Antler hunting a local cottage industry

By PATRICIA MORSE/Montana State News

Shed antler hunting can prove to be a very lucrative business as free-of-cost antlers are open to the public to collect and an artisan can turn a $10 lamp kit from your local hardware store into a chandelier valued at over $4,000.

According to Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), shed antlers naturally fall off of the animals during the winter months. This shedding is caused by a decrease in the testosterone levels after rutting season. Fluctuations in the exact time of the shedding will vary in accordance to the weather and geographic climate.

For many, antler hunting is not only a hobby but also a way of life.

After finding the shed antlers, hunters can either keep them for their own personal use or sell them to buyers or collectors. In most cases, these buyers purchase shed antlers by the pound, with the most valuable specimens being those found in matching pairs.

For instance, Antler Tom out of the Fort Peck area, buys antlers by the pound and like most antler buyers in the area prefers a large truckload of antlers in transactions instead of a few pounds. However, he suggests contacting local buyers who might be more interested in smaller transactions.

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Pest-resistant wheat protects crops, economy

By ZACH FENT/Montana State News

Wheat farmers’ concerns may soon be put to rest as a new era of engineered crop can now stop bugs right in their tracks.

Montana State University’s Montana Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) has been working closely with farmers, wheat breeders, agricultural scientists and geneticists in order to create a pest-resistant strain of wheat specifically tailored to the Orange Wheat Blossom Midge.

Targeting wheat crops, the midge burrows into the wheat seeds and lays its larvae. This process completely destroys the developing seed and crop, providing a new and larger generation of pests.

The midge came down to the Great Plains from Canada, first sighted in America in the early 1990s. Up until now, only small outbreaks causing moderate damage in crop productivity had been seen.

Recently, the presence of the midge in Montana has steadily increased and has become one of the major concerns facing farmers and the state’s cash crop-based economy.

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Arrival of Uber anxiously anticipated in Bozeman

By ALLISON ERWIN/ Montana State News

Uber, the popular rideshare enterprise announced in December 2015 that they will be making a debut in Montana.

Uber started in 2009 and offers rides to customers via an app that can be easily downloaded on any cellular device.  The program allows customers to call a ride with the ability to view the driver’s personal information, car type, and rating information.

A handful of larger cities in Montana, such as Billings and Missoula, have already adopted the rideshare company despite protests from local taxi companies.

“Frankly, businesses like Uber and Lyft will be taking my business away,” says local Gallatin Valley taxi driver Lance Roberts who has been a driver for the past ten years.

While taxi companies have been under strict restrictions, Uber has the ability to avoid regulations by using independent contractors as their drivers instead of employees.

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