This encounter with the mountain lion kitten is a tiny piece of a much larger, complex picture of what game wardens do and are responsible for.
Should wardens be out patrolling Canyon Ferry and Holter ensuring boating safety for the hundreds of people enjoying Memorial Day weekend, or trying to get weakened kitten placed into the wildlife rehab center?
Quoted from the article: http://helenair.com/news/local/in-the-hunt…
Wanted: Montana game wardens. Must be willing to work evenings and weekends, especially during hunting season, and be on call 24/7. Job includes confronting armed suspects, investigating boat crashes, searching mountains for poachers, chasing moose through cemeteries and tranquilizing bears and mountain lions.
Must know state, tribal and federal regulations inside and out, as well as have an extensive understanding of sociology, psychology and conflict management resolution. Must be a straight shooter, figuratively and literally, with a college degree.
Pay is $12.65 per hour for trainees. Starting annual salary for a full-time permanent position is $36,670, or $17.62 per hour — if you somehow manage to work only 40 hours per week.
The low pay, long hours and decreased family time was enough for Kevin Cook to leave his position last July as one of three game wardens stationed in Helena and become a Montana Highway Patrolman. Cook said being a game warden was both challenging and rewarding for him and he worked with people “second to none.” Yet he’s one of 24 wardens —about one-third of the force —who have either retired or resigned in the past five years.
“With most law enforcement positions, officers work schedules where they are allowed days off and are not subject to job-related tasks or interruptions,” Cook said. “However, game wardens are required to be in an on-call status 24/7.
Helena-based Warden Dave Loewen is living the reality of being short staffed. Three wardens typically operate out of the Helena office, but since Cook left in July and Mike Ottman retired in August, Loewen has been flying solo most of the time. His territory ranges from the Continental Divide to the top of the Big Belt Mountains, and from Wolf Creek south to Jefferson City.
His work recently included investigating a boat crash on Hauser Lake in which a man was killed by a boat propeller at 11 p.m. on a Friday night; setting up and checking on multiple traps where nuisance bears are getting too close to houses; and trying to wrap up ongoing investigations into poaching allegations, as well as doing water safety and regular patrols.
Ben Lamb, the acting director for the Montana Wildlife Federation, said the shortage of wardens going into the hunting season is a “huge concern” for his organization.
“It’s a crying shame that those guys are asked to do so much work for so little — those guys get shot at, for Christ’s sake,” Lamb said. “One of the biggest problems for hunters today is poaching. We have an amazing resource we’ve spent 100 years building and refining, and now we’re in the position that the people we entrust to enforce those laws are kind of beat down.
“If you can find seven people to fill those positions I would be shocked. You have 75 wardens for 56 counties, and some of their patrol areas are the size of Rhode Island. They usually patrol alone, often in remote areas, and how do you ensure they have the backup they need?”
Fantastic article. Very, very well written. Perhaps this article should be sent to that Rolling Stone writer!
Wouldn't it add a lovely twist, if this reporter got the female perspective all about his wonderful life style? It could be a Hallmark movie.
A really compelling and beautiful story. It took me a while to find the video (and hear the music), but it was worth the search. We're fans!
Congratulations David & Stephanie! (And great story, Erika.) Thanks for being such a wonderful part of our world and sharing your inspiration. Stay in the ring! Your knock out round is coming!
I’m sorry for your loss and hope and pray I never have to endure such pain. My prayers go out to you and your family.
Having been through a death due to someone else I would have to question the amount of money needed to defend Smith, most victims are not afforded that luxury, nor are they afforded a free education, health benefits, etc. What bothers me is the victims tax dollars are caring for the criminals and no one helps the victims. No one asked my brother if he would like to live or die..it cost thousands and thousands to take care of things out of my fathers pocket, no one offered to pay..How much do we really owe the criminal in society? I am not sure how I really feel about capital punishment, the thought of taking a life in general upsets me..But...After over 20 years I still miss my brother, I still wish I could have a relationship again, that he could see my grandkids, we could still talk...it goes both ways..and sadly the victims and their family/friends are the ones who really suffer the most..forever..
I would say he is a man that understands he committed a horrible senseless unforgiveable crime by murdering two innocent people. He also seems to understand how he destroyed countless family member’s lives by his actions.
Funny how he is now talking about it right before a decision is being made concerning his life. I wonder if he really feels sorry or if he is looking to save his own skin by asking for mercy? Wonder if his victims asked for mercy because we all know he gave none.
"He doesn't expect to be forgiven for his crimes, he says. He understands they deserve harsh judgment, but he wants people to know that the man who committed them is already gone."
that's a powerful sentiment, I would say.
It’s clear that the screening process for athletes needs to be revamped. I think the U needs to look at and consider local players before they give out a scholarship to some yahoo with a criminal record to play football. It seems like the U is more interested in football and winning than providing a good education to its students. Very sad for Missoula and its citizens to have to carry the burden of bad decisions set forth by the U. Let’s not forget that our children lookup to these players. What sort of example are they setting as well as the U? Not a good one.
My dog Lucky is a busy one. When my son was little he played hide and seek with Lucky I am not sure who was more entertained . He loves the fall time my son hid in piles of leaves and lucky would hunt for him and drag him out of the pile. All the kids in the neighborhood would take turns hiding one of the smartest Dog I have ever owned what a great article
what is girl?
norfotu oisiiea boirtu!
It's because of uneducated people like the gentleman above, that we find ourselves in the economic and environmental crisis that has perpetuated itself for decades now. The man doesn't even know how to spell 'green' or 'locations' and he's advocating for this wonderful opportunity we Montanans are presented with. Most every statement he makes about the benefits that would come of the mining of Otter Creek is false. If he and those of like mind were to do any research on the topic of coal mining, or mining of any kind, they would find that there are countless negative effects to the local environment as well as the global environment. True, a few jobs may be generated during the short while that the coal mine is in operation, but then what happens afterward? Those same people will be left without jobs once the land has given all it can. And people will likely have developed numerous health issues by that time. Many people seem to not realize that we humans are part of a global community, and now that the global population is over 7 billion, we cannot dismiss the affects of our local actions on the rest of the world.
The author should familiarize himself with the subject before publishing a story like this. It's a hack job, meant to soil the reputation of a company that is trying to re-task, and re-employ those left high and dry by the current economic situation. Shame.
Looks like it did create more jobs, for lawyers, bureacrats and demo crews. Be careful what you wish for.
Can anyone clarify if the writer of this website is the same Burks????
The story printed is fact but is very one sided. Yes Green Group is scraping the facility but what Missoula must wrap it's head around is that this faciltiy will never produce paper again so what do you do when you buy a paper mill and can't produce paper you salvage what you can and you concentrate on what you can do. As a former employee of both the paper mill and the demo crew I have first hand knowledge and experience in what that facility is capable of transforming into. The biggest asset that the site has is the natural resources that surround this area the other plants that Green Group has bought don't have this same asset they were only paper machines not complete facilities. Green Group did purchase this facility under the public understanding that jobs would be created but from first hand experiece it takes time to change a paper mill into anything else.
It's too bad about losing all those jobs. That site has been the source of so much pollution. The Clark Fork river and the air in the Missoula valley will certainly be better off. The big question is who pays for the clean up. It seems that the best jobs will be in remediation.
I am sorry, but this article is just terrible. I was looking forward to reading it given that I have been a vegetarian for going on twelve years this summer. I consider myself relatively well-schooled in the politics and ecological impact of the various livestock industries as well as in the torture that the animals themselves suffer in order to enable our shallow societal gratification, so really this article had to go out of its way to offend me.
I also consider myself a lifelong learner, and so I am always eager to educate myself with new information, which is why I was so terribly disappointed once I began reading. In all honesty, after about halfway through I just gave up, something I rarely do because I really try to maintain an open mind. It was just too infuriating.
Yes, there was some really useful information, particularly helpful if you have never read, heard, or seen any of it before. But the presentation was cheap and offensive. I can't imagine that it would turn anyone new on to vegetarianism or veganism, in fact I think it might make an already vulnerable audience even more defensive. This type of work is exactly why the validity of vegetarianism is constantly questioned by the general population, and explains why it subject of so many jokes.
I had the exact same issue with the author's "Forgetting Mary Jane" piece last year. As a pro-legalization advocate, she virtually had to make a concentrated effort to get me to disagree with her article, which she miraculously succeeded in doing.
"To find out that McDonald's fries come with meat powder was like learning about the Holocaust." - Completely distasteful and inappropriate.
"So I always filed going all the way as a nice idea that could never work, like socialism or unconditional love." - I think she meant communism, given that socialism is a proven system of government.
"It was like what happened to me six months ago, when I cast a spell asking to be happy and the cosmos came along and took away my drug and alcohol addictions. But whatever. I cast spells and worship the moon." - From "Mary Jane" - Really?! Some of us are trying to be taken seriously. :Z
I normally really enjoy your articles, I would just really appreciate it if you could give pieces like this a second glance before you unintentionally donate to the animal industries' arsenal.
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