The recently acquired Spotted Dog Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in the Deer Lodge valley is open to the public, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) officials want to remind prospective visitors to familiarize themselves with property boundaries and regulations before heading afield.
FWP acquired the WMA on Sept. 2, and wardens and biologists are now busy marking some of the boundaries and posting interim regulations, such as travel restrictions.
“The public has immediate access to this piece of wonderful ground, but since this has been such a quick turnaround from acquisition to public access, we are still in the process of developing a management plan that will define the long-term regulations,” said Mack Long, FWP Region 2 Supervisor. “In the interim, we are asking visitors to familiarize themselves with the temporary regulations and that everyone is respectful of the WMA, the neighboring landowners and private land in-holdings.”
Under these temporary regulations, most of the WMA is open only to foot or horseback travel. Motorized access is allowed on small parts of the WMA that are east of US Forest Service Road 314. Visitors must follow Forest Service regulations for motorized travel in these areas.
Currently there are three designated parking areas where visitors can leave a vehicle and precede on foot or horseback. The access points near Elliston and Avon can accommodate horses and the third access near Freeze Out accommodates walk-in traffic only. Visitors that plan to access the property in areas outside of these designated zones should familiarize themselves with land ownership before heading afield.
Under the temporary travel regulations, there is no access to the WMA off the “Jake Creek” road leading to the southwest corner of the property.
Visitors can expect to see cattle grazing on many parts of the property and should be wary of private property in-holdings throughout the WMA.
Not all property boundaries are marked, and visitors are encouraged to download a map and interim regulations of the Spotted Dog WMA from the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov. Click “2010 Hunting News”. Or, call 406-542-5500 or stop by the FWP Missoula office, 3201 Spurgin Road.