Montana on the Upswing?

BuzzH

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Do you think the difference is because in Wyoming even their wardens are required to have a science based degree? It simply states on the application if you have a law enforcement degree please do not apply. This makes me believe that they actually want to use science for both quality and quantity...just my two cents.
I don't think so, I think its pretty much what onpoint mentioned. Internally, the FWP is just jacked up.

I think the MTFWP leadership is scared shitless of change for a variety of reasons. They're afraid of the Legislature, afraid for their jobs, afraid of landowners, basically afraid of their own shadows.

I think the only way any changes of any significance will happen is to completely gut the MTFWP of all senior level biologists through the director. They're ineffective and simply glide along, don't have the backs of the field level biologists, don't give a crap what the public thinks.

The field level biologists, with the exception of the region 2 guy, are probably still capable of doing biology if given the opportunity.
 

Blacktailbc

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To the OP, is it possible that the perception that Montana is on the upswing is a result of social media and a bias from it?

More people who hunt are on social media every year. It’s growing all the time. This larger sample size results in more big bucks being put out there, those big bucks get more likes than little bucks, and the algorithms push those big buck posts to the top of your feeds.

I’m not disagreeing with you either, but it’s a theory. Every time I open Facebook, I see very large bucks shot in Montana. I follow probably half a dozen Montana centric hunting pages, and I have noticed an uptick as well. Every time I refresh the FB there’s a new pile of photos on my feed for gandering. I think it does a strange thing to the attitudes of weak-minded hunters.

There’s all sorts of other factors that maybe figure in too - the wet summer we had, conditions this fall, etc.
That would not be the reason for me. I have one social media account & I rarely use it. It’s mainly to keep up with old friends. I couldn’t tell you how to “follow” a page.
I was just seeing a few larger bucks show up on this forum & MM, and it seemed (hopefully) like there might be a slight upward trend in the overall quality of the hunting. If there is not, well...that’s fine too.
I’ve only hunted Montana one time, not even eastern Montana. So I don’t have a ton of skin in the game . We took average bucks and had a good time. I shot a whitetail. I would rather shoot an average whitetail then an average mule deer. I have plenty of those. Personal preference. I’m glad the residents are passionate about improving the mule deer herds. Sounds like there are some problems.
 

BuzzH

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Libby meetings attended regarding CWD, now found within Moose in NW MT as well as the rise in CWD deer, is one heck of a blow to wildlife and one monster of a mountain if viewed from afar.

FWP, while molasses in motions to adapt, are heavily impacted by various budget restrictions. This, from conversations with those in R1, is the #1 hindrance that builds further molasses movement.
Those in a position to make some form of adjustments find the restrictions suck them back into the current flow.

Budget + working with the hunter fickle mob mentality = Hunter inflicted Restrictions = FWP morale issues... etc.
Heck, we can not even budget our LEO's 100% and circumvent the P&R federal funding to keep LEO's with a 40 hr pay check. Lease mileage based vehicles for FWP use... Great! This alone results in phone mitigation vs dealing with an issue in person. Too many miles used? Damn - guess I better tell them to shoot the cat next time it's on their property vs... have to keep miles up for the hours I'm permitted to actually enforce FWP laws. It's a train wreck that all focus on the conservation of our wildlife within an agency getting gutted year after year.

Raise Resident fees = not a chance in hell. Hey... Let's then raise it on NR's... The MT fickle mobs will go with that. And this just keeps fwp afloat to face State Congress pillaging / plying their opinions over the commission.

$$$. The evil and God of all things government.
Don't disagree with your LEO example...but SOB, budgets aren't stretched by making game management decisions based on science. You know, things that can actually improve buck to doe ratio's, age classes.

I don't buy the budget being an excuse for essentially no management changes in 60 years...
 

BuzzH

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Interesting media article released today quoting fwp and some brush stroke impressions for the higher success rate this year.

Some real critical thinkers in that article...We just don't know why hunter numbers are down???

Maybe 8% success has something to do with that? People get tired of taking their rifles for a hike. Gee, I wonder if the displaced hunters in region 1 are going East and pounding their 7 mule deer does instead of grinding it out for 8% success on 1.5-2.5 year old whitetail bucks?

Pretty complicated stuff...
 

JLS

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Don't disagree with your LEO example...but SOB, budgets aren't stretched by making game management decisions based on science. You know, things that can actually improve buck to doe ratio's, age classes.

I don't buy the budget being an excuse for essentially no management changes in 60 years...
I don't buy it either. Budgets are certainly an issue. They'll become even more of an issue in the future as non consumptive users put additional strain on resources (re: previous thread on elk disturbance), requiring additional enforcement efforts.

Montana's adaptive management plan for mule deer isn't really all that adaptive. Nor does it take more money to implement one. If people are dead set on five weeks of deer hunting, move the start date up to October 10th so hunters aren't continually pounding deer in the rut. There are very few exceptions where rifle hunting elk in the rut is allowed, yet it's expected as a God given right for mule deer. I don't understand it. What do you think elk hunting would look like if we shot the shit out of elk for five weeks a year during the middle of the rut?
 

Fsmith

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Some real critical thinkers in that article...We just don't know why hunter numbers are down???

Maybe 8% success has something to do with that? People get tired of taking their rifles for a hike. Gee, I wonder if the displaced hunters in region 1 are going East and pounding their 7 mule deer does instead of grinding it out for 8% success on 1.5-2.5 year old whitetail bucks?

Pretty complicated stuff...
Our biologists at work....
 

Fsmith

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I don't buy it either. Budgets are certainly an issue. They'll become even more of an issue in the future as non consumptive users put additional strain on resources (re: previous thread on elk disturbance), requiring additional enforcement efforts.

Montana's adaptive management plan for mule deer isn't really all that adaptive. Nor does it take more money to implement one. If people are dead set on five weeks of deer hunting, move the start date up to October 10th so hunters aren't continually pounding deer in the rut. There are very few exceptions where rifle hunting elk in the rut is allowed, yet it's expected as a God given right for mule deer. I don't understand it. What do you think elk hunting would look like if we shot the shit out of elk for five weeks a year during the middle of the rut?
Shhhh! If you say that too loud they might adopt that management plan.
 

onpoint

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I read this thread with some amusement (poor choice of words for some concern...):


Lotsa' likes.😒
Think about the fact that future wildlife managers, having made it to the commitment of college level, are taking a workshop about the hunt and hunting. When I attended MSU (fish and wildlife mgmt biology) in the 80's, most of my class mates and I missed a lion's share of fall 1/4 classes, as we had grown up hunting and knew the value (and unbridled joy) of being out there long before we ever graced the doors of a higher education campus. Our grades may have suffered, but damn we had fun, and it made us better at what we did. It was personal.......
There has been a marked change in the constitution of the type of individual who has entered the field of wildlife mgmt. Many very intelligent people, book smart as hell, but no real practical outdoor experience before entering the field. Some very intelligent bio's around with little real feel for what they are tasked with managing. Not all fit this description, but enough to matter.
Reference hunting wife's response from the above thread - "....this new era where they have zero understanding and sometimes a negative perception of that tool before they get a job".

To do the job well, it has to be in one's gut. It has to hurt when things get f%$^ed up. It's got to be personal. Personal enough that one in it is willing to stick the neck out. Conformist's make shitty wildlife mgr's.

Anybody thinking this cultural change has little to do with what has happened regarding this very topic is fooling themselves.

But, yea, it's great these future managers of our resources are finally getting an intro (at 20 years old) to what actually pays for what they will be doing...............
 
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brockel

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If Montana started the mule deer season a week earlier and ended it the first full week of November giving 3 weeks for mule deer and continued like normal for whitetail I wonder how that would help the mule deer numbers? Still gives the people their liberal deer season and gives the mule deer a break through the rut. Just spitballing ideas
 

HighWildFree

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If Montana started the mule deer season a week earlier and ended it the first full week of November giving 3 weeks for mule deer and continued like normal for whitetail I wonder how that would help the mule deer numbers? Still gives the people their liberal deer season and gives the mule deer a break through the rut. Just spitballing ideas
I think like others have pointed out, the biggest hurdle now will be CWD. No matter what you propose, FWP will want to know how they can meet their CWD objectives of lower buck ratios and as it stands anything to increase buck numbers goes against the current thinking on how to minimize CWD prevalence.
 

Sytes

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@Ben Lamb or any in the know, what came of this budget request?

FWP is also seeking more than $129,000 to employ a wildlife planner to oversee the development of a new deer and elk management plan for the state, and to continue on to see implementation of the program. The old management plan for elk is outdated, McDonald said, with elk now more numerous and distributed differently on the landscape.
“The state has an obligation to its citizens to adequately manage these” species, said lobbyist Ben Lamb, who was representing the Montana Wildlife Federation in addition to others.
“It is really important for these positions to have permanence, not only for the employees, but also for landowners and the public” to help build trust, he said.
 

cmhunt

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CWD is here and here to stay. I'd love to know how long it's actually been present in Montana. Probably alot longer than FWP would like to admit, but hey sounds like a good way to waste millions of dollars studying and trying to eliminate something other states have dealt with for years. God forbid we bring up the millions of dollars FWP wasted on the mussel crisis when none were actually found and now it's no more check stations and back to normal at canyon ferry and tiber. Montana FWP is the laughing stock of the west and always will be.
 

SAJ-99

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This has turned into a pure bitch session with blame on FWP and hunters from Washington, and all with a hint of “everyone else is doing it so I have to too”. You can always spend $15 on the permit and eat the tag soup before the season starts in the name of age class improvement.
 

JLS

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CWD is here and here to stay. I'd love to know how long it's actually been present in Montana. Probably alot longer than FWP would like to admit, but hey sounds like a good way to waste millions of dollars studying and trying to eliminate something other states have dealt with for years. God forbid we bring up the millions of dollars FWP wasted on the mussel crisis when none were actually found and now it's no more check stations and back to normal at canyon ferry and tiber. Montana FWP is the laughing stock of the west and always will be.
FWP certainly has its issues. Aquatic invasives is not one of them. It’s something every state should be thinking about.
 

Bambistew

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MT deer tags are $16. Think about this. The argument for hunting Africa, is give the animals a value, and you will save them...

Take a swing by the local transfer station during hunting season, you'll see many half wasted carcasses in the dumpster. MT hunters do not value their game. The value is on how many tags they can punch... or how much they can give away to the needy. Kill just to kill... and dont tell me what I can do with my meat. YMMV.
 

BuzzH

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This has turned into a pure bitch session with blame on FWP and hunters from Washington, and all with a hint of “everyone else is doing it so I have to too”. You can always spend $15 on the permit and eat the tag soup before the season starts in the name of age class improvement.
Hunters, whether from Washington or not, aren't the people responsible for wildlife management...they aren't to blame for what the MTFWP authorizes.

Lets not blame the supposed "professionals" being paid to manage the resource...its the hunters fault for not lighting their tags on fire.

Unbelievable.
 
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