Wildlife technicians are conducting forest carnivore surveys for the winter field season by employing a combination of non-invasive survey methods, such as track surveys and bait stations.
On the Lolo National Forest, wildlife technicians might snowmobile, ski or snowshoe anywhere from 6 to 20 miles within a 5-by-5-mile survey area in order to collect necessary data. The data collected each year helps us learn which species are present in specific areas, and to get rough estimates of their abundance. Techs installed bait stations consisting of a piece of road-killed deer or elk hung on a tree outfitted with gun brushes (sharp-bristled brushes often used to clean rifles). When an animal climbs the tree to eat the meat, the brushes snag hair that can identify the species and even the individual animal that visited the station.
The Lolo partners with Swan Valley Connections in this work.