Bozeman Conservation Convention

Oak

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I'll take that as a "no." It doesn't seem like it was very well advertised. I only heard about it last week.
 

MTGomer

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I’ve seen it advertised in 2%, SG, and maybe WSF social media’s but nowhere outside of that.
 

bobbydean

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$200 for general admission. Is that doable for the average hunter? Pricing themselves out of the market. I am an outsider, but the price seemed out of line.
 

MTGomer

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I see Helle (Duckworth’s woolgrower) and Jon Edwards of Schnees will be there Sat. I wonder if anything productive will come of that.
 
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Mthuntr

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The $200 covers the whole discussion and meals which will absorb most of Friday and Saturday. I think you can attend the Film Festival and Story Telling for like $10 each.

The conversation about sheep & wildlife will definitely be interesting but I don't think anyone's mind will be changed since it is so polarizing...a lot of Us vs Them conversations will likely be sparked.

Jared Fraser has posted a bit on social media and has mentioned an obstructionist group threatened to protest...very vague
 

RobG

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I was put off by the price and the panel discussions which I doubt will cover anything I haven't heard. If you go to the "about" tab there is a note "Conservation Organization employees and volunteers may attend for 50% off by requesting a code. " so maybe you can get in for half price.

I am going to the Sunday hike and MWF "Ales for the Outdoors" which are free. Montana state Senator Pat Flowers will be at the latter if you want to pick his ear. I will have to bug out early from the MWF thing because I have a Robert Earle Keen concert to go to!
 
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RobG

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Regarding the domestic and bighorn sheep discussion, WSF is trying to work with Helle so I doubt it will be confrontational. Cottonwood Law/Gallatin Wildlife Association apparently weren't invited. They are suing to kick Helle off the land and seem to be a key player in the discussion even if people might disagree with their tactics.
 

MTGomer

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They’re probably not invited because they are anti hunting. They want to see hunting eliminated in all sheep herds <100 animals, that has seemed to be their bigger interest in the last few years, stopping hunting. I believe 1 tag is currently given for the Greenhorn herd.
All unlimited herds are individually under 100.

I do like the idea of them suing to remove domestic growers in sheep habitat when other methods are unsuccessful. More of that, less attacks on hunting.
I think the more obnoxious litigators definitely have a valuable place if WSF is going to be diplomatic. People can be sued when they need sued and WSF doesn’t look like the bad guy to what is a wool industry with a disgusting amount of power representative to their size.
 

Big Fin

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I'm supposed to open the Saturday session with some words of wisdom. If it comes from my mouth, wisdom is usually in short supply.
 

Oak

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I don't think it's geared towards the average hunter, but I know there are a lot of wildlife and land management folks on the forum.

The sheep and wool discussion on Saturday should be particularly interesting based on WSF social media posts I've seen the last few days. The quote on the panel description page does a disservice to bighorn sheep, IMO: “Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep are a species born trying to find creative ways to die.” I sat in a working group meeting last week here in CO where wool growers made the argument, "why should domestic sheep bear the brunt of bighorn sheep being such a fragile species?" The counter-argument could be, "why should bighorn sheep bear the brunt of domestic sheep being so deadly?"

The simple fact is that bighorns and domestics cannot coexist on the same landscapes. Attempting, through compromise, to establish/maintain small, isolated herds of bighorns near domestic sheep is not wild sheep conservation. It is an attempt to gain an extra hunting license or two while maintaining a domestic sheep industry, and should be recognized as nothing more. It's an unsustainable situation for bighorns, and you can expect that the herd will not thrive for the long term.

Some recent posts from WSF on social media and in press releases have me scratching my head a little bit.

"Domestic sheep and the industry and heritage they bring is extremely valuable."
"Don’t miss our panel, Wild Sheep & Wool, on June 22nd at the Emerson where we will discuss multiple use approaches to maintaining the commodity, heritage, and wild resource!"
"We are engaged in promoting habitat quality and controlling the active plague of pneumonia that is killing wild sheep. We do this in full support of legitimate other uses of these lands such as domestic sheep grazing that multiplies the risk of disease."

I just don't understand full support of domestic sheep grazing from a wild sheep conservation organization. I do understand supporting domestic sheep grazing far away from occupied bighorn sheep habitat. NM Game and Fish killed a young bighorn ram 4 days ago that set up shop with woolies on a public land grazing allotment, 32 and 50 miles from the two nearest bighorn sheep herds. We know that it's not uncommon for rams to make forays of this distance. When we try to let bighorns and domestics coexist in the same habitat a few miles apart we can expect management like this to be common, and we can expect disease, low recruitment, and stagnant growth in bighorn sheep herds.

Heck, maybe I'll just drive to Bozeman tomorrow and see this for myself.
 

MTGomer

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Another example of dispersion to add onto Oak’s...:
A tagged ewe from the southern Madison Range near Quake lake (Taylor Hilgard Unit 302) was found in the Upper Paradise Valley at Point of Rocks this winter. That is a 40 mile dispersion.
A ram from the same herd went to the Gallatin Valley, around 25 miles away.

It isn’t that outlandish to think that Madison range sheep could mix with gravelly sheep. With that in mind, and thinking of the dispersion to POR of the ewe, there is potential for connectivity of all these sheep to the herds in the unlimiteds and therefore the Wyoming Absarokas which have >1000 sheep.
POR winter sheep may come from and mix with Gardiner/ Yellowstone sheep which mix with 500 Boulder, Cooke City and Wyoming Unit 1 sheep.

There’s no place for domestics.
 
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Oak

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Here's the situation I'm dealing with on a daily basis in Colorado.
Red is active BLM/USFS domestic sheep allotments. Blue is bighorn sheep overall range from CPW.
Excuse my shoddy map-making skills.CO_BHS_overall_active_DS_allotments.jpg
 

MTGomer

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Here's the situation I'm dealing with on a daily basis in Colorado.
Red is active BLM/USFS domestic sheep allotments. Blue is bighorn sheep overall range from CPW.
Excuse my shoddy map-making skills.View attachment 108502
If you have him on Fb, @Nameless Range, could make that map for for you with the overlap area calculated to the gnat’s ass in 3D.
 

RobG

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They’re probably not invited because they are anti hunting. They want to see hunting eliminated in all sheep herds <100 animals, that has seemed to be their bigger interest in the last few years, stopping hunting. I believe 1 tag is currently given for the Greenhorn herd.
All unlimited herds are individually under 100.

I do like the idea of them suing to remove domestic growers in sheep habitat when other methods are unsuccessful. More of that, less attacks on hunting.
I think the more obnoxious litigators definitely have a valuable place if WSF is going to be diplomatic. People can be sued when they need sued and WSF doesn’t look like the bad guy to what is a wool industry with a disgusting amount of power representative to their size.
They aren't anti-hunting, I know that for a fact. Hell, Joe Gutkoski is 92 and still packs out his own elk. They don't believe the Greenhorn herd is large enough to support hunting, which is their opinion and is no more "anti-hunting" than saying you are against shoulder seasons. I've never heard them speak of eliminating unlimited hunting, but I may have missed that conversation.
 

Oak

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I didn't make the drive. Would be interested as well to hear from someone at the panel.
WSF said that it would eventually be available to the public. This was posted on social media.

BCC.jpg
 
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