MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Montana hunters can help feed low-income people in the state.
The start of hunting season marks the beginning of the Montana Food Bank Network’s statewide Hunters Against Hunger program.
Every year, the program helps to feed low-income Montanans across the state with meat donated by hunters.
Hunters can donate part or all of any big game they harvest to the Hunters Against Hunger program at no cost by delivering it to the nearest participating meat processor.
The Missoulian reports that the program accepts big game, including deer, elk, antelope, moose and wild buffalo.
Last year, hunters donated more than 38,000 pounds of big game through the Hunters Against Hunger program. The Montana Food Bank Network said meat is an expensive and rare commodity for food distribution locations to have.
Ex-Forest Service leaders urge cancellation of leases
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) Nineteen former U.S. Forest Service Leaders are asking federal officials to cancel all oil and gas leases on land east of Glacier National Park that is considered sacred by Native Americans.
The Oct. 19 letter comes with the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management set to decide whether to cancel a drilling lease owned by Louisiana-based Solenex LLC next month.
The letter is signed from retired Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth and forest supervisors from several Montana national forests
It says they see no way for drilling to happen without permanent changes affecting the land’s cultural, traditional and religious use by Blackfeet Nation.
Baton Rouge-based Solenex is suing the U.S. government to lift a decades-long suspension of the lease its owner, Sidney Longwell, acquired in 1982.
Antelope numbers rebound in Montana
(Information in the following story is from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com)
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Four years after the brutal winter that caused an antelope die-off on a scale that hadn’t been seen in decades in Montana, prairie pronghorn are rebounding in the state.
Hunters and landowners are reporting more pronghorn observations, and state Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists say that’s because more fawns and immature bucks are surviving.
Antelope rifle season opened Oct. 10 and concludes Nov. 8.
The Great Falls Tribune reports that in 2009, the season before the harsh 2010-11 winter, hunters harvested nearly 24,000 pronghorn statewide.
Last year, the harvest was under 9,000.
Proposals for the 2016 and 2017 hunting seasons will be presented to the Fish and Wildlife Commission in December, followed by public meetings and several additional comment opportunities in January 2016.
Manhattan rancher donates $70,000 to local fire departments
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A Manhattan rancher has donated $70,000 to area fire departments in the wake of the Cottonwood Gulch grass fire that burned around her property.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/1MmpbI5 ) that Helen Deborah Van Dyke King of the FDD Ranch west of Manhattan donated $70,000 to be divided among 13 responding fire departments.
The fire burned 13 square miles north of Manhattan earlier this month. Only one building was burned.
The Manhattan fire department will receive $10,000 and the other departments will each receive $5,000.
Montana wildlife managers make progress on elk brucellosis
(Information in the following story is from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com)
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana wildlife managers are making incremental progress in trying to manage the spread of brucellosis between elk and cattle surrounding Yellowstone National Park.
Earlier this month, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the 2015-16 elk brucellosis working plan that outlines actions the agency can take.
It’s the fourth such plan approved by the commission. This year, the plan would allow landowners to pick a portion of the hunters authorized to remove elk from their property.
The Greater Yellowstone Area is the last reservoir of brucellosis in the United States. Bison in Yellowstone National Park are also carriers of brucellosis.
The Billings Gazette reports that last winter no cattle tested positive for brucellosis within an area of southwestern Montana that borders Yellowstone.
Delay sought in Rep. Art Wittich trial
(Information in the following story is from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com)
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A judge has tentatively agreed to delay the political practices trial against state Rep. Art Wittich.
The Bozeman Republican is accused of failing to report contributions from the conservative nonprofit Western Tradition Partnership during his 2010 campaign.
His attorney, Quentin Rhoades of Missoula, requested the Feb. 22 trial be rescheduled because he will be lead defense attorney in a homicide trial earlier that month.
In the Oct. 20 order, Lewis and Clark District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock in Helena said he would agree to a new date in March or April.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that a rescheduling hearing is set for Nov. 6.
Woman gets prison time for theft of van with child inside
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A 31-year-old woman has been sentenced to at least five years in prison in four criminal cases, including a case in which she stole a van with a child in the backseat in Billings.
Jamie Odessa Yates was sentenced this past week by Yellowstone County District Judge Mary Jane Knisely.
The sentence includes 15 years with the Montana Department of Corrections, with 10 years suspended. Yates was designated a persistent felony offender, which means she must complete five years in prison.
The Billings Gazette reports that the prison sentence is specifically for a felony count of theft and misdemeanor criminal negligence after she stole a van with a 3-year-old boy inside and then left the van in a park last April.
Yates also must pay about $11,000 restitution.
Lost hunter found in Gallatin County
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Gallatin County had to call out its search and rescue team on the first day of the big game hunting season.
A 19-year-old Polson hunter became separated from his hunting party on Saturday and called for help about 7:35 p.m.
Using the hunter’s description of his location and his phone’s GPS data, searchers were able to find him just before midnight.