Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will capture mountain goats in the Bridger Mountain Range next month in an effort to study the health of the goats, as well as their movement and habitat.

FWP biologists plan to capture 30 mountain goats. After they are captured, biologists will sample them and outfit them with GPS collars. The captures are scheduled for December 10-18.

According to Montana FWP,

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.

Capturing wildlife for research isn't a new concept for FWP biologists. Similar capture projects are conducted every year in Montana to better understand wildlife health, movement, and habitat.

The studies provide biologists with meaningful data that helps to inform wildlife management and highlight opportunities for habitat enhancement in many places.

There are quite a few mountain goats in the Bridger Range, and the population has remained healthy since the goats were introduced in 1969.According to the most recent mountain goat classification survey, an all-time high of 127 mountain goats in 2019. If you follow many of the local hiking forums in the Bozeman area, many residents have interactions with mountain goats while recreating in the Bridger Range.

Residents who live in Bridger Canyon and the surrounding area may see a helicopter in the area during the mountain goat capture project, and FWP asks those recreating in the Bridger Range during that time to keep their distance from the helicopter.

The information in this article was provided by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.