Montana Deer Management- If I were King for a day.

As a Montana deer hunter-

  • I would rather keep our current season structure over this proposal.

  • I would support replacing our current season structure with this proposal.


Results are only viewable after voting.
I disagree there, and maybe that's just some rose colored glasses. I think it is absolutely doable, but it will take a plan (like the one you have laid out) to garner support. Multiple ways to go about this, could be grassroots based movement to take this plan around and garner support. Could be advocating to the FWP to put a working group together (like we've done in ND) to work through that plan and then present it to the public for feedback/support/etc.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the time is now. Like schaaf said, they wouldn't have the meeting they had last night if they weren't hearing complaints. Now would be the time to force the issue and make the FWP assemble a citizens working group to start fleshing the details out. If it's anything like ND, those joint working group meetings will answer some questions and raise some more questions, and the process may take another season or two. But the best time to start, is now.

That's my opinion, worth what you paid for it.
Like everything else these days, we just need to get the social media influencers on our side and promoting this plan and the public will come around to these ideas, but this plan is not in the influencer’s best interest because it limits their opportunity for content for their pages and they only care about using the public’s resources for self-gain (mostly a satirical comment, but a positive social media push with these ideas would benefit the cause, although it would see a lot of pushback without big name support)
 
Like everything else these days, we just need to get the social media influencers on our side and promoting this plan and the public will come around to these ideas, but this plan is not in the influencer’s best interest because it limits their opportunity for content for their pages and they only care about using the public’s resources for self-gain (mostly a satirical comment, but a positive social media push with these ideas would benefit the cause, although it would see a lot of pushback without big name support)
Oh, it will get a lot of push back if it has my name attached to it. Last winter, when I floated ideas for the season setting meetings, proved again that folks sure like to bitch and not provide any solutions. And it is now common sport to blame everything on someone who has a media platform. I get it. Comes with the turf I operate in.

And honestly, I don't GAF about any push back. I get it every day, mostly from folks who don't do shit or folks who were still in grade school when I started spending weeks in legislative sessions, attending meetings, and volunteering for conservation efforts. My GAF meter is completely broke when it comes from the chronic whiners who don't show up to meetings, don't do anything to contribute, and only concern themselves with what's in it for them. Fortunately, like most of life, those types aren't inclined to show up when it really counts.

I can't speak for others with media platforms, but I've been pushing this stuff for years. I was pushing it before I had these platforms. I let Hunt Talk, a social media platform I own, to be used for pushing these kind of changes. I lend my podcast to the effort. We produce a lot of videos on the topics.

I will agree with the premise I think you make - that a lot of media platforms are too chickenshit to stick their neck out. That is just a fact. For most who have business models or mortgage payments or worry about investor returns, they probably think I'm off my rock. Fine. I would just caution folks to not expect much from other media platforms. The old "I don't let my business get involved in politics" is the standard cop out answer. Yeah, it's a cop out when it comes to taking the risks that will make a difference for the average folks who are supporters of those media platforms.

I normally am not inclined to speak that strongly on such, but I'm tired of the bullshit excuses that come from a lot of media platforms that could each make a big difference in the outcome of these issues, but they choose not to get involved. We're at a cross roads with a lot of this stuff, possibly beyond points of no return. If some of the media platforms don't get a spine to start speaking up, Montana, and other places for that matter, will be a fraction of what it could be and most of what is worth a damn will be on private land. But, at least their businesses won't have been involved in politics. GMAFB.

Sorry, been a long week fighting a virus and being stuck indoors, mostly on the couch. I better go see Mrs. Fin before I get further off the rails.
 
Oh, it will get a lot of push back if it has my name attached to it. Last winter, when I floated ideas for the season setting meetings, proved again that folks sure like to bitch and not provide any solutions. And it is now common sport to blame everything on someone who has a media platform. I get it. Comes with the turf I operate in.

And honestly, I don't GAF about any push back. I get it every day, mostly from folks who don't do shit or folks who were still in grade school when I started spending weeks in legislative sessions, attending meetings, and volunteering for conservation efforts. My GAF meter is completely broke when it comes from the chronic whiners who don't show up to meetings, don't do anything to contribute, and only concern themselves with what's in it for them. Fortunately, like most of life, those types aren't include to show up when it really counts.

I can't speak for others with media platforms, but I've been pushing this stuff for years. I was pushing it before I had these platforms. I let Hunt Talk, a social media platform I own, to be used for pushing these kind of changes. I lend my podcast to the effort. We produce a lot of videos on the topics.

I will agree with the premise I think you make - that a lot of media platforms are too chickenshit to stick their neck out. That is just a fact. For most who have business models or mortgage payments or worry about investor returns, they probably think I'm off my rock. Fine. I would just caution folks to not expect much from other media platforms. The old "I don't let my business get involved in politics" is the standard cop out answer. Yeah, it's a cop out when it comes to taking the risks that will make a difference for the average folks who are supporters of those media platforms.

I normally am not inclined to speak that strongly on such, but I'm tired of the bullshit excuses that come from a lot of media platforms that could each make a big difference in the outcome of these issues, but they choose not to get involved. We're at a cross roads with a lot of this stuff, possibly beyond points of no return. If some of the media platforms don't get a spine to start speaking up, Montana, and other places for that matter, will be a fraction of what it could be and most of what is worth a damn will be on private land. But, at least their businesses won't have been involved in politics. GMAFB.

Sorry, been a long week fighting a virus and being stuck indoors, mostly on the couch. I better go see Mrs. Fin before I get further off the rails.
Thanks for all that you do @Big Fin, I didn’t realize how heavily involved you were in these things until I joined your platform. I bet it is difficult to not get burned out fighting the good fight after all these years, but hopefully it will make a difference for future generations of hunters.

After reading the things I’ve read on here and finding this community that seems to care, I’m going to get more involved in trying to help make a change, even if it is a losing battle. I used to think that my views of the mismanagement in Montana were a far outlier, but seeing that others feel the same has me wanting to help push to make a change, or at least part of the discussion.

Kick that virus in the plums.
 
Randy11, I like most of what you have proposed, You clearly put a lot of thought and effort into this.
I have to agree with greenhorn, keep it simple, No hunting mule deer in Nov and stop killing does on public. I would be more than happy if we got the second half those two done.
Also happy to see you are back and contributing to HT.
 
This last season I've been able to hunt with and discuss Montana's deer management with a bunch of different hunters, many from this site. probably 90% of the hunters I’ve spoken to have agreed something needs changed with our deer season structure, and the course we’re on with our current seasons isn’t sustainable. Using everyone’s input, I've been juggling this season structure in my head for a while, and needed to get it put out there somewhere.

First off, every unit in the state will be given a limited or general designation for both whitetail and mule deer. I think a lot of work went in to these unit designations with the last season setting process, so to start with they will hold general or limited entry designation from 2022 regulations.

Examples-

HD 455 is limited entry for both whitetail and mule deer. It would receive limited entry designation for both species.

HD 270 is limited entry for mule deer, general for whitetail. It would receive limited entry designation for mule deer, and general designation for whitetail.

HD 704 is general for whitetail and mule deer. It would receive general designation for both species.



Under my proposal, there will be five antlered deer seasons. The catch is, that each hunter must choose ONE season per year. If they choose to apply for a limited entry hunt, they will forego being able to participate in an antlered general season for that year. Same applies if they buy a general season tag, they will not be allowed to apply for a limited entry tag in the same year. Bonus point system will stay in place, and you will not lose points by participating in a general season.

Limited entry deadline will remain March 15. If you apply for a limited entry hunt before that deadline, you lose your rights to a general tag. If you miss that deadline, you will be able to buy one of the three general season tags at any point of that year.




GENERAL SEASON OPTIONS-

General deer archery- September 1-20

Statewide. Tag is good in any unit with “General” designation for either species buck.



General Mule deer rifle- October 15-31

Region Specific, Hunter must designate which region they hunt at time of tag purchase. Hunter can hunt any general unit within that region for mule deer bucks during season dates.



General whitetail- November 1-30

Region Specific, Hunter must designate which region they hunt at time of purchase. Hunter can hunt any general unit within that region for whitetail bucks during season dates.



LIMITED ENTRY OPTIONS-

Unit-Specific Limited Entry


Archery- September 1-20

Rifle- November 1-30

The idea of this hunt would be to protect our current limited entry units like 270, 300, etc. Other than season dates shifting slightly, management within these units will remain largely the same as in the past.


Limited Entry Mule Deer- Regional

November 1-30

Every General deer unit will fall into the category of one of these region wide tags. This will be a limited entry tag, where if you draw you can hunt any general unit within the applied region for the month of November with a rifle for mule deer. Tag numbers will be very low and based off historical mule deer harvest within that region. ~2.5% of traditional harvest.

Examples-

Region 7 has a recent average of roughly 10,000 mule deer bucks harvested. 2.5% of that would equal 250 of these permits in Region 7.

Region 1 has a recent average of roughly 900 mule deer bucks harvested. 2.5% of that would equal 22 of these permits in Region 1.



ANTLERLESS

September 20-30

All antlerless deer harvest will take place in this short September season. All antlerless permits will be independent of antlered permits, and will be for a specific HD only, no region wide antlerless permits. Permit numbers will be decided by regional bios, with an encouragement to designate these permits for private land only. There needs to be an understanding on these tags that we’re currently taking too many mule deer does off the public land, and this course needs changed.



Conclusion:

I've put a lot of thought in to this structure, trying to come up with a compromise of providing opportunity while still making a meaningful enough change to give our deer hunting a chance to be great again. This proposal will mostly take general mule deer hunting out of the rut, although I have many times watched mule deer bucks chasing does the last few days of October.

If you're a meat hunter you can still buy a buck tag every year for either species.

If you value hunting over Thanksgiving break higher than anything else, you can still buy a general whitetail tag.

If you value quality in experience over hunting every year, you can still apply for a limited entry tag. Drawing odds on those tags should also increase dramatically by making hunters choose between general and limited entry each year.

So that's my proposal. I know FWP would never even consider a structure like this, but it's worth the discussion I think. Shoot holes in the plan, tell me why it won't work, etc.
This makes the most sense to me. The only thing I’d add, and this is a very unpopular opinion, but if you’re a non res and want a general tag, either OTC with caps or a random draw unless it’s an early archery season. No first come first serve like CO leftover draw or Idaho OTC!

From a non resident.
 
Which does help them does it? I thought I read that somewhere, that they really can't process hay, enough to not starve to death.
Depends what it is they're eating, how much, and what species. I don't know a ton about it, but I know for a fact that certain grains/corn, 2.5 quarts can be lethal to a fawn. It's called "Grain-Overloading". I don't think hay is a concern.

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Which does help them does it? I thought I read that somewhere, that they really can't process hay, enough to not starve to death.
I think that depends on the hay. Grass hay, Absolutely going to starve. Good second or third cutting alfalfa, much better feed. Also you would need to look at how the hay was sampled in those studies. A standard hay sample includes the alfalfa stems and any weeds or grass in the hay. When deer eat hay they pick through the hay and only eat the alfalfa leaves. Eating just the leaves is going to give the deer a diet that has a higher feed value than a standard hay sample that is designed for feeding ground hay to cattle.
 
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If you switch deer on native forage to alfalfa hay quickly you are going to kill them. In reality most deer eating in hay stacks have been nibbling on alfalfa all fall. Their guts have had plenty of time to adjust. This does show why emergency feeding of wild deer does not work.
 
Which does help them does it? I thought I read that somewhere, that they really can't process hay, enough to not starve to death.

Mostly grass in this hay. Not a lot of alfalfa in it so doesn’t do them a lot of good. Alfalfa turns my wife’s rocket donkeys into even bigger idiots than they normally are on days like today.
 
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