Montana FWP makes seismic shift in elk permits

Unlucky

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U would think landowners with too many elk on there property would just allow public hunting. Why would they need a bill to do so. I wonder if this is how wilks got there bull tags to control the objective number. Didnt c it go to public comment. Wierd like they think to harvest trophy bulls is how u control population.
 

Gerald Martin

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I don’t dance.
I don’t like the thought of landowner tags, but it may be the only incentive to open up private land to get elk to objective.
Come up with a better incentive plan to a landowner.
Eric, I am not sure where you were going with your first comment above about “this is the attitude that has kept MT” but in regards to keeping elk to objective, the landowners had the biggest say in determining those objectives numbers. Let them figure out how to get numbers to objective.
How in the world is FWP going to keep elk numbers to the 200-300 objective in unit 700? Landowners want low objectives and then don’t allow access.

Either raise the objective numbers to the biological carrying capacity or allow access.

Landowners opposed to higher elk numbers created this mess legally by setting low objectives and the legislature compounded it by requiring FWP to manage for those numbers.

Why should we reward the ones who caused the problem with tags they can sell for a profit?
 

Unlucky

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Eric albus my thought on u and moga bringing a wy bio for mule deer in mt is this. There is a man named, will call him james cox kennedy and a few others that own ranches in central mt. What i hear is they managing for mule deer. Dont be so dumb. My friends are right about u.
 

SAJ-99

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Why should we reward the ones who caused the problem with tags they can sell for a profit?
Sort of depends on what you are defining as the “problem”. I would argue that hunters want more elk, not less. The only way to make that palatable to landowners is to compensate them somehow. Landowner tags are one way. Not sure if they are the best way, but I think it should be on the table to discuss. Determining which ones are causing the problem is tough to design any rule around.
 

bigsky2

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I can agree with that, But the consequences may be more than many hunters are willing to accept. Take for example my home district of 704. If we are to cut the number of licenses to the point were hunting pressure on the Custer is biologically sustainable, draw odds are not going to be very good. The Custer will receive the apprporate amount of pressure and the private land in the 704 will receive very little. I would love this, but I don't think that this is sustainable politically . Many landowners would be looking for some way to guarantee the odds for there "friends" and many public land hunters will find the draw odds unacceptable. There is going to have to be some way to distribute hunters throughout the unit to improve the draw odds.
As an agricultural landowner, tell me what your opinion is on this idea. Currently in units like 621 in the Breaks, they offer permits that are valid for the entire district, and permits that are only valid off the CMR. We could use this same model in units that are primarily private land like the former 900 districts (which average 75% private). Offer some permits that are valid for the entire district (both public and private) and offer some that are only valid on private land (Not landowner or transferrable tags, they would have to be drawn the same as every other permit). This would help to put more hunting pressure on private land, where most of the elk are. This could help displace elk to public land. It would also lessen pressure on public land so public hunters would have a better hunting experience. The reduced pressure on public could make public land more desirable to elk. People who have access to private would likely apply for the private land only permit because they would have better odds to draw. The percentages of each permit type could be adjusted based on amount of private and public, and also by how far over objective the elk population is. In the current system when elk are over objective, we just throw more permits at the problem and it results in the public being more crowded and often less elk being killed. Our local biologist pointed out that when rifle permits were increased in 417, the hunter success actually went down. I think a structure like this could result in more elk being harvested while making a more quality hunt for everyone.
 

406LIFE

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Sort of depends on what you are defining as the “problem”. I would argue that hunters want more elk, not less. The only way to make that palatable to landowners is to compensate them somehow. Landowner tags are one way. Not sure if they are the best way, but I think it should be on the table to discuss. Determining which ones are causing the problem is tough to design any rule around.
Your summary really hit on the heart of managing elk in MT:
1. Reassessing objectives to include migratrations, habitat quality, and social tolerance.
2. Incentivize landowners for providing quality habitat and tolerance.
3. Cordial and collaborative conversations between stakeholders.
 

Gerald Martin

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Sort of depends on what you are defining as the “problem”. I would argue that hunters want more elk, not less. The only way to make that palatable to landowners is to compensate them somehow. Landowner tags are one way. Not sure if they are the best way, but I think it should be on the table to discuss. Determining which ones are causing the problem is tough to design any rule around.
Sure, hunters want more elk not less. Landowners want less elk.

Under the current elk management plan the “objectives” were set without consideration to hunters’ wishes. Landowners controlled that conversation and got their numbers based on their social tolerance for elk.
Now, landowners’ access allowances are the biggest barrier to meeting “objective”.

Let them figure out a good strategy with FWP to meet their numbers.

Rewarding those landowners with tags to increase tolerance ensures the current situation doesn’t change.
 

brocksw

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I'm confused. I get the feeling that sometimes the sentiment around MT elk objectives seem accepted (like in this thread) and in other threads the agreed upon action by most in the discussion is that population counts and objectives need serious revamping and updating and are a major problem.

Then we go back in these threads about making decisions based on current pop counts and objectives.

It seems to me if objectives/counts need fixing to inform decision making then everything else is irrelevant until that's done.

Am I missing something?
 
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SAJ-99

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I'm confused. I get the feeling that sometimes the sentiment around MT elk objectives seem accepted (like in this thread) and in other threads the agreed upon action by most in the discussion is that population counts and objectives need serious revamping and updating and are a major problem.

Then we go back in these threads about making decisions based on current pop counts and objectives.

It seems to me if objectives/counts need fixing to inform decision making then everything else is irrelevant until that's done.

Am I missing something?
Agree. The first step should be a new EMP. I don't know if the objectives would change much though. I get the sense they were pulled out of nowhere to begin with, so I expect the same with a new one.

Solutions tend to fall into two categories
1) private LOs should give hunters access and we will get to objective.
2) We need to cut the number of hunters so the elk move back to public ground.
 

Gerald Martin

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I'm confused. I get the feeling that sometimes the sentiment around MT elk objectives seem accepted (like in this thread) and in other threads the agreed upon action by most in the discussion is that population counts and objectives need serious revamping and updating and are a major problem.

Then we go back in these threads about making decisions based on current pop counts and objectives.

It seems to me if objectives/counts need fixing to inform decision making then everything else is irrelevant until that's done.

Am I missing something?
You are correct in your assessment. But at this point changing the objectives is not on the table for discussion.
Having more reasonable objective numbers would help with eliminating the “need” for
overly liberal harvest strategies that harm the resource yet seek to meet the legal obligations FWP has to comply with the legislative mandate given to them to “manage for objective.”

This whole debate is a human problem not a wildlife problem.
 

brocksw

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Lots of focus on that aspect. mtmuley
Well they're driving the conversation to some degree (i.e. asking for transferable bull tags, asking for a system that favors them getting more bull tags, proposing ways to get more bull tags and using populations as the basis for that ask when cows controls populations, set asides, etc). It really seems to me like hunters are in more of a reactionary position.
 

Gerald Martin

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Lots of focus on that aspect. mtmuley
For sure. In the scope of this discussion the policies of some private landowners are the biggest factor in driving the elk management controversy.

But private land ownership isn’t really a determining factor in whether an individual is part of the “problem” or the “solution”.

I am a private landowner. Yet I have a completely different perspective of what constitutes equitable access to public trust resources than the Wilkes for example.

Human selfishness is the root of the real problem.

Without consideration for the effects that my preferences would have on other shareholders, even my preferred management strategies could be selfish and part of the problem.

On the current topic of the controversy @ elk management specifically in central and eastern MT the preferences of private landowners are harmful to the resource and other shareholders’ interests.

We generally don’t see as much negativity in attitude towards elk on the western half of the state except for a few individuals in the ag community. A quick look at objectives in the west/ sw part of the state supports the fact that there are habitat differences but also significantly different attitudes towards elk and wildlife in general.

Personally, I attribute that private landowners tolerance for elk is as much a reflection of whether they view wildlife as an asset or a competitive liability as it is an actual accounting for how much wildlife costs them financially.
 

mtmuley

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We generally don’t see as much negativity in attitude towards elk on the western half of the state except for a few individuals in the ag community. A quick look at objectives in the west/ sw part of the state supports the fact that there are habitat differences but also significantly different attitudes towards elk and wildlife in general.
I agree with most of what you said Gerald. Especially this. But I also think some believe that large private landowners are a big part if the "problem". Then the important parts of the issue tend to be minimized in their mind because if that. mtmuley
 

shoots-straight

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You are correct in your assessment. But at this point changing the objectives is not on the table for discussion.
Having more reasonable objective numbers would help with eliminating the “need” for
overly liberal harvest strategies that harm the resource yet seek to meet the legal obligations FWP has to comply with the legislative mandate given to them to “manage for objective.”

This whole debate is a human problem not a wildlife problem.
This is poking at the Big Elephant in the room that nobody wishes to wake.

With our current political leadership in place, does anyone think our Elk Objectives will be better for sportsmen, or rigged more towards the privatizers wanting control of our resources?
 

Gerald Martin

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Until landowners view wildlife as adding value to their property beyond $$$ the conflict is going to continue.

Some would say transferable LO tags are a great tool for increased tolerance. Maybe so. Maybe not. I would argue that the attitudes of those asking for increased LO tags are a good indicator they would happily prioritize their access to public trust resources without concern for other shareholders. My conclusion is don’t reward bad behavior.
Some will probably point out that private landowners bear a financial burden in feeding public wildlife. That is true. But those same landowners have the unique opportunity to monetize access to their land in a way that the public cannot.

Also the presence of public trust resources on their property increases the value of that property when it comes time for selling even if a landowner doesn’t realize that value when an elk is eating his grass.

There are plenty of cooperative solutions to bring willing landowners and other shareholders together to help with the costs of public trust resources on private land.
 

Gerald Martin

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I agree with most of what you said Gerald. Especially this. But I also think some believe that large private landowners are a big part if the "problem". Then the important parts of the issue tend to be minimized in their mind because if that. mtmuley
It’s easy to view landowners as a monolithic block and make them objects to be demonized because of the actions of a few.

Personally, I am very appreciative of landowners who conserve large blocks of wildlife habitat and bear the cost of wildlife on their property even if I will never hunt there. The fact that they are helping the public trust resource is more valuable to me than having the ability to access that resource on their property.

I have the potential to access the resource when it moves from their property to land I can access so it’s a win in my book. Way better than if it were developed into housing. Since I am a builder development of those lands would be something I could capitalize on financially, but at what cost? Sometimes the cost of being financially successful is the destruction of the very things that enrich us in other ways.

Ted Turner’s properties and the Sun Ranch are some prime examples of large landowners that I have very favorable opinions of even though I know I will never be allowed to kill a bull elk on their property.

Watching large herds of elk winter on their properties and knowing that at some portion of the hunting season some of those elk are miles away on public land and accessible to me makes them an ally in resource management not an enemy, IMO. I don’t see them showing up at the Legislature and trying to get bills passed that give them more opportunity than other shareholders.


Watching how other landowners in other areas restrict access, lobby for management strategies that ensure even more elk seek sanctuary on their property, and then ask for extra priority in tag allocation puts those landowners on my “ enemy not ally” list.
 

mtmuley

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Watching how other landowners in other areas restrict access, lobby for management strategies that ensure even more elk seek sanctuary on their property, and then ask for extra priority in tag allocation puts those landowners on my “ enemy not ally” list.
Part of the human problem. mtmuley
 

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