More swift foxes observed in Laurel area; reporting urged

In Montana, the swift fox is a species of concern managed through season quotas. But numbers are sparse in Region 5, so there is no hunting or trapping season here.
Swift foxes were once abundant on the Great Plains, but in the early 1900s numbers began to decline in response to government poisoning campaigns aimed at wolves, prairie dogs and ground squirrels. Swift foxes lost a prey source in prairie dogs and squirrels, and when wolves declined, they couldn’t out-compete coyotes and red foxes for food. In 1969, Montana declared swift fox basically extinct locally. But due in part to transplant programs, sightings of swift foxes have increased in eastern and central Montana since the 1980s.
FWP encourages people to report any live or road-killed sightings of swift foxes to the local biologist. A few reported sightings have happened near Shepherd.
To report sightings, however, people need to be able to tell the difference between swift foxes, red foxes and coyotes. Swift foxes are about the size of a house cat, smaller than red foxes and only about a fifth the size of coyotes. Coyotes can have similar coloring and tail markings, but again are much larger.
Swift foxes are year-round residents, inhabiting prairies and arid plains. Largely nocturnal, swift foxes can range over several square kilometers a night. They breed from late December to early March, with a single litter of three to six pups born late March to early May. Young are raised in an underground den, emerging in early June and dispersing in late summer or early fall.
FWP wildlife biologist Megan O’Reilly urges recreationists and others to contact the Billings FWP office if they see live or road-killed swift fox in the area. She can be reached at 247-2966 or at moreilly@mt.gov.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check www.laurelexchangeclub.org for more info. Find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/laurelexchangeclub . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: clubinfo@laurelexchangeclub.org The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
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Wednesday, July 31, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check www.laurelexchangeclub.org for more info. Find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/laurelexchangeclub . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: clubinfo@laurelexchangeclub.org The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.

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