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Mandatory Black Bear Harvest Reporting Change

MTelkHuntress

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Kind of coming fresh off the region 3 zoom meeting, there was the mention of doing away with bringing in a harvested black bear to a FWP official to inspect the bear and collect information. The suggested change is to require the hunter to collect a tooth and call in to report the harvest. I haven't harvested a bear in years but from what I remember, it was pretty easy for me to bring in the bear for data collection but I realize others may have farther to travel to check in their bear. I've talked to some biologists who want to keep the reporting as is since they really like the data they get. I've talked to guides who explain how much of a hassle it is to get their bear checked in before their clients leave.
I wanted to get other people's thoughts about the change since I'm still writing up my comments. While there's definitely a lot of other changes to the regulations, I was just curious since I haven't seen people discuss this change much.
 

jryoung

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(edit.....got it, stupid mobile view) anyone know the bear harvest numbers in MT? I've looked for reports and all SEO comes up with is mandatory reporting, and quotas, not that actual statistics for bears.
 
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Gerald Martin

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(edit.....got it, stupid mobile view) anyone know the bear harvest numbers in MT? I've looked for reports and all SEO comes up with is mandatory reporting, and quotas, not that actual statistics for bears.
I don’t know that those numbers are published. I have never seen them.
I think they just keep track of that internally.
 

Akcabin

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I feel that biologists may get better information about actual bear harvest reports without having to bring the bear in. And folks just don't report. Or don't hunt them because of the paperwork and travel requirements, time. So no permit fee to go for research or biologists.
In AK there isn't roads so kinda not feasible, but still required in places. In remote areas where the moose calf survival rate was at 6% . Even fewer making it to breeding age and genetic diversity in the herd. Because there is so many bears. And folks don't want to try harvesting them if they have rub spots n such.
In some areas they go nocturnal. Bottom line is that folks aren't harvesting them because of too much government. Or they are and not reporting. And the moose are paying the price along with the hunters who would gladly harvest them if they could. Less money for needed research.
My thoughts, keep it simple and you'll get better results
 

MTLabrador

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Bottom line is that folks aren't harvesting them because of too much government.
The extent of government involvement in bear hunting for Montana residents is making sure you have a $20 over the counter tag, making sure you shoot one during the season, and checking your bear. Only three units in the state are on a quota. I really don’t see how it could be easier.
 

FruitSnackFreak

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The extent of government involvement in bear hunting for Montana residents is making sure you have a $20 over the counter tag, making sure you shoot one during the season, and checking your bear. Only three units in the state are on a quota. I really don’t see how it could be easier.

You think that obtrusive come to Idaho where we do the same thing, and even let you buy a second bear tag at a discounted rate (for NR, residents is still $11.)
 

Bozone

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This seems to be driven more by a lack of staffing or interest in gathering good data to make decisions. Was any context provided about the WHY it might go away? It is not rocket surgery to realize that reporting helps to:
  • monitor wildlife populations
  • develop tag quotas for specific districts
  • make changes to seasons and bag limits
  • inform other management policies
Self-reporting won't solve the bear aging component either with tooth sampling unless, again, it is really easy for the hunter to do (mail in pouch, etc.?)
I get it, we are all "really busy", etc. but good grief, we get the privilege to hunt bears in both the Spring and Fall, bow, rifle, etc. I don't have any issue with physically bringing in the bear if it adds to the overall accuracy of the harvest stats.

Again, what was the primary driver for wanting to nuke this requirement?
 

YoungGun

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I wrote against this proposal, as it adds (at least) some level of accountability of not harvesting a sow with cubs that is still lactating. I get that there are some that disregard the law in general, and so this probably doesn't impact them, but still. I also personally enjoy taking each bear in to be checked. You get a chance to learn a little more about that specific bear and hear how other hunters are doing that season as well.
 

bigsky2

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Our local biologist wasn't in favor of the change. She said its not a burden at all on the staff to check bears. She said it seems to be driven from region 1 where they basically have to have someone dedicated to just checking bears in the spring.
 

MTelkHuntress

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I was so busy writing down notes from the meeting that I kind of missed the answer to why the change but I do know someone from FWP said something about staffing issues making it difficult to keep up with checking bears. Taking up too much time I suppose. I'm not sure how true that is though since I'm hearing conflicting reports about that issue.

On another note, talking to another biologist who told me that getting a good tooth sample can be difficult and they worried about all these hunter samples essentially being useless.
 

Akcabin

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Yeah. This ain’t it, Chief.
Hey thanks for the upgrade. But I'm fine being just a guy who thinks the way I do. Sure don't claim to know all the answers to anything. And don't need to be chief.
Also I live in Alaska I guess. Where driving to the local wildlife agency isn't always an option. And many bears are just shot and thrown away because they are causing trouble. Particularly for the many who live more remote. If folks could easily mail a tooth n hair sample to biologists they probably would.
I agree with our biologists getting the best information they can get. And if folks want to personally bring in their bear that's OK too. And trying to make it as easy as possible to report n get samples to our biologists is my priority.
We have areas where special rules had to be put in place to try to get folks to hunt the bears because there was so many. Moose calf survival rates were at 6%.
There are thousands of families that live full time in rural ares and deal with bears regularly. Many bears are killed and left because folks don't want to deal with government.
So just for me, thinking that making it as easy as possible to get information to biologists is trying to make it as simple as possible. And if you can or want to bring your bear it great. But maybe consider if there are other ways besides making more laws.
 

Griztrax

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Helena, MT
From what I have seen and heard through FWP public meetings, a majority of Montana sportsmen and women are against this proposal. Similarly, I have heard from several FWP biologists that the current law is not a burden on them or their time. The Region 4 CAC, of which I am on, has formally voiced opposition to this proposal through a comment letter to FWP (along with our recommendations on other Region 4 and statewide proposals). MTelkHuntress - shoot me a PM or text if you want to discuss it further.

Mark
 

Bozone

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Bozeman
Reasons given for the change is inconvenience to hunters and it takes too much of wardens’ and biologists’ time.

Clearly the solution is “let’s go Brandon.”
I think the solution is "Let's go Gianforte." The collective WTF laws, changes and decision making going on with this current admin and its reach is staggeringly bad.
 

Hunt&FishCO

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Nov 5, 2020
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We have mandatory reporting in Colorado for bears; sort of a hassle but I also didn’t really have a problem doing it. The challenging thing was I had a work trip the following it day and I think you have like 48hrs to report it in or it’s illegal possession. Taxidermist has helpful but said he couldn’t touch it until it had a locking tag on the pelt.

Bottom line is it’s a hassle but I assume it helps biologist do their job better.
 
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