Mule Deer buck

A buck grazes in a field October 11, 2018, in Bozeman.

White-tailed deer in Gallatin County suspected positive for Chronic Wasting Disease

Initial test results have identified a white-tailed buck deer in Gallatin County as being suspect for carrying chronic wasting disease.

The deer was euthanized earlier this month in the Springhill area of north Bozeman after displaying several classic symptoms of the disease.

This case is the first detection of CWD in Gallatin County. CWD was first detected in Montana in 2017 and is known to exist along the state’s southern and northern borders, as well as in neighboring states and provinces. The first detection of CWD in southwest Montana was in December near Sheridan.

CWD is a fatal disease affecting the nervous system of deer, elk and moose. Transmission most commonly occurs through direct contact between animals. Carcasses and bodily fluids of infected animals can also be sources of infection for other cervids that come into contact with them.

Since 2017, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has rotated its CWD surveillance efforts around the state. During the coming hunting season, FWP plans to focus part of its statewide surveillance efforts in southwest Montana. FWP is currently reviewing data collected during the previous hunting season and possible management strategies to determine necessary next steps in managing the disease.

CWD is not known to be transmissible to humans. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against consuming animals that have tested positive for CWD.

For more information about CWD and Montana’s response, visit fwp.mt.gov/CWD.

Comment sought on East Boulder Mine expansion

Comments are being sought for a draft Environmental Assessment for Sibanye Stillwater Mining Company’s East Boulder Mine to expand the Stage 6 tailings storage facility, located approximately 23 miles south of Big Timber.

The plan is to expand the permitted area from 238 acres to 286.85 acres and would authorize the company to amend and construct Stage 6 of the tailings storage facility by14 feet in elevation above what was previously authorized. The will also extend operations from 2027 to 2033, along with relocation and improvements to portions of two National Forest System roads (Lewis Gulch Road and East Boulder Road), construction of a new power line and relocation of existing mine facilities. All activities would occur within the existing footprint of the permit boundary.

The documents are available online at: https://deq.mt.gov/Public/ea/hardrock or https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=55061

Comment is encouraged electronically by navigating to www.fs.usda.gov/custergallatin

–Staff Report

Body of fisherman missing since July 2019 found in Boulder River

(AP) The remains of a fisherman who was swept down the Boulder River last July have been found, Sweet Grass County Sheriff Alan Ronneberg said.

A person walking along the Main Boulder River on early Saturday afternoon spotted the remains, Ronneberg said.

The family of Bradford Meadows of Billings, has been notified, he said.

Meadows, 50, had been fishing near the Fourmile Campground about 40 miles south of Big Timber on July 24, 2019 when he was swept downstream, The Billings Gazette reported.

Search and rescue crews including divers, dogs and a drone unsuccessfully searched for Meadows for more than a week. The search was suspended in early August. His remains were found within the original search area, Ronneberg said.

Man injured in grizzly bear attack on Sun River

A man was attacked by a female grizzly bear on Sunday morning near the Sun River. The attack left the man with non-life-threatening injuries.

The man was part of a group who were floating and camping on the Sun River, west of Augusta. The group was packing up their campsite when the attack occurred at about 8:30 a.m. After stepping into some brush, the man found himself between the female grizzly and her 2-year-old cub. 

The group was able to call 911, and the man was carried out by helicopter and taken to a hospital.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks investigated the scene and determined the bear acted as expected during a surprise encounter with a human. Because the bear exhibited what is considered normal and expected behavior, no further action is planned.

Grizzlies can be found throughout western Montana, not just the Rocky Mountain Front, Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Yellowstone Ecosystem.  In recent years, grizzly bear populations have expanded, and bears are re-colonizing historic ranges.

For general tips to stay safe in grizzly country or guidelines to follow while camping, visit fwp.mt.gov.

–FWP