In 2012, the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University and the Craighead Institute started a project to look at the effects of U.S. Highway 287 and MT Highway 87 in the Madison Valley on road related wildlife mortality and movement patterns, said Lance Craighead of the Craighead Institute.
The first elk count surveys for the 2017 year are out for both the Madison and Ruby valleys, and both surveys show increased and healthy elk populations.
An estimated $324 million in 2016 alone circulates through Montana as a result of big game hunting, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. That figure includes resident and non-resident spending and combines elk, deer and antelope hunters, according to a FWP economic impact study.
Nov. 26 and 27, the final weekend of the general deer and elk hunting season in Southwest Montana, saw little change in hunter harvest success, according to FWP’s Andrea Jones.
“At the end of last (hunting) season we had 8,700 elk in that country,” Waltee said. “Coming out of winter, we had about 2,400 calves on the ground, so we probably started this season with 11,100 elk, or somewhere around there.”
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“This is the week that really tests everybody,” said Ruby Valley resident Dan Crismore last Wednesday. “We call it desperation week – the hunters that haven’t gotten anything are nervous.”
‘Desperation week’ is the final week of hunting season, when it seems like issues with hunter ethics become more common.
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A few weeks ago, The Madisonian participated in the Ennis Hunters Feed. If you’re not familiar with the feed, it always takes place the afternoon before opening day of rifle season and is a chance for locals to empty out their freezers by preparing wild game dishes for the community to taste and enjoy.
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