MT ELK, Changing it up?

SAJ-99

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@BigFin I expect you've been slammed with a full hunting season, but wonder if by chance there's any progress on putting together a pro-active political organization as discussed before in the "Defense to Offense" thread?

This beating we're taking seems like it's only getting worse without our own full time team. With yet another brutal political situation I have to imagine that more folks would rally to the cause with donations and time, or so I would hope.
Received an email today that Montana Wildlife Fed is having meetings this December. There are a lot of other groups that can grab the ear of legislators.

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montexan

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Yellowstone County
I've done that with emails to Commissioners, phone calls to the Director, and by allowing this forum to be used to layout a lot of ideas of how it would improve the situation. I know many others have provided ideas.

There have been no shortage of ideas proposed to improve the situation.
So why in the hell do they keep bringing up bills that were effectively killed during the legislative session?

Do they even attempt to listen to the majority of the people speaking out?

There is no plausible way the outfitter group and landowner group make up more comments than the public land hunters.
 

SAJ-99

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Betcha those could get interesting.
I hope they do. There needs to be a consolidated effort with a single message. You can't have 5 different proposals to FWP from 5 different organizations. I hope they work together. I doubt RMEF will be vocal about it because a lot of their donors are the same deep-pocket clients that this is intended to benefit.

As you know, we have had these discussions earlier this year. It feels like de ja vu. We thought it would end once the legislature session ended, but...
 

montexan

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I blame worsech and Gianforte completely for this. It’s never been more obvious
Preach on brotha man. I’ve been saying this since day one of this blatant abuse of political office. Question is, how tf do we call the bastards out and suspend worsechs appointment ?
 

Sioux33

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Helena, MT
Well, after reading the bios report in the meeting agenda I'm not sure if Hank even read through them or if he just said the hell with them, but I'm guessing the latter. Gotta give these bio's credit, they seem to be on the same page as us, just a few of the eye popping comments getting ignored:

Units 702/704/705:
  • "The most recent survey observed a minimum count of 2,019 elk with a bull:cow ratio of 39 bulls:100 cows. Limited permits are needed to maintain this objective."
  • "In general, hunters and landowners support limited entry permits for the archery and general season for the EMU."
Unit 700:
  • "These permits have successfully minimized elk depredation, with only 3 complaints in this HD since 2018."
  • "Removing ES permits in HD 700 would completely wipe out the bull population and would not contribute to overall population management."
Unit 417:
  • "The 2005 Elk Management Plan speaks to maintaining at least 30 bulls:100 cows and the current bull:cow ratio in HD 417 (from the March 2021 elk survey) is 34:100, right at objective."
  • "increasing the opportunity to harvest bull elk district-wide with no concomitant increase in public hunting opportunity where the majority of elk reside (private land), will do no more than exacerbate the extirpation of elk on publicly-accessible lands during hunting season."

This is as corrupt as it gets and Hank needs to be called out on it, whether it be in the papers, media, whatever. Complete bullshit.


 

MTHunter1321

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Great Falls, MT
Well, after reading the bios report in the meeting agenda I'm not sure if Hank even read through them or if he just said the hell with them, but I'm guessing the latter. Gotta give these bio's credit, they seem to be on the same page as us, just a few of the eye popping comments getting ignored:

Units 702/704/705:
  • "The most recent survey observed a minimum count of 2,019 elk with a bull:cow ratio of 39 bulls:100 cows. Limited permits are needed to maintain this objective."
  • "In general, hunters and landowners support limited entry permits for the archery and general season for the EMU."
Unit 700:
  • "These permits have successfully minimized elk depredation, with only 3 complaints in this HD since 2018."
  • "Removing ES permits in HD 700 would completely wipe out the bull population and would not contribute to overall population management."
Unit 417:
  • "The 2005 Elk Management Plan speaks to maintaining at least 30 bulls:100 cows and the current bull:cow ratio in HD 417 (from the March 2021 elk survey) is 34:100, right at objective."
  • "increasing the opportunity to harvest bull elk district-wide with no concomitant increase in public hunting opportunity where the majority of elk reside (private land), will do no more than exacerbate the extirpation of elk on publicly-accessible lands during hunting season."

This is as corrupt as it gets and Hank needs to be called out on it, whether it be in the papers, media, whatever. Complete bullshit.


I plan on bringing up these in my communications with commissioners. Absolutely a blatant disregard of biologists recommendations.
 

Quackerchaser

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Dec 7, 2021
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The Wilks brothers will love this. Only needing a general tag if this passes. This year they got 8 extra tags and next year they will just need a general tag. It will be another win for big money private land owners.
 
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antlerradar

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SE Montana
I'm still trying to figure out the logic here. Maybe that is an exercise in futility.

This spring, the Department gave us HB 505, where landowners could sponsor up to 10 hunters if their unit was at objective. We were told that the rationale was for landowners to stay at objective, as once they get above objective HB 505 would no longer allow this liberal use of sponsoring hunters. Supposedly, and incentive for landowner to get more elk killed.

Now, we get this proposal that is based on units that are way over objective. It gives every incentive to keep objectives set at artificially low number and gives no incentive to kill cows, as the units being identified for the new plan are those that are over objective. This new idea lets the real money animals, bulls, get served up to private land hunters without restriction.

So, if the department is looking for landowner incentive to get elk numbers down to objective as we were told with HB 505, why are they proposing this plan that gives landowners every financial incentive to keep number higher and above objective so that they can continue with virtually unrestricted bull elk hunting?

Seems punitive to those landowners who have worked to get elk numbers down via hunting and/or those landowners who have a higher tolerance for elk and thus higher objectives in the unit where they operate. Rather, this proposal gives way more benefit to those who have declined efforts to try manage elk by giving them an unlimited stream of bull elk tags.

Maybe that is a rhetorical question I'm trying to answer, but I'm trying to follow what seems to be a bipolar string of logic between the Department proposals and what the stated rationale is for each.

Here are the some of the ideas I've provided to the Commission and the Director in emails, phone calls, and meetings. I've share the same with some legislators who seem to be focused on elk ideas.

1. Where elk are above objective, give Private Land Only cow tags. Don't cap them. Given all cooperative landowners every chance possible to lower elk numbers.​
2. Absolutely no cow elk hunting on public lands, as this only places pressure on the "wrong elk" and habituates elk to move to the private land sanctuaries. Kill the elk that are the problem elk, the ones spending most their time under irrigation pivots. Cow elk lead the herds. Drive them to private land sanctuaries and the entire herd follows. Take pressure off public land cow elk and put that pressure on private land cow elk via #1 above.​
3. Shorten seasons for all elk, to include taking them out of the new muzzleloader season. This huge period of pressure only serves to condition elk to find private land sanctuaries and keep them there beyond hunting seasons. This would include getting rid of shoulder season.​
4. For those landowners trying to keep numbers down and having to deal with neighbors who provide elk sanctuary during hunting season, give them financial reimbursement from the General Fund. I say General Fund as this problem has nothing to do with hunting, rather how people exercise their property rights. Given these working landowners assistance with fencing, hazing, and whatever else can reward those who are trying to solve the problems.​

I could come up with a lot more, but these four, or at least the first 3, seem would be a much better experiment to try.
So much to think about here.

First. This proposal through landowners that are not trying to profit from elk under the buss. This is how it works on our place. I love that I live in a place that is limited entry for bulls. I do not have to look at HT or the FWP web site to know when the drawing starts. My phone is ringing in the first hour, so is my brothers and fathers . for the most part we can work in everyone that asks into a hunt, just maybe not opening day or the first week or two. Some hunters end up taking a bull else where and we can take other hunters, sometimes even walking ins that we do not know. The only person I turned down this year was the Outfitter on the neighbors who had a friend and they spotted a big bull on our side of the fence.(nothing gets under my skin more than when someone that leases there property, then wants to hunt ours because it is not leased)
We can let most of the people that ask on to hunt bulls because the unit is limited entry and we are just not going to be over whelmed with hunters. For instance with the general deer we have to be very careful. Let someone on and you can count on them being back next year with a friend, in know time you have a friend of a friend of a friend. Soon things get political between family members and hunters and this is when you turn to a third party like an outfitter to manage the hunting for you or like us you cut way back on hunters and only close friends and family get to hunt and young kids of other friends. It is far nicer to have FWP decide who gets to hunt than for me to have to make a political decision on who gets to hunt. Most of the general public is going to lose out when I decide.
 

rogerthat

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I have never meet ether of them but if there posts are any guide I prefer them over some of the other outfitters I know.
This is very true for me too. I played poker against albus. Been so long ago I can’t remember who won. Probably not me. Although we wouldn’t agree on much I don’t think, he is a nice guy and understands the issues just has a different perspective than me
 

rogerthat

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So much to think about here.

First. This proposal through landowners that are not trying to profit from elk under the buss. This is how it works on our place. I love that I live in a place that is limited entry for bulls. I do not have to look at HT or the FWP web site to know when the drawing starts. My phone is ringing in the first hour, so is my brothers and fathers . for the most part we can work in everyone that asks into a hunt, just maybe not opening day or the first week or two. Some hunters end up taking a bull else where and we can take other hunters, sometimes even walking ins that we do not know. The only person I turned down this year was the Outfitter on the neighbors who had a friend and they spotted a big bull on our side of the fence.(nothing gets under my skin more than when someone that leases there property, then wants to hunt ours because it is not leased)
We can let most of the people that ask on to hunt bulls because the unit is limited entry and we are just not going to be over whelmed with hunters. For instance with the general deer we have to be very careful. Let someone on and you can count on them being back next year with a friend, in know time you have a friend of a friend of a friend. Soon things get political between family members and hunters and this is when you turn to a third party like an outfitter to manage the hunting for you or like us you cut way back on hunters and only close friends and family get to hunt and young kids of other friends. It is far nicer to have FWP decide who gets to hunt than for me to have to make a political decision on who gets to hunt. Most of the general public is going to lose out when I decide.
I have heard this from a couple landowners now and even some outfitters that used to let their guides hunt some. They are concerned how they are going to manage the social side of this in addition to the resource side. That being said I don’t feel that bad for them. The general public is getting the shaft for their benefit. Though I know you don’t want to Antlerradar but you could go shoot the biggest bull on the property next year if you wanted to. Lots of landowners and their family will
 

sacountry

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Joined
Dec 29, 2011
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515
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NW Montana
So much to think about here.

First. This proposal through landowners that are not trying to profit from elk under the buss. This is how it works on our place. I love that I live in a place that is limited entry for bulls. I do not have to look at HT or the FWP web site to know when the drawing starts. My phone is ringing in the first hour, so is my brothers and fathers . for the most part we can work in everyone that asks into a hunt, just maybe not opening day or the first week or two. Some hunters end up taking a bull else where and we can take other hunters, sometimes even walking ins that we do not know. The only person I turned down this year was the Outfitter on the neighbors who had a friend and they spotted a big bull on our side of the fence.(nothing gets under my skin more than when someone that leases there property, then wants to hunt ours because it is not leased)
We can let most of the people that ask on to hunt bulls because the unit is limited entry and we are just not going to be over whelmed with hunters. For instance with the general deer we have to be very careful. Let someone on and you can count on them being back next year with a friend, in know time you have a friend of a friend of a friend. Soon things get political between family members and hunters and this is when you turn to a third party like an outfitter to manage the hunting for you or like us you cut way back on hunters and only close friends and family get to hunt and young kids of other friends. It is far nicer to have FWP decide who gets to hunt than for me to have to make a political decision on who gets to hunt. Most of the general public is going to lose out when I decide.
First and foremost, thank you for allowing access. Don't know where you live and we'll likely never meet but thank you.

Second, I'm ardent believer in the BMA program and I believe it can be enhanced to be an even more effective tool. Would type 2 BMA with the current limited draw ever be of interest to you? You control the access and make some money at it. Stipulate bull harvest only if you like. Asking because I'm curious of where the line needs to be for a landowner to consider BMA instead of selling out to guides. I'm sure the financials have to be there, but at this point you've held out so is it more about the controlled access and picking the solution that does that best versus just the money? You might be in the minority of landowners in this regard, but I'm curious.
 

Gerald Martin

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Jul 3, 2009
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6,457
So much to think about here.

First. This proposal through landowners that are not trying to profit from elk under the buss. This is how it works on our place. I love that I live in a place that is limited entry for bulls. I do not have to look at HT or the FWP web site to know when the drawing starts. My phone is ringing in the first hour, so is my brothers and fathers . for the most part we can work in everyone that asks into a hunt, just maybe not opening day or the first week or two. Some hunters end up taking a bull else where and we can take other hunters, sometimes even walking ins that we do not know. The only person I turned down this year was the Outfitter on the neighbors who had a friend and they spotted a big bull on our side of the fence.(nothing gets under my skin more than when someone that leases there property, then wants to hunt ours because it is not leased)
We can let most of the people that ask on to hunt bulls because the unit is limited entry and we are just not going to be over whelmed with hunters. For instance with the general deer we have to be very careful. Let someone on and you can count on them being back next year with a friend, in know time you have a friend of a friend of a friend. Soon things get political between family members and hunters and this is when you turn to a third party like an outfitter to manage the hunting for you or like us you cut way back on hunters and only close friends and family get to hunt and young kids of other friends. It is far nicer to have FWP decide who gets to hunt than for me to have to make a political decision on who gets to hunt. Most of the general public is going to lose out when I decide.
I was thinking about this angle last night. For every landowner who might like this proposal because it would allow them easier access for bull tags, I bet there’s going to be ten who are dreading the impending onslaught of hunters calling and knocking at their door wanting permission to hunt bulls on a general tag.

If I were a landowner in one of these units with land enrolled in Type 1 Block Management, I would be pulling it as soon as this passes, for no other reason than to protect my land from overuse. There’s going to be way more hunters on any open land or land historically easy to get permission on.
Landowner fatigue with the continual solicitation of hunters is going to shut down even more property, even if they don’t lease their property out. I won’t blame them a bit when it happens.
 

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