Montana on the Upswing?

timmy

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Jan 29, 2016
Messages
271
That idea didn’t work how about we make it bow only in November! That will certainly make everyone happy. 😉 Nothing is going to change most the people on this post agree we need to change something but nobody is going to agree on what. Furthermore the general public and fish and game aren’t receptive to change and then there is cwd. Deer hunting on public is going to suck for the foreseeable future.
 

brockel

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May 13, 2016
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1,354
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Baker,MT
That idea didn’t work how about we make it bow only in November! That will certainly make everyone happy. 😉 Nothing is going to change most the people on this post agree we need to change something but nobody is going to agree on what. Furthermore the general public and fish and game aren’t receptive to change and then there is cwd. Deer hunting on public is going to suck for the foreseeable future.
I agree there will be no change that happens. I just enjoy debating
 

SAJ-99

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736
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Montana
My post was supposed to be cynical. I am dumber for following the last 10 pages of this thing. It started off with a legit question and turned into a demonstration of the general lack of understanding of the complexity of the situation. We all know that Montana is an opportunity state, and that isn't going to change, and that the legislators are in the pockets of landowners and outfitters (which means it is about the $$$). We also know that mule deer pops have declined in many areas, and many other states, for reasons not fully understood by biologists. Those are the facts. People creating their own narratives that FWP is to blame and the individuals in the organization are simply after the $$$ (a ridiculous concept at its core), lacks intellectual objectivity. I do admit that politics plays a huge part of any and every problem in this state (and all others) and that "crazy" is in ample supply in Helena, but let's now blame all FWP employees for you not shooting a 180in mule deer. I'm sure that if FWP was given freedom on changing the rules, the rules would be different, but people would still be unhappy.
And I ate my tags this year, but I don't chastise anyone who chose not to on an average buck because they could.
 

SAJ-99

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Montana
I'm sure you're wrong.
Wouldn't be the first time. You might be correct if in my hypothetical the decision making structure didn't change (top-down) , but if it was more democratic it would. The number of things FWP is balancing is incredible. The group is already understaffed and the complaints come from every stakeholder. Most here say we shoot too many, landowner/ranchers say we shoot too few. $$$ wins that battle because legislators drive the decision rather than the scientists. Hunters need to find a way to consolidate $$$ and eliminate fragmentation. But that would require groups to agree on prioritization of the problems. I really think hunters/anglers/etc have the greatest collective power but fail to make a commensurate amount of progress in effectuating change because of this fragmentation.

The latest stats show MT had 227k total license holders. Non-residents accounted for 70% of the $39m in total revenue. This is pretty standard and hy MT has to maintain itself as an opportunity state. In 1989 (randomly selected), the state had 256k license holders and NR accounted for 76% of the rev. Numbers shift a little but tend to stay in that range. I agree resident fees should go up, but that causes quite a kerfuffle every time some floats the idea. I would also guess that the quality of opportunity has decreased. Landowners are less likely to let you hunt if you knock on the door, for various reasons. There are a lot of moving pieces for FWP. Criticism is easy when we are sitting at the keyboard.
 

MT_elk

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Totally agree with BuckRut. There are a few areas where the population seems to be increasing, but the quality is still not there.
 

BuzzH

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Laramie, WY
Wouldn't be the first time. You might be correct if in my hypothetical the decision making structure didn't change (top-down) , but if it was more democratic it would. The number of things FWP is balancing is incredible. The group is already understaffed and the complaints come from every stakeholder. Most here say we shoot too many, landowner/ranchers say we shoot too few. $$$ wins that battle because legislators drive the decision rather than the scientists. Hunters need to find a way to consolidate $$$ and eliminate fragmentation. But that would require groups to agree on prioritization of the problems. I really think hunters/anglers/etc have the greatest collective power but fail to make a commensurate amount of progress in effectuating change because of this fragmentation.

The latest stats show MT had 227k total license holders. Non-residents accounted for 70% of the $39m in total revenue. This is pretty standard and hy MT has to maintain itself as an opportunity state. In 1989 (randomly selected), the state had 256k license holders and NR accounted for 76% of the rev. Numbers shift a little but tend to stay in that range. I agree resident fees should go up, but that causes quite a kerfuffle every time some floats the idea. I would also guess that the quality of opportunity has decreased. Landowners are less likely to let you hunt if you knock on the door, for various reasons. There are a lot of moving pieces for FWP. Criticism is easy when we are sitting at the keyboard.
I used to defend the department too...right up until the time I starting to think about the changes they make and those they are resistant to and why.

Some things they changed without even batting an eye:

1. Allow youth to kill cow elk and doe deer in a vast majority of units all season long.
2. Lengthen the general season by opening on Saturday VS. the traditional Sunday opener
3. Issue scads of doe tags, including OTC whitetail B-tags good for region 2 (one archery, one general, and one through the draw).
4. Reduce lion quotas by 85-90% in most of regions 1 and 2.
5. Allow a handful of mule deer doe tags in region 7.
6. Allow for elk b-tags, even though nearly all the comments received were in opposition.
7. Allow elk shoulder seasons and didn't even follow what they agree to...again, most hunters opposed them.
8. Allow 10 year olds to hunt deer without even taking hunters safety (I think this was legislatively done).

Some of the things they don't change.

1. They fly the Bob Marshall and see 202 elk, low single digit bull to cow ratio's...no change.
2. Fly unit 202 in Montana...see 8 elk, no change from current season.
3. Mule deer in the absolute shit in Western Montana...no change from current season.
4. Flying the same routes during classifications and counts because we have to be consistent...never mind that land patterns change, elk use changes.
5. They didn't have lengthen upland bird season by a month.

How in the hell do you expect any hunter that thinks about things for 2 seconds to defend the actions, and inactions of the FWP? The way you talk, they just simply don't have the ability to manage seasons, practice biology, etc. THEY DO, and they CHOOSE to not change anything and use every lame excuse under the sun to defend it.

Then I think of what hunting was like when I was 12, is it better or worse?...with the exception of turkeys, lions, and wolves its worse across the board.

I don't think I could shoot a limit of grouse in a week where I used to limit out shooting them with a .22 offhand when I was 12. The first years I applied for goats in the 'root 75 tags, good for the entire west side, 1 goat tag now. The FWP defied the science and goat management that has been available the whole time and shot the snot out of them. Less moose permits, less sheep permits.

I'm having an impossible time defending a department that has made thing drastically worse in my lifetime...and the only changes they want to make is if it increases killing animals and increasing opportunity. They are NOT powerless to make changes, changes that should have been made decades ago. Their inaction and complete lack of changing anything is 100% why we're here.
 

Ben Lamb

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Aug 6, 2010
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11,936
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Helena
@Ben Lamb or any in the know, what came of this budget request?


We got the position in the budget. Not sure if FWP has hired anyone yet, but they will be moving forward with planning in 2020, at least that's my understanding. It's going to be incredibly important for Montana resident hunters to get involved in this, and stay involved. Montana Wildlife Federation is gearing up to put significant time and energy into deer & elk. They're the only group I know of who will have staff working on this issue in a significant fashion. Haven't heard from other groups yet, but assume that RMEF chapter leaders & MDF folks will be heavily involved as well. The Bowhunter groups are gearing up too. I've seen some good stuff from forum members (Looking at you, @shoots-straight), too about this.

I do know that there are rumblings among some legislators and special interests that if some of the races go one way or another, we're going to see more attacks on Breaks permits, attempts to bring in ranching for wildlife, legislatively mandating shoulder seasons, provide more landower preference, etc. While that's primarily focused on elk, deer are going to be in the CWD/landowner tolerance crosshair as well.
 

EYJONAS!

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Joined
Mar 17, 2017
Messages
2,010
I used to defend the department too...right up until the time I starting to think about the changes they make and those they are resistant to and why.

Some things they changed without even batting an eye:

1. Allow youth to kill cow elk and doe deer in a vast majority of units all season long.
2. Lengthen the general season by opening on Saturday VS. the traditional Sunday opener
3. Issue scads of doe tags, including OTC whitetail B-tags good for region 2 (one archery, one general, and one through the draw).
4. Reduce lion quotas by 85-90% in most of regions 1 and 2.
5. Allow a handful of mule deer doe tags in region 7.
6. Allow for elk b-tags, even though nearly all the comments received were in opposition.
7. Allow elk shoulder seasons and didn't even follow what they agree to...again, most hunters opposed them.
8. Allow 10 year olds to hunt deer without even taking hunters safety (I think this was legislatively done).

Some of the things they don't change.

1. They fly the Bob Marshall and see 202 elk, low single digit bull to cow ratio's...no change.
2. Fly unit 202 in Montana...see 8 elk, no change from current season.
3. Mule deer in the absolute shit in Western Montana...no change from current season.
4. Flying the same routes during classifications and counts because we have to be consistent...never mind that land patterns change, elk use changes.
5. They didn't have lengthen upland bird season by a month.

How in the hell do you expect any hunter that thinks about things for 2 seconds to defend the actions, and inactions of the FWP? The way you talk, they just simply don't have the ability to manage seasons, practice biology, etc. THEY DO, and they CHOOSE to not change anything and use every lame excuse under the sun to defend it.

Then I think of what hunting was like when I was 12, is it better or worse?...with the exception of turkeys, lions, and wolves its worse across the board.

I don't think I could shoot a limit of grouse in a week where I used to limit out shooting them with a .22 offhand when I was 12. The first years I applied for goats in the 'root 75 tags, good for the entire west side, 1 goat tag now. The FWP defied the science and goat management that has been available the whole time and shot the snot out of them. Less moose permits, less sheep permits.

I'm having an impossible time defending a department that has made thing drastically worse in my lifetime...and the only changes they want to make is if it increases killing animals and increasing opportunity. They are NOT powerless to make changes, changes that should have been made decades ago. Their inaction and complete lack of changing anything is 100% why we're here.
download (1).jpeg
 

bushman13

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Jun 11, 2018
Messages
717
The decline in hunter numbers does seem to be widespread. I will offer a counter point to argue it's not all doom and gloom however. In Georgia the total number of resident hunters is actually considerably up, but the total number of hunters is trending down because of non-resident license slumps.

The state Department of Natural Resources reports that last year it licensed nearly 400,000 hunters (2015). Six years earlier, in 2009, it had issued slightly more than 273,000 permits. That’s a jump of roughly one-third. And it includes a growing number of women: about 28,000 licenses were issued to female hunters last year.


The deer hunting in Georgia has always been monetized. The herd is 1.5 million and the seasons are 3-4 months long. Bag limits are extremely liberal. I think the lesson other states could learn is: Don't let Agg set your thresholds. People will hunt during times of abundance and the resource is sustainable.



I agree with this. Hunting back East has taken on whole flavor. Own land, grow deer ect ect ... guys don’t blink in their enclosed muddy tree house blinds because they are scared they will push “their” deer to some neighbor that they don’t even know. I think most of our problems on multiple fronts seems from how we have monetized hunting and wildlife.
 
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SAJ-99

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Jan 5, 2019
Messages
736
Location
Montana
Buzz,
All good points. I don't think we disagree that some things you listed that don't make sense (with the exception of the transectional flights to count elk which is necessary for statistical accuracy). What we disagree on is your use of the term 'They' and lumping every employee at FWP into the same category. I think there are a lot of people, the majority even, at FWP that do their best and try to push for the right things given HIGHLY competing priorities from the various stakeholders. I also often question which decisions are truly made by FWP and which are pushed down, but I really don't have any insight there. I do know that many of your complaints focus on elk, which can be attributed to an outdated elk management plan. Hopefully the new one can incorporate some of the changes you suggest.
 

7 mag

Active member
Joined
Dec 1, 2019
Messages
110
Location
Wyoming
Made me laugh. My brother did that when we were kids 40 years ago. Pissed off next door neighbor with a drag trail in the snow to our house. mtmuley
My brother did the same exa t thing maby many yrs, ago tbecoy diffrence was, he cut it down from the local judges back yard
 

7 mag

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Joined
Dec 1, 2019
Messages
110
Location
Wyoming
Montana, has, a, CWD problem. But yet in 12 pages of bitching and crying about not being able to drive down the road in Billy jo bobs truck and shoot that monster 400 inch buck from the road I have not read 1 post that
Puts some of Montana's deer hunting downward trend on part of the cause and that is CWD,
IT'S, here and only gonna get worse, now that it's been found in our elk moose and deer herds, brace yourselves our elk & moose herd is, about to
Take a plunge
Glaf, we hunt 100% private
 

bushman13

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Joined
Jun 11, 2018
Messages
717
Interesting, would love to see the chart for all 50 states

1575410100817.png


The decline in hunter numbers does seem to be widespread. I will offer a counter point to argue it's not all doom and gloom however. In Georgia the total number of resident hunters is actually considerably up, but the total number of hunters is trending down because of non-resident license slumps.

The state Department of Natural Resources reports that last year it licensed nearly 400,000 hunters (2015). Six years earlier, in 2009, it had issued slightly more than 273,000 permits. That’s a jump of roughly one-third. And it includes a growing number of women: about 28,000 licenses were issued to female hunters last year.


The deer hunting in Georgia has always been monetized. The herd is 1.5 million and the seasons are 3-4 months long. Bag limits are extremely liberal. I think the lesson other states could learn is: Don't let Agg set your thresholds. People will hunt during times of abundance and the resource is sustainable.
 
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