Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks informed the Lincoln County commissioners of the Chronic Wasting Disease situation in Libby and emphasized the dangers posed by the disease if infected animal carcasses are not disposed of properly.
Jessy Coltrane, acting wildlife manager for Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks Region 1, said if someone dumps a deer with CWD in an area with no infected animals, such as Eureka, the carcass infects soil where it was dumped. Carcass dumping is a “big deal,” she said.
CWD stays in the environment, she said.
Dillon Tabish, FWP Information and Education Program Manager, said “some level” of carcass removal restriction in the Lincoln County area will be in place, but the actual area for the restriction is still to be determined. Restrictions will be added come hunting season.
Wayne Kasworm, FWP grizzly bear recovery team leader for the Cabinet/Yaak area, gave an update on the grizzly bears in the Kootenai National Forest at a Lincoln County Commissioner meeting, Wednesday in Libby.
Kasworm told the commissioners that the augmentation bear which FWP put in the West Cabinet Mountains last year, decided to head south after it came out of its den this year.
When it came out of the den, for whatever reason, it decided to head down almost as far as Highway 12, between Lewiston and Missoulla, he said. The bear is a young male.
“This is obviously not a part of the plan but, you know, whenever you move animals — they aren’t always going to stay where you put them,” he said. This is one of those instances.
Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks is also out doing bear sampling and capture work, he said. So far, they have caught two radio-collared grizzly bears in about the last week.
FWP workers found one young male at the top of Pipe Creek and another one down in Bear Creek, he said. They are also following other collared bears.