Hunter data plays an important role in managing Montana wildlife

Bull Elk in Montana
Posted at 5:43 PM, Dec 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-14 11:03:48-05

HELENA — Hunters, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks needs your help. Starting on December 11, FWP has started the process of calling over 100,000 hunters.

“Our job is to manage the resource and to ensure that the populations that we manage are healthy and sustainable, the populations are sustainable. So, one of the tools that biologists use to manage the trends in those populations is harvest in addition to some of the counts and things that they already do,” says Wildlife Biometrician with Montana FWP, Kevin Podruzny.

FWP is contacting hunters to gather valuable information on the 2023 hunting season. They’re looking for information about time spent hunting, districts hunted in, harvest details, and wolf and moose sightings.

The department uses the answers to these over-the-phone questions to feed a chain of information. Once the call center gathers the information it is passed along to Wildlife Biometricians like Kevin Podruzny. The data is then analyzed so wildlife biologists can help create recommendations to pass along to wildlife managers who can then in turn decide what actions to take based on the data. This data can impact the hunting season, wildlife, and habitat.

“So, when I say it’s the little call that runs the woods, what I mean by that is once we start adjusting those seasons and those harvest takes, then we start really interacting with the natural landscape there. We could, you know, impact the meandering of rivers or the vegetation that those animals consume. So, it’s very, very important to us that we get the most accurate quality data we can to hand that over to our managers,” says Harvest Survey Coordinator with Montana FWP, Christina Maw.

FWP does want respondents to beware of scammers. True survey callers from FWP will never ask for sensitive information such as social security numbers or make requests for donations or payments. Maw says that FWP is currently using a specific caller ID.

“The caller ID we’re currently using will be an abbreviation of Montana FWP Harvest Survey. So, they should know it’s us calling,” says Maw.