MT Elk Lawsuit

goathunter

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Some of the big money ranches run the borders to haze the elk back onto their property. The number of elk is not quite the problem they make it out to be. It's the real ranchers and farmers that have to deal with those sanctuary elk when they let them move off after hunting season
 

Gutshot007

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Buzz, thanks for the info. It sounds like the state is involved in a little "fuzzy" math on realistic numbers of truly accessible elk to a public land hunter. One may look at their stats and think a zone is way over management numbers so a good place to hunt ,but the reality of it is the numbers are down on public and excessive on private. I have hunted Wyoming area 37 on a cow/calf tag a number of times. Probably similar circumstances. Looking at the number of tags one would think the state wanted to "clean up" some excessive cows. I had success, but everyone you would run into would talk about all the elk being down on the "Horseshoe Ranch" private (we drove by it ,but it sounded legendary )
In all honesty if someone owns a big chunk of land that's their business, but don't come crying when you can't grow a sprout of hay or alfalfa because your overrun with animals that you won't let people access to hunt. Or demand special treatment above anyone else for extra tags because of a self made problem. I also think you guys in the west are seeing what we in the east have seen public land turn into. There are places that are literally void of any quality big game. (You can't "wish"it there) . We were drawn for big game combo Montana tags this year . One thing I know it will be better than work. If we don't take of business early on was thinking about breaking out the 54 caliber t/c hawken for late season. Wonder if everyone has packed it in by then ?
 

Scoot

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Buzz, great run down. Spot on, unfortunately! Montana's management of elk is really frustrating and quite sad. I hope for improvement, but given their history, I don't see any reason to expect it. I anticipate more shady deals with landowners and outfitters instead of legitimate efforts to improve things for outdoorsmen.
 

goathunter

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Nothing has changed since, and now the UPOM, has filed a lawsuit since the FWP is, in fact, breaking the law because they can't hold elk at objective numbers.
Good synopsis except this statement on UPOM needs a little more detail. Everyone knows the objective numbers are antiquated. During public comments many were outspoken on this fact and asked the regulations to remain unchanged until the objective numbers are modernized. I think there's actually a group formed from all interests to do just that.

Anyways you're saying UPOM is suing because FWP can't meet antiquated objective numbers. Well that is a ridiculous lawsuit. These objective numbers don't make sense! And don't forget part of what these numbers are based on is "landowner tolerance" they're not just managing for herd health. This whole time these "objective numbers" are being weaponized. The numbers are bullshit and it's pretty obvious all they want is for the landowners and outfitters to easily draw bull tags every year in these hard to draw limited entry units so they can hunt their "private" herd. And the public hunter can pick up the scraps.

So during regulation public comment everyone said ok you really want to meet your objectives and get these elk off your land? Let's go unlimited and only cow tags on private. Guess what they don't really want that, they just want the bull tags.

Don't give UPOM any credit they are the absolute enemy to public access
 
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BuckeyeRifleman

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I can give you the quick rundown.

Way back in the 90's the FWP came up with an idea to develop an elk management plan (EMP).

In that plan there was supposed to be input from sportsmen, landowners, and other interests. Long story short, sportsmen got rolled and elk objective numbers were set very low and based largely on landowner tolerance. There was an exemption for excluding elk from the objectives if those elk were being harbored. To my knowledge that has been ignored and used only once.

Things sort of just rolled around until Debby Barrett (R) Dillon, along with the R dominated State Legislature passed a law requiring the FWP to hold elk at the objective numbers found in the EMP.

The first response from the FWP was to just issue a boatload of cow permits in areas where elk needed to be killed. That worked fine in areas with lots of public land, but in areas where elk could harbor on inaccessible private, the elk just continued to expand. That "management" style was a failure as all it did was kill off and greatly reduce the elk numbers on public lands, since the cow tags were not limited to private land. In other words, the wrong elk were being killed for decades, all the while the elk on private continued to keep the unit wide/herd units above objective. Along the way was a "revision" to the EMP that didn't do much.

Then there were things tried like depredation hunts, some success some failures. All the while the interest in elk hunting continued to expand, Montana's population continued to increase. The elk on public continued to also get pounded via MT's traditional 6 weeks of archery and 5 weeks of rifle hunting.

The next wise idea was to invoke shoulder seasons on a "trial basis" in a few areas to see if pounding on elk on private land for 6 months would work. Before the ink was dry on the proposals, and before any data was gathered on whether the seasons would work, it was expanded to 44 units across the State. Sportsmen were lied to and in spite of fierce opposition, the shoulder seasons continued.

The MTFWP has refused to recognize that you can't continue to manage elk the exact same way now, as they did in 1957. The same general season structure as when my Dad started hunting in the 50's. They also don't recognize that public land elk have taken an absolute whooping as technology in archery, rifle, backpacks, GPS, etc. etc. No adjustment to season length, or the ability for 130,000 residents to purchase OTC general tags and at least another 17K+ NR's to do the same.

I could see the decimation taking place on public lands. Elk numbers plummeted through the early 2000's on public land, and sky rocketed on private. Of course wolves, bears, and everything else was blamed, but its human hunting that caused a majority of the declines combined with some habitat loss, and of course also some increased predation that didn't help.

I killed a nice 6 point, from a herd a small herd of bulls in 2012 on a NR license. I had hunted that country every year since 1979, and I know that country and the elk there better than anyone alive. I knew the bulls I was killing in the 2000's, was not killing the surplus, it was devastating what little was left. I decided I would not kill another bull in Montana until things changed. I felt like I was killing the last buffalo when I killed that bull and wished I hadn't. I wrote a letter to the FWP Director, the Governor, and local Biologist explaining all of what was happening and had happened. Didn't hear a word back.

Nothing has changed since, and now the UPOM, has filed a lawsuit since the FWP is, in fact, breaking the law because they can't hold elk at objective numbers.

The human population has continued to increase, elk hunting on public has continued to suck, and management has not changed a bit since the 1950's.

That's how this mess has happened...and there's one political party that has caused it all.
Indeed, however the opposing political party isn’t exactly a friend to hunting either. Who has banned trapping in California or spring bear hunting in Washington? It wasn’t Republicans.

I’m not defending what Republican leadership has done to hunting in Montana, it’s absolutely despicable. But I don’t think the answer is voting for the other party.

It’s hard to convince policy makers who don’t like hunting that they should support it. It’s a bit easier to educate policy makers who otherwise support hunting that they aren’t managing wildlife appropriately.

I’m not saying the above is easy or foolproof. Republican leadership has a pretty terrible record on managing wildlife for the benefit of all rather than their donors, but the alternative is a party made up of people who don’t even like the notion of hunting in most cases.

I think the solution is educating people on the North American model. Why it worked and why it’s important for everyone to have access to wildlife, regardless of your socioeconomic status.
 

Wyobohunter

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Indeed, however the opposing political party isn’t exactly a friend to hunting either. Who has banned trapping in California or spring bear hunting in Washington? It wasn’t Republicans.

I’m not defending what Republican leadership has done to hunting in Montana, it’s absolutely despicable. But I don’t think the answer is voting for the other party.

It’s hard to convince policy makers who don’t like hunting that they should support it. It’s a bit easier to educate policy makers who otherwise support hunting that they aren’t managing wildlife appropriately.

I’m not saying the above is easy or foolproof. Republican leadership has a pretty terrible record on managing wildlife for the benefit of all rather than their donors, but the alternative is a party made up of people who don’t even like the notion of hunting in most cases.

I think the solution is educating people on the North American model. Why it worked and why it’s important for everyone to have access to wildlife, regardless of your socioeconomic status.
I’m not suggesting you personally vote for any democrat. But you should know that many or even most democrats in the Rockies (excluding Denver) are very pro sportsman. The dems in CA are not the same type as the Dems in this part of the country. Reps have regional differences as well.
 

realunlucky

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Indeed, however the opposing political party isn’t exactly a friend to hunting either. Who has banned trapping in California or spring bear hunting in Washington? It wasn’t Republicans.

I’m not defending what Republican leadership has done to hunting in Montana, it’s absolutely despicable. But I don’t think the answer is voting for the other party.

It’s hard to convince policy makers who don’t like hunting that they should support it. It’s a bit easier to educate policy makers who otherwise support hunting that they aren’t managing wildlife appropriately.

I’m not saying the above is easy or foolproof. Republican leadership has a pretty terrible record on managing wildlife for the benefit of all rather than their donors, but the alternative is a party made up of people who don’t even like the notion of hunting in most cases.

I think the solution is educating people on the North American model. Why it worked and why it’s important for everyone to have access to wildlife, regardless of your socioeconomic status.
Your pretty naive if you think education without a money kicker changes anyone's mind in politics.

It's all about staying in office and making money. If Montana residents are not willing to keep cycling these carpet baggers out of office, than hoping anything changes is just simply HOPING.

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BuzzH

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I’m not suggesting you personally vote for any democrat. But you should know that many or even most democrats in the Rockies (excluding Denver) are very pro sportsman. The dems in CA are not the same type as the Dems in this part of the country. Reps have regional differences as well.
Correct, and all too often those voting R, D, or I give their own team a pass.

I rake politicians over the coals regardless of party affiliation and regularly work to send those that work against public lands and wildlife packing...R, D, or I.

If the person you elect doesn't work for you as a constituent and wants to think hunting, public lands, and wildlife aren't important, elect someone that does.
 

realunlucky

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I’m not suggesting you personally vote for any democrat. But you should know that many or even most democrats in the Rockies (excluding Denver) are very pro sportsman. The dems in CA are not the same type as the Dems in this part of the country. Reps have regional differences as well.
They can be challenged within thier own party by a more like minded Republican if the rambles of discontent get loud enough.

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BuckeyeRifleman

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I’m not suggesting you personally vote for any democrat. But you should know that many or even most democrats in the Rockies (excluding Denver) are very pro sportsman. The dems in CA are not the same type as the Dems in this part of the country. Reps have regional differences as well.
I get it, I’d admittedly have trouble pulling the lever for many of the state level Republicans in Montana if I lived there, and I’d likely opt for a pro gun/sportsman D if one was on the ballot for state legislature given the recent actions of the Republicans there. I say that as someone who has proudly never voted D.

Rationally, either party with too much of a majority tends to lead to bad things it seems.
 

Wyobohunter

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Politics have changed a lot in just my lifetime as someone eligible to vote. As @realunlucky said, politicians from all parties are generally self serving. Dems and Reps used to be able to work together for the common good… or at least they pretended to.

It used to be that the Dems tried to care about the working man and his needs. Most (even in CA) were pro outdoorsman. Not so much now.

Reps used to care about small government and limited spending along with supporting veterans. Not the case today.

We are usually stuck with a choice between a rabid shit covered poodle or a drunk and handsy mall Santa. Both ignoring anything important, stuffing their pockets and screaming at each other to appease the most ignorant of their constituents.
 
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Gutshot007

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Politics is messy. We all come here to talk hunting and other outdoor endeavors ,but sadly it's infected things we love to do . You hunt or spend time outdoors to try and get away from it and there it is ! Do I think a man or woman in political office is there for my best interest. Heck no. I never have and never will. They're there for self enrichment(a swamp is an insult to wetlands. More of sewer) . This sight brings folks together with a common interest "hunting". I see the division in our country. Hopefully we can find common ground somewhere or its going to implode. My life philosophy lines up on a more conservative note. Do expect to come here and change someone's political views. Not really. I would rather talk hunting than argue politics with folks. (By the way some of my buddies here Church starts at 10:45 on Sunday . Bring your swimsuits and we'll get you all baptized up. Usually the guests or out of towners(especially the Wyoming guys) sing a solo or 2 when it's done . Lol
 

BuckeyeRifleman

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They can be challenged within thier own party by a more like minded Republican if the rambles of discontent get loud enough.

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Yup, I’ve often said if people concerned themselves more with primaries we would have much better governance.

I’d be willing to bet there are plenty of pro public land hunter republicans in MT, just need to get them in office.
 

arock

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This is exactly what I was thinking when I read the story!!! Seen it firsthand last fall. Yes, I got my bull, but it was 1 of 2 elk even seen in 7 days by 6 hunters and guides in the Bob. Ridiculous...

IMO only, there is no legitimate management strategy in MT when they don't even track how many are killed. I drove out of there with a rack hanging out the back of my truck and a paper tag that I didn't have to report or check. How does FWP even determine objectives when they are missing a critical data point?
That's my issue with Colorado. Reporting should be mandatory and electronic.

The NM e-tag was easy enough to use. AZ looks like they're moving to an app based approach as well.

As you said its pretty impossible to make a data driven decision when the data (to be nice I guess) is not as accurate as it could be. If I'm being honest, the way they project success with the phone and email surveys is garbage.
 

Marble

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What I would be concerned with is the court taking over. When the State fails at its job and demonstrates an inability to do the job, it sometimes is then ran by a third party. Usually a judge or other special appointment takes over. It usually solves the immediate issue but creates others.

It also sounds like the actual definitions of several terms need to be reevaluated.

It's an interesting topic. If what is said is true, the landowners want what benefits them, meaning a large supply of bull tags, no requirements to allow trespass on their land and assistance from the state to get what they want. The sportsman and general public do not benefit.

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jjohnsonElknewbie

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Primaries and term limits for both state and US elected officials may help. Unfortunately, the "career" politicians are against them for obvious reasons and they never get to a floor vote. At least make the special interests and lobbyists on both sides work to find another lapdog "yes" man or woman instead of just funneling huge amounts of cash to the same person every election.
 

cgasner1

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Other states have management tags that are for bulls for say 4 point of less they should just do that with this. On private you can kill a 4 point or less bull elk. Now they can shoot the bulls but we all know that isn’t the issue here


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bsnedeker

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Well at least the Californians are paying us to destroy our own state!!! That makes it ok!!!

In all seriousness, we're like Esau selling his brithright for scraps. Sure we're making alot of money for now due to the construction boom...but at what cost. Even a prostitute gets paid for their work, doesnt make it right. Just because you can do something, doesnt mean you should. But hey, all these land maggot realtors gotta suck at the teet of something huh.

Montana will never ever be the same for generations if not ever. And we all let it happen.
So...in your mind we are "letting" a bunch of californians into the state?

How exactly would you stop it? Should we pass a law that only residents can purchase land and homes in MT?

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bigsky2

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Born and raised in Montana and it's really been sad to see what is happening before our eyes. We did this to ourselves when we chose to vote in rich transplants like Gianforte and Rosendale just because they have an "R" next to their name. UPOM and outfitters seem to be emboldened right now due to the politicial leadership we currently have.

I consider myself a trophy hunter and I'd love to see FWP implement cow only hunting until elk are either reduced to objective levels or objective numbers are changed to what they should be. Everyone's true colors would show in a hurry.
 
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