Of all the Montana hunting seasons that cross over about 11 months of the year, this isn't one of them!

Not that the critter would be on your bucket list of trophy harvests anyway. But our FWP pals have asked that we share the request to be on the lookout for a small creature with quite the Montana history.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is asking Montana hunters to take a quick break now and then from scanning the horizon for your game and look down. Not to avoid a gopher hole or a rattlesnake, although those are good suggestions, too. Nope, instead, you might see one of eastern Montana’s rarely seen animals: the greater short-horned lizard, commonly known as a “horny toad.”

If you do, Montana FWP would like to know about it.

FWP says the greater short-horned lizard was once considered the second most abundant reptile along the Missouri River in Montana in the late 19th Century, second only to the western rattlesnake. But now they have a unique classification in Montana:  "Species of Greatest Inventory Need." That is due to insufficient data on their population and distribution.

Nicole Hussey, a Montana FWP wildlife biologist, says, “We have been conducting surveys in eastern Montana to try and determine status and distribution...however, their elusive nature and cryptic coloration make them extremely difficult to locate.”

It's a lot to ask of hunters focused on animals just a bit larger and more plentiful than the horny toad. But if you happen to observe one anywhere in the state, please record the location, get GPS coordinates if possible, and note the date, number observed, and take a photo with something in the picture for scale if you can.

Observations can be reported to your local FWP biologist.

We did say it's asking a lot.

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