Elk Shoulder Season

shoots-straight

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This is a West vs East deal.

In the West, late hunts are good tools to address migrating elk herds and target those that may be to high. Also elk herds that have evolved living on the crop lands. In the East, it can play into more leasing of private lands for big bulls, because the landowner knows the population will be taken care of by the cow hunters in the shoulder season.

I'm also concerned about early shoulder seasons ruining archery opportunity.
 

elkantlers

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The problem I see is that the majority of the elk they want removed are on private land but they are going to allow hunting in the whole district. All this is going to do is remove more elk off of public land and push more elk onto private.

We have a unit here in Utah that is way over objective but the public land hunters are screaming that the numbers are way down. The majority of the elk are living on a few pieces of private land which public hunters have no access. The problem is that the UDWR keeps increasing tag numbers to reduce the elk but the elk that are getting killed are not the ones that they are intending to target. All this is doing is making the problem worse.
 

brownbear932008

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I think they should seriously try to find a way to work with landowners to lower the cow populations on ranches that are holding elk instead of opening the season up for only the unit. As said before all that is going to do is lower populations on public land and put more pressure on public land animals when the real issue is on private property. I know working with landowners that sometimes don't allow any type of hunting is tough but that barrier has to be worked on and an attempt made to fix the issue. It is a problem no doubt seen it myself several times while in Montana ranches harboring huge herds of elk off limits to normal joe hunters. I guess if the populations get big enough eventually they may change their minds and let a guy take a cow so as to help the herd management. On the flip side I have seen several ranches open to cow hunting in different areas of the state those ranchers should really be patted on the back for allowing the public on their place. We are going to one such ranch this fall for the first time can't wait to have some good elk meat to pack home for the winter.
 

tjones

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Kat is onto something we have pushed going back 10 years. The answer to the over objective HD's with large refuges is in FWP's own elk plan.


Montana Elk Management Plan 2005
page 55


5. Elk populations in portions of some EMUs may be almost entirely inaccessible to hunters during the general hunting season or accessible to only a few hunters. To avoid over-harvest of accessible elk on public lands or private lands open to hunting, the inaccessible elk may not be included in objective numbers. Trend count number objectives may include only elk normally accessible to general hunting (if they are a distinct segment), though hunter access negotiations will continue. Elk occupying these “refuges” may be counted separately where practical (if they are a distinct segment) and sub-objectives established that could be operative if access negotiations are successful. If significant harvest of these “refuge” elk is possible with special management at some times and locations, they should be included in objective levels.
 

Greenhorn

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The main problem FWP and hunters continue to face is that many elk congregate on private land — during hunting seasons and now sometimes year-round — avoiding harvest by the majority of hunters. Such concentration of animals tears up landowners’ fences, causes crop damage and increases the likelihood for the possible transfer of wildlife diseases.

BFD.

This is another bad idea to cater to the elk hoarders...
 

Oak

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I'm surprised there is not more discussion about this. From my CO perspective, it seems like MT continues to push towards the CO management style. We have over 1,000 different elk hunt codes (different limited licenses, in addition to OTC licenses) throughout the state. Over 25% of those are Private Land Only, both for cow and either sex.

Generally, when a PLO hunt code is created for a unit, the license quota for that hunt comes out of the existing unit-wide quota. Most, if not all of the cow hunts have extended season dates, many of which run August 15 - January 15. Either sex PLO seasons overlap the 1st and 4th rifle seasons, which are totally limited (no OTC licenses).

Like MT, our elk population objectives are largely determined by social carrying capacity, not biological. That is, objectives are determined by how much tolerance the ranchers and farmers have for the elk. CPW creates PLO hunt codes in order to get licenses in the hands of the people who have access to private lands, essentially giving those who own land or can pay to access land a separate draw pool with better odds.

So the system we have created here allows the landowners to determine population objectives, gives landowners a separate pool of licenses for their paying clients to draw from for the totally limited 1st and 4th seasons, and gives them an additional 2 months after the regular rifle seasons to let friends and family shoot cows. Landowners are controlling the access to not only elk, but elk licenses, because those licenses were taken away from the hunters who only have access to public lands. And as long as landowners keep harvest low enough to keep populations over objective, they will always have special access to hunting licenses.

I don't believe we should be issuing any bull or either sex PLO licenses for population control purposes. That is simply a giveaway to the landowners. If they want the population controlled, they can kill cows.

I'm not sure why MT hunters would want to move towards the CO management system. Have you heard the KISS acronym? Well, CO management is anything but simple.
 

hank4elk

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I'm in one of the few RO LO units in NM,and regardless what NMWF and the entitlement crowd say,the program works here. I'm in the program w/140 acres and a well that waters elk year round and feed too.
Elk are hunted on the deeded acreage of said ranch only. Herds have tripled and they doubled the public draw and reduced the LO tag numbers to accomodate the drawing public.
NR are stuck without cow draw option now,but can use LO tags.
I personally would never allow the general draw public hunter to use my ranch,unless I knew that person or they signed a liabilty/damage waiver. And a couple I know that drew cow tags are going to have written permission to hunt my land too this year. I know them and trust them.

I can feel the heat coming from Randy now,and hope he still comes by for a cuppa this year.....................lol.

The unit wide tag story is different animal and those units are getting tags that are UW and some of the so called ranches are 1-20 acres. And a bunch posted no trespassing and the ranch signed on to be accessable to ALL hunters ,draw & LO tag in exchange for tags .....now that is fishy.IMHO

And the LO tags do not come out of draw pool here in NM as many mistate,NMWF the biggest pushers of dissinformation here....IMHO! They are in addition too and used as a tools to deal with depredation and population control measures.
This info has been relayed to me by NMG&F and particularly the head of E-PLUS in NM.
 
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Pagosa

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I can't believe the difference between the nonresident and resident success rates. Is it because NR have long periods to hunt at one time (an entire week) as compared to residents that are mostly weekend warriors?
I completely agree with Oak, based on the Colorado system only creates a system of privileges for landowners/paying hunters. And like the previous poster explained allowing corner crossing would open up more backcountry/difficult access surrounding private land and probably increase harvest.
We already have 11 weeks of general season I don't think allowing hunting on either end will help things, because people are only going to hunt so hard before they give up. It also seems that six weeks of archery would push a lot of elk into private before the rifle season, like it happens in Colorado. I'm a newcomer to MT so I don't know all the issues you guys have faced over the years.
 

Randy11

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I can't believe the difference between the nonresident and resident success rates. Is it because NR have long periods to hunt at one time (an entire week) as compared to residents that are mostly weekend warriors?

For 75% of Montana elk 'hunters', elk hunting is going out on opening day, driving around for a couple hours, then head to town to start drinking beer by noon.

The nonresident license price has a good way of cutting those guys out of the equation and only leaving guys that really want to try and kill an elk.
 

Pagosa

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Randy - I understand what your saying. I only seen about one hunter during the 5 days I elk hunted last fall. I hunted down by the Big Hole river opening weekend all the parking spaces were full at the cafes/bars along the river by 2 pm on Sunday. If I wanted drink beer that bad I would invest in a good riding horse/mule.
 

Trigger50

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WI has started segregating public and private land tags in response to low deer pops on public land from heavy hunting pressure and high deer pop on private land. They limit the number of public land tags but have lots of private land tags.
 
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RobG

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If I understand this correctly it is only an extension of the regular season, which is a pretty bad option in terms of access for the general public. I'm considering the following comments, some of which won't go over well here. Some of the issues I see with the proposed shoulder hunt are:

1) This simply seems to be an expansion of the regular season, as such that aren't any provisions to solve the problem of harboring animals, privatizing wildlife, and limited opportunity for the general public. Namely, landowners will be able to choose who does the hunting, favoring paying clients and excluding the general public. At least on private land, the only way to be fair is to have a controlled hunt where the participants' names are drawn through a lottery.

Because the only equitable way is a lottery, of the three options (this hunt, lottery-type hunts requiring public access during the general season, or late hunts based on lottery without landowner access requirements) this proposal is the worst for the general public.

People are only supportive of the lottery hunts if the landowner allows access during the main season. Landowners do not seem willing to participate in this level of access and are actively seeking solutions that do not require it. I think we overestimate how much landowners will give up in exchange for cow harvest when a non-binding legislative solution is a likely future option. Stated differently, the access requirement isn't working and if we don't concede some on the access requirement we will be stuck with something worse such as this proposal and SB 245 (which actually incentivized public access).

A compromise may be that late cow harvest is allowed for landowners who do not outfit their land for more than "X" weeks and/or allow access during "X" weeks.

Another reason this is the least desirable option is that it will result in more "firing line" disasters since the elk will be congregated onto public land during the late season. Again, limiting the number of hunters via a lottery system will, at least on public land, help prevent this.

2) We should require an extra license to hunt during this time. This will raise revenue.

3) This must be a cow only hunt. Allowing bull harvest will only encourage continued outfitting and limiting access.

4) This must not interfere with the archery season on public land. It may actually be beneficial to allow early rifle on private land as it will chase the elk off it where they can be harvested by bow hunters.

5) We have to allow MFWP to purchase more winter game range and improve the existing game range. I read that when the original owners put the Sun Ranch up for sale MFWP made it a priority to purchase it. This was blocked by the legislature. The Dome Mountain Ranch is up for sale, what will happen to that land?

6) Similarly grazing has to stop on public winter range. Last year, the grass on the state land north of Rob Ledford was at best an inch high on the state land - leaving only houndstongue.

Feedback is welcome.
 

sbhooper

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How did they come up with the term "shoulder season"? Of all the landowners that complain about elk, I wonder what percentage actually let hunters on to hunt? I can see them complaining if the elk don't show up until after the regular season and if that is the case then there should be a specific hunt period to deal with the problem. It is hard to find a definitive answer.
 

ingomar

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Under the current shoulder season proposal, the shoulder season could allow bull hunting as well as cow hunting. Along with the shoulder seasons, the MT FWP is trying to amend the game damage and management season wording to add a new category of selecting the hunters "or lists of names supplied by landowners". So if you put the two together you could get late season bull hunts with landowners selecting who gets to hunt on their land. Can you spell "Ranching for Wildlife"?

The surprising part is this is being driven by the FWP leadership in Helena!!! They are the ones who came up with this shoulder season proposal going before the Commission and the Amendments to the game damage criteria which they are NOT taking through the Commission.
 
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