Snow and Cold Taking Toll on Montana Pronghorn and Deer Pops
Last week on Field Notes we asked what the winterkill situation was in your state or region, but here’s a...
Last week on Field Notes we asked what the winterkill situation was in your state or region, but here’s a sobering reminder of just how bad this winter has been in some parts of the country, in this case northeast Montana.
From this story in the Great Falls (Mont) Tribune:
For three hours on a recent afternoon, Blaine County Undersheriff Pat Pyette and a deputy shot wounded antelope. The herd had congregated on the only place clear of snow ˜ railroad tracks used by BNSF Railway Co. Pyette figures he and the deputy put down about 100 animals that day, about 5 miles east of Savoy. Parts and pieces from another 200 antelope were strewn across the tracks, enough to fill a dozen dump trucks, he said.
_”…Bouts of bitter arctic air, coupled with record-breaking snowfall in northeast Montana and southern Alberta, are taking a heavy toll on wildlife this season ˜ particularly pronghorn antelope and deer. The animals struggle to forage for food, which is trapped beneath a thick and crusty layer of snow. The large herds also are heading to the highways and railroad tracks, seeking a clear path to migrate to less snow-covered spaces, and they are dying by the dozens and even hundreds. Mark Sullivan, a Fish, Wildlife & Parks program manager in northeastern Montana, said a train recently killed approximately 270 antelope by Vandalia, west of Glasgow, and 18 deer were found strewn across the tracks near a Chinook-area grain elevator. “This is an exceptional winter on the Hi-Line,” Sullivan said. “The numbers are getting close to 800 animals reported, and I’m sure there are a fair number of animals killed by trains that we don’t know about.”