Elk Advisory Board - Choose Your Weapon

JMG

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Newspaper Article in the Billings Gazette

In an effort to address overcrowding and pressure on public lands the Elk Management Citizen Advisory Group is recommending that wildlife managers require hunters to choose either archery hunting or rifle hunting.

As a long time resident of Montana, I value my hunting opportunities. This "requirement" goes against something I strongly value, because my time hunting is mostly spent with friends and family. Hunting to me is a family value ... a lot of quality time spent with those friends and family.

When we are being told there are too many elk, why would you limit opportunity? Reducing the number of hunters in the field during either weapons season (archery or rifle), makes no sense. By limiting residents, such as myself, you are reducing the amount of time and money I spend on hunting (gas, groceries, supplies, gear, etc.). The MT Legislature(s) have passed laws making it easier for people who have moved out of state to come back home to hunt. It's ideas, laws, and programs like these that contribute to the "overcrowding issue". If you want the privileges' with living in Montana ... move and live in Montana (We refer to it as the "Big Sky Tax"). Stop allowing kids under 12 to hunt before the season or with a mentor. Sorry ... I could not hunt until I passed Hunters Safety and was twelve. My kids were not offered the opportunity to hunt before twelve and they survived or didn't need counseling. It's OK ... twelve is the "cut-off". The kid will survive and appreciate hunting at age twelve. The "feel good idea" is adding to the perceived problem of overcrowding.

The things we value are being stripped away by ideas, regulations, and legislative bills. I really hope residents speak up and show up when asked to comment on ideas such as the idea of "choose your weapon". But, unfortunately ... this Country is changing ... Montana is changing with all the people moving here.
 

BuckRut

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I am not sure how I feel on the choose your weapon suggestion but we do need to find a way to reduce pressure and keep elk accessible for hunters to harvest. This idea that what's best for you and the way you like to hunt is best for elk management is flawed and these attitudes will hinder any successful elk management. We hunt elk almost year round at this point and it's not working.
 

Wind Gypsy

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I agree that the come home to hunt tags should be near the front of line of opportunities to cut but that will make little difference in the grand scheme of things.

I'm curious if there is any level of @JMGs opportunity that they'd be willing to sacrifice in the name of reducing pressure? For everyone to just try to cut opportunity from groups other than themselves isn't going to work out well.
 

shoots-straight

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I think the proposal was the easiest thing they could come up with. You have a lot of sides pulling you.

I've seen working groups in action, and know that they can be steered into a direction that the mediator is pushing. Not sure that happened here, but just wondering out loud.

I know that archery seasons have become very crowded. There's no place elk live that they don't get messed with. Even on private.
 

Gerald Martin

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Limiting the amount of hunters and harvest of wildlife on public lands is non-negotiable if we want to maintain what we currently have or see improvements. How we do that is open for debate.

I am all for reforms to how many NR tags are being sold beyond the 17,500 and 4,600 caps set for NR general elk and deer tags.

Hunters are reaping the results of being steamrolled at the Legislature and season setting meetings by interests pushing for more opportunity at any costs. This has often come from with the ranks of hunters.

Sad to say the attitude expressed by a majority of hunters who are unwilling to accept any perceived reduction of opportunity to kill is probably the biggest obstacle to improved quality in the state. Policies can be changed. Management strategies can be tweaked and improved. The “me first”, screw the resource”, attitude that pervades the hunting community in Montana is the medium that special interests groups exploit at the expense of wildlife and hunters who want access to our wildlife.

I hope that we can pass legislation next session that will guarantee that I have the exclusive right to kill the last bull elk in MT when it comes to that. Gotta protect my opportunity…🙄😏
 

406dn

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I will likely show up and speak up.

It is fairly obvious that we are on a bad trend. That suggests pretty strongly that staying the course, making no changes, will not turn things around.

I wish they proposed much larger changes than what is proposed. A large component of what makes a hunt rewarding is having a sense of some solitude. That is pretty much gone presently.

I'll offer and example. Last fall my brother and I hunted out of Bear Creek in the Madison range. It is as everyone knows a popular trailhead. I have horses and as we rode to our plan A about 4 miles in and couple thousand feet up, it became evident that another group on horseback had the same plan. So we decided to ride deeper into the backcountry and explore.

We dropped down into the next drainage and rode another 4 miles, crossed a creek and decided to tie off the horses and eat a sandwich. In a few minutes we hear animals crossing the creek. It was a father and son on horses, looking for the same thing we were. None of us really found it.

We also rode past camps that were set up by hunters back packing into the back country. There really isn't anywhere that has public access that isn't overrun by hunters.
 

Bambistew

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Hunting in MT is an exercise in hunting while looking over your shoulder for the other 4 hunters near you chasing the same animal(s).

Good luck changing anything. People aren't going to willing give up opportunity.

IMO making people chose a weapon won't change the total number of hunters in the woods, especially if they split the elk/deer apart. This would be especially true for the what 50-55,000 archery hunters in MT that would just hunt more in archery season, and equal or more in rifle season. The number of people that take up archery would increase as well. If it was me, I'd archery hunt elk and rifle hunt deer. I'd hunt more in both seasons for each animal than I did before.

It would be nice if MT had some actual data for making decisions like this.
 

SnowyMountaineer

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Newspaper Article in the Billings Gazette

...The MT Legislature(s) have passed laws making it easier for people who have moved out of state to come back home to hunt. It's ideas, laws, and programs like these that contribute to the "overcrowding issue"...
I used to make use of that program, but the hunting is such a piss poor shell of what it could be that it was no longer worth it. I guess you could call it a "win" that I'm not contributing to overcrowding...

I agree with the hope that residents speak up. I'm not convinced that choose your weapon is very strategic or targeted as an approach, but there may be some things to be learned and/or gained from it. Opportunity is one piece of the puzzle. As @406dn points out, there are many other valued aspects of the hunting experience. The snowball is so far down the hill that shoving it any direction feels risky. I don't envy the passionate MT hunter right now.
 

Salmonchaser

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They did this, choose your weapon, thirty five or forty years ago in Oregon All that was gained was putting one user group against the other.
You hear the animosity at just about every ODFW meeting.
I'd sure hate to see Montana screw up game management by taking the panacea approach.
 

SAJ-99

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They did this, choose your weapon, thirty five or forty years ago in Oregon All that was gained was putting one user group against the other.
You hear the animosity at just about every ODFW meeting.
I'd sure hate to see Montana screw up game management by taking the panacea approach.
Choose the weapon seems like an easy thing to mess up. The total number of tags can’t remain unlimited. They can’t allow residents to purchase an archery and a rifle, although that could increase revenue. To a NR, choose your weapon won’t do much. Most NRs only make one trip to the state anyway. I suspect the crowding problem is more the residents. They need to determine what sacrifices they are willing to make. I don’t know for sure if it solves the problems but trying something different can’t hurt.
 

Wind Gypsy

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Choose the weapon seems like an easy thing to mess up. The total number of tags can’t remain unlimited. They can’t allow residents to purchase an archery and a rifle, although that could increase revenue. To a NR, choose your weapon won’t do much. Most NRs only make one trip to the state anyway. I suspect the crowding problem is more the residents. They need to determine what sacrifices they are willing to make. I don’t know for sure if it solves the problems but trying something different can’t hurt.

I think it would reduce NR pressure to a degree. Of the 6 NR MT elk tags I've had, only 1 resulted in me making a single trip because I actually killed on the first trip. 2 were 2 trips, 3 were 3 trips. Generally a week long each.
 

SAJ-99

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I think it would reduce NR pressure to a degree. Of the 6 NR MT elk tags I've had, only 1 resulted in me making a single trip because I actually killed on the first trip. 2 were 2 trips, 3 were 3 trips. Generally a week long each.
But do you think that is close to average? I would bet that is toward the higher end as far as effort.
 

Wind Gypsy

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But do you think that is close to average? I would bet that is toward the higher end as far as effort.
I would agree but I don't think it is that uncommon. I know quite a few others that i've met in everyday life outside of hunting who do an archery trip and return for rifle season if unsuccessful.
 

Wind Gypsy

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When we are being told there are too many elk, why would you limit opportunity? Reducing the number of hunters in the field during either weapons season (archery or rifle), makes no sense.

I noticed the word selection that we are "being told" there are too many elk. Do you believe there are too many elk? I assume picking a weapon for general season would be separate thing from B tags.
 

JMG

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The only thing FWP cares less about than JMG's whimpering snivels about losing a month of his cherished family recreation time, is the quality of elk hunting on public land.
Oh Greenhorn ... "whimpering snivels". I was just making a statement. Too funny.
 

406dn

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I would think that given the uncertainty of getting an elk license each fall and the price of the non-resident tag, it would be expected that they try their best to do the tag justice. I know I would.

As a resident, the tag is an incidental cost of elk hunting. I know that I can buy a tag every year. That makes it far more likely to give the hunt a first effort...then deciding whether to hunt more, or wait until next year.
 

JMG

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I noticed the word selection that we are "being told" there are too many elk. Do you believe there are too many elk? I assume picking a weapon for general season would be separate thing from B tags.
No, I do not believer there are too many elk. The whole Elk Management Plan is out dated and how FWP determines whether there are too many elk is not based on facts/science. (data collected, etc.) Elk quotas are based on tolerance by private landowner(s).
 

SAJ-99

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No, I do not believer there are too many elk. The whole Elk Management Plan is out dated and how FWP determines whether there are too many elk is not based on facts/science. (data collected, etc.) Elk quotas are based on tolerance by private landowner(s).
True, but social tolerance is a legitimate factor in determining objectives. The correct way to think about the question is do those with the political clout that keep pushing for more bull tags think there are too many elk? The subtle difference determines how hunters should proceed.
 

shoots-straight

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True, but social tolerance is a legitimate factor in determining objectives. The correct way to think about the question is do those with the political clout that keep pushing for more bull tags think there are too many elk? The subtle difference determines how hunters should proceed.
So I attended the first EMP meeting in Wisdom Mt on the 20th. Mostly attended by Ranchers that live in the Big Hole Valley.

Most complained that there was too many elk in their cattle's pasture once in awhile. They didn't want those Elk on their lands breaking fences and eating grass that they feel belongs to their cattle. Most said they don't allow the public to hunt. Most said they wanted more bulls, in the public lands, and less hunters their too.
Scratched my head and not because of mosquito bites.


In HD 332 the Elk objective hasn't been met in years,(because of liberal season package and not following EMP), so in order to keep the liberal package and get support for that from the department they are asking sportsman to ask to lower the objective there so then the liberal season package fits.

I scratched my head a few more times.

So what if we incorporate a spear season? Give those guys 2 weeks of archery, Then we go to a traditional archery season? Say 2 more weeks of archery? Then we go to general archery season for 2 weeks? Then traditional muzzleloader season for 2 weeks? Then lever action rifles and no telescopic sights, again 2 weeks. Then finish off the year with a 2 week season of general rifle.

Chose your season at it's finest. There will be less pressure during everyone of those 2 weeks.
There will be a lot less elk killed, and not sure that will make the department happy on cow elk.

Oh so we allocate the rifle dudes to the rest of the shoulder seasons because they choose rifle?

Not sure how to allocate things fairly? How do we do that?

At his point I'm thinking scorched earth effect. Lets piss Putin off a little more and everything's fixed.

I've got a head ache now.

Once upon a time, (20 years ago or so), the hunting in the Big Hole Valley was exceptional.
Tolerance to elk the summer there ended that. No real reason other than they felt they were losing something, as the area there usually always has enough to eat for all.
Sad really.
OK, I'll be more positive next post. Promise..
 

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