From CSKT Natural Resources Department
The Tribal Council closed hunting of Rocky Mountain goats on the Flathead Indian Reservation (FIR) in September of 2018 due to low population levels. Closed areas are located in both the Mission Mountain Tribal Wilderness Area and adjacent areas on the Reservation, as well as on the adjacent Mission Mountains Federal Wilderness Area.
Mountain goats are extraordinary high elevation navigators, which belong to a family all their own. In Montana, mountain goat populations west of the Continental Divide are native, naturally occurring populations that are declining for unknown reasons, while the introduced populations, found east of the divide are healthy and make up the majority of Montana’s current hunt-able population.
The cause of the decline on the FIR is unclear, but similar declines have been reported for other populations within Montana. Currently, an interagency working group of big game biologists and managers to determine potential causes to assess these declines in Montana.
In 2018, the Tribal Wildlife Management Program helicopter surveyed the mountain goat populations in the Mission Range, 74 mountain goats were reported. This is a decline from the populations recorded during past surveys. Population studies show, a population of 100 mountain goats is considered a minimum to maintain the population and to support hunting of the animals.
For more information related to this closure, contact Dale Becker, Tribal Wildlife Program Manager by phone at (406) 675-2700, extension 7278 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Stacy Courville at (406) 675-2700, ext. 7284 or by email at email@example.com.