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elkduds

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Justin Schaaf takes a longer, more cynical view in his opposition to 454 agreements, especially where the Wilks Brothers are concerned. Schaaf, who is a member of the Elk Management Coalition and active in other hunting organizations, notes that the brothers brought a Texas mentality to Montana when they arrived on the scene a decade ago. Once they learned that a portion of their N Bar Ranch, about 5,000 acres of landlocked public land in what’s called the Durfee Hills, was being accessed by airborne hunters, they tried to trade the land in order to consolidate their private holdings. When that didn’t work, they erected a wildlife-proof fence around the Durfee Hills, effectively blocking the movement of elk from private to public land. That aggressive action left a lot of Montana hunters with a dim view of the Wilks, says Schaaf.

Elk herds often congregate on private land where there is less hunting pressure.
© John HafnerElk herds often congregate on private land where there is less hunting pressure.
“The fact that these newly authorized 454 agreements started with the N Bar and neighboring ranches, considering the tensions that the ranch has created by trying to privatize elk, didn’t strike most hunters as being in the public’s interest,” says Schaaf, who also noted that the ranch’s decision to pick disabled kids to receive the bull tags feels “slimy in a way that’s hard to describe.”

“It basically boils down to ‘kids with cancer can’t hunt on my property unless I get a limited-entry bull tag,’” says Schaaf. “If they were that concerned about giving back to sick kids, then they should do it with no expectation of a payback.”

 
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drifter52

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Joined
May 15, 2022
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102
Andrew did a heck of a job on that. When he asked my thoughts on it a while ago I didn’t realize he was going to use them for a piece. Glad he edited the f-bombs out. 🇺🇸
Awsome article shaaf congrats
 

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