Yeti

Big Game Forever - More Bullspit

Ben Lamb

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Aug 6, 2010
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Cedar, MI
BGF has decided to weigh in on the 313 HD tentative regarding bull harvest in the Gardiner area. That's all fine and good as I think they have 1 or 2 members in state who haven't heard about how they tried to stop our management of wolves by killing the Simpson-Tester delisting rider back in 2011. But there's something off about where they are directing traffic.

In their action alert, they are directing people to email Governor Bullock's re-election campaign. Not FWP, not the Governor's office - but the campaign. That's either another indicator of BGF not undestanding how Montana's wildlife management works, which is entirely likely since Benson & crew are probably used to calling old Gov Herbert and getting whatever they want, including their welfare checks. The other theory is this: They are trying to let Montana's governor know that they are going to try and influence this election.

I tend to believe the later. BGF & SFW have held huge fundraisers for candidates that were not very good for Montana's outdoor way of life. They supported Rick Hill & Denny Rehberg, they've tried to push bills that would have severely limited hunter opportunity and kept wolves on the endangered species list and now, they feel like they have an opportunity to flex their tax-payer funded muscle in our Governor's race.

Here's the screen shot from their facebook page:
 

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Greenhorn

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Dec 19, 2000
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Montana
Squeaky wheel on this is based on MOGA and a few outfitters who are disappointed in any loss of hunting clients for the annual firing line circus. The limited quota results a 10% cap on non-residents. Best idea ever.
 

Lawnboy

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Nov 2, 2008
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Bozeman, Montana
I was at the meeting and the biologist was very open and straight forward. Basically saying we can't sustain the level of bull harvest we are currently seeing. She asked the audience what do you want? I'm open to ideas and if you're content with just coming up here just hunt regardless of success rate then ok. She also said that too many folks are remembering the good ol days of shooting thousands of elk and it just isn't the case anymore.

It amazes me how shortsighted the outfitters are on this issue. They will soon hunt themselves out of animals or at a minimum anything of quality. Shouldn't surprise me I suppose :confused:
 

Big Foot

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Nov 1, 2013
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Location
Bozeman, MT
Funny points made by folks at the Bozeman meeting regarding 313.

1) "We used to shoot hundreds of six point bulls annually out of the Gardiner basin"
2) "Those damn wolves are killing all of our elk and we can only shoot 2 per the quota"
3) "A 1-1/2 year old is sexually mature enough to breed cows right? Then who cares if there are no matures bulls to shoot."

I could go on with the illogical comments made by the outfitters/associates in the area but the bottom line is that the elk herd in this area could be wiped out entirely and the outfitters would continue to sell hunts and lobby for unrestricted licenses.

Biologist is currently counting 1-3:100 bull to cow ratio in the area. Pretty sad numbers if accurate.

I could not help but laugh in my head as people discussed the financial ruin for the area if the elk hunting in 313 was shut down while being juxtaposed to the previous hours worth of discussion regarding shoulder seasons and decimating the elk herds elsewhere in the state.
 

LopeHunter

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May 31, 2007
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MO-->CA-->NW-->AZ&NW
3 bulls per 100 cows ratio is a problem. Is this predation where almost no calves are surviving beyond the first year or two? That is the only way I can see 100 cows per 3 bulls. Hunters had to shoot off the mature bulls, leaving the mature cows and no calves are making it to adulthood. Even if 20 calves were surviving the first year then 10 would be spikes the next year, right? Seems the 3 bull ration would be impossible with nominal calf survival. If predation then is it primarily wolves? Bears? Cougars? Bears and cougars have been around for decades, right? Did something change so bears and cougars grew in population?

In Oregon, they stopped hunting with hounds so the cougar population grew which forced young males towards cities. Then coyotes learned to finish off leftover kills by cougars so cougars killed more often than once every 7 -10 days. Cougars can take down bigger prey than coyotes would normally get to eat so predator take of wildlife accelerated after the ban on hounds.
 

Gerald Martin

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Jul 3, 2009
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3 bulls per 100 cows ratio is a problem. Is this predation where almost no calves are surviving beyond the first year or two? That is the only way I can see 100 cows per 3 bulls. Hunters had to shoot off the mature bulls, leaving the mature cows and no calves are making it to adulthood. Even if 20 calves were surviving the first year then 10 would be spikes the next year, right? Seems the 3 bull ration would be impossible with nominal calf survival. If predation then is it primarily wolves? Bears? Cougars? Bears and cougars have been around for decades, right? Did something change so bears and cougars grew in population?

In Oregon, they stopped hunting with hounds so the cougar population grew which forced young males towards cities. Then coyotes learned to finish off leftover kills by cougars so cougars killed more often than once every 7 -10 days. Cougars can take down bigger prey than coyotes would normally get to eat so predator take of wildlife accelerated after the ban on hounds.


I think you may be on to something there but it is definitely more than just wolves that are the problem. Add in a high concentration of grizzly and some black bears that are efficient predators of calves and it doesn't help the overall numbers. I'd say that hunters are the primary cause of low bull/cow ratios though.
Seems to me I saw a fair number of calves with the cows I saw in that area this year. Whether they make it through the winter I don't know.
 

tjones

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Jun 9, 2009
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Really funny, of all the tentative issues going on with FWP now this is the only one the boys grab onto.
 

theat

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Aug 28, 2010
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727
Location
NW Montana
I got to spend a few days flying that area last week. I wasn't exactly keeping track and in no way were we doing a survey, but I can say that we saw very few bulls (4-6), maybe a dozen spikes, and probably two hundred cows. Since then we have been working further north in the valley and along the beartooth front. Way more bulls/cows everywhere else we have been.

I spent at least 1/2 an hour talking to the biologist about 313 and she seems very open to other ideas, but does not believe the ratio will improve significantly without some kind of restriction on the number of bulls being killed. I won't go into all the details but she was very convincing and I support her decision.

On another note, we did not see any wolves or tracks in that unit and from what I hear they don't spend much time in that area this time of year.
 

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