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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS FEBRUARY 2011

www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

& ADVENTURE

CATCHING A PREDATOR GEARING UP FOR COYOTES

FREE

GLASSING FOR A 200” TROPHY


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FEBRUARY 2011


FEBRUARY 2011

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FEBRUARY 2011

If You’re Not Glassing You’re NOT TROPHY HUNTING

BY BRIAN DAM

Denny Alstad with his 228 Muley

Denny Alstad is a shooter among shooters. His work with wildcat cartridges and love of hunting provided a

natural background to hook up with Doyle Moss, of Mossback Outfitters and Video’s. Denny had hunted with Doyle before and had taken the now famous Spider Bull, scoring over 400-points and a number one antelope along with some big deer. This time their eight-day hunt was all about big bucks. They were after mule deer scoring over 200-inches. (continued on page 18)


FEBRUARY 2011

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ADVERTISING RICK HAGGERTY (406)370-1368 PUBLISHER AMY HAGGERTY

8591 Capri Dr., Helena Mt. 59602 bigskyoutdoornews@yahoo.com

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The entire contents is © 2011, all rights reserved. May not be reproduced without prior consent. The material and information printed is from various sources from which there can be no warranty or responsibility by Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure. Nor does the printed material necessarily express the views of Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure. VOLUME 7 Issue 11

Please support the advertisers you see in this publication and let them know you saw their advertisement in Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure. Thank you. Visit www.bigskyoutdoornews.net for Fishing Photo Contest Information.

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Dream Comes True For Courageous Man Injured In Afghanistan NATIONAL WILD TURKEY FEDERATION Chris Chris Fleming. Fleming Dictionary.com defines courage my wife served “I was a Marine for eight years and as the quality of mind or spirit that enables Was All in the Navy for four years,” a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear. Courage was the first word that came to Chad Franklin’s mind describing his friend, Chris Fleming. The story of how the two met began in the war-torn area of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where Fleming, from Collinsville, Ill., worked as a governmentcontracted security consultant. One day in June 2009, Fleming was riding in a convoy when his vehicle was blown to pieces by an improvised explosive device. “One minute, I was riding down a road in the front seat and the next I was lying in the bed of a different vehicle looking up at a buddy of mine as I coughed up blood,” said Fleming. “I had to go a long way to get help. I ended up flatlining from respiratory failure and everyone thought I was dead. I woke up in an Army helicopter that was airlifting me to get help.” Fleming’s lower body wounds were so severe that both his legs were eventually amputated just below the knees. With devastating injuries and a long rehabilitation process ahead of him, many people in Fleming’s position may have given up hope for an enjoyable life. Not

said Fleming. “In our family, there is no such thing as moping. I have a 1-year-old son and I don’t want him to see me mope.” A few months after suffering his injuries, Fleming, an avid hunter, was looking for a way to enjoy the outdoors. His search led him to the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Wheelin’ Sportsmen outreach program. The program helps people with disabilities enjoy hunting, fishing and shooting sports and is popular among injured military veterans and mobility-impaired people who love the great outdoors. After becoming a Wheelin’ Sportsmen member, Fleming met Chad Franklin, an NWTF regional field supervisor, and his father Gary. At the NWTF’s Illinois State Chapter Banquet, the elder Franklin approached Fleming with a once in a lifetime offer. “I felt like God brought Chris into my life so I could help him recover, so I asked Chris if he’d like to go elk hunting,” said Franklin. “I knew that the thought of a physically demanding hunt for a majestic animal like an elk would help motivate him to work hard as he rehabilitated his body.” Elk typically inhabit steep, rocky and vast terrain and hunting the magnificent

Smiles After He Harvested A Beautiful, Trophy-class Bull Elk In New Mexico. animals can present anyone with a physical challenge. Fleming didn’t let his two brand-new prosthetic legs influence his decision. He told Franklin that he’d do everything in his power to prepare his mind and body for an elk hunt. Fleming’s positive attitude compelled the elder Franklin to purchase an elk hunt for his new friend that was valued at more than $9,000. After several months of intense therapy and preparation, Fleming boarded a plane on Dec. 13 and flew to New Mexico to embark on the hunt of a lifetime with the younger Franklin as a guide, and an NWTF cameraman along to record the adventure. (continued on page 27)


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FEBRUARY 2011

Growing Membership Reaches Club’s 27th Big Game Awards New High for RMEF Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Book Now Available BOONE AND CROCKETT CLUB H unters and sportsmen joined “Landscapes in elk country also the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation at a It’s a piece of hunting history; are changing quickly and more hunters are rapid pace in 2010, pushing membership a catalog of conservation successes. The coming to appreciate the importance of totals up by 12 percent to a record high of 178,000. The number of new members represents the largest single-year jump in RMEF history. RMEF membership at the end of 2010 was nearly 30 percent higher than in 2008. David Allen, RMEF president and CEO, attributes the growth to several factors. “Our more aggressive attention to issues relevant to hunters and sportsmen is one primary reason for our growth,” he said. “We no longer sit on the fence when it comes to issues affecting the very core of our hunting heritage, the North American model of wildlife conservation, and our future. Our members expect us to stand up for them and we will.” Allen added, “We are engaged alongside many other sportsman and agriculture groups in the fight to control wolves, and we will stay engaged until wolves are managed and controlled as they should be--by the states. There is no room left for compromise or complacency on this issue.”

habitat conservation and hunting access. Fighting habitat loss and improving access continue to be top priorities--in fact, in 2010 we passed the 5.9 million acre mark in lands conserved and topped 600,000 acres secured for public access. Our members expect us to focus on all of these issues and we are making every effort to do so, thus we are gaining in membership steadily. It is rewarding but we aren’t going to relax. We will continue to work for our members and what is important to them,” said Allen. RMEF experienced the greatest membership growth in Oregon and Washington but added members in all 50 states. Allen said RMEF also has improved its membership services, communications, promotions and overall visibility. Greater emphasis has been placed on a maturing process of the organization’s strategic focus since surpassing its first 25 years in 2008. To join visit www.rmef.org and select “Join Us.”

newly published Boone and Crockett Club’s 27th Big Game Awards, 2007-2009 is part of a book series that spans over half a century, and it’s now available for purchase. The 704-page paperback contains listings for over 4,900 trophies in 32 categories of North American big game taken between 2007 and 2009. Listings include B&C gross score, final score, location and date of kill, hunter and owner, overall rank and more. The book also includes over 60 color and hundreds of B&W field photos and portraits. “What really sets this publication apart are the written accounts of the hunts for some of the top trophies taken in the 27th Awards period. Readers will learn not just statistics, but the actual stories behind some of the greatest game animals ever taken,” said Julie Houk, director of publications for Boone and Crockett Club Boone and Crockett Club’s 27th Big Game Awards, 2007-2009, retails for $29.95 (Boone and Crockett members receive a discount) and is available in stores or directly from the Club.

Order at www.boone-crockett.org or by calling 888-840-4868. About the Boone and Crockett Club Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. The Club maintains the highest standards of fair-chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship. Member accomplishments include enlarging and protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws. The Boone and Crockett Club is headquartered in Missoula, Mont. For details, visit www.boone-crockett.org.


FEBRUARY 2011

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Poacher Pleads Guilty In Felony Elk Case IDAHO FISH AND GAME

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Montana man entered a guilty plea before Fourth Judicial District Judge Patrick Owen in Boise County court Thursday, January 13. Gary A. Parrett, 36, of Great Falls, Mont., was charged with taking two bull elk in a closed season, the wanton waste of two bull elk, and hunting elk without the proper tag. He pleaded guilty to a felony charge of unlawful possession of two or more big game animals within a 12 month period. The remaining misdemeanor charges were dismissed.

The larger of the elk, a six-by-six bull was in the trophy category, scoring more than 300 Boone and Crockett points. T

he case originated in October 2008 when a hunter called the Citizens Against Poaching hotline to report two bull elk he found by Bad Bear Campground, northeast of Idaho City. The elks’ antlers had been removed and the meat left to waste. Senior Conservation Officer Rob Brazie said that with the help of hunters and people in the Idaho City community he was able to track down Parrett at his Boise residence in the summer of 2009. Brazie and other southwest region conservation officers served a search warrant on the residence and found the racks from the two mature bulls on the wall at Parrett’s house. Parrett confessed to killing the bulls and hunting in the closed unit. He said he and his partner had packed out both sets of antlers, one front shoulder and the backstraps, leaving most of the elk meat on the mountain. The larger of the elk, a six-by-six bull was in the trophy category, scoring more than 300 Boone and Crockett points. A felony conviction carries penalties of up to $50,000 in fines, five years in the state penitentiary and a lifetime revocation of hunting privileges. There is also $7,000 in civil penalties as restitution to the state for the poached elk. Parrett will be sentenced in Boise County February 10.

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FEBRUARY 2011

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Outdoor Calendar Calendar

ANACONDA LEGENDS OF THE WULF NORDIC SKI RACE: 2/19 Freestyle Nordic ski race with distances of 1, 2, 5, 9, and 19 km. Held at Mount Haggin Nordic Ski Trails, 11 miles south of Anaconda on the road to Wisdom. Phone: 406-560-6060

BOZEMAN WILD WEST WINTERFEST: 2/18 - 2/20

All Breed Horse Sale, Chili Cook-off, Dog Keg Pull, Doxie Derby, Dog Talent Show and Freestyle Dance, Battle of the Breeds, Children’s Art Show, Hockey Tournament, Kids’ Activities, Petting Zoo, Photography Show, Quilt Show, Sweetheart Fur and Feather Show, Packers’ Scramble, Carhartt Sweetheart Dance and Working Horse and Driver Competition. In between events enjoy some delicious food, listen to some music, and wander through the commercial exhibitor building at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds. Phone: 406-582-3270

GLASGOW ICE FISHING TOURNAMENT: 2/19 Competition ice fishing in the Dredge Cuts Trout Pond at Fort Peck Lake. Any fish caught could be the winner from perch to northern pike; walleyes are accepted too. Phone: 406-228-2222

GREAT FALLS GREAT ROCKIES SPORTS SHOW: 2/4 - 2/6 Held at the Montana Expo Park. Phone 406-580-3907

HAVRE BEAR PAW BOWMEN ARCHERY SHOOT: 2/26 - 27

MISSOULA Fly Fishing Film Event: 2/25 - 6:30pm at the Wilma Theatre Pre-Film Party at 5:00 - 6:30pm at Grizzly Hackle, 215 W. Front St. Phone 406-721-8996

STEVENSVILLE VARMINT SEMINAR: 2/26

2 day indoor archery shoot. Contact: Clyde Thomas Jr. 406-265-4572 or e-mail: clyde@bresnan.net

The Hunting Shack is presenting a Varmint Seminar at their shop at 4406 Rathbun Lane in Stevensville. Phone: 406-777-2106 for time and details.

HELENA RACE TO THE SKY SLED DOG RACE: 2/11-2/16

TROUT CREEK SNOWMOBILE POKER RUN: 2/11-2/12

Events will take place in Helena, Camp Rimini, Deer Lodge, Lincoln, Ovando, Seeley Lake, back to Hi-Country Snack Foods in Lincoln for the finish and Lincoln Community Hall in Lincoln for the awards ceremony. Phone: 406-881-3647

The run starts on a groomed trail along the Clark Fork Valley leaving Trout Creek. Then ride through the scenic Kootenai National Forest up to Gem Peak Junction. Gem Peak Look Out Tour view is Breath-taking at the Cabinet Ridge Rider Warming Hut. Phone: 406-827-4458

HELENA FUR BUYING EVENTS: 2/12 & 3/20

WHITEHALL NRA SHOOTING CLINIC: 3rd Sat. Each Month

The Helena Wholesale Sports will have fur buyers on site from 11am - 3pm both days. Bring your bobcat, coyote, muskrat, mink, beaver, fox or whatever pelts you have to sell. Phone: 406-457-7200

Learn the basics of pistol marksmanship. Held at Fish Creek Ventures. Phone: 406-287-2181

Events To Support WILDLIFE

MULE DEER FOUNDATION 2/19/2011 Conrad Clinton Denney 406-289-0968

NATIONAL WILD TURKEY FEDERATION 2/19/2011 Big Sky Chapter - Bozeman Nate 406-210-5518 2/26/2011 Hi-Line Gobblers - Glasgow Scott 406-228-2226 3/05/2011 Missouri River Gobblers - Great Falls Bodie 406-454-1591

PHEASANTS FOREVER

2/03/11 Helena Carrie Scoles 406-431-1525 ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION 02/12/11 Kalispell Flathead Valley Chapter Big Game Banquet Tim Wold 406-212-7249 02/19/11 Billings Beartooth Big Game Banquet Scott Westphal 406-266-3042 03/19/11 Hamilton Bitterroot Big Game Banquet Jon Miller 406-777-0214 03/19/11 Livingston Upper Yellowstone Big Game Banquet Chelsea Bowers 406-222-7155


FEBRUARY 2011

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TRAVELER’S CORNER: Diesel Turbo Lifesaver The Diesel Turbo Lifesaver can prevent costly turbo charger and engine damage at the fraction of the cost of a new turbo charger. But that’s not all it can do. It can also control your vehicles climate in the cold of winter or the heat of summer without having your key in the ignition, (especially good for people traveling with pets). The anti-theft security feature will also give you some peace of mind knowing that your truck will always be right where you left it.

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he Diesel Turbo Lifesaver is a timed base device for cooling your turbocharger (turbo timer). Time is far superior than monitoring a thermocouple (pyrometer)/exhaust gas temperature gauge due to inherent inaccuracies in any thermocouple based system. These inaccuracies can be so severe that when you most need turbo cooling, thermocouple reading devices tend to shut your engine off when the turbo is still hot. The Diesel Turbo Lifesaver control panel is very easy to use. It has a 3 position switch for user selectable engine run times of 3, 7, or 15 minutes. For most vehicles and conditions, 3 minutes can be considered “city” use, 7 minutes as “ highway/tow” use, and 15 minutes as “extreme” use. Another great feature of the Diesel Turbo Lifesaver is that it allows passenger compartment temperature control. When idling the engine, the Diesel Turbo Lifesaver powers the vehicles heating/ventilating/air conditioning system. You can use this feature to defrost your windows or to keep your cab cool in the hot weather without having to keep your key in the ignition. This feature is extremely popular with those who travel with pets. The Diesel Turbo Lifesaver has two stages of security. Stage one security is always enabled. The internal computer will stop an engine idle cycle any time the brake pedal is depressed. Stage two security is enabled by placing the toggle switch from the CPU (hidden during the installation process) in the on position. When the CPU activates it cuts

fuel flow to the engine, so starting the engine is impossible, even if the thief has a key!

The Diesel Turbo Lifesaver is the easiest way to insure a long, happy life for your turbocharger. The Diesel Turbo Lifesaver contains a fully operational computer with Innova custom software designed for timing, logic, and security functions. This translates into some of the best functionality, reliability, and safety of any unit on the market. With the cost of most turbochargers running in the thousands, why not protect yourself by installing one of these units? Most units cost around $225.00 and take about an hour to install.

Available at Gomer’s-USDIESELPARTS 2400 Palmer Missoula, MT. 59808 (406) 728-7620 or 1-800-823-4444.

CALL US

FOR OTHER PERFORMANCE ENHANCING, FUEL-REDUCING PRODUCTS!

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FULLY GUIDED STEELHEAD TRIPS on the mighty Snake & Grande Ronde Rivers

Spring trip

Special $350 2 PEOPLE #208-924-8685 •www.GuerillaGuideService.com Catch Rates Often In Double Digits, so BOOK NOW & get the best price & the best dates.

Smoked Steelhead Lasagna BY TRAVIS DEBOER

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s a steelhead guide, one of the most frequent questions I hear is “ok, now that we got’em how do we cook’em?” here is my favorite answer to that question. It’s a little involved, but well worth the work. Enjoy!

Smoked Steelhead Lasagna Ingredients Mozzarella cheese Smoked steelhead or trout (bones and skin removed and chunked) Lasagna noodles (cook to the point of al dente and then shock with cold water) Ricotta cheese Fresh basil (stems removed and chopped) 1⁄4 cup Vine ripe tomatoes thinly sliced Mushrooms (sliced) 2 cups Fresh spinach (stems removed and roughly chopped) 2 cups Butter -2 tablespoons Salt Pepper Sauce- Half and half - Shredded parmesan cheese -Tablespoon flour -Tablespoon and a half of butter - Salt -Pepper SOPStep 1- Sauté mushrooms and spinach in butter salt and pepper to taste. Step 2- (Sauce) On medium heat, melt butter in sauce pan and add flour immediately. Add two cups of half and half before the flour has time to brown. Stirring constantly bring up to heat until sauce begins to thicken slightly and then salt and pepper to taste. Add 1⁄2 cup shredded parmesan cheese stirring constantly until cheese melts. Remove from heat. Step 3- (Layers) 1- Grease a lasagna pan and sprinkle bottom lightly with sautéed mushroom and spinach mix. Cover with layer of noodles, slightly overlapping. 2- Spread the rest of the mushroom and spinach over the noodles and speckle with good amount of ricotta cheese. Cover with another layer of noodles. 3- Add a thick layer of crumbled smoked fish and cover liberally with sauce. Add another layer of noodles. 4- Cover noodles with another light layer of sauce and lay vine ripened tomatoes across top. Sprinkle top with fresh basil and then mozzarella. Bake lasagna at 400 degrees on center rack until cheese starts to brown slightly. Let cool for five minutes and serve with garlic bread

FEBRUARY 2011

Ensure Your Summer Fun: Inspect The Interior, Exterior And Insurance Coverage For Your Boats And RV BY TAW JACKSON-ADVISOR, PERSONAL INSURANCE, PAYNE FINANCIAL GROUP Make sure you’re covered by more than sunscreen when you head out for summer fun

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arm weather, sun, the actual sight of grass — this must mean that spring has finally arrived. This also means it is time to get the summer toys ready to play with. From boats and Jet Skies to camper-RVs, our Western states offer many great recreational opportunities.

•Check the leveling system to ensure it is in proper working condition.

Now that the boat is ready to go, let’s take a look at the RV:

• Do you need additional personal property coverage for your motor home?

•Inspect the interior and exterior for problems that might have occurred while winterized and stored.

A check in with your insurance agent should be on your pre-adventure checklist to make sure you have the right coverage mix for your recreational season.

•Check the tires, make sure they are properly inflated.

It’s almost time to head to the lake for some boating and camping, but first you need to double check When it comes to preparing that you have the proper insurance your boat for the summer waves, it is coverage. When it comes to insuring important to make sure everything is boats and RVs there are various in seaworthy condition. Here are a few options available. key areas to review: A few questions to ask •Inspect the interior and exterior yourself about your insurance needs of the boat for problems that before hitting the water and roadways: might have occurred while it was winterized and stored. • Will you will be pulling water skiers •Make sure the batteries are with your boat? completely charged and in good working condition. • Do you have adequate water-skier liability? •Check all electrical systems and electronics for proper operation. • Do you have uninsured boaters liability coverage? •Check the engine to make sure it is operating smoothly. • Will friends be driving your boat or personal watercraft? •Check the trailer to ensure the tires are properly inflated and the boat is • Do you have special equipment on properly secured. your boat (i.e., fish finders, fishing poles, GPS systems, water skis, etc.)? •Make sure all your safety equipment, including life jackets, is on board. • Do you have roadside assistance for your motor home?

•Check the batteries and electrical system to ensure everything is in proper working order. This includes the AC unit, outlets, lights and sliding unit.

Now it’s time for fun. Have a safe and enjoyable spring and summer!

Taw Jackson is an advisor in Personal •Check the propane system. Make sure Insurance for Payne Financial there are no leaks in the line and that Group. He can be reached directly at propane units, such as the refrigerator, tjackson@pfgworld.com. are working properly.


FEBRUARY 2011

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BIG SKY

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

Helena

RV Show

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Feb. 11 - 21 Memorial Park

Outdoor News Fly Tying Corner: Shop Vac BOB BATES, fedflyfishers.org

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his is a go to fly for many anglers. It is a generic pattern representing many different insects. With its white wing and brass bead it has been called a great searching pattern. Roger Thompson, Inkom, ID tied this one at the 2009 East Idaho Fly Tying Expo in Idaho Falls, ID. It was developed years ago by Craig Mathews and company at Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone, MT It can be used in streams or lakes. One reference said that it most effective in tail waters, but it is excellent in freestone waters. Any type of fly line can be used depending how deep you want to fish it. Some anglers use it as a dropper from a high floating pattern like a stonefly, hopper or may fly. When fishing it deep in a stream, adjust the length of the leader to be twice the estimated depth of the water. Then cast upstream so it will sink as it comes back to you. Watch end of the fly line to detect a strike. If you are using a floating pattern as a strike indicator be sure to watch it carefully. If the floating pattern does anything strange like stop, move upstream or sideways, tighten your line. It might be a rock or a nice brown trout. I usually don’t STRIKE because that is when the tippet breaks. I just tighten the line, and if it wiggles it is probably a fish. In lakes you can use a floating line or any of the sinking lines to put the fly in the proper place. Let the fly sink to where you think the fish are, and then retrieve the fly in a manner to attract the fish. Books have been written on the subject. MATERIALS & EQUIPMENT: Hook: DaiRiki 135, 14 Bead: Brass 3/32 Gold Thread: Uni-thread, 8/0 white Rib: Copper wire, small Body: Pheasant tail Wing: Darlon, Zelon or Sparkle yarn, white Step 1: Attach thread behind bead. Step 2: Hold copper wire on top of hook, and wind thread over it to past the barb. Step 3: Attach 6 or 8 pheasant tail fibers on top of hook. Step 4: Wind thread forward to just behind the bead, and then wrap peacock tail fibers forward to bead, secure and trim excess. Step 5: Spiral the copper wire forward and secure. Wiggle the wire to break it off. Sometimes when the wire is cut, a sharp edge is left that cuts the thread. Also Roger is reluctant to use his good scissors for cutting wire. Step 6: Select a small bundle of Darlon, and attach it as a wing behind the bead. Trim at back of the body. (Other tiers make shorter wings.) Step 7: Whip finish, trim thread and coat thread winds with a little head cement. As with any great fly there are a few variations. One tier used chartreuse wire. Another added two winds of lead free wire and shoved into the back of the bead. Two others added a peacock herl thorax (under the wing and in front of the wing). They all sing the praises of the Shop Vac as a great fish catcher. It is easy to tie, so tie a few and go fishing.

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www.ddrvcenter.com Smith River Float Application Must Be Postmarked No Later Than February 15th MFWP I

t’s time to start planning for the upcoming Smith River float season. Permits required to float the 59-mile section of river between Camp Baker and Eden Bridge are issued each year through a lottery. The permit application period began January 3; applications must be postmarked or submitted no later than February 15. Applications are available online at fwp.mt.gov and at all Fish, Wildlife & Parks offices. To streamline the application process and increase the odds of drawing a coveted permit, several changes will go into effect in 2011. Applicants are no longer required to submit float fees with their permit application. Instead, applicants will pay a $10 nonrefundable permit application fee. Those who receive a permit will pay their float fees at Camp Baker just prior to launching. Results of the permit drawing will be posted on the FWP website February 22. Successful applicants will receive a permit and information packet in the mail. Unsuccessful applicants will no longer be contacted via mail. Permit applicants must be a minimum of twelve years of age at the time of application. Children under 12 will still

be allowed to float the Smith River. FWP is also implementing a one-year waiting period for those who draw a permit through the lottery for a peak season launch date (May 15 through July 15). Those individuals will still be allowed to apply the following year for launch dates outside of the peak season, join other permitted trips, or acquire cancelled permits. Also new this year is the Smith River Super Permit. The lucky winner of the Super Permit will be eligible to launch on any date of their choosing, including the peak season. The cost of entering the Super Permit lottery is $5 per chance and participants may purchase an unlimited number of chances. Float fees are not included with the Super Permit and are payable at Camp Baker on the date of launch. The money from the sale of Super Permit chances will go towards the protection and enhancement of the Smith River. The deadline to enter the Super Permit lottery is March 17. Chances may be purchased online and at any FWP regional office or license provider. Additional information about the permit application process and Smith River State Park and River Corridor can be found at fwp.mt.gov or by calling the FWP Region 4 office at 406-454-5840.


12 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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FEBRUARY 2011

We have most anything you need for cold weather fishing. • Coldest Beer Around • Snacks • Biggest Cigar Selection • Fishing Gear • Check Out Our Novelty Section

2 LOCATIONS

615 Helena Ave. corner Last Chance Gulch & Helena Ave. 406.443.8084 OR ON YOUR WAY TO THE LAKE at 200 S. Montana Off Highway 12 East - East Helena 406.227.6519

Put A Different Angle In Your Dangle

BY NEAL M. COTE’ Just sitting there waiting for a tip up flag to fly might not be your only chance at icing pike this winter!

T

Ice Fishing: The Basic Equipment UTAH DIVISION OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES or meal worms. You can catch any species atching fish through the ice of fish through the ice using these worms. doesn’t require a lot of fancy equipment. They’re the best baits to use in the winter.” A short fishing rod and reel, a package of Cushing says wax worms and meal worms and a few hooks are about all you need. worms are easy to keep alive in the winter, You don’t need a lot of fishing and they’ll last longer on your hook. equipment to catch fish through the ice. If you like to fish with lures, buy In fact, if you just want to give ice some small ice flies or small jigs. Cushing fishing a try, you don’t even need an ice auger. says these flies and jigs come in a variety Drew Cushing, warm water sport of colors. fisheries coordinator for the Division of “Make sure you buy a variety of Wildlife Resources, says you’ll usually find colors,” Cushing says. “That way, you’ll have plenty of predrilled holes on the ice fishing the color the fish want on any given day.” waters you visit. “If anglers drilled the holes A digging bar or an ice auger. A just a day or two before,” he says, “they’ll manual ice auger (one you turn by hand) have only an inch or two of ice in them. Just costs about $50. You can pick up a digging break that thin ice and you’re in business.” bar for as little as $5 to $10. If you want to drill your own Cushing says some anglers use holes, though, you’ll need an ice auger or gas-powered augers. But he says a gasa digging bar. A way to create a hole—and powered auger usually isn’t needed. the most basic fishing equipment you can “If you have a hand auger,” he imagine—are all you need to catch lots of says, “you can drill through six to eight fish and have lots of fun. inches of ice in about a minute. Unless In addition to warm clothes and you’re trying to drill through two feet of waterproof boots, Cushing says the folice, a gas-powered auger usually isn’t lowing gear is all you need to catch fish needed.” through the ice in the winter: Because fish bite softly in the -A short fishing rod and a small reel. winter, you may also want to buy -Fishing line. attachments that will help you detect the -A package of wax worms or meal worms, subtle bites of the fish. Spring bobbers, and some small hooks. tip-ups and various floats are among the “Don’t use nightcrawlers,” Cushing items that will help you know you have a says. “In the winter, use wax worms fish on the end of your line.

C

ip-up fishing is one of the oldest methods for catching Pike through the ice. It is the standard, and on good trips almost always produces. But if you hit one of those slower days, it is one of the most boring ways to spend a day on the ice. If, however, you noticed the guys over fishing perch and asked them how many times that pike strike their smaller jigs, and you can begin to see that there may be more than just tip-ups and smelt that will let you target these toothy tackle busters. If you can’t just sit there and wait for the fish to come to you, then you might think about using a different approach. SWIMMING JIGS Jigging Rapalas, Salmo Chubby Darters and many other variations of the same can allow you to cover more water and trigger neutral fish quicker. If you need a larger bait, a big tube skirt over a plain jighead is a good choice Most of these baits are very easy to fish. A simple and basic lift & drop of the bait and they trace a slow and enticing figure 8 through the water as they fall. The area they cover under the ice can be adjusted by how far you jig your rod tip and how fast, the longer the jigging stroke, the bigger the pattern. (See image A) That being said, you will have to drill more holes over the area you are going to fish. And you will want to limit your time at each hole to about five minutes. The great thing about swimming jigs is their ability to attract fish from further distances. Most of the strikes are bone jarring, but some can be down right soft as well. Sometimes a fish will move up and watch the bait as it moves and be triggered as it falls. Watch your line, and if it goes slack on the fall or you see

IMAGE A - BY NEAL M. COTE’ it “bounce” get tight and set the hook. All of these baits should be teamed up with a steel leader, as the snap on the lure side allows for a better action of these swimming jigs and keeps you from getting bitten off. WHERE TO START Picking a location is key. Target transition areas that fish will move up on as the day progresses, for you are looking to target fish as they move to an edge to feed. Weed edges are the best as pike use these to slowly cover water looking for other fish like perch to feed on. Check out the map below, it is a good example of a typical pike lake.

(continued on page 35)


FEBRUARY 2011

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

Ice Fishing With The Captain Mark Ward

We decided to rent a 12x16 foot cabin. The cabin rents for $180 for three nights or $140 for two nights and sleeps four. Plan on bringing a generator for power, a 1000 watt will work just fine for the cabin lights. You will need about 40 pounds of propane as the cabin is equipped with a propane heater to keep it comfortable inside. Pack about 20 gallons of gas for t’s been a while since I your snowmobiles or ATV and have had the chance to plan an ice generator. For cooking you will need fishing trip to Crooked Creek on a camp stove and/or a barbecue grill. Fort Peck Reservoir. For the last eight years Crooked Creek, which is Bring about 20 gallons of water as on the west end of this 134 mile long there is no running water. A table and two chairs will also make your lake, has been dry. In the last three years the lakes water level has risen stay more enjoyable. Bring plenty of food, just in case you get snowed in close to 30 feet. The increase and have to wait for the road to be in water has enabled ice fisherman plowed. to start fishing again. Another option for overnight In 2000 a state record accommodations is to bring your walleye was caught by Dan Spence own. A pickup camper or wall tent from Belgrade in Crooked Creek work well. that weighed over 16 pounds. That We fished with tip-ups record stood until it was broken and used live minnows that can be with a fish that was caught out of purchased in Winnett at the Bait Tiber Reservoir. So needless to say Shop, phone 406-429-2086. The Bait Crooked Creek is normally a good Shop also handles the cabin rental spot to ice fish. and can give you current fishing Jim Johnson from Lincoln information, as well as road and ice and I, started to plan a trip in conditions. December that we ended up taking There is no cell phone in January. Planning an ice fishing coverage, but there is a pay phone so trip to Crooked Creek is no easy bring your calling card. task. Finally there is no question It is located in the middle in my mind, that if planned properly, of North central Montana 50 miles this should be the best ice fishing from a town called Winnett. trip you will go on this winter. There are no services such as gas and food. Then there are the ice conditions of the lake, as well as making it through the 50 miles of gravel road off Highway 200. The current ice conditions included 12 inches of ice, but in spots about a foot of slush and snow was on top of the ice. This made Mark Ward is known as the Captain of it impossible to use a four wheeler the Montana Outdoor Radio Show heard to get around, so we opted for statewide every Saturday from 6am - 8am. snowmobiles. Navigating the 50 miles of Log onto gravel road took a little longer than www.montanaoutdoor.com to find a radio we expected, because we got stuck station in your area. You can also read his in a snowdrift about 6 miles from weekly column in the Thursday Crooked Creek. Missoulian Outdoor section.

I

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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14 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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Montana Fishing Report

FEBRUARY 2011

Sponsored By Boston Beer Co. And Summit Beverage

BE A LITTLE TWISTED CHRIS MADSEN

Western Montana Fishing Report Brought To You By Missoula

BY CHRIS MADSEN, (406) 523-9000 e-mail: fishing-115@live.com

F

ebruary is usually the month I am most likely to get a case of some serious cabin fever. You know the feeling: too many consecutive days of cold, dark and snow keeping you pinned inside, with only the occasional ice fishing or steelheading trip to break the routine. By now I am usually in serious need of a few days spent outside, fishing open water with a fly rod, in weather warm enough to fish for more than an hour without feeling your toes go from extremely painful to uncomfortably numb. This is the kind of madness that makes you willing to consider crazier-thannormal thoughts, like intentionally fishing for whitefish, or moving to California. Like I said, crazy thoughts. But even if we don’t get an out of the ordinary warm up there are many fishing prospects in western Montana to get excited about. Let’s take a look. Georgetown continues to be our most productive and popular hard-water fishery. The surface of the ice has thawed and refrozen a couple of times now which doesn’t give us the best ice but it is better than standing in the slush that was there. Early morning seems to be about the best time to catch the trout bite and the best time for the salmon has been from about midnight to sun rise. Plenty of nice trout and smaller numbers of salmon continue to be taken on the standard Georgetown fare, rocker jigs, Hali Jigs, glo hooks, tear drop jigs and the like. Tipping your hook with a maggot, corn or a piece of night crawler

RYAN ONGLEY

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Southwest Montana Fishing Report Brought To You By Bozeman

BY RYAN ONGLEY (406) 586-0100

Spring is around the corner!! shouldn’t be forgotten. The best fishing is usually along points and the outer edges of the bays, in slightly deeper water than earlier in the season. Seeley, Salmon and the other lakes of the Clearwater drainage should continue to provide a variety of ice fishing opportunities, and lots of good fishing prospects. Northern Pike are the primary targets in Salmon and Seeley, and are most readily taken on tip-ups with herring or smelt. Spearing is an option for those with a lot of Viking in their blood, although cutting a big enough hole to spear through in two feet of ice may be challenging enough on its own. Placid has been fishing well for the perch using small tear drop jigs and . Harper’s, Rainy, Alva and many of the higher lakes in the area are fine choices for trout, perch and sometimes salmon. Many can be reached easily from the highway, and some of the snowmobile accessed lakes will offer you great scenery, fishing, and solitude in abundance. If, like me, you long to get out and fly fish some moving water, February usually offers some good chances, particularly later in the month. After a few days of above-freezing temperatures, most of our trout streams will offer good nymphing prospects, and some of our early spring hatches will have begun by the end of the month. If you hit the Bitterroot or Clark Fork, Zebra midges, WD-40s,

lightning bugs, San Juan worms and glo bugs suspended under an indicator can put the bend back in your fly rod that’s been missing since December. If you’re fishing Rock Creek take some #10 stonefly nymphs. This river has a healthy population of stoneflies and they are a year round food source that trout have a tough time resisting. February can still be a bit of a crapshoot weather-wise, but don’t be surprised to see some spring-like dry fly fishing if you are out on the right day. Make sure you have some miniscule midge adult patterns in the #20 and #22 range to drift over these picky risers. Long leaders with fine tippets will help increase your chances. By March, BWO’s, Skwala stones and small black winter stoneflies are all active in Montana’s rivers, especially the tail waters and freestones on the Western slope. February will see some excellent steelhead action on the Clearwater River all month long, and on the Salmon whenever the ice breaks up. Anglers do very well on bobber and jig set-ups, as well as with corky and yarn drift rigs baited with shrimp or eggs. If you’re lucky enough to have access to a boat, back-trolling plugs or side drifting bait is an excellent means of putting some fish in your cooler. Fly fisherman will want to swing leeches or wet flies on sink-tips or dead drift small nymphs and egg patterns. (continued page 35)

Time continues to fly in Southwest Montana. February is here and spring will be upon us before we know it. Snowpack in the mountains has been looking very good so that is a great sign for our rivers in 2011. The ice fishing season got of to a good start and has remained steady throughout the winter. Good midge activity has also kept the flyfisherman busy on the days when the mercury rises to above freezing. And generally February sees quite a few days where we can begin to get out on our area rivers for a few fun days chasing some rising trout. UPPER MADISON RIVER: Keep in mind the wade section of the upper will be closing from Quake Lake downstream to Lyons Bridge at the end of the month. This section will remain closed until the general opener in May. If you’ve never experienced winter fishing up here in the Reynold’s Pass and $3 Bridge areas make sure to get up here. You’ll be amazed on the warmer afternoons how good the midge activity can be with plenty of rising trout behind just about every rock. Good dry patterns include Zelon Midges in black, tan , or olive in sizes #20 - #22. Parachute Adams, Griffiths Gnats, as well in the same sizes. Nymphing with Stones trailed by a midge pupae #18 - #20, (continued on page 17)


FEBRUARY 2011

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Hunting Gear & Cold

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It’s a bitter cold day, you’ve been waiting for hours when suddenly the buck/bull/bear/boar of a lifetime steps into the open. You take careful aim, squeeze the trigger and absolutely nothing happens. Sound familiar? A couple weeks back I told you about how to be better prepared and equipped for a day outdoors in the cold. That piece addressed primarily your personal comfort and safety. But what about your equipment? Cold weather hunting can offer some particular challenges to your hunting gear, particularly guns, bows and optics; but only if you’re not prepared. If you’ve never experienced the frustration of a frozen firing pin consider yourself lucky, and perhaps wise. The wiser among we outdoorsmen are conscientious about keeping their guns sufficiently lubricated. Occasionally however, they’re a little over zealous. A little too much of the wrong type of lube on a sub-zero morning and your firing pin or other moving parts may freeze solid. Oil lightly, or better yet, use graphite or other non-liquid lubricants. Cold isn’t usually much of an issue with modern cartridges and smokeless powder. However, it can wreak havoc on black powder or its substitutes. Actually it’s not so much the cold as the drastic changes in temperature, which cause condensation that can render your powder weak or useless. There are several steps you can take when muzzleloading in cold weather. The most important is to avoid exposing your gun to rapid temperature changes. At the end of the day, put your gun in a padded case, even before loading it into your (heated) truck. If you can do so safely, store it outside, in a locked vehicle or un-heated building. Cold can also be a bane to optics, particularly when combined with moisture. And that moisture can be as minimal as your own breath. Exhale on your scope at the wrong time and you’re effectively blind. At the very least you should always carry a lens cloth and/or lens pen with you. You might also carry a handkerchief or scrap of material. Absorbent material like cotton will work far better than the moisture-wicking materials you should be wearing in cold weather. You can also treat your scopes and binoculars (and glasses if you wear them) with an anti-fogging solution. As with your muzzleloader, you should also avoid exposing your optics to rapid and dramatic temperature changes. Cold weather only adds to the list of things that could go wrong in the field. Fortunately, there’s much you can do to overcome at least some of them. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of wet powder.


FEBRUARY 2011

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Southwest Montana Fishing Report (continued from page 14) shop vacs #16 - #18, or $3 Dips in red, brown, or olive is a can’t miss nymph rig. Depending on weather and air temps sometimes February sees the breakup of the ice jam above Ennis. If this happens some incredible early season nymphing can be had between Varney Bridge and they Burnt Tree takeout. GALLATIN RIVER: The Gally has fished very well all winter long. Below Big Sky downstream through the Valley has produced on any day warm enough to be out in the elements. Nymphing with Stones, small mayfly nymphs, caddis pupae, and midge pupae, are always go to patterns. Drifting and twitching some larger sculpin or streamer patterns can reward the patient angler with some larger than average Gallatin trout.

CANYON FERRY RESERVOIR: The ice fishing season has been all in all quite good at Canyon Ferry especially for trout. Perch action has beed fair to good through the last few weeks with Walleye catch rates picking up. Swedish Pimples, Hali’s , Kastmasters, and Needlefish are all producing. Pink, red, green, and chartreuse have been the most consistent colors for lures. Crawler meat, maggots, and perch eyes are all possibilities for bait to tip your jigs. Trout have been feeding in the 20’-30’ range. With most perch and walleye success in the 45’ - 60’ depths. PARADISE VALLEY SPRING CREEKS: If you want some fun technical fishing head over to either Depuy’s, Armstong’s, or Nelson’s Spring Creek for a day. Winter rates will be in effect and for $40.00 on a warmer day it can be well worth it. once you catch a perch put the maggots away and use the perch eye, you will be surprised how good this works. HOLTER LAKE: 5 to 7 inches of ice at Departure Point and most of the lake is froze, but you still have to play it safe out there. Reports of perch and some smaller walleye have been iced. Like everywhere else, it seems trout and ling are the only ones getting iced often.

Dave Newborg

North Central Montana Fishing Report Brought To You By Helena

BY RC PEARCE (406) 457-7200 e-mail: fishing167helena@yahoo.com CANYON FERRY: The ice is pretty thick now. Lots of pick-ups have been on the ice by hole in the wall. Trout are about the only thing being caught consistently. A few good size perch have been caught and walleye fishing, is moderate. If you’re chasing walleye you should have a sonar unit and move around until you mark some, fish it and if they are not biting, move on. You can go out at night below the dam with some buddies and have a great time catching ling, use cut bait. HAUSER LAKE: Around 6 to 8 inches of ice. Once again its trout, that are consistent biters, although a guy reported catching 22 perch down by the power lines. Use worms for trout and pink maggots for the perch and walleye. But

REGULATING RESERVOIR: Good safe ice. Fishing is slow. SPRING MEADOW: This place is way under-rated for ice fishing. It’s close to town, and if you go with the kids and one gets cold, it’s easy to take them home real fast and be back out on the ice. Tons of pan fish, bass, and trout are there for the taking. Not many people in the Helena area get a chance to ice some bass, and this little pond does just that. Use a Halis jig with worm or maggots in 5 to 30 feet of water. A jigging rap will get some of the bigger bass. Ice fishing is in full swing now, with most of the lakes having good thick ice. With most of the ice derbies coming up, it might be worth updating your old auger, line, lures, and sonar. Plus a good sonar or underwater camera makes things a lot more enjoyable for you or the kids. We have all kinds of Marcum, Hummingbird flashers and cameras in stock. If you’re fishing perch in more than 25 feet of water and don’t have a flasher or camera you could be missing a lot of bites, because they suck the hook in and spit it out without ever really pulling on the line. I just had my firsts experience with a camera and let me tell you its really neat to see the fish like that and makes it a lot of fun. I put a Rapala rattle trap on and was jigging it and watching on the screen and after about two minutes jigging we had all kinds of fish swimming around and that’s when we started getting strikes. Have fun out there and be safe.

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 17

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2 lbs. Northern Pike - deboned, cut into 1” x 1” cubes 3 slices bacon 1-1/4 cup skim milk 2 large onions coarsely chopped 3/4 cup cream 1 tsp. dried leaf summer savory 1 tsp. salt and pepper 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaf 3 cups half-strength chicken stock 2 bay leaves 5 medium red potatoes peeled and diced

Smith Lake Derby Attracts 200+ Anglers MFWP The 40th annual Smith Lake Ice Fishing Derby held west of Kalispell

on Saturday, January 8 attracted a large crowd of over 200 anglers ranging from 1-80 years old. The event is put on by the Sunriser Lions Club as a public service to the community and as a way to make a modest amount of money to donate to family fishing pond programs. The Lions operated a food stand offering hamburgers, chili, and other items. “This is a great family event,” said Warren Illi of the Sunriser Lions Prepare the Pike cubes by washing and Club. “What pleased me in particular on set aside. Saturday is that we had a number of In a heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven with mothers out here with their kids having a a capacity of 6 quarts, cook the bacon over good time. That’s the future of fishing.” More than a foot of ice on the medium heat until well browned. Remove lake provided a safe event for all the bacon from pot with a slotted spoon participants. About 40 ice fishing and set aside on a paper towel to drain. shelters dotted the lake surface, reflecting Add the onion to the bacon grease and the strong turnout. Anglers landed pike cook until tender. Stir in the salt pepper, and perch on jigs tipped with maggots or summer savory, chicken stock, thyme, smelt. red potatoes, and bay leaves. Cook until Illi manned the weigh-in table the potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 set up for anglers to check in their catch minutes. in hopes of winning a prize. Winners included: While the potatoes cook, crumble bacon, and add it to the pot. Lay the Pike cubes Largest Pike: Dick Hembd, 4.16 pounds; on top of the chowder, and with your cooking spoon, press the cubes under the Smallest Pike: Johnny Cook, 0.46 pounds; surface. Cover the pot, remove it from the heat, and let it sit 40 minutes to let the Largest Perch: Terry Riley , 1.22 pounds; flavors mix. Bring the chowder back to a simmer over medium high heat and gently stir the milk and cream. Remove the bay leaves. Check the cubes by way of a fork to see if cubes flake easily. Sever with your favorite crackers, toast, fresh garden vegetables, or any type of sandwich. Send us your favorite game or fish recipe to share.

Smallest Perch: Zack Reimitz, 0.03 pounds. The Sportsman and Ski Haus of Kalispell provided prizes and maggots. Walleyes Unlimited provided 75 fishing rod-and-reel combinations for kids and for those who needed a rod. Flathead Wildlife, Inc., the local conservation club, offered a grand prize for the largest pike of a $50 gift certificate to the Sportsman Ski Haus.


18 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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If You’re Not Glassing You’re Not Trophy Hunting (continued from page 4)

Rocky Mountain Trophy

Big Game Records BOONE and CROCKETT CLU LUB B

®

www.booneandcrockettclub.com Kirk M Ma Macdonald Cougar 14-8/16 Idaho County, ID. 2008

New President Of Boone And Crockett Club: Ben B. Wallace BOONE AND CROCKETT CLUB

A

hunter, attorney, banker and businessman from Corpus Christi, Texas, Ben B. Wallace has been elected to serve as president of America’s oldest conservation organization, the Boone and Crockett Club. Theodore Roosevelt founded Boone and Crockett Club in 1887. Its mission includes promoting conservation and management of wildlife and their habitats, upholding the highest standards of fair-chase sportsmanship and maintaining records of native North American big game species. Wallace becomes the Club’s 29th president, following the tenure of Lowell E. Baier. Wallace has served as a club officer and as a member of various committees. He also is active in Pope and Young Club, Lone Star Bow Hunter’s Association, American Hunting Club, International Game and Fish Association, Texas Wildlife Association, National Rifle Association and Ducks Unlimited. The following is a statement issued by Wallace regarding his vision and direction for Boone and Crockett Club: “As the 29th president of the nation’s first national conservation organization, it is my responsibility to ensure efforts to address the major conservation and hunting heritage challenges the Boone and Crockett Club and our partners have been working on are carried through to completion and to set the course for the future. One of my greatest concerns is that

FEBRUARY 2011

loopholes exist in certain federal laws and regulations intended for the greater good of wildlife and wild places, and that these loopholes are actually blocking sound, science based management on public and private lands. Another concern is that provisions in these laws are allowing taxpayer’s moneys intended for wildlife management and conservation programs to be spent elsewhere. I also see the need for more like-minded groups to come together to address today’s challenges. Those who generate money for conservation and wildlife management need to be more closely linked with those who spend those monies on the ground. Hunting and shooting industry manufacturers whose products generate excise tax revenues should have a clear line of communication with federal and state wildlife agencies, conservation organizations and other wildlife professionals who understand the science and how best to spend these monies to benefit wildlife and their habitats. Finally, the hunter-conservationist community has potential allies in agriculture, forestry, energy development and fisheries who are facing many of the same struggles that we do on a day-to-day basis. I would like to see these groups come together. The way I see it, we will benefit from strength in numbers in terms of collectively addressing current and future challenges.”

Denny brought the rifle for just such a hunt, his custom .30 caliber creation shooting a .300 Super A3 cartridge he designed himself. The only similar off the shelf rifle would be a .300 Ultra Mag. Denny’s cartridge pushes the 168-grain, TTSX Triple Shock bullet at 3800 feet per second to provide a trajectory path that keeps the bullet from experiencing no more than 6-inches of rise or drop out to 500-yards. Denny had spent many hours behind his rifles shooting at 500-yards and knows the performance both he and the gun can deliver. Doyle knows mule deer and Denny knows rifles. Between them they formed a team to find the big bucks in the mountains outside Hanksville, Utah. The area was rugged, but they glassed bucks in the 200-plus class every day. Two hundred inch bucks are the ones you would never see unless situated on a good vantage point and glassing. The odds of bumping into one of these monsters while wandering around this country is close to zero. They are not average bucks but rather mature specimens that have survived by being smart. To counter their wariness Doyle had developed a process for glassing and will never hesitate to recommend you buy the best optics you can afford – both binoculars and spotting scopes. You must see bucks like this first and the only way to do it is from a distance. The logic behind this is simple; once you see them you can watch until they bed down. Once bedded, you can stalk to a vantage point within rifle range, get set up, and wait for the buck to get up and provide a standing shot. There is also a possibility of stalking to within range while the buck is feeding. The key is to see them before they see you. Glassing, then spotting a buck provides the best chance of shooting the buck on your terms. If he spots you while you are walking, your shot must be taken on his terms. The procedure is simple. Locate a good vantage point, downwind of your hunting area, then sit and patiently glass each ravine and canyon, looking into all the thick vegetation. When you think you’re done, start over and check it all again. Patience will kill more big bucks than speed. During the late morning on day two they spotted a buck that would score over 200 then watched him bed for the day. The buck was about a mile and a half away and after he lay down the stalk portion of the hunt began. It took a while but they eventually set up on a ridge above where the buck bedded. They had him covered and could now patiently wait for it to get up later in the afternoon to feed. Denny was set up for the 450yard shot using a solid, prone rest. Doyle had hunted with Denny before and knew

the wildcat rifle builder could make consistent 450-yard shots with the accuracy required to put a buck down when the time came. A half hour later another 200inch buck walked to the same spot then ran the bigger buck out of his bed and he escaped by disappearing into the timber. Such is hunting; the unknown and unthinkable can always happen. The second 200-incher was smaller; after setting their sights on the bigger buck Denny could not make himself take the shot. Watching the bigger buck had spoiled him. Later he kicked himself for not shooting the second buck as he was very symmetrical and any 200-inch buck is a trophy. The pair spent the next couple of days glassing from different locations with no results. It wasn’t until the sixth day Doyle whispered, “There’s a good one in that volcanic bowl.” Denny found the buck in his glasses and agreed, “He’s a good one but we can’t wait until he lies down, he will probably walk out of sight first.” Doyle agreed and the foot race was on. Almost two miles of country lay between them and the buck with a deep gorge in between that would block their view. The buck could lie down or move to the next mountain while out of their sight. The advantage was with the buck. The two climbed the old volcano enduring tough stretches where uphill movement was slow forcing them down on all fours to scale the steep cone. Nearing the rim the two went into “stealth mode,” not knowing if the buck had moved during their two-hour climb. When Doyle carefully peeked around a huge volcanic boulder he found the buck feeding on bitterbrush leaves on the opposite side of the volcano plateau. He motioned to Denny that the buck was there and Denny quickly slipped into position for a broadside shot as the buck fed. Events unfolded quickly with three things happening at once: the buck turned his head and spotted Doyle and Denny. Doyle said, “Shoot, the buck made us!” Denny pulled the trigger. At the shot the buck leaped while both the hunters watched every movement, they didn’t want him to leap off the volcano’s flattop and run or worse, slide down the steep side. The buck made two leaps before his front legs folded and he slid to a halt at the edge of the plateau, just inches from rolling down the side. Both hunter and guide sighed with relief. When things calmed down Denny commented, “I am more than glad he didn’t roll down the other side,” and Doyle replied, “Yes, now we only have to drag him out about a mile instead of three.” The buck looked as big on the ground as he had while glassing and scored 228.


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MONTANA SPORTSMEN FOR FISH AND WILDLIFE OFFICIAL MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION or join online at www.mt-sfw.org SFW Makes Major Headway In The Wolf War W

e finally have some good news on the wolf front and some bad news for Montanans pertaining to some other issue in this months Column. Let’s start with the good news. Recently as you may or may not know, MT SFW has been working with SFW’s national Chapter and affiliated state chapters and also with Big Game Forever on the wolf issue. In conjunction with those two groups we’ve been able to show the severity of the wolf problem to Congress. We now also have RMEF, Mule Deer Foundation, SCI and a few other heavy hitters just to name a few on board the de-listing train. More and more the sportsmen, outfitters, landowners, etc. see that this is an issue that affects us all. For the first time in many years, these groups are now banding together to make sure if Wolf delisting happens, it’s done right. A meeting is being scheduled in Washington D.C. in mid-February to discuss this issue with key members of Congress (House and Senate) and their staffers. RMEF, SFW and a few others will be in those meetings. I’ve been extended and invitation from Ryan Benson – National Director – Big Game Forever, to make this trip and assist in anyway possible. We are getting very close, but again, our two Senators from Montana are the only ones in the Western U.S. opposed to our pieces of legislation, those being HB 6028 and SB 3919. Please continue to let them know that this is unacceptable with phone calls and e-mails. Your efforts, along with other concerned members of RMEF and SCI, made a huge difference in killing the “watered-down”

“Eco-Nazi” version of a wolf delisting bill that nearly passed in the dead of the night in December. It would have raised the minimum #’s far above what we agreed upon, and did nothing to address the litigation and appeals process. We feel our Legislation can be reintroduced and pushed through the house in early February, leaving the final battle in the Senate. I’ll continue to update SFW Members in Montana, and concerned folks, just the same, in next month’s column for March. Hopefully this meeting in D.C. will happen and be the key to get this done for good. Now for the bad news; we are already seeing the adverse affects of I-161. Many landowners’ are shutting their gates to places that once used to be open to the public. Also with tag reduction in the east, we are seeing some harsh effects. “Sportsmen for Responsible Wildlife Management” is a coalition of Ranchers, Outfitters, and Hunters in Eastern MT that was formed by SFW Member Paul Ellis. This was done under the auspice of working with FWP on these tag reductions and lost hunting opportunities. FWP seemingly again has turned a deaf ear to this issue and are, at first look, attempting to force access on private land owners, while hurting the economies of many of the small towns out east affected by this ill-advised tag reduction. Especially as many units have Elk counts well above objective.numbers. It makes no sense. SFW is looking at addressing this as well and possibly parting with Mr. Ellis’s Coalition in the near future This issue seems just plain bad for Montanans. I know of several Montana land

BY BILL MERRILL - STATE PRESIDENT, MONTANA SPORTSMEN FOR FISH AND WILDLIFE

owners in the East, North Central and also out West who have now closed more than 1 million acres (collectively) of their lands to hunting. This is land that the public used to be able to access and hunt. This is not the direction we want to be going in Montana. We will soon look more like the private hunting clubs in Texas if we are not careful. Why you ask is this happening? Because of I-161 and also FWP’s heavy handed tactics. I spoke at the Montana Outfitter’s and Guides Association’s annual convention in Billings this past weekend. Many things have been done to the MOGA community this year to seemingly try and put these hard working Montana folks out of business. There is a place for Outfitters and Guides and these family operated businesses in Montana. It’s a big state, lots of land, and you and I don’t need all of it. Trust me. If these folks are forced out of business, then the anti-hunting crowd wins another victory. Take this from a man who hunts D-Y-I, on public lands exclusively, with a bow, fair chase. I did not fill a tag this year and it wasn’t an outfitter or guides fault. It is the fault of our FWP and the Anti-Hunting establishment for not managing to an abundance of game in this state. Colorado has half the carrying capacity and supports 280,000 head of Elk. We have roughly 100,000. What is wrong with that picture? I hold zero animosity and support the outfitters and guides. Look into the “Big Hearts under the Big Sky” program about hunts they do for terminally ill children and wounded veterans before you pass judgment. Ask yourself if you are reading this, “What

have I done to help the wildlife, habitat, or the outdoor economy lately in Montana”. That answer is probably nothing. We have over 250,000 hunters and anglers in this state and many don’t even belong to a good organization like Trout Unlimited, SFW, RMEF, MOGA, NRA, MDF, SCI, or a host of others. But they will be the first to complain and point the finger as we see outdoor opportunities diminish, along with access and game herds. We need to hold our elected officials, state legislators, Governor Schweitzer and his FWP Commission accountable for 75% of the problems in our state. Sportsmen also need to look in the mirror and see what concessions or sacrifices they are willing to make as access shrinks, game herds crash, and predators run un-checked. Maybe a $30-$50 donation to a good group would be a good start. Times tough? Look at the $75 tank of gas you put in your truck each week to drive to the “honey hole” during the hunting season, only to find out nothing was there, again….. See a trend here? SFW is committed to sovereign state rights to hunt, fish and trap on our public lands in Montana a well as protect our sheep, cattle and domestic pets from predation. Collectively we can bring pressure to our FWP Director and Commissioners to listen to us and work with us. If you agree with these principles and wish to save our family heritage, I encourage you to become a member of Montana SFW through the above membership card or our website at www.mt-sfw.org. Every dime raised stays in Montana to fund efforts for our lands and wildlife and to fight exploding predator populations that have had a severe impact in many areas and on our wildlife and livestock.


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Carla Appleton of Missoula First Buck - 2009

Terry Dolecheck of Helena with his 2009 Moose taken near Red Rock Lakes. Scored 167 Green.

Jake Harris of Stevensville with his 2009 Whitetail Buck taken in Alder, MT.

Josh Fields of Missoula with his 2009 Bull Elk

Keith Stockard of Superior with his 2009 15” Pronghorn Antelope taken near Kaycee Wyoming

Jerry Geraci, Outfitter with his Stone Sheep taken in Northern British Columbia.

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Chukars kars White Geese Don’t Follow Hunt Pheasants & Chu

The Rules

By Asa Merriam

September through March Limits are likely with our variety of different covers, including gently rolling native grassland, a lightly wooded creek bottom and grassy meadows.

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With the fall duck season behind us, and nine months to wait until the next one, most waterfowlers are switching their thoughts to the spring nuisance or Conservation goose season in order to enjoy a few more hunts. Without changing tactics after many years hunting Canadian geese, I’ve perfected my goose blind tactics and they take geese year after year, season after season. Switching from the grey and black birds of fall to the white geese of early spring requires a couple dozen decoys in a field of picked corn that has been disked to knock down the standing stalks. These fields stand out like a bowl of chocolate pudding for geese and draw them like magnets. Designating one, possibly two, people on the calls while hiding in lay-down or coffin blinds, dressed in full dirt-colored camouflage, we are in business. We’ve pulled the plugs that restrict the guns to three shots and now they hold five. We have chosen a spot where the geese come off a large lake on an adjacent property, never gain much altitude, and fly low like crop dusters before landing among the decoys in the opening especially designed to provide a landing space. There were white geese all over this field yesterday morning and it should be a repeat today except some won’t be leaving! After setting our decoys in the dark we crawl into the camouflage blinds with shotguns at our side along with a thermos of hot coffee, munchies, and a box of shells. As the sun peeks above the stubble I look out from my camouflaged bed to see if the decoys are really in the correct location after placing them in the dark. We used the J-pattern popular with duck hunters to provide open areas right in front of us, and the wind is in our face. Perfect. In the spring season there is no limit and I imagine a dump truck waiting at the edge of the field to come in and pick up dead birds then driving out, hauling a load of feathery snow!

Shortly, I hear the noise of thousands of geese coming from a nearby reservoir moving out to feed. We started on our goose calls and got little or no sign of acceptance as wave after wave of geese pass overhead. I would think when thousands of geese fly overhead there should be at least one or two that would come to our decoys and bring a second group down to at least look us over but not a one broke formation. That morning I learned white geese don’t follow the same rules as our trophy-size Canada’s. We didn’t fire a shot and now I was angry with these white dream breakers and consulted a local outfitter to find out why these geese were not following the rules. His answer: Snow geese and the Canadians are as different as black and white, pardon the pun. Throw out everything that worked with Canadians when hunting snows, except your shotgun. Snow geese flock in large groups and can live 20-years. During that time they continue to learn and expand their tactics to avoid hunters. I have never met anyone that has hunted them for 20-years so we are rookies dealing with the smartest geese that lead the flock. Here’s what we learned: Rule#1: Snows, unlike Canadas, do not always return to a good feeding location. Rule # 2: They won’t decoy like Canadas. We never called down even a young, dumb bird. These birds left the lake and quickly gained altitude rather than feeding here for a second morning. Rule#3: Snows don’t like Canada goose decoys. They wanted white ones, 50 to 100 strong. Our four-dozen Canadians didn’t even warrant a second glance. The accuracy of the decoys and quality can be altered because white rags will work to fill out a decoy spread. Rule #4: They do not land behind other birds like the Canadas. They land in front. Even whites on the ground and eating will lift off and move forward, landing in front

of the other feeding geese. My solution? Toss out the rulebook to be successful. Scouting definitely plays a major role but don’t do all the work of putting out decoys, then sit all morning protecting them from geese that won’t land. Today’s enormous flocks are difficult to decoy. In the past they were much less plentiful and the smaller flocks were easier to decoy. Now the hundreds of eyes can pick a decoy spread apart from 200-yards away. Luckily, the lost goose looking for companionship presents a 60-40 chance of being called in if you convince him one of your white rags is his mate. These birds have been shot at for about five months each year during their lifetime, so a lot of their life is spent “dodging the bullet” so to speak. Another problem is that during the spring season the milder weather doesn’t require as much food so they will feed for a shorter time and less often as they migrate north.

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3506 Highway 435 Augusta, MT. Phone: 406-562-3553 E-mail: birds@shocoranch.com One trick is to scout and hunt smaller flocks, which is completely different from hunting the Canadians. Successful hunts are planned out very carefully with lots of decoys needed to attract even smaller groups of birds. Along with using an electronic call, every hunter should also be calling, even if they don’t call well, to make the decoys come to life. Change the volume on the electronic call and changing the tape will be helpful. Today there are many snow goose tapes on the market; get one or two along with a set of white coveralls. The more white the better. Add in some wind sock decoys to take advantage of spring winds that move the decoys well at 10-20 miles per hour. Toss the Canada goose rule book, buy more decoys than you think you’ll ever need, then get a few more, unplug the shotgun and turn up the volume on your electronic caller and you’ll be successful hunting white geese.


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2010 Brought Tragedy, Successes For Idaho Fish And Game IF&G For Idaho Fish and Game, 2010

was the worst of times, the best of times. The agency suffered two helicopter accidents, one with injuries only and the other with three fatalities; completed its first regulated wolf hunt only to have wolves returned to the endangered species list; and experienced one of the best salmon and steelhead returns in decades. The year got off to a rocky start when a helicopter carrying two Idaho Fish and Game biologists crashed just past noon on January 8, in the Kelly Creek area on the North Fork of the Clearwater River. None of the three people on board suffered life-threatening injuries. The two research biologists were trapping and radio-collaring elk, moose and wolves in the Clearwater Region. Idaho’s first regulated wolf season closed March 31, and hunters took 188 wolves of a harvest limit of 220. Fish and Game sold a total of 31,400 wolf tags - 30,619 resident and 781 nonresident tags - for the seven-month season that ran from September 1, 2009, in some zones to March 31, 2010. Harvested wolves ranged in size from 54 to 127 pounds - males averaged 100 pounds, and females averaged 79 pounds. Of the wolves taken, 58 percent were male, and 15 percent were juveniles less than one year old. U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula on August 5 issued an order returning the gray wolf in Idaho and the Northern Rocky Mountains to the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Idaho Fish and Game returned to its non-hunting season wolf management. Plans for a wolf hunting season in the fall of 2010 were suspended, and some holders of 2010 wolf tags were eligible for refunds. Wolves south of Interstate 90 in Idaho reverted to management under a section of the Endangered Species Act known as the 10(j) rule. Wolves north of Interstate 90 in Idaho returned to the full protection of the Endangered Species Act. The ruling set aside the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2009 decision to

remove gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains from the endangered species list. Then in October, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter returned responsibility for managing wolves in Idaho to the federal government, ending Idaho Fish and Game’s role in managing wolves. A helicopter carrying two Idaho Fish and Game fisheries biologists and a pilot crashed in Kamiah on the morning of August 31, leaving three dead. “I am heart broken to report that this morning we had a helicopter accident near Kamiah,” Fish and Game Director Cal Groen said. “Two employees and the pilot were on board. All three were killed. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and to all employees as we go through this difficult time.” Two were pronounced dead at the scene; the third was taken to a hospital but was later pronounced dead. Dead are Larry Barrett, 47 of Lewiston, who worked for Fish and Game since 1985, and Dani Schiff, 34 of Lewiston, who worked for Fish and Game since 1997, and pilot Perry Krinitt, 43, of Belgrade, Montana. The biologists were on their way to count salmon redds - spawning nests - on the nearby Selway River. Fish and Game biologists have counted redds annually since the 1950s using fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. The counts are the primary index of the status of naturally spawning salmon. Aerial counts are the only to way to count many of Idaho’s remote and wilderness streams. Idaho anglers saw an outstanding year for salmon and steelhead, and record numbers of sockeye salmon returned to the high mountain lakes of central Idaho. For the first time in decades, most of the places anglers can fish for Chinook salmon were open on the Fourth of July weekend in 2010. Recreational anglers caught 18,453 adult and 1,748 jack spring and summer Chinook salmon from the Clearwater, Snake and Salmon rivers, and an estimated 62,389 steelhead (continued next page)

Catching A Predator BY DAVE PRICE

T

he northern pike is a popular game fish throughout North America. They can be found from the Rockies, upper Midwest, out in the west coast states, throughout much of Canada and in Alaska. Their favorite habitat ranges from sluggish streams, weed infested areas in man-made lakes, cold water streams and in glacial lakes in Canada and Alaska. They are typically ambush predators that lie in wait among the rocks, weeds or along the bottom of a body of water waiting for their prey to swim by. Once they spot their prey they accelerate quickly then attack and devour their victim in a lightning-quick burst of fury, muscle and sharp teeth. The northern pike is known as a pike in the United Kingdom, jackfish in Canada and northern pike in the US. It is most often drab olive green which shades to yellow and white along the fish’s belly. Its flank is marked with short, bar-like spots that are lighter than the olive background giving the fish a perfect mottled camouflage that is suitable for hiding among aquatic plants and rocks. Dark spots on the fish’s fins add to the camouflage. Younger pike will usually have yellow stripes along their green body – as the fish matures the stripes divide into light spots and the body color turns from dark green to olive green. The lower half of the gill cover lacks scales and they have large sensory pores on their head and the underside of their lower jaw which are part of their lateral line system. Pike will inhabit any water body that contains fish, but they require suitable places for spawning. Because of the cannibalistic nature of large pike young pike fry need feeding and security cover where they can take shelter among the rocks and aquatic plants so that they can survive. Northern pike fishing is popular because pike give a big fight that few other fresh water fish can match. They are aggressive predatory fish and anglers can use their predatory nature against them while angling. Pike respond well to a number of fishing techniques including casting, trolling and tempting them with large streamer flies during a fast stripping retrieve. Anglers who

enjoy northern pike fishing love the chase, the burst of activity during the hook set and the fight that these freshwater giants provide. There are a lot of pike fishing tips out there and I have tried most of them including a few “off the wall” techniques that I picked up along the way, but the pike’s predatory instinct is the key to fishing for them successfully. Pike are aggressive and defend their territory against anything that swims through their neighborhood. Using conventional tackle, a red and white Dare Devil or big Rapala jerk baits are favorite ‘go to” lures. All have big barbed hooks which are required when trying to land large pike. Sometimes, it seems that the larger the lure a fisherman uses translates into catching larger pike – there’s just something about large, brightly colored and life-like lures that aggressive pike can’t resist. Bait fishing is arguably the least successful method used for fishing for northern pike. Many fishermen use the technique as a last resort when nothing else seems to work. Rigging a live chub with a large hook attached can be reasonably effective. Big pike will probably think it’s a free lunch. Smaller lures like rubber worms or small jigs don’t tend to work as well, but a lot depends on the place and exact circumstances of where and when you’re fishing. Pike are aggressive fish, so there are many choices when it comes to finding tackle that works. What he doesn’t want to eat he wants to fight so as long as you can get him to take the bait through any legal means then you’re in business. Pike are aggressive, but sometimes they like to toy with their prey before they eat it so don’t get frustrated if there are some light taps, but no strong strikes. Just be patient - the pike will take the bait after he is done playing with his food. Winter time ice fishing is a great way to catch pike through a hole in the ice, but we’ll focus on summer fishing techniques. Summer time hits are usually hard and aggressive with a short fight that feels like you’ve hooked a much (continued)


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larger fish. Usually, the subsequent fight will be violently aggressive. I recommend using a medium heavy to heavy weight rod with enough spine to withstand the violent side to side action that follows the hook set. If fishing for pike using fly fishing tackle is your game I recommend using a balanced eight or nine weight rod with a heavy braided bite tippet or a steel leader. Use a large streamer fly that resembles the bait fish that live where you’re fishing. For any tackle, but especially fly fishing tackle, avoid “high sticking” the rod once you’ve got the hook set – instead use a line stripping hook set and leverage generated by using a side-to-side motion when reeling the fish in. Keep your line tight and don’t generate any slack. If you set the hook using a traditional high stick set, at best, the fish will come unhooked, and at worst your expensive four piece fly rod may become a six piece rod. Fishing for northern pike using an ultra light fishing rod or a fly rod is great sport. When using an ultra light or a fly rod a fisherman can feel each tug and jolt of the fight with a large fish. Once you land a large northern pike take a look at his dental work – don’t try to “lip” one like I did on the first pike I caught. You’ll appreciate why I recommend using a steel leader or a heavy bite tippet. Fishing for northern pike is a thrill, and the memories will last a life time regardless of the other fishing adventures that you enjoy throughout your fishing career.

State Parks Enhance Montana’s 2010 Brought (continued from previous page) Economy MFWP during the 2010 spring steelhead located near parks.” season. Not only have parks seen V isitors to Montana’s state Anglers in the Snake River increased usage, park visitors were more parks spent $289 million throughout the state in 2010 according to an economic impact study completed this year. The comprehensive, survey-based assessment was conducted by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at The University of Montana. Total spending was up 35 percent from 2002, the last time a similar survey was executed. Montana State Parks had over 1.9 million visitors in 2010. This represents a 50 percent increase over park visitation in 2002. The majority of the increase was by Montanans, which increased nearly 79 percent. “State parks are places that Montanans go to recreate and learn about their history,” said Chas Van Genderen, State Parks Administrator. “The vehicle registration fee has made state parks accessible to all residents and they are clearly using them in large numbers.” The study showed that nonresident state park visitors stay in Montana for an average of seven days and spend $147 per day on gasoline, food, lodging, and other services and products. “Most of that spending is done within a 50-mile radius of a state park,” remarked Van Genderen. “That directly benefits those communities

satisfied with service and facilities in 2010 than in 2002. Staff service, parking, rest rooms, signs, picnic areas, interpretive displays, and roads all rated higher in the minds of park visitors. “The fact that visitors rated service and facilities the equivalent of 94 out of 100 speaks highly of the professional State Parks staff and the improvements and upgrades made over the past several years,” added Van Genderen. “This is up from a 90% rating in 2002, so we feel we are moving in the right direction.” According to the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, “The fundamental conclusion of this study is that Montana State Parks represent an invaluable resource for the economy of Montana’s regions, as well as the state as a whole. Satisfaction with the park experience, usage of parks, and spending, as well as ultimate economic impact, continues to grow. Clearly, the parks will continue to play an important role in the economic health of the state. “ The entire study can be found online at fwp.mt.gov or can be obtained by calling the State Parks office at (406) 444-3750.

from Lewiston to Hells Canyon Dam harvested 701 adult and 284 jack fall Chinook salmon in 2010. Sockeye salmon swam up the last part of Redfish Lake Creek for the first time in 20 years. Record numbers of Idaho’s captive broodstock program-produced sockeye salmon returned to the Sawtooth Valley to spawn. This year was good for sockeye in more than just Idaho. More adult sockeye returned from the ocean and crossed Bonneville Dam on the lower Columbia River than have been counted since the dam was completed in 1938. In 2010, 386,525 sockeye were counted at Bonneville; in 1938 75,020 were counted. The fewest returned to the Columbia in 1995, when 8,774 were counted at Bonneville. None returned to the Sawtooth Valley that year. In Idaho, 1,355 sockeye adults returned - that’s more than any year since 1956 when 1,381 returned.


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NWTF Project Spending Reaches Do Some Wildlife ‘09 Death Of Gray Wolf In CO. Tied To Banned Poison $805,000 in First Fiscal Quarter of ‘11 Viewing And U.S.F.W.S. NATIONAL WILD TURKEY FEDERATION Reporting Online Sportsmanship) program Law enforcement officials from -Wild Turkey Restoration, Management T he National Wild Turkey the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service MFWP and Research: Spent $44,311 to improve Federation distributed nearly $805,000 announced that the Yellowstone-area gray during the first quarter of the 2011 fiscal year to states and programs through the NWTF Hunting Heritage Super Fund. The NWTF Hunting Heritage Super Fund is used to advance the NWTF’s mission of promoting wildlife conservation and preserving our hunting heritage. To date, the NWTF and its partners have invested more than $331 million in upholding hunting traditions and conserving 15.9 million acres of wildlife habitat. Some of the NWTF’s Hunting Heritage Super Fund projects include improving wildlife habitat, supporting hunter education and providing opportunities for women, youth and people with disabilities to experience outdoor fun through outreach programs. The first quarter’s Hunting Heritage Super Fund spending included: -Habitat Enhancement: Spent $206,216 to improve wildlife habitat by creating more wild turkey nesting areas, planting trees and completing water development projects -Youth Education: Spent $145,605 to fund scholarships and educational projects, introduce youth to shooting sports, provide Wild About Turkey Education Boxes and conduct 4-H workshops -Land Purchases: Spent $115,659 to purchase land or conservation easements to conserve wildlife habitat and provide additional hunting areas -Hunter Safety: Spent $55,150 to support hunter safety classes and initiatives and purchase hunter safety materials and equipment -JAKES: Spent $44,664 to introduce youth to outdoor activities, conservation and hunting through the JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and

wildlife habitat by purchasing trapping, law enforcement and research equipment and providing research grant support -Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF: Spent $28,371 to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in outdoor activities and learn about wildlife conservation through Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF outreach events across North America -Women’s Programs: Spent $7,561 on programs, materials and equipment to introduce women to the outdoors, hunting and conservation -Hunting Heritage: Spent $5,500 to protect and promote our hunting heritage including contributions to the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and the National Shooting Sports Foundation -Rewards: Spent $2,864 to protect wild turkeys and other wildlife through support of state sponsored reward programs, the printing of reward signs and reward payments -NWTF chapters invested an additional $156,043 in other NWTF projects. In addition to helping fund projects like these, NWTF Hunting Heritage Super Fund banquets combine fun, fellowship and dedication to the wild turkey and wildlife. They’re a great place to meet friends who are passionate about the outdoors, win valuable prizes and buy items unique to the NWTF. By placing the highest bid, attendees can take home sporting art, furniture, hunting guns, knives, calls, outdoor equipment and more. The Hunting Heritage Super Fund supports the NWTF’s multitude of conservation and education programs with money raised from NWTF Hunting Heritage Banquets.

I

t may sound ironic, but the Internet is a great way to become a more interactive wildlife viewer or even a citizen scientist. Here are some of the possibilities. •Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ Discover Montana’s Ecosystems learning tool at fwp.mt.gov is full of vivid images and wildlife film clips that youngsters and adults will love. •Citizen scientists, who like to observe and report on the wildlife they see, can put their discoveries to work on the Internet. The Montana Natural Heritage Program’s Tracker at mtnhp.org allows people to register with the site and then log wildlife sightings--even those made from household birdfeeders--into the state database. Biologists use the database to track the distribution and well-being of species, while wildlife viewers also appreciate access to data on where various wildlife species were sighted. •On the Montana online Field Guide, a joint product of FWP and MTNHP at fieldguide.mt.gov, learn all about Montana’s wildlife species and see reported wildlife sightings summarized in charts and on maps for each species. For example, the pygmy rabbit’s relative density is mapped based on 1,221 individual field observations. Montana’s databases contain nearly 850,000 animal observations today, compared to 120,000 in 2005 thanks to Tracker and the public’s participation in wildlife viewing. To learn more about Montana’s wildlife work and how you might become involved online, or as a donor or volunteer, visit the FWP web site at fwp.mt.gov under the Wild Things tab’s Nongame Check-off link.

wolf found dead in Colorado in 2009 was illegally poisoned. The radio-collared female gray wolf was found near Rio Blanco County Road 60 on April 6, 2009 after researchers received the mortality signal from her GPS tracking collar. Toxicology tests performed at the National Fish and Wildlife Forensic Laboratory showed the two-year-old gray wolf, which had been captured and collared as part of a Montana research project, died from ingesting a banned poison known as Compound 1080. It is suspected the wolf ingested the poison near the site where she was found. With the investigation more than a year and a half old, investigators are now asking the public for information about the case. “When used improperly, Compound 1080 is an indiscriminate killer of wildlife, and we are asking the public to help us identify who used this banned poison in Colorado,” said Steve Oberholtzer, Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mountain-Prairie Region. Young gray wolves frequently disperse from their native pack, often traveling long distances in search of a mate and the opportunity to establish a new breeding pack. This wolf dispersed from her pack in Montana in September 2008. An analysis of signals received from her GPS collar shows she had traveled an estimated 3,000 miles in the seven months prior to her death. It is not unusual for lone wolves to travel such long distances in search of mates. Because of this wolf’s constant wide-ranging movements, biologists believe she did not encounter other wolves during her journey.


FEBRUARY 2011

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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 25

Hunting And Conservation News Elk Poaching Case Nets Nearly $40,000 in Fines & Restitution MFWP A

multi-year investigation into the illegal killing of elk in southern Phillips County has resulted in criminal convictions for 11 resident and nonresident hunters. According to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) Criminal Investigator Lennie Buhmann, a total of $37,300 in fines and restitution has been collected in the case, which involves defendants from Columbus and Shepherd, Mont., and South Dakota, Utah and Arizona. Eight of the 11 defendants also lost a total 22 years of hunting, fishing and trapping privileges in the 36 states involved in the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact. “The case involved a group of hunters from the Billings area, South Dakota, Utah and Arizona who hunted south Phillips County from 2000 to 2009, killing elk without licenses and valid permits while loaning licenses to those in the hunting party who did not have them,” Buhmann said. “When the hunters were confronted about their violations, most of them were honest and owned up to what they had been doing for almost a decade.” The three-year-long investigation resulted in two search warrants being served on a hunting camp/lodge in southern Phillips County and a residence in Yellowstone County. Defendant interviews were conducted by the FWP Region 6 Enforcement team and officers from the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks. “Without the help of the officers in South Dakota, successful prosecution of this case would not have been possible,” Buhmann said. In all, 11 unlawfully killed bull elk were recovered. Two of the bulls were trophy class, which resulted in $8,000 in restitution being charged for each. Another animal, a cow elk, was also unlawfully killed but was not recovered. The defendants, who were primarily prosecuted in Phillips County Justice Court, include: ·Donald Ray Keever, 54, of Shepherd, Mont. Charged with four misdemeanor counts of possessing unlawfully killed bull elk and two counts of loaning an elk license to another person. Fined $1,910, paid $8,500 in restitution, and lost hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for eight years. ·Howard F. Keever, 63, of Columbus, Mont. Charged with two counts of possessing an unlawfully killed bull elk; one count of using two-way communications to hunt;

and one count of loaning an elk license to another person. Paid $1,405 in fines and lost hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for two years. ·Ben L. Krogman, 58, of White River, S.D. Charged with six counts of killing bull elk without a valid license and two counts of loaning an elk license to another person. Fined $3,680, paid $6,000 in restitution, and lost hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for two years ·Dan L. Krogman, 57, of White River, S.D. Charged with three counts of possessing unlawfully killed bull elk; one count of loaning an elk license to another person; and one count of fishing without a valid license. Paid $1,575 in fines and $10 in restitution for an illegally caught northern pike. He lost hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for two years. ·Arnold E. Hill, 61, of White River, S.D. Charged with one count of possessing an unlawfully killed bull elk; two counts of hunting bull elk without a valid license; and one count of using two-way communications to hunt. Fined $1,740, paid $8,000 in restitution, and lost hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for two years. ·Casey G. Krogman, 58, of White River, S.D. Charged with one count of hunting a bull elk without a valid license. Fined $535. ·Carl L. Murra, 63, of Renner, S.D. Charged with one count of possessing an unlawfully killed bull elk. Fined $535 and lost hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for two years. ·Al E. Kuehl, 58, of Brandon, S.D. Charged with one count of possessing an unlawfully killed bull elk and one count of killing a bull elk without a valid license. Fined $1,070, paid $1,000 in restitution, and lost hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for two years. ·Tate Bouman, age unavailable, of Spearfish, S.D. Charged with one count of possessing an unlawfully killed bull elk. Paid $135 fine. ·Joshua L. Fisher, 29, of Winslow, AZ. Charged with one count of possessing an unlawfully killed bull elk. Fined $535 and the charge was then dismissed by then-Phillips County Justice of the Peace Gayle Stahl. ·Kelly J. Keever, 29, of Vernal, Utah. Charged with one count of possessing an unlawfully killed bull elk and one count of using two-way communications to hunt. Fined $670 and lost hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for two years.

Heads Up For Hunters MFWP M

ontana Fish, Wildlife & Parks recently published an online summary of the licenses and permits available in 2011, application deadlines and prices for residents and nonresidents. Go to fwp.mt.gov on the Hunting tab for the specifics. Application deadlines include March 15, May 2 and June 1. Some of the licenses listed are available over the counter.

The Hunter Harvest Survey Is Underway MFWP Now that hunting season is over,

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is calling 160,000 hunters to gather harvest information on this year’s hunt. The survey asks hunters three questions: which district did they hunt, how many days did they spend there and what did they harvest? The hunter harvest surveys will continue through March.

This Year 38,000 Elk will be Eaten Alive by Wolves in the Northern Rockies! Do You Have A Problem with That? Join Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife. Membership form Page 19


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Deer Hunting Is Learning Everything From Deer To New Technology BY MICHELLE HOLDEN

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very year we learn new things, hone our strategies and feel more confident in our abilities as whitetail deer hunters. This year we implemented some new technology and reaffirmed some old ideas. We were up and out of the camper by 5:30am this particular Saturday making our way into the woods. It was the second weekend of the season. Erik and Michelle dropped off the spine. The first thing we did was check the trail camera set in a pine saddle. The very first picture was a lion running up the draw! There were two pictures of the lion, but fortunately there were pictures of two decent bucks as well. We shared our ideas out loud about the fact that even though we don’t normally see predators like this, they are always out there and we are always crossing paths. No need to panic thinking the deer have left the area. Immediately after setting up, Erik and Michelle both realized the wind was wrong. Neither of us had ever used a powder wind-checking device before. We would trust our senses or use grasses and leaves. However, this day the wind was not more than a waft of air and had it not been for these puff tubes, one or both of us may have sat all day not knowing that a deer would never walk up the trail in our direction. Michelle met up with Erik for a new strategy. She decided to sit at the bottom of an oak tree trail facing South and Erik moved to the ridge across, facing East. Thinking back to older days, not only would we have stayed put with a bad wind, but we would have gotten bored and antsy sitting with no sign of deer and would have chosen to still hunt in the afternoon. Many a folk have been successful hunting this way, Erik has bagged several nice deer still-hunting. But Michelle has never been successful moving for game.

Michelle hadn’t seen one animal, not even a bird, up until nearly 8:30. Then a buck appeared from the oak forest on to the meadow. Immediately she knew it was a shooter, especially after the grief everyone gave her the previous week when she passed up a quite nice 4x4 buck. She chose, rather, to take a picture of the deer and let him live another day. Michelle slowly brought the gun up and rested elbows on knees. The buck was quartering toward her and looking in her direction. She put the crosshairs right on his shoulder and squeezed off. The deer whirled and darted back into the woods. Michelle stood up after jacking another shell in and watched the area to see if the buck exited the oaks- nothing. After taking time to gather equipment, Michelle slowly started working her way toward where the buck was standing to look for blood. There was a very large pool of blood and it was a relief to know that the bullet hit its mark. Michelle found a curious thing about this blood trail. A person might think that a deer, hit through both lungs and getting away from danger, would run in a straight line away from the scene. Not so with this buck. He dove back into the thick oaks and stuck to a very winding trail with fresh scrapes. After following the blood trail for a hundred yards or so, Michelle found the buck in a thicket. She called Erik on the Rino to tell him she had gotten a buck. The Rino was another new technology we used. In the past we always had times set to meet at a certain place in the afternoon to talk or we would just know that eventually we would both end up back at the truck. Now we use Garmin Rino GPS radios and are able to keep in constant communication. Never again will either of us hear a shot and wonder if it came from the other. Or miss the rendezvous because we were into deer.

Trail Cams: Moultrie, Cuddyback, Buckeye, Bushnell and the list goes on and on. They range from $50 to $500 depending on the features they provide. Features such as Nightline flash, to infer-red, providing no flash for nighttime, film to digital and more. This is what this is the time to research your purchase, purchase and learn to use the product you have purchased. GPS: Magellan and Garmin are some of the most popular brands. Garmin even has the rhino that provides a built in 5-15 mile radio so that two people can communicate in the woods. In addition since it has full GPS capabilities, each user can see their and the others persons position on the GPS screen. Great safety feature that keep assures that everyone will go home together at day’s end. The off season is the time to research, purchase, and learn to use new technology items that are always becoming available. Christmas and year end, along with slow season pricing is to your advantage during this time of year. Buying at this time will allow you to use and learn the products during your slow time of year so that when spring turkey, fishing or the fall hunting seasons come you will be able to use your new technology effectively.


FEBRUARY 2011

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Dream Comes True For Courageous Man Injured In Afghanistan (continued from page 5) For three days, Fleming, Franklin, guide Jeremy Walker and the videographer trudged up and down the steep hills prevalent to the Datil, N.M., area. The dedicated hunting party saw many elk, but were unable to get Fleming close enough for an ethical shot with his black powder rifle. Each night, the hunters returned to camp tired and empty-handed. Fleming’s injuries amplified his exhaustion. “We would come back from a long day of hunting and I could tell Chris was in pain from the hiking,” said Franklin. “He would remove his prosthetic legs and we could see he was blistering and bleeding. He never complained once though. That’s not Chris. He doesn’t complain about anything.” As twilight approached on the fourth day, Franklin and Walker located a huge bull elk and helped maneuver Fleming into position for a shot. His heart pounding with nervousness, Fleming gazed through his scope at a massive, 850-pound bull that stood several hundred yards away. He slowly squeezed the trigger and missed. Realizing he’d shot over the giant elk, he adjusted and fired a second shot. The guide’s excited scream confirmed a good hit, but the big bull disappeared from view, and left an exhausted Fleming to wonder about his shot. Without the strength and energy to hike to the elk’s position, Fleming waited patiently as Franklin and the rest of the hunting party moved out of sight and attempted to recover the trophy animal. For almost two hours, Fleming waited with anxious anticipation for the others to return. “After a while, I looked up and saw Greg Darnell, the cameraman, running toward me and telling me to get ready,” said Fleming. “He started filming me as I looked behind him and saw Chad and Jeremy marching into view. Jeremy had the cape and giant antlers of my bull strapped to his back. I was almost in shock. We gathered around the elk and celebrated. It was unbelievable.” “It’s hard to express how exciting that moment was for all of us,” said Franklin. “The smile on Chris’s face as we walked toward him with his incredible elk was priceless. I think he smiled for two days.” Fleming’s bull unofficially scored 330 - a true, trophy-class elk. After taking time to celebrate, Franklin informed Fleming of a surprise. Little O’s Taxidermy Shoppe in Odin, Ill., had offered to donate taxidermy services to preserve Fleming’s trophy forever, a process that can cost nearly $1,000. “After everything slowed down that night, I had time to look back on what we had accomplished,” said Fleming. “The hunt was a tremendous help to my confidence and showed me that even with a disability, I can do anything if I put my head down and drive hard.”

Chris Fleming (pictured right) worked as a governmentcontracted security consultant near Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

Fleming is quick to point out that the hunt may never have turned out so perfectly without a lot of help from the NWTF and a few generous and selfless people. “Gary Franklin, The Illinois State Chapter of the NWTF, Van Hale Trophy Outfitters, Blake Pazero with No Bull Trophy Hunts and Little O’s Taxidermy Shoppe each helped make my dream come true,” said Fleming. “During the hunt, if I hadn’t had the support of Chad, Greg and Jeremy, I would have given up by the second day. I had so many people backing me that I couldn’t let them down.” “I’m so glad I got to experience the hunt with Chris,” said Chad Franklin. “He’s an inspiration to be around. His positive attitude in the wake of a tragedy reminds me how much people take for granted.” The incredible footage from Fleming’s hunt will air on the NWTF’s “Turkey Call” TV show on the Pursuit Channel the week of March 14. Pursuit Channel is included in the basic subscription package offered by DIRECTV (Channel 608) and its inclusion in DISH Network’s basic subscription package (Channel 240) is almost complete. About the National Wild Turkey Federation: Founded in 1973, the NWTF is dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage. Through dynamic partnerships with state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members have helped restore wild turkey populations across the country, spending more than $331 million to conserve 15.9 million acres of habitat for all types of wildlife. The NWTF works to increase interest in the outdoors by bringing new hunters and conservationists into the fold through outdoor education events and its outreach programs - Women in the Outdoors, Wheelin’ Sportsmen, JAKES and Xtreme JAKES. For more information about the NWTF or the Wheelin’ Sportsmen outreach program, visit www.nwtf.org or call (800) THE-NWTF. To all who serve and have served Thank you.

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 27

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FEBRUARY 2011

Rocky Mountain States Desert Bighorns Transplanted On Western Slope In an effort to improve long-term survival of desert bighorn sheep in western Colorado, the Colorado Division of Wildlife has moved 15 of the majestic animals into prime bighorn habitat in the Middle Dolores River canyon. Twenty years ago, the Division established a new population of desert bighorn in the Upper Dolores Canyon area in San Miguel County with a group of 50 sheep obtained from Nevada. Over time, the herd has grown to number about 150 animals. In December, sheep captured from this herd were relocated to an area north of the Big Gypsum Valley in Montrose County, about 15 miles away, to augment a small existing herd. If the bighorns do well, biologists may relocate another 15 next year. “The herd in the upper Dolores River area has been growing, but another herd in some good bighorn habitat just down the canyon isn’t doing as well,” said Scott Wait, senior terrestrial biologist for the DOW’s southwest region in Durango. “Having more animals in more places will improve the long-term outlook for the species. Giving the Middle Dolores herd a boost will help us do that.” Desert bighorns are native to arid regions of the West. These animals -- slightly smaller than the high-country Rocky Mountain bighorns -- are welladapted to desert canyons. After capture on Dec. 16, biologists examined each of the transplanted sheep to assess its health and took blood samples. The sheep were then fitted with radio collars to allow biologists to monitor their movements and survival. The sheep were released the next day. This is the third time the Division has attempted to establish desert bighorn in the Middle Dolores Canyon. Two other attempts, in 1990 and 2001, did not result in the establishment of a new herd. Biologists believe that mountain lion predation played a primary role in the outcome. Bighorns seek security in steep, perilous terrain. With their specially adapted hooves, they can leap from ledge to ledge and traverse near vertical surfaces at great speed. But it takes time for animals to learn how to find food, water and use steep slopes or cliffs for safety in new terrain. Biologists believe that it may be important to reduce the risk of predation to improve the chances for the new herd to become established. “We want to keep a close eye on these sheep to see how they’re doing,” Wait

Application Period For Spring Controlled Hunts T

he application period for spring turkey and black bear controlled hunts runs through February 15. Spring turkey and spring black bear seasons start April 15 - some controlled hunts open later. Leftover tags for spring turkey and bear controlled hunts go on sale April 1. Hunters may apply for controlled hunts at any hunting and fishing license vendor, Fish and Game office; with a credit card by calling 1-800-55HUNT5;

PHOTO: BRAD BANULIS, CDW

said. “If we start seeing predation, we may need to step in to give these sheep some time to get established.” As a result, the Division asked the Wildlife Commission on Jan. 5 for permission to remove individual mountain lions preying on the Middle Dolores herd for up to 24 months. Commissioners said that if a mountain lion kills more than one sheep, it should be removed. If a lion kills only one sheep, biologists would have the option to remove it. Prompt initiation of the control effort would help ensure that the individual lion responsible for the sheep predation is removed. If sheep leave the reintroduction area and are killed by a lion, no control action would take place. There have been no mortalities among the radio-collared sheep since their release on Dec. 17. “Managing wildlife sometimes means making difficult choices,” Wait said. “In this case we know that the mountain lion population is stable in this area and some selective removal won’t hurt it. But this will give the bighorns a chance to explore their new territory and get established before they have to worry about getting chased around by lions.” The DOW will monitor the animals closely. Biologists will decide in 2011 if a second transplant will be conducted. Two other desert sheep herds exist in the state: one in Colorado National Monument west of Grand Junction, and one in the Escalante/Dominguez Canyon area west of Delta.

or online at http://fishandgame.idaho. gov/apps/ch/apply.cfm. The application fee is $6.25 per person for residents and $14.75 for nonresidents. An additional fee is charged for telephone and Internet applications. Spring turkey controlled hunt information is listed in the 2011-2012 Upland Game Rules book. Spring 2011 bear controlled hunt information is in the 2010 Big Game Seasons and Rules book. Hunters must have a 2011 Idaho hunting license to apply.

NDOW Finalizes Fish Stocking Plans For Next Two Years T

he Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) recently held its annual fish stocking coordination meeting to finalize stocking numbers for calendar years 2011 and 2012. Approximately 1,212,000 fish will be stocked in throughout Nevada’s three regions, (eastern, southern and western) in 2011 and 1,172,000 in 2012, with nearly 96% stocked as “catchables” (8-10”). While most of the fish stocked are rainbow trout (942,500), the agency also stocks Lahontan Cutthroat Trout (77,000), Tiger Trout (13,000), Brown Trout (114,800) and Bowcutts (64,800). The majority of the fish (68%) are stocked into lakes and reservoirs, with the remainder stocked into urban ponds, as well as a number of rivers and streams. NDOW operates 3 hatcheries and 1 rearing station. However, since the discovery of quagga mussels in 2007, as well as the unprecedented drought conditions on the Colorado River, NDOW’s Lake Mead Hatchery has been closed. Since the closure of Lake Mead Hatchery, fish for the southern region have been reared primarily at Mason Valley Hatchery in Yerington, as well as through a co-operative agreement with Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery (WBNFH),

a federal facility on the Arizona side of Lake Mohave. However, this co-operative agreement will be ending April 1, 2011 and will not be renewed. Mason Valley and NDOW’s other facilities are already at maximum production capacity and cannot replace the fish that had been reared at WBNFH. Therefore, the agency has made the decision to no longer stock Lake Mead and Lake Mohave with trout beginning in fall 2011. However, the urban ponds in Clark County, as well as reservoirs on the Key Pittman and Kirch Wildlife Management Areas will continue to be stocked. In addition to these areas, a number of new fishing waters are planned in 2012 for the southern region. These include urban fishing ponds in Beatty and Pahrump as well as trout stocking in Upper Pahranagat Lake. NDOW plans to bring the Lake Mead Hatchery back into production in the future remain in effect. Planning and design for a new system to provide cooler water from the deeper waters of Lake Mead and a filtration system to remove quagga mussels could be completed by 2012 if funding is approved. Pending future funding availability pipeline construction could begin shortly thereafter.


FEBRUARY 2011

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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 29

Rocky Mountain States More Chances To Cold Weather Means Hot Fishing Hunt Bears In 2011 UDW W

inter is one of the best times to catch fish Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean it’s time to put your fishing gear away. In fact, if you put your gear away now, you might miss some of the best fishing of the year. That’s right—those “crazy” people standing on the ice at waters across Utah aren’t so crazy after all. They know a layer of cold ice means hot fishing in the water beneath the ice.] “You can set your watch by it,” says Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. “When ice starts to form on a body of water, the fish under the ice get very active. And they’re eager to bite.” And that eagerness to bite often continues through the winter. Cushing says fishing on the ice provides anglers with several advantages. Winter is a great time to take young people fishing. If you’re willing to walk, you can reach any part of the reservoir you want to fish. Cushing says ice is the great equalizer. “In the winter, you don’t need a boat or a float tube to reach certain parts of a reservoir,” he says. “If you have a rod and a reel, and you’re willing to walk, you can reach any part of the reservoir you want to fish.” Catching fish in the winter doesn’t require the skill needed to catch fish during other times of the year. If you drop your bait in front of the fish, the fish will probably take it. You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment. A short rod and reel; some line, hooks and wax worms or meal worms; and a digging bar or an ice auger are all you need to get started. If you like to fish with lures, you may want to include a few ice flies and small jigs in your tackle box too. Because you can dig two holes close together, ice fishing is a great way to double your fun by fishing with two poles. Just make sure you have a two-pole permit before you dip that second line in the water. In addition to catching fish, you and those you’re fishing with can have fun visiting together. Just drill your holes close together and enjoy your visit. “Most ice anglers really look forward to the social side of ice fishing,” Cushing says. One thing that surprises many first-time ice anglers is how easy it is to drill a hole through the ice.

B

Cushing says if you have a hand auger, you can drill through six to eight inches of ice in about a minute. “It’ll take a little longer if PHOTO BY RYAN MOSLEY you use

y all indications, black bears in Utah are doing well. And that means hunters will have a few more chances to hunt bears in 2011. Hunters will have a few more chances to hunt bears in 2011. On Jan. 4, 2011 the Utah Wildlife Board approved several bear hunting changes for Utah’s 2011 seasons. All of the changes the board approved will be available in the 2011 Utah Division of Wildlife Utah Black Bear Guidebook. Resources Photo

a digging bar,” he says, “but not much.” Digging bars cost between $5 and $10. Manual ice augers cost about $50. Temperatures can be cold during the ice-fishing season. But that doesn’t mean you have to be cold. You can stay warm simply by dressing for the conditions. Cushing says one piece of equipment that anglers often forget is a pair of waterproof boots. As the day warms, slush can develop on top of the ice. “Having a pair of waterproof boots will keep your feet warm and dry,” he says. Most anglers wait until the ice is at least 4 inches thick before walking on it. Ice is usually thinnest near the shore. Before you walk out, Cushing says you should stay close to shore and dig or drill a test hole to see how thick the ice is. You may also want to dig or drill some additional holes as you walk out. If you find that the ice in your test holes is at least four inches thick, you can be almost certain that the ice farther out is at least four inches thick, or thicker. Two ice-related items that you may want to consider buying are ice cleats and ice spikes. You can strap the ice cleats to the bottom of your boots. The cleats will give you better traction as you walk on the ice. Ice spikes are two short pieces of metal. They’re often attached by a short cord that you can drape around the neck. If you fall through the ice, you can pull yourself out by jabbing the spikes into the top of the ice near the edge of the hole.

-Forty one of the 419 permits are premium-limited-entry permits.

The following are some of the changes the board approved: -A total of 419 hunting permits. That’s 53 more than the 366 offered in 2010. -About 40 percent of those who draw a bear-hunting permit end up taking a bear. -The extra 53 permits should result in hunters taking about 180 bears in 2011. In 2010, hunters took 158 bears.

-If they don’t take a bear during the spring hunt, those who draw one of the 41 premium-limited-entry permits can hunt bears again during the fall hunt. -The spring hunting season has been extended for one week on four additional bear hunting units in Utah. The South Slope, Yellowstone unit and the South Slope, Vernal, Diamond Mountain, Bonanza unit in northeastern Utah, and the Central Mountains, Manti-North unit in central Utah, are the three units where the spring season was extended at the request of biologists from the Division of Wildlife Resources. -The Wildlife Board also approved a request from the Southern Region Advisory Council to extend the season one week on the Boulder unit in southern Utah. Adding the four units brings to 10 the total number of bear hunting units in Utah that have a spring hunting season that runs one week longer than the other units in the state. The extended season starts April 9, 2011 and runs until June 5, 2011. Those who draw a fall spot-and-stalk permit for the Book Cliffs, Little Creek unit can hunt from August through November. 2010 was the first year a spot-and-stalk bear hunt was held on the unit. To avoid conflicts with big game hunters, bear hunters were not allowed to hunt on the unit in October. But very few deer hunters are allowed to hunt the unit, and the DWR is not aware of any conflicts that occurred between deer and bear hunters. For that reason, DWR biologists recommended that spot-and-stalk bear hunters be allowed to hunt on the unit in October too.

Wyoming Hunting Guide Now Online W

ith big game application periods in full swing, hunters now have an added tool to help research information on all of Wyoming’s big game species and find specific information on different hunt areas throughout the state. The Wyoming Hunting Guide is now on the Game and Fish website http://gf.state.wy.us. The 36-page online publication provides important information for planning hunting trips including basic information on public land access, chances of harvesting a mature animal in each hunt area and the percentage of private land on an area-by-area basis.

Also included are application periods for each species, information on preference points and the answers to the most commonly asked hunting questions. The guide also contains information on where to obtain drawing odds for the different hunt areas, how to make party applications, and information on parts of the state where outfitters are and aren’t required. For hunters who want outfitted hunts, there is information on where to get a listing of licensed outfitters. Hunters with additional questions on applying for licenses or hunting in Wyoming are invited to call (307) 777-4600.


30 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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MISSION MOUNTAIN TANNING HIGHEST QUALITY TAN YOU WILL FIND ANYWHERE!

FEBRUARY 2011

Not just hunting but taking coyotes during the winter months requires the right gear to be successful and also to stay alive in the brutal cold you may be asked to endure. The colder it is the more the coyote must eat which means the more hunting he must do to stay alive. This is the time he is the most exposed and you must be there to grab the opportunity to be successful.

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Gearing Up For Taking Coyotes Down W

hen it comes to hunting Big Sky Country coyotes, there is no limit to handy items needed on a daylong hunt. Start with a good 4x4 truck for long treks into the backcountry where varmints are not call shy and be sure to stock a few plastic bags to contain fleas looking for a new home as the coyote carcass begins to cool. Adding a can of Raid solves the flea problem but spray before the coyote gets cold, if you wait until the coyote is frozen the fleas will have gone dormant providing them some protection against the spray; the spray works best on active fleas looking for a new, warm home. What do you do with coyote, muskrat, or any other furbearer carcasses? Deposit them in a place that will draw local coyotes to improve your calling success. After a while, change areas because the local population will become educated about your bait as they get picked off. Rifle or shotgun, it doesn’t really matter much unless you want to sell the hides. It is difficult to beat a .22-250 rifle sighted in dead-on at 250-yards for coyotes. The scope should be a quality 3-9 or 4-16 power with a large objective lens of 50-millimeters for better light gathering capability as shots will be taken in weak light when coyotes feel comfortable in the open. I have found the Burris, Full View scope allows me to cover a wider area when shooting at a running coyote. This scope provides a field of view of 33-feet at 100-yards on low power, which is where I always keep the scope set. A running coyote can be a difficult to hit and trying to find one when the scope is set on high magnification can make it impossible. Although you don’t usually need a long-range bullet when calling, because shots are usually under 200-yards, it is good to have that capability in case you spot a distant coyote while moving between setups. The lightening fast calibers such as the .220 Swift, .22-.250, .243, or .25-06 are all good choices for the varmint hunter. For the .17 caliber users, who are becoming more popular, the .17 Remington,

a necked down .22-250, works fine. However the rim fire version .17 caliber, necked down from a .22 WRM, is a little light for long distances when a big coyote stands at 200-yards in a cross wind. I use a heavy barrel, Ruger Varmint Master in .22-250, which is too heavy to carry very far but extremely accurate. I also have a Winchester model 70 and a model 700 Remington in .223. I carry one or the other during spot and stalk situations and am more attuned to the weight of the gun than the caliber since both utilize the same bullet with little speed difference. For bullets I love the newly developed .22-caliber Barnes Varmint Grenade. The 36 and 50-grain Grenade utilizes a hollow-cavity in a flat-base bullet made with a copper-tin composite core under a metal jacket. This bullet remains intact during high velocity trips from the .22-250 traveling at over 4000-feet per second but still reacts explosively on impact. This bullet expends its energy early and seldom exits large predators like coyotes, leaving valuable pelts undamaged. The unique, frangible core ends worries about ricochets, which is a major concern because some of the best hunting is around areas where cattle are present. When asking permission to hunt, this special bullet has gotten me into many areas that would be off limits without them. This bullet is worth its weight in coyote pelts. Every now and then I’ll make a bad shot and hit a shoulder bone that renders one quarter of the coyote’s running gear unusable but still allows him to run away almost as fast as all four-legs worked. Striving for instant kills, it’s my shooting, not the caliber of the gun, that provides a coyote with an excuse not to instantly drop dead. This is why the bullet you shoot is so important - you won’t always get perfect shot angles. In fact, most times you never get a standing broad side shot. This is much different than when hunting big game; for predators you need a bullet that can reach the vitals from any

BY BRIAN DAM

angle and put the coyote down quickly. That criteria means when one is running straight away, traversing a hindquarter then getting to the vitals in quick order. On the same note, you don’t want one to pass through a coyote standing broad side then leave an exit hole that ruins the pelt. My partner, Ben, has shot a number of coyotes that required tracking, even when mortally wounded with a perfect lung/heart shot from his .223. I am not a fan of the Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) bullet he uses and have had a few coyotes get away myself after being tagged in the chest and sporting a quarter-inch hole that reached daylight on the other side. They died but only after escaping into heavy cover making some states deal with this problem and FMJ’s are not legal for shooting coyotes. My motto is: Kill them dead in their tracks first then worry about the pelt damage. Furriers are very handy with a needle. I know someone out there will disagree about the lack of an exit wound, but when shooting muscle and bone it is difficult to find a perfect bullet for every shot. Tests in gelatin look good but I have yet to shoot a coyote stealing a bowl of Jell-O. To prove my point when you have different speed bullets available and take short shots at varying distances you can’t expect your bullet not to exit every single time. Life is perfect but bullet expansion isn’t and never will be - there are too many variables. I tried the super expanding bullets, said to explode inside the body and not exit, but found when pushed at velocities above standard, .223 speeds, such as with a .22-250, they melt in the air and disappear in a blue cloud never reaching the coyote. As for where to aim, many hunters use their deer hunting experience and shoot behind the shoulder. I can say I may if the animal is close and I have time. Otherwise I always shoot for center of mass no matter what direction the coyote is facing. That is why I shoot specific bullets and depend on them doing their

job. Don’t limit yourself to just the behind the shoulder shot. This choice takes extra time and besides, no one eats coyote tenderloins. Shoot quickly; they seldom give you any time to ponder a preferred shot selection. You should plan on using a Harris Bipod or shooting sticks for a rest. Shooting off-hand is why we have so many smart coyotes today. Predators require sniper accurate shooting - not a cowboy at the OK Corral. Make the first shot count, the second opportunity won’t be as good, if you even get one. One word of serious caution, a wounded coyote can chew up your arm like a sewing machine on steroids so either shoot him again or hit him over the head with a club. For the shotguns, I’ve had good experience with either Federal or Remington No. 4 buckshot; you can’t over kill a coyote with a shotgun. In most cases a semi-automatic is best because the coyote won’t be getting any closer and if one shot doesn’t stop him you want to be able to make a quick second and third shot. Use a choke tight as possible as you want as many pellets as possible to hit the coyote. Even if they miss vitals the more shock he receives the more likely he will stop for the second shot. Aim at the head - neck area and you should be relatively certain the first shot drops him like a rock, if not – keep shooting. I will be trying the new Federal Magnum Prairie Storm ammunition, which has pellets with a Saturn-like ring to see if they cut through hair better than conventional copper plated loads. Fur, hide, and muscle absorb more pellet energy than feathers, bird skin, and light bones. To sell your hides, find a fur buyer that will accept dead coyotes un-skinned and frozen. It is much easier that way and they are not worth any less. When it comes to hunting coyotes a good call, a good gun and a good shot can add up to a fun day or evening afield. Sitting at home is not an option!


FEBRUARY 2011

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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 31


32 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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FEBRUARY 2011

Winter Time Projects Expand Summer Time Activities BY DON FACEY

You’re Invited To Attend The Missoula Friend’s Of The NRA Annual Banquet Friday, March 4th

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For tickets on-line go to: www.friendsofnra.org Click on “Find an event”, Select Montana State, Select Missoula, Buy Tickets Phone Bill at (406) 542-7678 Rick at (406) 370-1368 or Todd at (406) 214-1343 We have planned a Live Auction, Silent Auction, Bucket Raffle and other fun games for your enjoyment. “Gun Of The Year” is a Colt .45 NRA 1911 Centennial Edition.

GET INVOLVED!

The snow is blowing outside, the weatherman just forecast single digit temperatures and snow drifts are piling up. It’s a good day to stay indoors! There are re-runs on TV and your hunting magazines are beginning to tatter - you’ve read them cover to cover. It’s time to do a little creative thinking! Ammunition prices are climbing through the roof, and you only have 40 empty cartridges. There is a way to improve you shooting accuracy and pay less for ammunition. Reloading your own bullets is the answer. I’ll show you a low-cost way to get started reloading your own ammunition. You’ll need a reloading press and reloading dies for your rifle’s caliber. You’ll need a reloading manual, bullets, primers and rifle powder. Most of these items can be purchased as a kit from your local sporting goods store. Add a tumbler to clean your brass and a lube pad to lube the brass before putting it into the press makes reloading simple. Use a measuring device, like a micrometer, to clean your shell casings. A case trimmer allows you to trim each case to the required size to match the specifications in the reloading manual. Use the press to remove the spent primer and re-size the brass. Check the case dimensions to match the required specifications. Load one of your shells into your rifle to make sure that the round chambers and ejects properly. Look in the manual for an “accuracy” load, and load for that bullet, powder and primer combination. Avoid loading the maximum amount of powder trying to create “hot” loads. A deer won’t know if the bullet that hit him traveled at 2900 fps or at 3000 fps – the key point is to produce a load that is accurate down range. Load five bullets for the “accurate” load using the recommended

powder, bullet and primer. Mark them with a felt pen. Do the same for 1⁄2 grain above and 1⁄2 grain below the “accurate” load specification. Use these bullets as your test rounds to determine which load works best with your rifle. Usually, a 150 grain bullet with 48 grains of IMR 4064 powder and a standard rifle primer is a good starting point for the .30-06 caliber. Premium bullets cost a lot more than generic bullets. You don’t have to shoot 100 rounds loaded with premium bullets. Practice using less expensive bullets, and learn your rifle. Learn how to adjust your scope, and use a crisp trigger pull while testing your loads for accuracy. Don’t get side-tracked by searching for the fastest load – use the most accurate load and perfect your accuracy. If the bullet is fast, but doesn’t perform well down range then develop a load that does perform well. Concentrate on accuracy! Use hearing protection and wear shooting glasses. Place the rifle on sand bags or use a rifle vice to get a solid rest. Shooting form is of paramount importance so hold the rifle the same way each time you shoot. If some of the bullets fly erratically then mark them as “flyers” and don’t count them in your calculations for the best load for your rifle. Shoot slowly and don’t let the barrel heat up so that it’s too hot to touch. A cold or warm barrel may produce differing degrees of accuracy, and you don’t want to add that information into your test data. I’ve covered the basics, but the information you receive with your reloading manual and equipment will be much more accurate and will address each item in detail. I’ve given you some basic ideas on how to reduce your shooting costs. Only practice will improve your personal shooting accuracy. Building reloaded cartridges for your deer rifle is a great way to spend a cold, snowy day – you’ll learn which loads perform best in your rifle.


FEBRUARY 2011

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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 33

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www.honda.com Read the owner’s manual before operating Honda Power Equipment. Connection of a generator to house power requires a transfer device to avoid possible injury to power company personnel. Consult a qualified electrician. Not all dealers carry all products. Consult your local Yellow Pages. © 2011 American Honda Motor Co., Inc.


34 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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FEBRUARY 2011

Winter Feeding Is No Simple Solution IDAHO FISH AND GAME Few wildlife issues are as disease transmission, short-stopping of complex or as emotionally charged as migrations, concentration of predators and feeding big game during the winter. As soon as the snow begins to fly, questions about feeding big game animals start. People feed birds in the winter; so why not deer? But the decision to feed big game animals during winter is anything but arbitrary. Several players are involved in the process, including the Idaho Legislature, the Fish and Game Commission, the Fish and Game Department and regional winter feeding advisory committees. The winter feeding advisory committees, established in 1994 by the Legislature, set criteria for feeding and help Fish and Game decide when to start operations. Local conditions vary widely across the state, and local residents are best at deciding the details of feeding operations. The committees, made up of local residents, have been established in each of Fish and Game’s seven regions. These five-member committees act as liaisons between Fish and Game and the public, further define local criteria for designating a feeding emergency, assess information on animal condition along with Fish and Game, and make recommendations about the need for emergency feeding. The committees monitor animal condition reports and comments from local residents through the winter determine whether there is a need or when it’s time to recommend to Fish and Game that a feeding emergency exists. Fish and Game regional supervisors make the final decision on emergency winter feeding. Primary criteria include animal weight and condition (stored fat reserves) going into winter, snow depth, temperatures and quality of forage on the winter range. The criteria are assessed together, with no single criteria necessarily triggering the need for emergency feeding. Temperature criteria include five consecutive daytime highs that do not go above zero degrees. Winter feeding snow criteria include snow depths of more than 18 inches on south facing slopes. But an 18-inch snowfall combined with balmy temperatures in December may not constitute a feeding need. Heavy snow crusting - a condition that can occur when heavy snow showers are interspersed with warm weather - as well as the number of deer and elk that have migrated to below 4,000 feet elevation by January 15 also are monitored. Other criteria include animal condition going into winter, as measured from road-killed animals and harvested animals at check stations. This is generally a reflection of the quality of summer range forage. Winter range forage quality continues to be of major concern to the committee and Fish and Game. But there are other considerations. Winter feeding presents some challenges, including the possibilities of increased

damage to local habitats from concentrated browsing. Nor does winter feeding always prevent some mortality, particularly among young animals, but can raise survival rates of adult animals. The biggest factor in winter survival of big game animals is the body condition they carry into the season. Native wildlife, such as deer and elk, have endured Idaho’s rugged climate for thousands of years, so it’s evident that they are capable of surviving if left on their own. The tricky part of the equation is that human society has affected their population numbers and habitat. For example, where critical historic winter ranges have been replaced by homes and where construction of the Interstate highway blocked the annual deer migration, winter feeding was chosen over the potential loss of important herds, and those areas are exceptions to the rule. But numerous factors must be considered when discussing winter feeding, with money and manpower being among the most significant. In the Upper Snake Region during the winter of 2008, for example, Fish and Game, with the help of volunteers, 47 tons of hay to about 250 elk in Swan Valley and Teton Valley, and 65 tons of deer pellets to about 1,500 deer elsewhere in the region. In the Arco area, hay was provided to about 350 pronghorn. The cost of feeding hay and pellets was about $32,000; the manpower and materials expenses added another $44,000; volunteers donated time worth more than $7,000. The total cost of feeding was about $76,000. What did all of this money and time buy? The exact answer will never be known because of all the variables involved. Fawn survival was equally dismal on the Sand Creek Desert where feeding occurred, as it was in the Teton Canyon where no feeding was conducted because of logistical problems. Starvation happens primarily to animals that enter the winter in poor body condition, according to careful biological studies. Deer research has shown that animals in good condition can survive the winter with very little feed. Supplemental feeding is virtually irrelevant to survival. By far, improving winter range is the most cost efficient and effective way to help wild animals survive winter. Funding for feeding comes from a dedicated account created by the Legislature using a portion of big game tag fees. It takes 75 cents from each deer, elk and pronghorn tag sold and puts it into the account to buy feed and materials to help prevent wildlife damage to agricultural interests. More information about winter big game feeding can be found at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/biggame/feed.cfm.


FEBRUARY 2011

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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 35

Put A Different Angle In Your Dangle (continued from page 12) Area C is a classic ambush area. The point and island create a funnel that pike can use to concentrate food. This spot might not produce numbers of fish but one or two larger fish for sure! Area D is a good travel lane from A to B and might produce a fish or two, but not my first choice. Hit it when all others have been fished. Area A 5-15 feet of water. Fairly thick weeds perfect for pike to ambush prey. Best for numbers of pike. Area B is similar, with an inside curve as well. Smaller flat just off the edge is ideal. Depth is 10-20 feet, good for a midday spot. STANDARD JIGS AND PLASTICS OPTIONS Used by many anglers during the open water season, jigs with a plastic grub tails and the many different plastic bodies available can be just as effective now. With very little rod action, the plastic tail of these baits flutter and flap. Just the right amount of movement and pike just can’t resist them! Their larger profile also gives the fish a big target to zero in on. Just about any jighead 1/8-1/2 ounces will work. Team these up with a bright plastic single or double tail body in your favorite color. Another idea is to Wacky rig a slug or stick plastic to the jig and slowly lift and drop. With the thousands of different color combinations, you can see that this rig can be adapted to just about any where you go to fish. SMALLER BAITS If bigger doesn’t get you any action, then go small with your lure choice. In many of the lakes near you, food sources that are the most abundant might not be the bigger prey fish like perch or northern pike minnows that have made it through the summer. They might be young of the year Red sided shiners or perch. Smaller versions of the above mentioned baits will work on pike as well (remember those perch fishermen?) Smaller baits can also get you a few jumbo perch, trout or ever bass that you might not catch just fishing your basic tip-ups with smelt. If you are looking for a change, give these baits a try this fall, I think you might just be surprised at the results, I know I have the last few years!

A SURE CURE FOR SPRING FEVER

ART BY NEAL M. COTE’

Western Montana Fishing Report (continued from page 14)

If the Clearwater is your destination, try fishing in the Orofino area or on the North Fork, where a lot of the river’s hatchery steelhead are headed. Fly fishers have an easier time on the South Fork because of the smaller water but the main river can still be fished with a fly. The Salmon offers many miles of road-accessible runs, but the stretch from Shoup upstream to Salmon is the most popular. Just drive along until you see a piece of water that is to your liking, there is enough variety on this beautiful river to cater to any anglers whims. In between picking ice out of your guides and dancing around trying to keep your toes warm don’t forget to take some time to enjoy the winter scenery. We’re on the downhill side of winter and spring is just around the corner. Hopefully I’ll see you out there somewhere this month.

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ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

FEBRUARY 2011

Red Lion Snowmobile Trail System visitmt.com

T

he Red Lion Snowmobile Trail System consists of 4 connected snowmobile routes totaling approximately 32 miles. The routes are groomed on a regular basis from December 15 to April 1. The routes go to Fred Burr Pass, Warm Springs Creek and Granite with a route that takes one back to Georgetown Lake. There are also a number of unmarked trails with a few play areas nearby. Trails are groomed and maintained by the Anaconda Snowmobile Club in cooperation with the Forest Service and Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Season: 12/1 - 4/1 Contact information: Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest 88 Business Loop Philipsburg, MT 59858 Phone: 406-859-3211 Web: http://fs.usda.gov/bdnf Directions: From Philipsburg go south on Highway 1 for 12.4 miles, then north on County Road 65 for 2.7 miles, then east on County Road 242 for .2 miles to the Red Lion Snowmobile Parking Area.

Hellroaring Snowmobile Area visitmt.com

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he Hellroaring Snowmobile Area is considered by many to be the epitome of viewing areas. This trail offers fantastic views of the Cabinet Mountains, Selkirk Mountains, and Northwest Peaks Scenic Area. It has excellent open play areas and outstanding snow cover, with a plowed parking area and trailhead. Contact information: Kootenai National Forest 12858 US Highway 2 Troy, MT 59935

We’ve Got Your Ride Call 443-7373 1-800-585-7397 3186 Hwy. 12 East, Helena www.onewaymarine.com

FULL PARTS & SERVICE DEPARTMENTS

Phone: 406-295-4693 Web: http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/kootenai/ Directions: Travel 30 miles northeast of Troy on FDR 92 to Road 524. Turn and follow 0.5 mile, turning onto Road 745. Follow to a gate, which is the beginning of the trail.

Twin Lakes/Ajax Lakes Snowmobile Trail visitmt.com Twin Lakes/Ajax Lakes Phone: 406-689-3243 Snowmobile Trail is at the end of the Web: http://fs.usda.gov/bdnf plowed road and has snowmobiling access 6 miles to the forest boundary. The Twin Lakes Trail is groomed about once a month and the Ajax Trail is ungroomed. Length: Each trail is 12 miles one way Contact information: Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest PO Box 238 Wisdom, MT 59761

Directions: Twin Lakes/Ajax Lakes Snowmobile Trail system begins along Foothills Road #945 which is located 6 1/2 miles south of Wisdom off Highway 278. Drive 8 miles up plowed road.


FEBRUARY 2011

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

Laughing Water Creek Ski Trail

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

Montana’s Greatest

Snow Place!

visitmt.com

L

aughing Water Creek Ski Trail, which leads to Martin Lake, is an ideal tour for beginners and offers a good view of the Tobacco Valley and Salish Mountains. There is also a good view of the Whitefish Range. There are a number of connecting trails available if snow conditions are favorable; up to an additional 11 miles.

Season: 12/15 - 4/1

Activities offered: Cross-Country Skiing Hiking Ice Fishing Sightseeing Snowshoeing

Directions: Turn right on Laughing Water Road 7008, 0.2 mile north of the Murphy Lake Ranger Station. Follow approximately 0.5 miles to the trailhead.

gate and ski the loop at this campground. It is an excellent family ski course as it is all on flat terrain with a ski and sledding hill available. A picnic shelter and fire ring are also at the campground. There is parking capacity for 10 vehicles. Length: 2.5 km of easiest and .8 km of more difficult trail; intermittent grooming. Season: December - March

R

Length: 11 km of easiest and 2 km of most difficult trail; intermittent grooming. Activities Offered: Cross-Country Skiing Hiking Picnicking Sightseeing Snowshoeing

Powder Mountain

Contact information: Kootenai National Forest PO Box 116 Fortine, MT 59918 Phone: 406-882-4451 Web: http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/kootenai/

•FAMILY SKI AREA •FAMILY FRIENDLY PRICES Check out the webcam at Losttrail.com

Snow Phone 821-3211 CALL FOR LODGING SULA COUNTRY STORE CABINS (406) 381-8769 Hours: Thurs - Sun & Holidays

Top of Lost Trail Pass - Montana/Idaho Border www.losttrail.com

Libby, MT 59923 Phone: 406-293-7773 Web: http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/kootenai/

Best Value In Montana Lodging.

Directions: From Libby, travel north 0.5 miles on Highway 37. Turn left on Pipe Creek Road 68 and travel approximately 7.5 miles to the campground. It is located on the left side of the road, just past the bridge.

Ross Creek Ski Trail oss Creek Ski Trail is probably most enjoyed by intermediate and advanced skiers leading to the Ross Creek Scenic Area. There are a number of steep sections with sharp turns that should be skied with caution. No motor vehicles are allowed after December 1. There is a plowed parking area with capacity for 6 vehicles.

Lost Trail

Length: 4.4 miles

Timberlane Campground Ski Trail visitmt.com Contact information: V isitors to Timberlane Kootenai National Forest Campground Ski Trail may park at the 12557 Highway 37

• 37

visitmt.com

Contact information: Kootenai National Forest 12858 US Highway 2 Troy, MT 59935 Phone: 406-295-4693 Web: http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/kootenai/

Directions: Located 17 miles south of Troy. From Junction US Highway 2 and Montana Highway 56, follow Montana Highway 56 south 15 miles to trail beginning.

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38 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

Sporting Goods Montana Style Beat the Cold With: -Winter Jackets & Boots -Layering Pieces -Gloves, Beanies & Gaiters

Best Selection of Winter Outdoor Equipment: -Skis & Snowboards -Boots & Bindings -Snowshoes -Cross Country Skis -Helmets, Goggles & Accessories -Sunglasses & Sport Watches Montana’s Largest Selection of Optics For Your Outdoor Adventures

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

FEBRUARY 2011

Bob Ward & Sons Backcountry Gear Review

More and more of our readers and customers are venturing into the backcountry. This month, we highlight safety and ski gear for those of you that are doing just that!

For Backcountry Safety Pieps DSP Avalanche Beacon The PIEPS DSP Avalanche Beacon is nothing short of a revolution in the field of avalanche rescue. The DSP is the first beacon ever to display the number of victims. As soon as the PIEPS DSP picks up signals, the approximate distance and direction to the strongest signals are displayed on a large LCD plus the number of burials within range is represented on the LCD matchstick men. Another revolutionary first for the PIEPS DSP is the highly useful SCAN feature. Press the SCAN key while in SEARCH mode and the DSP will scan the entire receiving range and return an overview of all buried devices within range classified in three groups.

Pieps I-Probe Avalanche Probe This avalanche probe is amazing and will provide you with potential faster rescue times, because unlike other probes, the Pieps I-Probe notifies you when the tip is within about 10 feet of the buried transciever. This could speed up recovery times. The I-Probe senses beacons of any manufacturer, packs down to 18 inches, extends to 6.5 feet long, and is incredibly lightweight. You won’t want to go out into the backcountry in the winter without these two devices from Pieps.

New Ski Boots For AT/Backcountry Dalbello Virus Tour I.D. Ski Boot This is absolutely one of the best AT boots out there!

The Virus Tour I.D. boot is designed for freeride, AT, and Backcountry skiers. Derived from the Krypton boot, it is precise and powerful. This Dalbello ski boot is exceptionally great if you like to walk, tour, or climb. Engineers and Glen Plake himself took 3 years to develop and test the Virus all over the world. Features: Lightweight and warm custom ID liner for excellent fit and performance. Soft - Stiff tongue options for customized function. Ultra-light buckle construction reduces weight. Two-piece tongue allows greater stride and range of movement in tour mode (you don’t even need to unbuckle for extra comfort), but locks down securely for the steepest lines.

Dalbello Virus Free Ski Boot Slightly stiffer shell construction and a lower price make this the ideal cross-over boot for skiers who want it all: Power for high performance alpine skiing on-area AND the walk/climb AT capability to either duck the ropes and go just outside the ski area or do a full-on backcountry trip.

Products are available at Bob Ward & Sons or online at www.bobwards.com.


FEBRUARY 2011

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 39

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40 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

FEBRUARY 2011

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Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure - February 2011