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Outdoor briefs published Thursday, Feb. 16

Outdoor briefs published Thursday, Feb. 16

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Snowshoe, ski event at Charter Oak Mine

Join us for an afternoon of exploration at the Charter Oak Mill and Mine site on Saturday, Feb. 18, from noon to 3 p.m.

Beginning at the snowmobile parking lot, we will take an easy ski or snowshoe along the Little Blackfoot River to Charter Oak. This is a lode mine and mill that was active off and on from the early 1900s to the 1980s. It is one of the few intact sites of that era still standing that is available for touring. The historical buildings and equipment left on site standout in the snow, offering unique opportunities for sight-seeing and photography.

Located just south of Elliston in the Little Blackfoot River drainage, travel west from Helena on US Highway 12 for 22 miles to the Little Blackfoot River Road turnoff (Forest Road 227). Turn south of the highway and continue 2.9 miles until the road forks. Follow the right fork for 1.3 miles. There will be a marked snowmobile parking lot on the left hand side of the road. The Montana Discovery Foundation can supply snowshoes if needed. Call 495-3711 in advance for reservations.

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Lewis and Clark versus grizzlies 

Lewis and Clark encountered many difficulties on their Journey of Discovery, but perhaps the biggest and baddest was the grizzly bear.

Join us on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the Montana Historical Society, 225 N. Roberts, as Duane Buchi presents a free public program, “Lewis and Clark vs Ursus Horribilis,” to talk about the ways in which the encounters with the grizzlies shaped the outcome of the expedition.

Buchi works for the Great Falls Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and has studied how the Corps of Discovery dealt with the bears that were virtually unknown in the young nation that clung to the eastern seaboard.

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FWP urges shed hunters to wait for spring

Winter is an especially stressful time for elk, with deep snow and limited food options. That’s why Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is asking shed hunters and other recreationists to give elk their space until the snow melts and the animals are less stressed.

Shed hunting has become increasingly popular in recent years and more competitive. In some cases, that has led individuals to try to get a head start by running elk through trees to break off antlers or to trespass on Montana’s Wildlife Management Areas where elk find sanctuary this time of year (most do not open until noon on May 15). Both are illegal.

Snowmobilers, skiers, and snowshoers should avoid areas where elk are bedded down. 

Elk often come down to lowlands and might be found near homes. It’s critical that dogs be kept on a leash when elk are present. Dogs can cause serious injury or kill animals much larger than themselves. The stress of a chase alone can eventually lead to the death of the animal. And of course, pets can be injured or killed while attempting to take down an animal big or small. Dog owners might be cited for permitting a dog to harass wildlife.

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Deputy forest supervisor named

Forest Supervisor Bill Avey has announced that Sara Mayben is the new deputy forest supervisor for the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest and is stationed in the Great Falls office.

Mayben comes to the Helena-Lewis and Clark from the Pike and San Isabel National Forest and Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands as the natural resource staff officer. In that role, she provided leadership and oversight to many program areas including timber, soil and watershed management, wildlife and rare plants, range management, planning and GIS. Prior to her time in the staff officer role, she was a district ranger for eight years on the South Park District in Fairplay, Colo.

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