Montana has a wide diversity of wildlife on more than 30 million acres of public lands. While some species are off limits for hunting, there are others that Montana encourages hunters to target. These invasive species create a multitude of problems for the economy and local ecosystems.
“Biological invasions present one of the greatest threats to native ecosystems and one of the greatest challenges for natural resource managers,” the U.S. Forest Service said.
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Here are four invasive species the state encourages hunters to target.
1. Eurasian Doves
These birds were first brought to Montana from Europe in 1997 but have quickly colonized the area, according to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP)
. They have spread quickly across the country and rank high on many states’ invasive species lists. There is no closed season for hunting these doves, but hunters should take caution as they resemble other native species that have defined seasons, such as the mourning dove. Eurasian doves are larger with a square tail and black collar.
2. Feral Hogs
Feral hogs have grown to become such a consistent source of destruction for many states, that there is no closed season for hunting them, no license required and no bag limit. In Montana, hunters can kill as many feral hogs as they’d like in one hunt.
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3. European Starling
Easy to identify from their purple and greenish plumage, these invasive birds are common in Montana. They bear a close resemblance to the blackbird, which is not an invasive species. The best way for hunters to distinguish a starling from a blackbird is by its yellow bill. Starlings are also easy to locate, as they’re present in a disparate range of settings, the FWP said.
4. American Bullfrog
Bullfrogs have been spreading quickly throughout the country and wreak havoc on non-native ecosystems, threatening native frogs, turtles and waterfowl, the FWP said
. They spend a lot of time in water, but can be detected by their loud, deep calls. They typically gather in large numbers by sources of still water, including lakes, ponds, and creeks.
This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before hunting.
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