Rural Living in the Flathead Valley – Wildlife
Rural living in the Flathead Valley can be heavenly, but there are practical considerations to keep in mind when looking for property in the area. If you are considering a rural home, you need to consider purchasing decisions, access issues, service delivery, agriculture and the right to farm, mother nature and wildlife. The first five posts can be accessed by clicking the links above. Part six (and the final part) of the series regarding living in rural areas of the Flathead County in Montana focuses on Wildlife.
Flathead County Planning and Zoning prepared an excellent document for both natives and newcomers to the area. They’ve given me their thumbs up to share here. The final chapter deals with Wildlife.
And I quote:
Flathead County is home to some of the nation’s most spectacular wildlife, including elk, moose, grizzly and black bear, and white-tailed and mule deer. Living in a rural area will allow you to encounter these magnificent creatures on a regular basis. It’s easy to harm things we value without realizing it, so consider the following:
- Many people are attracted to rural areas for the wildlife and do not realize the negative impacts they can have on the very creatures that drew them to rural living in the first place. Development encroaches on the habitat of white-tailed and mule deer, grizzly and black bear, elk, moose, coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, and a host of small creatures that share that habitat.
- The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks is an excellent source for information on safely living near wildlife. Contact them early if you are planning a move to a rural area to determine if your land is located near critical habitat such as feeding or calving areas.
- It is never a good idea to feed wildlife, as they quickly become dependent on you as a food provider. Also, feeding seemingly harmless animals attracts those that prey on them such as bears and mountain lions, which can threaten your family’s safety.
- Managing trash is essential, as nothing tempts a bear like last night’s leftovers. FWP has extensive information on bear-proofing your waste receptacles.
- Hunting is a time-honored tradition in Montana. Be mindful that your newly purchased property might be part of an area historically used by hunters who may be unaware that ownership has changed.
- If your property is adjacent to public lands, you will likely see an increase in traffic during hunting season. Contact Fish, Wildlife and Parks to learn about your rights and responsibilities.
- Wildlife is more mobile during calving season, hunting season, and the “rut.” Always keep a close watch when driving rural areas, and pay particularly close attention during these important times.
Even though rural property owners pay taxes like everyone else, the amount of tax collected does not always cover the cost of services provided to rural residents. In general, those living in urban areas subsidize the lifestyle of those who live in the country by making up the shortfall between the cost of services and the revenues received from rural dwellers.
We encourage you to research all the issues raised here in more detail to ensure you are going to be happy and satisfied with your rural experience.
Me again! The above information about wildlife is certainly true. On my rural property, I have either seen, or seen evidence of, elk, deer, black bear, fox, coyote, rabbit, mice, squirrels, grouse, turkeys and mountain lion. We would never think to leave food outside. Our garbage cans stay in the garage until we take them to the dump. We always look around when going outside. If we’re going on a hike or working outside away from the house, we make sure we are adequately prepared for any potential problems we might encounter.
All that said, we totally love the wildness of the area. When we see the tracks of something new, our response is “Wow, that is so cool!” and “I’m so happy I live here!”
So if after reading this you are still interested in purchasing land or an existing home in rural areas of the Flathead Valley, I’d be happy to make sure you have the information you need to select the property or home that works for you. The same is true if you want to move into a city or town. I’m available to assist with those properties as well. Just call me at 406-270-3667 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you taking this rural-property journey with me. I appreciate it!