Study will provide data on goat health, movement and habitat
BOZEMAN – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologists will capture mountain goats in the Bridger Range next month as part of a study that will help inform mountain goat and habitat management.
The project will entail capturing 30 mountain goats, sampling them and outfitting them with GPS collars. The captures are scheduled to happen between Dec. 10 and 18.
One of the purposes of the capture is to assess the overall health of the mountain goat population, including their infection with respiratory and other pathogens and parasites, their body condition and pregnancy rates. Another purpose is to collect mountain goat movement data to understand their seasonal ranges and movement corridors and evaluate the effects of human recreation on goat habitat use.
FWP staff conduct similar capture projects each year throughout Montana to better understand wildlife health, movement and habitat. These studies provide meaningful data that inform wildlife management and highlight opportunities for habitat enhancement in many places.
The Bridger Range has held a healthy population of mountain goats since they were introduced in 1969. The most recent mountain goat classification survey in 2019 found an all-time high of 127 goats in the Bridgers. This herd provides recreation opportunities for many wildlife enthusiasts.
People who live and recreate in the Bridgers may see a helicopter in the area during the mountain goat capture project. FWP asks people who recreate here to keep their distance from the helicopter.