From staff reports
Montana officials have released a draft strategy for managing land in a creek drainage in the western part of the state.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is taking public comment on a draft recreation strategy for the Fish Creek watershed in Mineral County, an area about 40 miles west of Missoula.
Logging and roadbuilding were extensive in the area in the past, but now it provides habitat for wildlife and a bevy of recreational opportunities, including, fishing, hunting and camping.
The drainage includes more than 45,000 acres that are managed by FWP and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.
The draft strategy is meant to help the agencies manage recreation in the area while preserving its natural character. The document outlines a number of different actions the state could take in the area, such as marking designated campsites, installing toilets near dispersed campsites and closing the creek to recreational floating.
The document is the result of a yearlong planning process, FWP said in a news release. FWP is accepting public comment on the draft through Oct. 20. The strategy and the public comment portal are available at fwp.mt.gov/conservation/fish-creek-watershed-recreation-planning.
Idaho considers emergency antler hunting closures
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is considering how it will use emergency antler hunting closures to protect wildlife during the winter.
Idaho Fish and Game said in a news release that the 2023 Idaho Legislature gave it the power to restrict shed antler gathering on public lands, a common activity after deer and elk naturally lose their horns. The law giving the agency that authority was passed partially as a response to the impacts of last winter on big game animals in eastern Idaho.
The agency said in a news release that people going into big game habitat during harsh winters stresses animals that are fighting to survive. Closures would be meant to reduce stress on the animals.
Officials are taking public input before the state Fish and Game Commission considers setting antler gathering seasons.
Comments will be accepted until 6 p.m. on Oct. 9, and they can be submitted at idfg.idaho.gov/form/shed_antler_proposal.
Idaho Fish and Game didn’t put forward any specific closure proposals, but it said the closures could be used on an as-needed basis.
They could also be kept in place for the winter following a severe weather event to help big game herds recover.