Pickup driver kills 8 bighorn on highway west of Anaconda, Montana

Driver given a misdemeanor. Said sun in his eyes-

Eight dead bighorn, including two trophy rams. By John Grant Emeigh. Montana Standard.

Here are some of the dead bighorn. The photo was sent to me by elk275.






  1. Cris Waller Avatar

    Wow. I wonder if they have considered using deicers that don’t draw large mammals onto the roadways?

  2. Elk275 Avatar

    ++The driver claimed the sun was in his eyes and he didn’t see the sheep in the roadway, according to Gill. The herd was hit about 11:45 a.m.

    That road is slightly to the Northwest and the sun should not be in his eyes at 11:45 a.m. What if that was 8 children waiting for a school bus, he would be going to jail.

    He should be charged resitution per trohpy ram at $30,000 each.

  3. Si'vet Avatar

    Son of a B. I am a trophy hunter but those ewes were far more important to the overall population than the rams, this is tragic.I have traveled 100’s of thousands of miles through big game habitat, had a grouse fly into my door once, you can’t drive with your head in your back pocket in these areas. I better take a time out on this blog! I agree Elk275, restitution, if those were kids he would face civil charges, not a bad idea..

  4. Marc Cooke Avatar
    Marc Cooke

    This is not the first time this has happend in Montana. A commercial truck driver drove into a group last year also. If my memory is correct it was near Thompson Falls. Dam shame!

  5. Mike Avatar

    From the article:

    “The driver was cited with failure to obey a traffic signal. Two, large electronic signs on the eastbound and westbound sides of the highway warn motorists to be award of bighorn sheep on the road.”

    I’ve never understood the speeds at which people drive full size pickups in the Rockies. I udnerstand it’s a long way between gas stations (and in some cases towns), but much of what I see borders on irresponsible driving. Pickup trucks simply do not handle as well as cars most of the time. Sure, they are safer for ramming into animals but that doesn’t mean you can’t show some caution.

    This idiot didn’t pay attention to large flashing signs and wiped out at least 8 bighorns.

    He is a fool, plain and simple. He should have to pay restitution at least.

  6. Chris Harbin Avatar
    Chris Harbin

    I train our employees safe driving methods. One should not drive faster than one can see. I hope someone is able to get this person’s name. At the very least this was reckless driving.

  7. Keri Davis Avatar
    Keri Davis

    We went past this herd of Bighorn mere minutes before this tragedy happened. Anyone who lives here knows about the huge number of Bighorns that are here daily and often come out to the road. Although the speed limit just turned to 70 mph where this occurred, this driver was already going 70, and I can tell you from traveling this road daily that the sheep are largely visible from at least a mile away. There is absolutely no excuse for this to have occurred. The police would not release the drivers name (I called !) and locals said that the driver at the scene was more interested in his fender than the dead sheep lying there-two still struggling in vain to get up. This is a horrific image that many locals witnessed and will be hard put to push out of their mind !! Locals who all love these sheep and enjoy seeing them every day and feel fortunate that we are able to see them, use caution while driving that area ! These animals ARE our children for the locals, and they were just senselessly murdered. Marc Cooke was right saying that this has happened before, but when it did, the driver was heavily fined. Local law officers only charged him with a misdeamnor:I wonder if Fish & Wildlife might have other plans; lets hope so !!!

  8. Nature rules Avatar
    Nature rules

    All I can say is this is terrible no reason for it, the driver had plenty of warnings by signs, and as stated he could see them. he was probably on the phone, texting! I sure wish I was one of the witness’s that stated he was more interested in the bumper of his car then the sheep he killed and maimed, cause he would have seen his bumper up close and personal! If we can get the name of the officer that wrote the ticket, we should all send letter regarding his actions, then maybe they will re-think these issues with our wild life and careless drivers! I am sick of a-hole people like this!!!!

  9. Tom Woodbury Avatar

    It came out this a.m. in the Missoulian that the distance from the first to the last carcass was over 300 feet, meaning he “accidentally” plowed through sheep for more than the length of a football field. While I haven’t seen the type of vehicle mentioned, it did say yesterday he suffered only slight damage to his vehicle, which makes me wonder if it was a Hummer. Both of these factors leads me to seriously question whether this was an accident of a willful act. I mean come on, can you imagine yourself hitting your first ram at one end of Grizzly field, and not stopping till you are on the other end, all the while hitting rams and ewes? There should be an investigation into this, in particular to determine if there are skid marks consistent with trying to stop. If not, this guy should be prosecuted for poaching, reckless driving, cruelty, and anything else that sticks.

  10. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    That was also my thought that late morning sun was improbable. Restitution in the amount of $60,000 is not unreasonable.

    Keri Davis thanks for the additional information.

  11. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse

    I agree with Barb Rupers. There should be restitution of some sort associated with this damage to wildlife. It probably should not have the same value as a poaching, but a reasonable value should be assigned to these dead sheep. It can be done.

    For example, if this driver had hit a bridge, light pole or other property of the state or a private party, this would constitute damages for his negligent act. The state or a third party should have a cause of action against the guy for negligence – driving in excess of a safe speed as determined by the signage – whatever it says. If he wants to raise a defense of the sun getting in his eyes, then he should be entitled to do so and that defense challenged in court. It should not, however, excuse him from his negligent act, just because he says so. If he has automobile liability insurance it should cover this loss.

  12. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Having drove this section of the road many times over the years at various times of the day as well as in all four seasons, I can tell you:

    The sun was not in his eyes
    He was driving to fast
    He was not paying attention
    He made no attempt to break or slow down.

    I, in my many travels through various states have been lucky to have only hit two animals, but to plow through 8 at one time before stopping, that tells me something else is going on here. Unlike some, I would go as far as to say he did it on purpose, but I can say after reading the story and talking to a couple of people in the area this happened, he was definitely negligent in his actions.

    I am hoping FWP LE’s are investigating this, to get to the bottom of how he was able to kill 8 and possibly injure more, as the article states, I am sure there will be others found dead, that were able to get up and get off the hwy.

    As far as fines, if indeed he was being negligent as I suspect and have been told, he should bear the full cost of restitution as well as other punishment as deemed proper by the courts.

  13. Chris Harbin Avatar
    Chris Harbin

    The Montana Standard had a follow-up column today. The driver was Dennis Aker of Anaconda. Montana FWP is considering putting the heads of the “trophy” animals on display. Maybe there should be a sign under the mounts “Courtesy of Dennis Akers”. Unbelievable.

  14. mikepost Avatar

    I also deplore this loss of wildlife but lets get some perspective here. At 70 mph, the posted speed limit, you travel at 105′ per second. For a 4000lb vehicle on an average dry asphalt surface the combination of normal reaction time and stopping time comes out well over 3 seconds leading to a stopping distance of 388′ using accepted law enforcement crash analysis formulas. If this is a chronic situation, as many posting here have said, then the speed limit of 70 mph is unsafe even for a conscientous driver.

    This guy may well be a knucklehead and may well have been able to prevent this but once the accident was set in motion the fact that he travelled over 300′ is not surprising and should not be taken as some kind of sign of bad intent..

  15. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    This area is posted 45 when the lights on the signs are flashing, which they were…

  16. Nature rules Avatar
    Nature rules

    72 year old man, guess he was not texting, just an old guy that needs to take a bus or cab, and I bet has no regard to animals, he more than likely kills them with a gun anyway….

    ANACONDA — The heads of two trophy bighorn sheep rams that were among a group killed Monday by a motorist may end up on display in Anaconda.

    Ray Vinkey, area wildlife biologist with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said the carcasses of the sheep were taken to the Butte-Silver Bow landfill. The heads from two of the rams, which were trophy class, have been kept by FWP.

    “They’re in the possession of the department, but we haven’t decided what we’re going to do with them yet,” Vinkey said Tuesday. “We’re going to look at options to have them on display locally.”

    Eight sheep were killed after a motorist ran into part of the herd about 11:45 a.m. Monday on Montana 1, about seven miles west of Anaconda. The Montana Highway Patrol cited Dennis Aker, 72, of Anaconda with misdemeanor failure to obey traffic signal, according to the Anaconda Justice Court.

    Highway patrol trooper Tom Gill said the driver ignored a large electronic sign on the side of the road warning drivers to slow down because bighorn sheep routinely graze along the roadway. Aker said the sun was in his eyes and he didn’t see the sheep, the highway patrol reported.

    Vinkey spent Monday afternoon looking over several groups of sheep to ensure that no others were injured. He said he didn’t see any sheep that looked to be hurt.

    He said the incident is not the first time this year that bighorns have been killed in the section of highway. Three other sheep have been struck and killed by cars, all of which were rams.

    Last year FWP issued eight ram tags for the hunting district that encompasses the area, which has produced trophy-quality animals. He said that may be dropped next season in light of the road mortalities.

  17. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse


    If the article correctly quotes the investigating trooper. there seems to be a problem with respect to safe speed, and it would not be 70 mph – “He (the driver) was not paying attention to the large signs saying ‘watch out for sheep on the road,’ and didn’t slow down,” Gill said.

    That certainly makes a prima facia case for legal negligence in my view (duty to slow down, failure to slow down and death of 8 sheep as a result).

    And that is why the signs are there – to require drivers to drive at a safe speed when animals are present. “I didn’t have enough time to react at 70 mph” is not a good defense.

    Furthermore, if this driver has driven the road before, with sheep present in the area, even his defense of “sun in the eyes” would not be of much help, and he would very likely be found negligent in a civil claim.

  18. Nature rules Avatar
    Nature rules

    I don’t get why some say they are upset at the rams being trophy and getting killed. That is why they call them trophy is it not? so some one can pay to kill them with a gun and hang the head up for pride, I hate to see them dead at all, but at least a hunter did not get his thrill for a day!!!

  19. Si'vet Avatar

    NR, I thought instead of a “thrill” on this sight we called it “happy place”. Also there are women who hunt so it could be his or her.

  20. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Well I see we have another anti-hunter. Of course if they were taken in the course of a legal hunt, I would not have a problem at all, but these animals were killed in what appears to be a negligent act.

  21. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I know of 4 different women who have taken trophy class big horns, so it is not just a “Mans” sport..

  22. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    People please – we tolerate a criminal justice system that cannot protect children from child predators. How can anyone expect that same system to prosecute someone that ran into wildlife that were in the middle of a highway?

  23. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Although I don’t believe this was a deliberate act, I do believe it was a negligent act, based on the history of this area, as well as a couple of conversations I have had with FWP LE this morning.

  24. Kropotkin Man Avatar
    Kropotkin Man

    Sad that wild/feral/domestic critters must contend with roads and vehicles.

    Were there skid marks left on the road?

    Did he swerve at all?

    There are millions of animals slaughtered on our roads every year. This large number includes 37, 000 human animals. It’s solidly part of our automotive culture.

    Biologists use road kill data for population estimates and species diversity indexes. While working for the BLM we were taught to accelerate (not swerve) if we were going to hit a critter.

    Here in the SW they “hunt” wolves from the roads. Rarely (if ever) is there evidence of a wolve kill in the backcountry.

    Please don’t forget about the strikes in our precious skies.

    I’m not condoning or excusing what this man did, I’m just reminding everyone to look in the mirror.

  25. Si'vet Avatar

    TWB, Amen

  26. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Nature Rules – do you know “Chicago Mike”? It seems that you and Chicago Mike have a similar trait – teaching people lessons as you see fit. You seem to be a little more “physical” than Chicago Mike so, maybe Chicago Mike under your direction can step up his tactics – he can get away from “getting in peoples faces” and more into showing 72 year olds their bumpers up close and personal.

  27. Chris Harbin Avatar
    Chris Harbin

    I don’t think there are too many people who tolerate child predators, and yes if someone is guilty or negligent (or rather accused of an unlawful act or negligence) I still expect the system to prosecute or at least try.

  28. timz Avatar

    “if they were taken in the course of a legal hunt, I would not have a problem at all, but these animals were killed in what appears to be a negligent act.”

    I’m sure it matters little to them. Either way they are still dead.

  29. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Ya, ya and ya again timz,

    Remember I am a hunter and I have no problem with legal hunting, you however seem to be opposed to that ideal.

  30. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    And I am sure your right, they are dead, so it probably has little meaning to them.

    On this issue, I am on the side of investigate it and prosecute it as the law states, and I believe their was negligence in this particular case..just as there is in most human to human fatalities that happen when someone is not paying attention.

  31. timz Avatar

    I surely would not refer to trophy killing as an ideal.

  32. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Trophy killing is no different than any other hunting as long as the meat is not wasted, I am not a trophy hunter, I hunt for the meat and I normally shoot the first legal animal, but if I saw an animal that was legal and happened to be large that I could legally take, I am not going to turn the shot down, and I will use the meat just as I would from any legally taken animal..

  33. timz Avatar

    It is my understanding that the meat from a bighorn is rarely eaten. The two people I know that I’ve shot one didn’t eat it, they just wanted the head.

  34. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I don’t know why they would not eat it, sheep meat is very tasty and I love it, slow roasted with a small bit of seasoning, a nice glass of red wine and you have a meal fit for a king.

    Now as it is against the law to waste meat from a big game animal in all states, I imagine, even if those who took the animal didn’t eat it, I am sure the guides and outfitters made quick work of such a good source of food..

  35. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    And really the hunting portion of this thread is off topic, this is about a person who through negligence or inattentiveness, killed 8 sheep with a vehicle, which based on this area and the history of this area, should not have happened..the road is well marked, and his story of the sun being in his eyes are not adding up based on the time of the day this happened…the signs were flashing which means the speed limit is 45 and not 70 as some have stated, due diligence and responsibility would have prevented this from happening..

  36. Nathan Hobbs Avatar
    Nathan Hobbs

    his cell phone record should be searched for any activity moments to when the impact occurred.

    What a shame.

  37. Elk275 Avatar

    I have the pictures of the dead sheep on the road. There was no sun. The valley is in a shadow. It is sicking.


    Is there a way to post pictures?

  38. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    You can email them to me if you want. I can size them right, and I will copyright them for you.


  39. Marc Cooke Avatar
    Marc Cooke

    Folks, Wake up and smell the coffee. Do you honestly think this was an accident?

  40. Layton Avatar

    It sure is nice to know that most of the people that frequent this blog have never had an accident — unless they did it on purpose of course — but then is it still an accident??

    Sheesh!! How about we make it a capitol offense to kill an animal?? Does it have to be of a certain size to qualify for murder rather than animalslaughter??

  41. Layton Avatar


    What are you smelling to think that anyone would drive purposely into a herd of sheep at 70 MPH??

  42. Elk275 Avatar

    If Ralph post the picture I send him you will think different. The driver should have seen those sheep a 1/2 mile a way and started slowing down. When I see deer I start slowing down, check the rear view mirror for traffic behind me and then will come to a complete stop if nescesary.

    Find, this could be an accident, but if they were children waiting for the school bus the NTSB would be investigating and criminal charges awaiting. I have driven by this area many times and there is no reason to be driving this fast with animals that could and will jump out in front you. It is called driving defensively and they teach all 15 and 16 old in driver’s ed that. If I and everyone on the blog did not drive defensively we would not be here today posting. Yes, accidents happen and doodoo happens.

  43. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I don’t think it was an accident, I think based on what I am hearing it was a lapse of attention, which still makes it negligent, the sign was flashing, which indicates animals on the road and the law says, you slow down to 45 miles an hour to give yourself a chance to slow down.

    Now I also think the individual that was driving has filed a false police report, because there is no way, he could have had the sun in his eyes. Several things lined up different in this case that resulted in the death of quite a few animals. I am glad, the driver was not hurt, but I think he needs to take responsibility for what happened, and I am not saying that with any animosity in me, but it happened, he screwed up, he knew the risk and this time, he as well as the sheep lost.

    I am always on the side of the truth, and I just don’t think all of the truth is coming to the forefront in this particular situation..

    As a person that drove this part of the hwy many times over the years, you take a chance, but there are things you can do to mitigate the risk, I don’t feel he was being prudent or attentive in this case.

  44. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I have the photo from elk275 up now. Go to the top of the article.

  45. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Layton – I appreciate your effort however, some in this group are hopeless. Someone mentioned above that these wild animals “are our children” and were “senselessly murdered” – what chance do you have to talk sense into someone like? Then some other clown wants to assault someone and another was demanding the name of the driver – what, for a lynching.

  46. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    someone like that? Sorry

  47. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    As I have said, in the past, assigning human emotions to wildlife, does indeed make for odd situations.

  48. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Roger that – and what was up with no one dining on the sheep? I’m with you, sheep eats better than elk – melts in your mouth.

  49. gline Avatar

    “assigning human emotions to wildlife, does indeed make for odd situations.”

    -Especially when humans assign wolves as misbehaving for what they do, ie prey on elk, cattle, deer, or kill domestic dog because it is their territory, or so they believe. “Misbehave”, you and your family die.

  50. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    This thread has absolutely nothing to do with wolves.

  51. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    But I will agree, assigning human emotions and traits no matter which side of the issue you are on, creates odd situations..

  52. gline Avatar

    Your comment was related…

  53. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    And how was my comment related to wolves? I have commented on this thread several times today, and I don’t see anywhere that I mentioned wolves, so please elaborate?

  54. gline Avatar

    for me, it was related.

  55. gline Avatar

    Could have been anyone that said that same thing, I just pulled it because it sparked that thought. I was talking with a friend today about how wolves are assigned human motives. But you are right this is not a wolf post. So, I’ll move to a wolf post, and re post it:)

  56. Percy Avatar

    so….why do they continue to use salt on that stretch if there continue to be collisions with bighorns? Add a few speed bumps and a traffic camera; that’ll slow people down.

  57. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Percy might have a good idea, although transportation departments prefer high construction cost solutions for wildlife and other problems.

  58. Si'vet Avatar

    Percy, the bumps might be tough to manage with snow plows, I know there are removable ones.. Along those same lines they’ve put up the flashing lights etc. what about those radar detectors with cameras, they snap a shot if it detects you speeding, bet it would pay for itself, in a hurry. plus add some hefty fines like the kind for speeding in a work zone..

  59. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Actually, they no longer use salt, they have changed to another product, but it still has a tendency to draw certain types of wildlife.

    I just read an article, that may provide a solution to situations like this, there is a newer product that is a by product from the production of vodka that is being used in the Scandinavian countries that is proving to be more effective than salt and calcium carbonate, costs less and does not seem to draw wildlife to the roads.

    As far as speed bumps in a hwy that at times has a 70 mph speed limit, all I see happening with that is lawsuits against the state dept of transportation, hitting a normal speed bump at 70 mph could cause a roll over and possibly death.

    Now once again, this stretch of hwy is signed, the signs were flashing which indicates animal may be on the road and is sounds like the driver ignored the warnings. When the signs are flashing the speed limit is 45 mph…and it is obvious, he was going faster than 45 mph.

  60. Si'vet Avatar

    Forgot to add, I’ve read where some groups of indians wintered in sheep country one reason was the prefered sheep over other big game

  61. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    In my opinion, it is wrong to assign human behaviors and emotions to any wild animal, no matter what side of the issue you are on. I don’t think wolves kill for fun and I don’t think sheep are our “Children” assigning our feelings and emotions to wild animals, creates problems at many different levels.

  62. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Traffic cameras have been found illegal in the state of Montana..the state legislature ruled on this form of traffic monitoring and said, it is unconstitutional.

  63. spinn71982 Avatar

    The length of a football field…70mph = 102.666 fps or < 3 seconds and we have covered the length of a…. you got it a football field!!! Accident more than likely. The driver could have been more observent I would agree. $60,000 in a fine get real. Ticket for disobeying a traffic sign seems reasonable, unlike 60 grand. Hitting 8 Bison could happen too if they were all in the road together (herd). Kinda like what happens every spring as they migrate back into areas like YNP. I guess maybe we should fine Rick M. $30,000 for the bighorn that he hit while in YNP and the speed limit there is only 45 mph. Oops! How about another $30,000 for the bison he also hit or better yet maybe we should talk about that since we all know Rick M. If this is news to anyone well it appears to have been kept very low key. I only recently found out about on another blog. Funny how certain things don't make the Blog"lines"

  64. spinn71982 Avatar

    If I could refer the blog to this link as related to breaking and speed:
    Perhaps the police officers have made the right call and accidents do happen. I personally feel that this could have been avoided if the driver had been more aware, but none the less it happened. To many people are ready to jump to concusions before considering all variables. It appears that NO one on the blog has the full story, but several people appear to have a mob formed already. It also seems that somehow the hunters are the bad guys too. Why Why Why do hunters (legal, far chase, meat consuming) fall to wrath. Hunting is as natural for humans as it is for any other predator. AND poaching/hunting are NOT the same things!

  65. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Ralph/All – the Bozeman paper reported this a.m. that as part of State budget cuts “$2 million from wildlife related equipment”. Any idea what kind of equipment this might be?

  66. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Ralph/All – there is a “work session” this a.m. with MT FWP and the livestock association regarding wolf/livestock issues – that is how it was described by the media. Question, is there public access to the minutes of this type of meeting?

  67. Keri Davis Avatar
    Keri Davis

    Just to clear up a little misconception I see on the blog here, I live 9miles west of Anaconda, and travel this highway everyday. There IS a sign that flashes “Bighorn Sheep crossing next 7 miles”. This sign first appears in the 45-mph speed limit, which changes to 70 mph in approximtely 1/2 mile after the sign. When I first said these animals are “our children”, it is a common sentiment here and signs also appear upon entering and leaving some state parks, etc, to protect “our children” referring to the wildlife within. Dont take it so personally; I am only referring to the children of the forest and wildlands, not meant literally.

  68. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Keri – can you clear up the “senselessly murdered” comment.

  69. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I don’t know Montana law on open meetings. If it is open, the media ought to be very interested. If it isn’t open, the state needs a better open meetings law.

  70. Keri Davis Avatar
    Keri Davis

    TWB-all I can say to defend my comment is that this happened due to gross negligence, and fatalities occurred; had it been a schoolbus full of children who met the same fate, could you not consider it murder ? It indeed was senseless, I dont think anyone could challenge that. The fact that it was animals, does that not carry significance ? I do admit to reacting emotionally, after witnessing the incident, and minutes before, was in my truck amidst the sheep, taking pictures and knowing that some of the rams I made eye contact with are no longer alive. As responsible people who value our wildlife, is it not up to us to do whatever is within our means to defend their lives and not respect those who do not value them ?

  71. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Keri – thanks for the insight. During hunting season, how do you, do whatever is within your means to defend “their” lives?

  72. Keri Davis Avatar
    Keri Davis

    For one, I dont hunt, but hunting is not the same and running into and wiping out animals through carelessness. I lso wanted to comment on what was said about Rick M; I did not know about his accidents but it is hardly the same as what happened here. Animals will, and do, cross the road when it is unavoidable to stop as many of us have experienced. Last week, a ram ran out right at me and had I not swerved, I would have hit him, or been rammed on the side. NOT the same as what happened here.

  73. Wilderness Muse Avatar
    Wilderness Muse


    Typically, the legal term “murder” requires the intent to kill (a human), or malice aforethought. Murder does not fit here.

    More likely, the driver was merely “negligent” – or breachiing a duty to drive safely for the conditions present. In this instance, the signage should be enough notice for him to drive slower than the posted speed (signficantly less than the posted 70 mph beyond the caution sign) because of the possible presence of the sheep, and being extra vigilent or on the lookout for them.

    There still would be a basis, in my opinon, for a claim by the state against him for the damages (death of the 8 sheep) at some determined value. Again, his automobile insurance should step in to pay it.

    Hopefully, you local residents who have some vested interest in protecting these animals and seeing justice done, will keep the heat on the troopers, FWP and the state’s risk management department to recover damages and properly cite this guy for his infraction(s). Sometimes staters will do additional charges after an accident.

    A separate issue, after the fact is to ensure signage for the area is consistent with the danger present, as well as the cause of the animals being there. Seems like this residual salt is a bit of an “attractive nuisance.” Although use of this a defense against a citation or damages should be negated because of the notice of the possible presence of the sheep with the signage.

    Good luck, and thanks for all the good information.

    One last question. Is this stretch of road mostly in the shade all day? I gather the road runs east west, sun low on the horizon this time of year, possibly with hills to the south of the road keeping the sun from roadway, maybe even a reason why the stretch is salted/sanded? Yes?

  74. Keri Davis Avatar
    Keri Davis

    Thank you, Wilderness Muse ! In the winter, that stretch in question is mostly in the shade. Per The Montana Standard, the state and county reached an agreement for the county to sand only a three mile section of Mt Hgwy 1 with just sand. While it is a helpful movement, the warning sign indicates sheep for the next 7 miles, which I personally know to be true, having seen bighorn several miles up.

  75. gline Avatar

    Well, SB, I did move to another wolf related post, but with regard to your last comment, SB says:
    “In my opinion, it is wrong to assign human behaviors and emotions to any wild animal, no matter what side of the issue you are on.”

    Correct! I was saying that we assign our motives on wolves with regard to livestock. ie C Sime stating wolves are “misbehaving” when they prey on livestock. I do not believe that animals in general are given enough credit for their intelligence. It is our arrogance and control of them that hurts them.

  76. Keri Davis Avatar
    Keri Davis

    Amen to that, gline ! Could you tell me what wolf post you are referring to ?

  77. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    As I said, anti or pro, I think it is a mistake to do it. Animals should be managed based on science, a wolf has no concept of “misbehaving” or a concept of being “good” these are human values.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan