Eastman's: Worst Big Game Reporting State

Pelican

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Anybody else out there pick up on the irony that there is an ongoing thread about climate change in which some members are actively defending scientific conclusions based on extemely complex models and simultaneously denigrating other scientists in this thread because they don’t like their conclusions concerning the usefulness of mandatory reporting?
 

wllm1313

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Anybody else out there pick up on the irony that there is an ongoing thread about climate change in which some members are actively defending scientific conclusions based on extemely complex models and simultaneously denigrating other scientists in this thread because they don’t like their conclusions concerning the usefulness of mandatory reporting?
Wasn't aware we were using the IPCC climate model to decide how much water to let out of lake mead.

The current sampling model might be fine if your trying to look at how many elk there are in Montana or Colorado and what the total harvest was in '18, but it totally sucks if you want to look at detailed longitudinal data for deer in 270.
 

BuzzH

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Long over-due...that and a good house-cleaning of the upper echelon of the MTFWP would do wonders. They're so engrained in "opportunity" that they fail to manage anything. Seriously, how can essentially NO management change in well over 60 years in regard to season length? How, other than in a time warp.

I'm of the opinion that the pushback from the MTFWP, is that they flat don't want to know what the actual success rates are on elk, deer, etc. in particular the Western Side of the state where its mostly public. In my lifetime, I've seen a decrease in the number of days they have the check station at Bonner open and they close earlier and earlier every year. The "data" they collect at the check stations is also suspect...they usually get the deer species right, but the age estimates? Good grief. I'm not a trained biologist, but I know what a 1.5 year old cow elk looks like. I can also make a pretty good age estimate of a 2.5 year old whitetail buck and know WTF I'm looking at. Surely good enough to not just label it an "unknown age" because I'm too lazy to use a set of jaw spreaders to confirm it.

The last time I went through the Bonner check station I was less than impressed...and I'll leave it at that without going into details.

IMO, the MTFWP, if they go the way of mandatory reporting, are going to not be able to bolster and pad their harvest statistics. That will be a good thing, as I believe that they should be sued for false advertising with their supposed success rates. Non-Resident Hunters should know what they're buying when they shell out $1100+ for a combo license.

The area I hunt is ridiculous...they're killing more bull elk (using their harvest numbers), than they say exist in the unit (again using their population estimates)...that doesn't work for me. They might be able to BS the people that don't look close, but they aren't BSing me. I've hunted there longer than the current biologist has been alive...I have a pretty good idea what's going on.

I attended a meeting a couple years back in Missoula, and asked them to consider mandatory harvest reporting...usual crap, too expensive, too time consuming...blah blah, Thompson and his usual excuses. Then about 15 minutes later into the meeting, another FWP employee was bragging how their new system would make mandatory harvest reporting a "snap". I looked right at Thompson after that comment, he looked like he swallowed a bug.

IMO, the only way the MTFWP will EVER consider changing anything is if mandatory reporting happens, and if MT hunters beat them up with that data.
 

brownbear932008

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Virginia has had mandatory game checking since I can remember. It's simple now days you can physically check at station still but most people check online or by automated telephone system. It takes like 2 minutes and the state has your hunter info,weapon used, sex and size, private or public ect and county which is our version of a unit. It's simple and MTFWP could probably save a ton of money on aviation cost and limit flights quite a bit more.
 

Pelican

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The current sampling model might be fine if your trying to look at how many elk there are in Montana or Colorado and what the total harvest was in '18, but it totally sucks if you want to look at detailed longitudinal data for deer in 270.
Believe whatever you want, but implying CPW biologists are negligent or incompetent by not requiring mandatory surveys is unjustified. Our game issues are people, disease, and predator issues, not lack of data issues. Big game is managed at the population level, not the individual level. It doesn’t matter if I shoot a bull with a bow or you shoot the same bull with a muzzleloader, or it gets killed by a Budweiser truck one day after 4th season ends. What matters if that’s it is not alive. Our herds/tags are managed by male to female ratios, young to female ratio, total number of animals, landowner tolerance. Science and art combined. Requiring every CO hunter to take a polygraph test and submit a survey after hunting is not going to do us any damn good. It doesn’t matter. Requiring people to do something is a great way to ensure they don’t want to do it, and if they don’t want to do it they will give you BS data. I have no idea if MT is indeed the dumpster fire some make it out to be, but I do know that the deer and elk numbers in Colorado have persisted at the same level despite the population doubling since I began hunting. I still like empirical data myself.
 

Sytes

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A lot of people would oppose it being mandatory.
As I signed the petition Ben initiated, I was considering what are those people's objections...

  1. Only potential area of objection is relaying the district the person(s) hunt and a fear how sharing the success ratio, year after year, might impact their future hunts(?) From an official and public information release.
  2. I suppose a secondary thought is exposing their hunt district to people (FWP employees) who may ethically misuse government information for personal gain. However, the statistics would be present in public harvest data, regardless. (Along #1 line of thought)
  3. Lastly, the typical opposition towards giving the "Gub-ment muh private information"...
#1-2 seem a plausible concern for those who may not value the ideology of, planting trees for future generation's shade and focused on the immediate self interests.
However, it follows the base principle as here. Districts are wide open spaces though very few would share their success ratio on a public forum for reasonable personal hunt preservation, so to say. So there is something to this point, be it self serving or not and imo, a respected position.
Only difference is the knowledge of the person and success ratio vs a government statistic not directly related nor connected to an individual.

Are there reasonable positions for opposition?
 

antlerradar

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Sytes;
This the type of info that hunters need for FWP's Law of Diminishing Returns management philosophy to have a chance at working. The theory behind the law of diminishing returns is that when one spot gets over hunted the hunters will self regulate to less pressured spots. FWP relies heavily on hunters to self regulate. Today with hunters commonly traveling form one end of the state to the other and the limited access to private land hunters need the type of info that mandatory reporting could provide. With out very detailed and timely info the law of diminishing returns is doomed to fail. (I personally feel the law of diminishing returns was doomed once landowners started restricting access in the 70's and 80's) The down side is that hunters would quickly find out that all accessible OTC public land is hunted hard in Montana.
 

wllm1313

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Believe whatever you want, but implying CPW biologists are negligent or incompetent by not requiring mandatory surveys is unjustified. Our game issues are people, disease, and predator issues, not lack of data issues. Big game is managed at the population level, not the individual level. It doesn’t matter if I shoot a bull with a bow or you shoot the same bull with a muzzleloader, or it gets killed by a Budweiser truck one day after 4th season ends. What matters if that’s it is not alive. Our herds/tags are managed by male to female ratios, young to female ratio, total number of animals, landowner tolerance. Science and art combined. Requiring every CO hunter to take a polygraph test and submit a survey after hunting is not going to do us any damn good. It doesn’t matter. Requiring people to do something is a great way to ensure they don’t want to do it, and if they don’t want to do it they will give you BS data. I have no idea if MT is indeed the dumpster fire some make it out to be, but I do know that the deer and elk numbers in Colorado have persisted at the same level despite the population doubling since I began hunting. I still like empirical data myself.
I did not imply that a biologist was negligent or incompetent, I called out a CPAW biologist for presenting misleading and inaccurate information a public meeting. As Oak suggests this may not have been up to him, but it’s what that biologist did never-the-less. I should have reached out to that biologist and the department before throwing him under the bus.

I agree with you it’s science and art and biologists have a very tricky task of managing mortality manipulating the few levers they have at their discretion while numerous one, i.e. your Budweiser truck, which they do not.

Mandatory reporting is not a polygraph test, it’s not onerous and it won’t produce results with any higher degree of error than the current system. The current random sample rate is 46% meaning that every hunter probably files a report every other year. I’m suggesting they must do it every year, are people really going to lie on a survey because they have to fill it out every year instead of every other year? You already are required to get a HIP number and file out a survey every year for small game, how is this different?

The entire CPAW system is now digital, you can’t buy your license with a paper application. Every customer that purchases any kind of license is assigned a CID that is tied to your SS number and driver’s license, that record in the CPAW database is joined to a table that hold all your historical license information. The current CPAW survey is already digital, you get an email and you fill out the questionnaire online. All I’m suggesting is that instead of sending this survey out to a random sampling to send it out to every hunter. Tie the survey to your current account and create a rule that locks you out until you complete the survey. Hunters could be given a month after the last day of their season to complete the survey. You could impose a $20 fine to get your account unlocked.

This amount of coding is pretty simple I’ve had similar features added to our lease records databases, the programing, UI design, and testing might be around 80 hours of work (several different programmers and developers), and at an average rate of $120 is going to run you 10k. This is a onetime cost to add the feature, and that’s assuming you use contracts and don’t have someone on staff to do the programing.

Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, California, and Alaska already have some sort of similar system. If there is no point in this reporting, why do most other states do it and why do we do it for species with small populations like sheep, goats, lions, and bears? Is the state only interest in pulling teeth/taking samples.

To the topic at hand, Montana, as said in previous statements Montana already has the tools it needs to do mandatory reporting as well. I would imagine the phone surveys are costly and online reporting would save the state a fair bit of money along with providing better data.



Wildlife aren’t owned by the state, they are held in trust by the institution for the citizens of that state. There is no reason why any population/licensing data should be kept from the public, finical institutions have to provide detailed reports of your assets when requested, how is this different.

We have every right to demand data from our public servants and be critical of process, that’s how systems improve.
 

antlerradar

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Willm. I needed to buy as small game licence for CO this year to buy a deer point. Am I going to need to get a HIP and fill out a survey even thought it is unlikely I will step foot in CO this year?
 

madtom

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Willm. I needed to buy as small game licence for CO this year to buy a deer point. Am I going to need to get a HIP and fill out a survey even thought it is unlikely I will step foot in CO this year?
The first question of the survey is usually “did you hunt ____ game in ____ State this year?” You would respond “no” and be done with the survey.
 

Bambistew

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You guys are giving the general public too much credit for complying with mandatory reporting, and giving accurate information.

Having spent a fair amount of time researching and reviewing "mandatory" reporting information with AK ADF&G biologists... the conclusion is that some of the information is generally accurate, such as when and what killed. However, a portion of it is likely inaccurate, such as where an animal was killed (may not even include the correct GMU), method of transport, number of points, spread (bull moose), etc. Even with the threat of a fine for inaccurate information, people will still lie.

Reason I know, is because I know a number of people who claim to have killed x number of critters. They either lie, poached, or didn't report their kills. I know of animals taken in one location (via photos), and reviewing the harvest data, the information given did not match the actual kill location. This may be a minor offence, and one that the Troopers could care less about, but it proves that mandatory reporting is really not going to give you accurate information.

In addition, animals that are required to be checked, i.e. sheep/bears, etc have a higher chance of accurate information being gathered, except for location of kill. All fields get entered in the harvest card, where as in the self reporting, a significant number of report cards are only half filled out. When you have small data sets, this really screws with your results.

Voluntary reporting is not accurate, any more than maybe +/-75% of the time, I would guess. There are people who hunt, that report not hunting (too lazy to fill out the form, or don't want people to know their spots). There are animals killed that are not reported as killed (even though properly tagged or poached?), location of kills are rarely close, especially in OTC areas. With the instance of sheep, prior to mandatory sealing, the age of sheep was inflated, by nearly a year... meaning that many sub-legal rams where being killed and being reported as legal by age. Graphing the data, showed this very quickly. In similar sample sizes, the average age of harvest for the entire group dropped nearly a year. Also the measurements given for horn length, and circumference also dropped in size with mandatory sealing. The amount of 40 inch and 14" based rams dropped off significantly.

That said it makes for a fun data set to play with, and even with false/inaccurate information, it paints a decent picture of what happens each year, but I doubt you'd get a whole lot better management information than the random phone calls. I suspect the margin of error is similar. Consider the OTC elk/deer tags in MT. If a guy has a honey hole in unit XXX is he going to report he killed in that unit, or the next one over? Who's to say that the guy from the next one over doen't do the same thing. On a micro scale the data will not be that accurate, on a macro level, it will be far better than they have now.
 

wllm1313

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@Bambistew i don’t think mandatory reporting would be more accurate, just that by getting every hunter instead of just a portion you would have a higher number of accurate surveys filled out. My assumption is that some people will lie if it’s voluntary or mandatory and some people will tell the truth, and that’s its better to just make everyone do it.

TLDR... bambistew is correct.
 
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