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MFWP will look at impact of mountain pine beetle infestation on elk habitat and herd movement

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BOZEMAN, Montana — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will begin a study next month looking at the impact of mountain pine beetle infestation on elk habitat and herd movement in the Elkhorn Mountains in southwest Montana.

The project entails collaring 30 cow and 15 bull elk allowing researchers to closely monitor herd movements over a four year period.

Researchers will be looking to see how the extensive beetle infestation and death of ponderosa, lodge pole, and white bark pine are affecting elk movements, hunter access, elk security, hiding cover, and forage availability.

If possible, two wolves will be collared so that elk movements relative to wolves may be tracked as well. All capture and collaring operations for this study are expected to be completed in early February.

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