Wyoming Governor Mead signs off on 1st griz hunt in 44 years

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead has signed off on the state’s first hunt for grizzly bears in 44 years.

 Mead approved the rules Thursday that pave the way for the fall hunt, which will be the biggest in the lower 48 states since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed protections for grizzlies in the Yellowstone region in 2017.

The hunt’s rules will allow up to 22 grizzlies to be killed in a wide area east and south of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission heard from hunt supporters and opponents before voting unanimously in favor of it in May.

Mead says grizzlies have “exceeded their recovery goals for over a decade.”

Idaho has approved hunting one grizzly this fall, and Montana has decided for now that it won’t allow grizzly hunting.

2 people injured while trying to avoid hitting kangaroo  

DODSON, Mont. (AP) — A Montana Highway Patrol Trooper says two people were injured after the driver swerved their vehicle to avoid hitting a kangaroo on the road.

Trooper Matt Finley says he thought it was joke when he was responding to the call on Wednesday morning out on Highway 2 until he saw the kangaroo.

He says there is a kangaroo farm located west of Dodson.

He says the people in the vehicle suffered minor injuries after their vehicle rolled.

He says he did not attempt to capture the animal.

Dodson is located in Phillips County in northern Montana.

High waters on the Missouri River close campground

The rising water of the Missouri River has caused the closure of two campgrounds in the Upper Missouri River Breaks area.

The James Kipp Recreation Area and Wood Bottom Recreation Area are closed until further notice. Once the waters recede the areas will re-open to the public.

For more information you may go to the Bureau of Land Management-Montana/Dakotas Facebook page.

Standoff suspect intended to ambush Billings officers

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A coroner’s jury heard testimony Wednesday that a heavily armed Montana man tried to lure officers into a sporting goods store with the intention of ambushing them during a 10-hour standoff that culminated in a shootout and the man’s death.

The jury is considering whether police officers were justified in killing Frank “Joey” Half, Jr. during the Nov. 4, 2017, standoff in Billings.

Officers testified that Half had several weapons that he got from the store and fired at least 28 shots, including one that hit the bulletproof window of an armored police vehicle with an officer inside.

Family members of Half, a member of Montana’s Crow Indian Tribe, said authorities had a chance to stop the situation from escalating into a violent confrontation but missed that opportunity by failing to bring in relatives who might have been able to reason with him.

Jurors also visited Big Bear Sports Center, which has since closed in part because of heavy damage from police ramming the store’s entrance with an armored vehicle.

Inquests are required under Montana law whenever law enforcement officers are involved in a fatal shooting or someone dies in law enforcement custody.

The inquest was expected to conclude Thursday.

Man charged in meth deaths of pregnant wife, daughter

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A 25-year-old Great Falls man is charged with two counts of negligent homicide in the January overdose death of his pregnant wife and his daughter, who was born prematurely.

Devin Michael Olson was arrested Tuesday on a warrant setting his bail at $25,000. Cascade County Attorney Josh Racki said Olson is scheduled to make an initial appearance in District Court Thursday. Racki did not know if Olson had an attorney.

Charging documents say 20-year-old Kayla Taylor Olson died on Jan. 13, shortly after her daughter, Charlotte, was delivered via emergency cesarean section. The baby was flown to a Seattle hospital where she died Jan. 18, also due to methamphetamine intoxication.

Prosecutors say the investigation found Devin Olson obtained the meth and gave it to Kayla for “one last hurrah before the birth of their child.”

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