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This Week in Fish and Wildlife: When does migration begin?

Posted at 8:29 AM, Nov 17, 2022

HYALITE RESERVOIR— Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park’s Morgan Jacobsen says his office routinely gets calls from folks wanting to know when the migration will begin. Jacobsen tells Montana This Morning’s Chet Layman that animal migration is weather dependent, so it doesn’t necessarily happen at the same time each year.

He says the driving force for most animals to migrate is the loss of feed. He says heavy snow in the higher elevations forces the animals to head down to the valleys where food is more abundant. Jacobsen says that is why in the fall there can be more conflicts with cars and animals. He says those roaming herds often have to cross roads or sometimes even use the roads to move to those lower grounds.

Jacobsen also noted that some animals don’t migrate. He says a study by FWP of Pronghorn Antelope in the Madison Valley found a population on one side of the valley did not migrate very far, while another roamed through an area from Ennis Lake all the way to Henry’s Lake in Idaho.