Tags: Gun Control | Montana | hunting | protected species

Hunting in Montana: 6 Animals Designated Nongame, Endangered, Threatened, and Protected Species

By Chris Gentile   |   Tuesday, 02 Jun 2015 02:41 PM

Hunting enthusiasts in Montana have more than 30 million acres of public land on which to hunt numerous types of game, but several species are off limits. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) prohibits the hunting of species that are designated as endangered, threatened, species of concern, or in some cases, delisted endangered species.

Here are six species in Montana that are protected under the the Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Species Program, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

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1. Bald Eagles
Bald Eagles are a conservation success story, as they once were close to extinction but now enjoy reinvigorated population growth. According to the Montana FWP, the state has more than 500 active bald eagle territories, surpassing the 1986 recovery goal of 99 breeding pairs.

The bald eagle is a recently delisted endangered species. They continue to be protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

2. Grey Wolves
Unlike the bald eagle, this recently delisted threatened species is open for hunting in Montana, thanks to a bill passed by the U.S. Senate in 2011. The bill passed authority to manage the population of grey wolves to Montana, which permitted hunters to target them in a responsible manner. Montana’s conservation and management program aims to keep the wolf off the federal endangered species list while managing its population and effect on other animals, the FWP said.

3. Least Tern
Listed as endangered in 1985, this bird has been protected for more than 30 years. Montana implemented an aggressive plan to rebuild its population. The bird will be considered for delisting once its population reaches 7,000 and is maintained at that level for 10 years, the FWP said.

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4. Black-Footed Ferret
Even though the black-footed ferret has been listed as endangered for 30 years, it still remains the rarest mammal in North America, according to the FWP. Today, these ferrets mostly exist in captivity, where conservation programs can closely monitor their health.

5. Whooping Crane
There are currently only 319 known whooping cranes in existence in the world. That’s the highest total population for whooping cranes at any time during the past century, according to the FWP.

6. Canada Lynx
This lynx is currently listed as a federally threatened species, but the FWP said that snow track surveys indicate "good numbers" of the species in Montana.

This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before hunting.

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Hunting enthusiasts in Montana have more than 30 million acres of public land on which to hunt numerous types of game, but several species are off limits.
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