BIG SKY — In today's This Week in Fish and Wildlife Morgan Jacobsen explained the importance of Wildlife Management Areas.
The Gallatin Wildlife Management Area is east of the community of Big Sky and is about 8,600 acres of checkerboard land. Jacobsen notes the importance of the WMA’s for Montana’s wildlife populations.
This time of year, primarily deer and elk have made it through the winter. They are soon to have calves and fawns, and the food supplies are stretched thin, meaning these animals are at the highest risk of death right now. Wildlife Management Areas give them space to have their young and forage for food without threat from human involvement.
The Gallatin WMA is now closed but will re-open in May for access.
Jacobsen also notes that a late-season, non-prescribed fire in the area has changed some of the opportunities for animals in this WMA, so it's possible they may be moving out of the area. He says that means we all need to be aware of their situations, keep our dogs under control so they don’t run the already stressed animals, and simply give them some space for the next few weeks.