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State game wardens have identified an elk hunter mauled in November after surprising a female grizzly with cubs on the Rocky Mountain Front west of Choteau.

Paul Johnson, 55, of Billings, was with a group of hunters, Nov. 20, who had shot at elk. They were hunting private land on the south fork of Willow Creek.

About 9 a.m., Johnson went into a creek bottom to see if there was a wounded elk when he surprised the grizzly at about 20 yards.

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Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will hold public comment meetings around the state in January on proposed rules to limit motorized water craft use on some of the state's water bodies.

The proposed rules address a petition, known as the Quiet Water's Initiative, submitted to the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission this past spring by Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.

The petition states Montana has experienced advanced motorized technology on its waterways, which has potentially opened up waters previously thought to be unusable by motorized water craft.

 Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking information on a white-tailed buck that was shot and left on the corner of Fish Hatchery Road and Castle Creek Road south of Lewistown.

The poaching incident took place the evening of Nov. 19.

It’s not too soon to submit your application for the 2017 pheasant release through the state Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program.  Landowners interested in releasing pen-reared ring-necked pheasants have until Jan. 15 to submit an application.

Under Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Upland Game Bird Release Program, landowners who attempt to enhance pheasant populations in suitable habitat may apply annually for up to five consecutive years.  Projects must comprise at least 100 contiguous acres of land and contain a combination of habitat components -including cover and food - that upland game birds need to survive.  Lands enrolled in the pheasant release program must allow free public access to hunt upland game birds during the season the releases take place.

Though Montana’s big game general season is more than halfway complete, some of the hunting license types can still be confusing.

In Montana, most licenses and all permits, no matter the species, have a five-digit code. These codes are unique for each license or permit type (LPT) and determine the species, the dates, the hunting districts (HD) and weapon the license or permit is valid for, as defined by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks hunting regulations.  

While Montana voters spoke definitively at the polls Tuesday, defeating the ballot initiative 177, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will continue to work with people on both sides of this divisive issue.

“Trapping is an important tool for wildlife management in Montana and will continue to be,” said Ken McDonald, FWP wildlife division administrator. “We also know people will continue to have concerns and we’ll keep ensuring our furbearer management and trapping seasons are well designed and clearly communicated and monitored.”

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The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee recommends the use of bear spray and urges hunters to learn other bear-aware safety measures.

It’s fall, the time of year when bears, both grizzly and black, actively search out food as they prepare for their long winter’s nap.

That means bears can be drawn to populated areas or mountain cabins by unsecured garbage cans, the smell of pet food, bird feeders and dirty barbecue grills.