How to Keep Your Dog and Wildlife Safe
By angelamontana

Posted: February 5, 2013

I recently came across a brochure that was titled “A Dog Owner’s Guide to Missoula” and found some helpful information in it.  There were some common sense things listed, such as “use caution at trailheads” to protect your dog from vehicles and other hazards, “respect others” and “do remove the doo”, but there was a great tip on what to do when “encountering livestock” and “keeping wildlife safe”–keep your dog leashed.

The reason that keeping your dog leashed while around livestock is so important is because dogs may spook livestock, which may, in turn, cause injury to the animals.  Domestic dogs have also been known to injur and kill domestic sheep.

If a dog chases wildlife, an adult can get separated from its young, and that can lead to the animal dying from stress or a predator that wouldn’t have normally gotten to it with its mom around.

One sentence in the brochure that sticks out the most, to me, and summarizes everything is “If your dog is not trained to come, keep it leashed at all times.”  That step alone can prevent most of the potential mishaps that can occur while you’re out with your dog.

There is also a section on “trap-free areas” that lists the following areas as designated trap-free areas:

  • Blue Mountain Recreation Area
  • Pattee Canyon Recreation Area
  • Rattlesnake National Recreation Area outside the Wilderness boundary
  • All lands administered by the city of Missoula

There are more detailed maps of the above recreation areas available from the Lolo National Forest.  Also, because rules and regulations for dogs differs in locations, the following contacts are recommended for more information:

City of Missoula Parks and Recreation: Conservation lands, city parks and trails; www.ci.missoula.mt.us/parksrec

Lolo National Forest: Blue Mountain, Pattee Canyon and Rattlesnake; www.fs.fed.us/r1/lolo/

Montana Fish, Wildlife & parks (FWP): Fishing Access Sites, State Parks; www.fwp.mt.gov