Monday, October 28, 2013

Montana Hunters' Most Common Violations

Every hunting season some individuals unwittingly or knowingly violate the state’s game laws.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials urge hunters to review Montana's hunting rules and regulations to ensure they act within the law and that they recognize when others violate the hunting regulations and related laws.
Here are some of the most common game violations:

•    Failure to obtain permission from landowners before hunting on private property.
•    Wasting part of a game animal suitable for food.
•    Failure to properly validate a license/tag or to securely fasten the tag in a visible manner to a game animal immediately after it is taken and before it is moved or transported from the kill site.
•    Taking game from the wrong hunting district.
•    Using someone else's tag on a game animal you killed, or tagging a game animal that someone else killed.
•    Shooting game animals on or from any public highway or public right-of-way.
•    Taking game without a license or the proper permit.
•    Failure to validate a big game tag.
•    Not leaving evidence of the sex or species of the game animal attached.

FWP encourages hunters to protect the future of their sport by hunting responsibly and reporting hunting violations to the toll-free 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668) number or report a violation online at fwp.mt.gov, then click "Enforcement".

Friday, October 25, 2013

Catching Up...

On the way home from chasing sage chickens the other day we spied these two sunning themselves it seemed taking advantage of yet another in a week-long string of Indian Summer afternoons. At first glance we thought "two young cows" but upon closer inspection (click to enlarge) turns out a couple young bulls just hanging out.

I bought Greg's old Hyde drift boat recently and now, of course, my equally well-used though still very much rowable drift boat "the infamous wood and fiberglass Greeny" is up for sale. The price is $2800, ready to fish it includes an Adams Boat Trailer, 3 Carlisle Oars, 3 life jackets and a 30# anchor. Add a little TLC, a touch or two of epoxy, glass and paint and the old gal should be good to go for years of more or less casual use.

Rifle season starts tomorrow, though I probably won't join in the fun and games until later when things quiet down a bit. Yesterday the town and the local highways were jamb-packed with rigs of every sort. Tary much longer and there won't be flat spot left to set up camp. Every season it seems fewer and fewer rigs show up not laden down with an assemblage ATVs and trust me this one is no exception. As my friend Andrew puts it...Like NO ONE WALKS...Amen.

Happy Trails and Good Hunting Until Next Time...Which I vow will be sooner rather than later...Yes, I know, heard that one way to often of late but...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Time to Clean House...and Senate...and Oval Office...Kick 'Em All Out and Start Over...

Regardless of your political affiliation or lack thereof, what’s wrong with this picture?

Glacier National Park Closed, workers furloughed without pay.

Yellowstone National Park Closed, workers furloughed without pay.

About 400 other national parks, workers furloughed without pay.

CMR National Wildlife Refuge Closed (at height of elk bow season no less, hunters and campers asked to leave, workers furloughed without leave.

More than 500 other National Wildlife Refuges Closed, no hunting, no wildlife viewing, workers furloughed without pay.

Thousands Waterfowl Production Areas closed, waterfowl and upland bird hunting curtailed, workers furloughed without pay.

US Forest Service and BLM offices closed, hunters forced to seek information elsewhere, workers, including Law Enforcement, furloughed without pay.

Even the friggin' toilets within all federal properties are signed closed until further notice.

Many, many small towns which depend largely on hunter money hurting big time, countless workers furloughed without pay until further notice.

800,000 federal workers furloughed without pay.

United State Congress et al, including President Obama and his White House Staff  Doing Nothing as Usual, still receiving full pay and benefits!!!!!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Is Catch and Release Over-hyped?

...Admittedly over-hyped is a bit too strong a term. The idea has certainly provided a lot of good fishing would have vanished decades ago were kill and eat still the populist thinking. On the other hand  seems to me more often than not catch and release is sorely abused, e.g. fish caught and released with life-threatening injuries caused by rough handling, large barbed hooks, barbed treble hooks, fish out of water way too long (how about bonked multiple times on bottom boat?) in order to satisfy way too large egos (hero shots, grip and grins call it what you like truth is threatens, if not flat out kills, way too many so-called trophies mostly just for cocktail hour bragging rights). Anyway here is what the scientists have to say:

Catch and release has become all the rage. Unfortunately too many of us take catch and release for granted. Righteous thinking being  “did not kill and eat therefore no harm no foul. Nothing could be further from the truth. For catch and release to work as advertised stress must be kept to a minimum.

  • ·          Use the proper gear (flies and artificial lures armed with single barbless hooks are less injurious than bait; circle hooks should always be employed by bait fishermen since hooking is almost always outside the mouth, virtually eliminating deadly gill injuries).
  • ·          Strive to end the struggle quickly (standard rods trump lightweights every time).
  • ·          Avoid handling fish with dry hands (wet hands and gloves are less apt to injure protective slime and scales).
  • ·          Avoid knotted nylon nets in favor of non-abrasive rubber  or knotless nylon.
  • ·          Forego hero shots all together (otherwise keep the fish in the water until hero and photographer are good to go); out of water time should never exceed 30 seconds; better still shoot the fish in the water (quickly) and let it go.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Gov Shut Down...

...for many the current Washington debacle has caused serious financial woes...and not just you poor innocent souls kicked off the job. As Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership reports many communities, wildlife agencies, national wildlife refuges, national parks, conservation programs and what not are already feeling the hurt as well. Federal closures are limiting hunting opportunities, diminishing nation’s outdoors-based economy, curtailing vital conservation efforts. Most sportsmen’s groups have decried ‘piecemeal approach’ of House spending bills, not that many reps are listening. Our only hope is that sportsmen of every persuasion band together and toss the bastards in upcoming elections.

As the impacts of the ongoing federal government shutdown continue to ripple across the nation, the TRCP  is urging congressional lawmakers to quickly resolve the crisis for the sake of conservation, sportsmen and America’s all-important outdoors-based economy.

“The government shutdown is bad news for everyone, including Americans everywhere who value clean air and water, access to public lands and wildlife habitat restoration,” said TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh. “In the name of conservation, our outdoor traditions and our economic well being, we urge Congress to unite in quickly resolving this crisis.”

Fosburgh noted that the shutdown will curtail vital conservation efforts taking place nationwide and effectively halt all legislative action, including action related to conservation funding. He affirmed that the TRCP will continue to advocate for the strongest funding levels for conservation through every means possible.

Impacts of the federal closures radiate far beyond the nation’s capital. Millions of sportsmen rely on publicly accessible lands such as national wildlife refuges to get afield or on the water. Hunting, within specified limits, is permitted on more than 329 wildlife refuges. Fishing is permitted on more than 271 wildlife refuges. All are closed under the shutdown. With hunting seasons beginning to crescendo across the country, the impact of these closures will have a major effect, not just on hunters, but on the communities that depend on dollars spent by sportsmen and other outdoor enthusiasts. For more info go to www.trcp.org

On another more favorable track the Big Hole is currently raging at an astounding 1000cfs plus. No doubt unheard of, record flow for October. Fishing reports indicate the fishing is keeping up with the high water. Good news locally since the Beav is all but kaput for the winter coming out the dam this morning at a paltry 50 cfs...good luck trouts, yer gonna need it...