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Outdoor briefs published Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020

Outdoor briefs published Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020

  • Updated

Butte Ranger District office temporarily closed

The Butte Ranger District of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest located at 1820 Meadowlark in Butte is temporarily closed to walk in business, and may be closed for up to two weeks.

According to Jan Bowey, Acting District Ranger, the office is closed because available staff are supporting fire suppression efforts throughout Montana and elsewhere.

The phones will continue to be covered by the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Dillon at 406-683-3900 for any assistance you may need. Firewood permits may also be requested at this number.

BLM to upgrade water system at campground

The Bureau of Land Management’s Butte Field Office will upgrade the water system at its Devil’s Elbow Campground on Hauser Lake in the coming weeks.

Water will be unavailable at the campground between Sept. 14 and Oct. 2 while the contracted maintenance work is going on.

The campground and its other amenities will remain open throughout the project.

Hunters should have animals tested prior to donating

Every year hunters across Montana donate thousands of pounds of wild game to local food banks through local meat processors. With the discovery of chronic wasting disease in Montana, Fish, Wildlife & Parks is urging hunters to have their deer, elk and moose tested and have a negative test result in hand prior to donating no matter where in Montana these animals are harvested.

“We know this will be a shift for both hunters and processors, but with a little planning ahead, it should still be a smooth process of getting healthy wild game from the field to the homes of foodbank customers,” said Ken McDonald, Wildlife Division Administrator with FWP.

The funding for much of this donated meat comes from hunters through a program called Hunters Against Hunger. Hunters are asked to donate to the program when they purchase their license each year. The donations go to offset the cost of processing the wild game.

Donations to Hunters Against Hunger and other donation options are welcome anytime and can be done online at or at any license provider.

FWP takes two firsts in national competition

The Association for Conservation Information awarded Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks top honors in two communications categories at the organization’s annual awards ceremony held virtually on Aug. 30.

FWP took first place in the Social Media Presence category, recognizing the department’s innovative and widespread presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Among the FWP social media features recognized by the judges was #fisheriesfridays, a weekly posting of Montana fisheries management and the biologists and technicians behind the work. Fisheries Fridays topics include the 12 Days of Fishmas, #Feburbotary, #Hatchvember, educational infographics, paddlefishing tips, behind the scene photos, staff biographies and infomercials.

FWP social media also includes a new Facebook group called My Montana Hunt, where hunters share their experiences and photos and discuss hunting and the department posts hunting information and news. #TuesdayswithTorrey is a post in which FWP nongame wildlife biologist Torrey Ritter writes up entertaining posts about bats, loons and other nongame species.

FWP also won first place in the Destination, Historical, or Cultural Article category for “Where the West Comes Alive,” an article that ran in Montana Outdoors on Bannack State Park. The department also took third place in the Recurring Video Program category for its bi-weekly Outdoors Reports featured on TV stations across Montana.

WHIP grant application period open

The annual application period is open for the Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program, a grant funding program administered by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. The purpose of WHIP is to accomplish large-scale restoration of private and publicly owned, high-priority wildlife habitats through noxious weed management. Grant expenditures are limited to herbicide, mechanical, biocontrol, and re-seeding treatments, specifically to restore wildlife habitat functions. Grazing management improvements may also be funded through the program to restore native wildlife habitats and reduce susceptibility to noxious weed invasion.

Awarded grants can be structured to provide funding for up to five years. Total available funding is up to $2 million annually; no single grant request can exceed this amount.

Apply online. Application forms must be submitted electronically and can be found at using the online WebGrants system. Applicants new to WebGrants must register first before accessing the application forms.

WHIP applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 23, 2020, to be considered for funding in 2021. For additional program information and detailed application instructions, visit or search for “Montana Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program.”

If you have questions about applying for a WHIP grant or accessing the application forms, contact Kim Antonick, WHIP coordinator, at or 406-444-7291.


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