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Elk Opportunities: Increasing or Decreasing? Lets find out via the real stats!

Benfromalbuquerque

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Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Messages
152
My elk opportunity increased this year. No shit, I was in an area with less elk previously, but yet found elk with no trouble. I also know that elk were on previously scouted areas (game cams). Did not go there because of access issues.
 

Jape

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Joined
Sep 26, 2017
Messages
1,514
Topics like this have a huge tendency to depress most hunters not willing to spend thousands for private land access. I know I got depressed reading it. Whenever I read these stats I want to be part of the solution rather than just complaining. I liked Big fin's ideas but would love to hear more from those involved in these efforts. I know RMEF, Wild Sheep, and others engage in these efforts but it seems they are always just asking for my money and there is a disconnect where I really don't know what they are doing with my money, or if they are using it responsibly. Thoughts, ideas, hope???
 

Big Fin

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Dec 27, 2000
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15,114
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Bozeman, MT
Topics like this have a huge tendency to depress most hunters not willing to spend thousands for private land access. I know I got depressed reading it. Whenever I read these stats I want to be part of the solution rather than just complaining. I liked Big fin's ideas but would love to hear more from those involved in these efforts. I know RMEF, Wild Sheep, and others engage in these efforts but it seems they are always just asking for my money and there is a disconnect where I really don't know what they are doing with my money, or if they are using it responsibly. Thoughts, ideas, hope???

I am not familiar with the inner workings of WSF, but having chaired the RMEF Finance Committee for four years and been on the Board Executive Committee, I can speak for how much effort RMEF puts in making sure your money is well spent. A few things that might address the valid concerns you mention and that I often hear.

Charity Navigator, the largest organization for ranking the efficiency of large charities, agrees RMEF is doing good work with the money and mission they are entrusted with; 4 out of 4 stars, with over 90% percentile in most of the important criteria - https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4406

Point being, RMEF is using our money responsibly. They have over 11,000 volunteers who are doing a lot of amazing work in their communities and on the landscapes that are important to them.

Whether you want to go it alone, join a local group or committee, or join with one of the national groups, the important part is to be involved with our Time and/or Talent and/or Treasure. None of us have all three of the "Ts" but most of us could allocate one of those toward a conservation effort.

The reason some might think that groups are always asking for our money is that none of this happens at the big level without money, usually large sums of money. Just a fact. Those opponents who are contrary to our interests are at it 24/7, with big stacks of money at their disposal to employ some of the sharpest people around. If the hunter-conservation community has failed, it is in our hyper-frugality that has a tendency to think we can do this with volunteers in our spare time and do it on the cheap. We have many instances where we've had our teeth handed to us by well-financed pros on the other side.

It would be nice if putting more elk/sheep/deer on the mountain did not require large amounts of money, but that is a reality. Hopefully folks will do what they can, whether it is money, time, or talent, it all makes a huge difference. And as the percentage of hunters in this country continues to get lower, the per-capita burden it places on each of us grows.

Thanks for your interest in being involved. No right way or wrong way. Whatever works for each person is the way to go about it.
 
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shrapnel

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 27, 2015
Messages
816
Elk is a single resource being hunted by a myriad of hunting preferences and division is what usually prevails.

Single weapon: bow or rifle not both
Shorter seasons
Disdain for outfitters
Disdain for private property owners
Disdain for FWP
Not enough access
Too much access
Not enough trophy class bulls
Wolves

There are more issues, but still only a given amount of elk. How do we continue to hunt them and have a healthy amount of shootable elk?

Some want to change the rules, others learn to play by the rules, still there isn’t a simple answer.

I grew up in Montana and you just didn’t see that many elk, mule deer or whitetail deer in the 1960’s. They were there and hunters were still able to get them, but certainly not at the regularity we see today.

How do you measure success?

Management of the seasons and game have given us a fairly healthy big game population all over Montana. I would have to say FWP, though far from perfect, has managed the game populations into a much better number than we ever saw in the 1960’s.

Change is brought about by a slow arduous process, but it does happen. I taught Hunter Education for 25 years and saw a very non vocal mass of people that wanted to hunt and didn’t need the resources to be managed for trophies. Do we discount those hunters because they don’t agree?

Forums like this need to unify hunters, not divide them. It still seems quite polarized and myopic. I live in Montana and like what I see. I hunt public and private lands and have worked to hunt both, making me a little more understanding of private property owners and their associated liberties in regards to their ownership.

There are still trophy class bull elk throughout Montana, and if you work at it you can still get one. Making it simple would diminish the value of a hard earned trophy that isn’t always measured by inches...
 

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