was raining outside when the delegation arrived at the Missoula Community Theatre on Monday night. The theater was nearly full, and Japanese and English chatter mixed together.

Earlier on Monday the delegation of over a dozen distinguished political and community leaders from Kumamoto visited the University of Montana’s campus, but now it was time to have some fun.

In honor of the 35th anniversary MCT had put together a series of performances from local groups including the Missoula Children’s Theatre, Dolce Canto, the Missoula Symphony Orchestra, and the Rocky Mountain Ballet. The event showcased the cultural exchange that has formed so much of the bond between Montana and its Japanese sister state of Kumamoto.

After discovering what’s believed to be the first case of Chronic Wasting Disease in a wild game animal in Montana Wednesday, state wildlife officials are implementing their response plan.

"We are in the process right now of drawing what we would call an 'initial response area'," says John Vore, the Game Management Bureau Chief for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. "That’s roughly a 10-mile radius around where this animal came from."

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