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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS AUGUST 2010

Early Season

ARCHERY ELK START YOUR FALL OFF WITH A BANG Upland Bird Preview

TROUT Of The

Bitterroot

SIGHT YOUR RIFLE IN FOR SUCCESS It’s Not A Once A Year Thing


2 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

AUGUST 2010


AUGUST 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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4 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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AUGUST 2010

Early Grouse On WMA’s Hit state-owned Wildlife Management Areas for early grouse BY ANDREW MCKEAN

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BILLINGS - 800-655-1170 • BOZEMAN - 866-782-2717 MISSOULA - 888-989-5569 www.cmoninn.com

Retriever Trials August 27-29, 2010 Montana Retriever Club - Billings Linda Johnson 406-962-3124

Archery Shoots August 7 Thompson Falls Archery Club 2 Day Event with 40 targets each day Directions to the Shoot: Located at the Naegeli Ranch, 11 miles west of Thompson Falls on MT Highway 200 at mile marker 40. Tony Bierwagen 406-827-3464

September 3-5, 2010 Mission Valley Retriever Club - Ronan Anna Calvert 406-644-2706 calvert@blackfoot.net September 11-12, 2010 Treasure State Retriever Club - Warm Springs Kris Hunt 406-490-7088 blacktaillabs@yahoo.com September 24-26, 2010 Western Montana Retriever Club - Charlo

August 8 Get-Ready-to-Hunt Shoot (3-D shoot) Electric City Club Range located near Wadsworth Park on the west side of Great Falls Electric City Archer’s E-mail archeyelecty@aol.com or call 406-799-0953. August 15 Judith Basin Archery Club, Stanford 3-D Shoot Scott Wildung 406-566-2706

COLTON WITH MOM AND DAD, COLLEEN AND NICK SCHIELE AT THE MISSOULA RETRIEVER HUNT TEST

ost state-managed wildlife management areas have two primary attributes: they are located in either riparian corridors or wildlife-friendly foothills habitat. And they are wide open to public hunting by the time the upland bird season opens on Sept. 1. Most of these spots are well-marked and well-known by big-game hunters, but not nearly as pressured by upland bird hunters. These properties were purchased with hunting license dollars, and many feature a mix of habitats. You may have to put on some miles to get to know the places, but they can be great places to fill a game bag. Here are some spots to consider as you pursue prairie and forest grouse as well as partridge and doves. And keep an eye out for deer and elk, too. The archery season for those species is just behind, opening on Sept. 4. MOUNT SILCOX WMA This gem is located just north of the Clark Fork River, just west of the Thompson River, east of Thompson Falls. You’ll see a sign on the north side of Highway 200 before you enter town, and the property holds good ruffed grouse habitat along several small creeks. There’s good blue grouse country farther up the slope, but it’s a hike to reach it. Walk below the Bonneville Power high-tension line, especially along the wetter aspen stands, for the best ruffs. If you were lucky enough to draw a West Clark Fork fall turkey tag, this is a good spot to fill it. VANDALIA WMA There are actually a pair of Wildlife Management Areas along the Milk River west of Glasgow, and while they’re better late-season pheasant spots, they can be great places to intercept doves winging down the valley in early September. Neither public parcel is well marked, so you might have to visit with FWP’s Region 6 staff for directions, but

Vandalia is located east of Hinsdale on a gravel road that parallels the Burlington Northern railroad tracks. Get to the Hinsdale WMA by driving north of Hinsdale on the blacktop, cross the Milk River and take the first left. ROCKY MOUNTAIN FRONT WMAs Beware grizzly bears on any of these beautiful properties west of Augusta and Choteau. Hunt the lower aspen and riparian corridor for ruffed grouse, and move to higher elevations on the Lewis and Clark National Forest for blues and spruce grouse. Ear Mountain WMA can be a decent spot to combine bowhunting for both deer and elk with wingshooting. Ditto Blackleaf WMA just to the north and Sun River WMA to the south. AREA SEVEN WMA This productive ground just east of Nelson Reservoir along Montana’s Hi-Line is better for late-season pheasants and waterfowl, but both Hungarian partridge and sharptail grouse live along its margins. JUDITH RIVER WMA This mix of low-elevation brush and timbered foothills is classic elk winter range, but early in the fall it can produce ruffs in the lower elevations and forest grouse up high. The WMA is located on the eastern slopes of the Little Belts. Get here by driving Highway 87 to Hobson, then take the Ackley Lake State Park road and continue southwest toward the mountains. BEARTOOTH WMA This rugged chunk of country east of Holter Lake is hard to hunt, but the steep ridges rise to a timbered crest that holds lots of blue grouse. Get here by driving the gravel road along Holter’s eastern shore past Departure Point. The main entrance for the Beartooth is up Cottonwood Creek.


AUGUST 2010

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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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D.I.Y. Public Land Hunt In SW Montana BY BRANDEN VANDYKEN AS TOLD TO S. L. MERRIAM

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y 2008 elk season started like everyone else’s amid plans of taking the best and biggest but when I misjudged my elk and sent a text message to everyone I could think of about how big he was, I became the guy that folks would laugh at. Best part is I don’t mind! The archery season started slowly, as it often does when warm weather slows activity. There were few bulls talking which made them hard to find. Things changed however on the morning of September 19, when Matt, my hunting partner and I headed to our usual spot. We did nothing different that morning using the same routine we’d followed a hundred times. We’d had success here during past rifle seasons, but never with a bow. As we glassed the field we could see elk but they were tough to identify even under the full moon but we at least 40 animals. The bulls were bugling and the cows talking so we quickly planned to cut them off as they left the meadow. We hurried up to a drainage they usually used taking a wide approach to stay hidden. Approaching the ambush point we could tell that there were more elk than

we originally thought with 40 to 50 head already moving up the drainage. I tried to quicken the pace but Matt complained and said we had time. We rounded the last hill just in time to see more elk pouring into a little clearing with the pond that had been our goal. The elk were putting on quite a show with cows and calves jumping in the pond and swimming across while three bulls bugled back and forth. Matt and I watched from 150-yards away waiting for legal shooting light. At this point we could do nothing but watch their antics. After this bunch moved through we scrambled down to the pond where Matt set up an ambush for the next bunch of elk we could hear approaching from below. I attempted to catch up with the elk that had just passed through and when I climbed a little hill and called, a bull answered from the drainage below. I knew Matt was ready so I took a position 60-yards above him and continues to call. I had barely started when I heard a deep, screaming bugle then watched as a big bull came up the draw. He was too high to give Matt a shot so I started calling, hoping to draw him (continued on page 33)

Sticking a Big Bull is something that luck has a very small part in conceiving. It takes knowledge of the game, feeding area, bedding area, the route they take and when they travel it. The only luck is possibly the bulls bad luck to be able to be patterned by the bow hunter to know when he will travel and where.


6 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

Letter To The Editor When Will They Learn? FROM JIM FOSTER

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f someone would look around and see what is happening in the space beyond their noses – IT DOES EXIST - they would see the hunting community is about fed up with states jacking the non-resident hunting fees somewhere between the cost of a new car or a months living expenses in Sun Valley, Idaho. For starters nothing of a concrete nature has been done to stop the “stupid-green-tree-hugging” wolf lovers and their Federal judge buddy from putting the gray wolf back on the endangered species list. Someone like that judge should be thrown off the bench and disbarred for his obvious bias and love of the gray wolf and its supporters. Could there be other issues involved here? Idaho learned last year the combination of the wolf kills and higher non-resident licenses didn’t work. The fact is it cost Idaho well over a million dollars in just non-resident elk tags and those that did hunt for Idaho elk last year will not be returning. I hate to think about the monetary loss for the 2010-2011 hunting seasons. Now Montana is joining the group by trying to do away with the outfitters non-resident tags and hiking license prices even higher. Didn’t they see what happened next door? It’s sad to say that’s what Kephart’s proposed ballot initiative is all about. He says, “It theoretically frees up more land for Montana hunters, it would raise more money for hunting access and habitat restoration by jacking up the fees on nonresident licenses - to $897, from $643 (the 2010 rate), for a deer-elk tag; and $527, from $328, for a deer”. It was reported the fiscal analysis from the secretary of state’s office that could bring in an estimated income of $700,000 annually for access and another $1.5 million for habitat work. Well if their’s works like Idaho, it will put them further in the hole by a few million and embrace wildlife management by ballot box, not by science. So who is for this bill? I guess Kephart is. Opposing the bill are several associations who have some clout but can’t fight the ballot box when all the anti-hunters weigh in. Here are a few, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, The Montana Stockgrowers Association, and the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association. Kephart who is quoted saying that “...he doesn’t give the bill much chance of getting the signatures it needs to go on the ballot”. Now here comes the bad part. (continued on page 8)

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

Don’t Miss The Bob Ward & Sons Shooting Events Bob Ward & Sons will be hosting their 6th Annual Shooting event Saturday, August 1st and Sunday, August 2nd. Shooter’s Saturday will be held at the Deer Creek Gun Range in East Missoula Saturday, August 1st from 10am - 4pm. Shooter’s Sunday will be held at the Rocker Gun Range on Sunday, August 1st, from 10am - 4pm. This is your opportunity to try firearms from various manufacturers including: Handguns from: Springfield Armory, Ruger, FNH, Smith and Wesson, Walther, Magnum Research, Beretta and Kimber Shotguns from: Benelli, Beretta, Remington, Browning, Winchester, Weatherby, FNH, and NEF Rifles from: Ruger, Remington, Armalite, Sako, Tikka, Winchester, Browning, Weatherby, Christensen Arms, Magnum Research, Marlin, Savage, Kimber and NEF

AUGUST 2010

Outdoor Calendar

BOZEMAN JOHN COLTER RUN: September 4

VIRGINIA CITY LABOR DAY HORSEBACK POKER RIDE: September 4

The course is 7 miles on paved and gravel roads and rugged trails. The race begins and ends at the Missouri Headwaters State Park. Phone: 406-587-4415

Registration for the Poker Ride is 8:30am-10:00am at the Bale of Hay Saloon. Admission is $15 per rider. Drawings will begin when all riders have collected their final card. This is not a race, ride at your leisure. New trails this year. Phone: 406-843-5555

ENNIS ENNIS ON THE MADISON FLY FISHING FESTIVAL: September 3 - 4

WEST YELLOWSTONE SMOKING WATERS MOUNTAIN MAN RENDEZVOUS: August 6 - 15

Enjoy fishing competitions and skill development seminars, rods, reels, flies, and equipment displays, conservation group booths, book signings and literary events, guest speakers, celebration of the arts, antiques and collectible displays, entertainment, food and dining. Held downtown. Phone: 406-682-3148 or visit http://madisonriverfoundation.org

LEWISTOWN MONTANA TRAPPERS ASSOCIATION STATE CONVENTION: September 10 - 11

Tomahawk and knife demonstrations, black powder shoots, Mountain-man storytelling, musicians and open fire cooking. Black Powder Shoot is one day only-Saturday August 14. Registration is at 8:00am and the Shoot starts at 9:00am. Located immediately west of West Yellowstone and adjacent to Iris Street. Phone: 406-646-7215

WEST YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL FLY FISHING SHOW: August 24 - 28

For the beginner fly fisher to the advanced you’ll find topics on anything and everything about fly fishing. Held at the West Yellowstone Union Pacific Dining Lodge and the Holiday Inn. Phone: 406-222-9369 or visit http://fedflyfishers.org

Firearm demos will be provided. Please do not bring your own gun. World Famous Benelli exhibition shooter Tim Bradley will be hosting a show at 1:00pm both days. For more information call the Bob Ward & Sons store near you.

Open to all. Trapping demonstrations, contests, dealer booths offering everything from jewelry to trapping lures. Held at the Fergus County Fairgrounds. Phone: 406-376-3178 or visit www.trapperpredatorcaller.com

Outdoor Skills Workshops For Women MFWP

08/07/10 Billings Big Sky Chapter Banquet - Shrine Auditorium John Wilson 406-861-3235 or Don Keever at 651-4542 8/7/10 Belgrade/Bozeman Contact: Kevin Adams at 406 924-6975 MISSOULA ANNUAL MONTANA KNIFEMAKER 08/28/10 Helena Lewis & Clark Chapter Banquet & Fundraiser SHOW: August 20 - 21 Features custom made knives from makers all over Dennis Deaton 406-461-2844

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he 17th annual “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman” workshop, sponsored by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, will be held Aug. 27-29 at the Big Sky Bible Camp near Bigfork. The hands-on workshop offers opportunities to build a survival shelter, cast a fly rod, use a map and compass, learn to shoot a rifle and cook a Dutch-oven treat. New classes this year include rafting and river rescue, backpacking and archery. The $200 fee includes class instruction, meals and lodging. Partial scholarships are available. Space is limited and classes are filled as registrations are received. Teachers who attend the workshop can receive continuing education credit from the Office of Public Instruction. The workshop is designed for women but is open to anyone 18 years of age and over with a desire to learn new skills.

MISSOULA ANNUAL ORIGINAL MISSOULA GUN AND ANTIQUE SHOW: August 6 - 8

Events To Support WILDLIFE

MULE DEER FOUNDATION

800 tables to check out with antiques, modern rifles, pistols, ammunition, scopes, binoculars, knives, civil war articles, cowboy and Indian artifacts, and more. Held at the Adams Center. Phone: 406-549-4817 or e-mail: hayesotoupalik@aol.com

the United States. Demonstrations featuring forging, sheath making, a question and answer session on the art of custom knife making and more. Held at the Holiday Inn Parkside. visit www.montanaknifemakers.com

THREE FORKS MONTANA COWBOY MOUNTED SHOOTING COMPETITION FINALS: August 18 - 22

Part exhibition, part Wild West show, part competition. Authentic cowboys and cowgirls compete on horseback in a timed shooting event with 45-caliber single-action pistols for real wild West entertainment. Held at the Headwater Community Fairgrounds. visit www.cowboymountedshooting.com

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08/06/10 Colstrip Southeast Montana Boss Gobblers Contact: Robert Whitehead 406 740 4463

PHEASANTS FOREVER

09/09/10 Missoula Five Valleys Chapter Buy tickets on-line at www.montanapf.org or call Jim Seel at 406-327-1009

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation 09/25/10 Harlowtown Upper Musselshell Big Game Banquet Contact: Linda L. Moe 406-473-2471

Thank you to our readers who have supported the advertisers in this publication and let them know you saw their advertisement in Big Sky Outdoor News.

8591 Capri Dr., Helena Mt. 59602 bigskyoutdoornews@yahoo.com www.bigskyoutdoornews.net The entire contents is © 2010, 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 5


AUGUST 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

Creating A Future For The Pallid Sturgeon BY DIANE TIPTON, MFWP’S STATEWIDE INFORMATION OFFICER

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he last remaining wild pallid sturgeon in Montana—about 125 fish are believed to range from 50 to 100 years of age. Today the pallid sturgeon is a Montana Species of Concern and it was federally listed as an Endangered Species in 1990. Biologists say no wild juvenile fish have joined the existing population in the past 30 to 50 years largely due to changes on the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers that have altered pallid sturgeon habitat and obstructed their reproductive processes. The inability to reproduce themselves in the wild put this species’ future in the hands of state and federal experts 20 years ago. The interagency pallid sturgeon recovery team’s first challenge was to propagate and raise pallid sturgeon in hatcheries in order to preserve its genetics and restore an age-diverse population. Early but unsuccessful streamside spawning attempts in the mid-1990’s gradually evolved into a carefully controlled hatchery-run processes. Today, sophisticated tools and techniques bring the latest in genetics, reproductive science and population modeling to bear. “The successful propagation and stocking of pallid sturgeon is a huge step toward preventing its extinction,” said Travis Horton, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Park’s native fish species coordinator. “More than one million pallid sturgeon fry, fingerling and yearling pallids have been stocked in the Missouri and lower Yellowstone in the past 12 years,” said Bill Gardner, FWP fisheries biologist in Lewistown responsible for monitoring pallid sturgeon on the upper Missouri River. Gardner said this is a critical time in the species’ recovery. While the wild pallid population is dwindling to a few individuals, hatchery-raised pallid sturgeon stocked in the rivers should be ready to reproduce soon. At issue is whether any pallid sturgeon can successfully reproduce in the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers as they exist today The pallid sturgeon recovery team is also working to identify the most serious habitat issues obstructing reproduction so modifications can be made to encourage natural reproduction. For example, research in 2004 by FWP and the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed that pallid sturgeon larva drift 11-17 days and about 150 to 330 miles, depending on environmental conditions, before sinking to the river bottom to feed and grow. While there is now no stretch of the Missouri or Yellowstone rivers in Montana that will accommodate this drift, biologists are working to restore a stretch of river that could do so. “Our next recovery step is a proposed modification to Intake Dam on the Yellowstone River that, when completed, will allow pallid sturgeon to pass. Work may begin by late summer,” Horton said. “Pallid sturgeon passage at Intake Dam will create a 300-mile stretch of river to accommodate pallid sturgeon larval drift.”

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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AUGUST 2010

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Trout Of The Bitterroot BY JIM FOSTER

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Letter To The Editor When Will They Learn?

(continued from page 6)

It has been reported that fraudulent signatures have been turned in to at least four counties for a ballot initiative about nonresident hunting licenses. Nonpartisan county election officials discovered the bogus signatures. Clerks in Blaine and Chouteau counties first discovered the fraudulent signatures, as they compared petition signatures to those on voter registration cards. Yellowstone County has one petition with nearly 200 signatures, and only 20 have been found to be valid so far. The handwriting is the same on the remaining signatures and the addresses are false. The person who turned in the petition also gave a false address, stated an election official from the county. Blaine County received a petition with one valid signature, followed by 17 forged signatures — in alphabetical order, with addresses as they’re listed in the phone book — County Attorney Don Ranstrom said Friday. Residents of Chinook get their mail at the post office. Just how far will these people go? What we need is to track the low life people down and put them where they belong – in jail. If you live in Montana get out and vote showing these jerks they can’t stuff the ballot box in Montana and legal hunting is part of the Big Sky State where out of state hunters are welcome. To comment or report news e-mail Jim at: JimF06@gmail.com.

Conservation Groups Work To Acquire Key Land On Tenderfoot Creek RMEF

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f you’re even a casual trout angler, you’ve probably heard of Montana’s Smith River. Even if you don’t give a hoot about fishing, the Smith is still a special place, because this blue-ribbon trout stream has blue-ribbon scenery to match. Anyone lucky enough to draw a permit to float it is in for an unforgettable 59-mile trip through the towering limestone canyon carved by the Smith. Smack in the heart of that canyon, the river is joined by a gorgeous tributary flowing in from the east. Tenderfoot Creek not only provides vital spawning habitat for the Smith’s bruiser browns and rainbows, it’s a five-star trout stream in its own right. Follow the Tenderfoot up through the Little Belt Mountains and you’ll find yourself in the lair of legendary bull elk and buck mule deer. From massive aspen stands to high alpine basins, it’s classic Big Sky elk country. Now, thanks to an agreement between the Bair Ranch Foundation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and the Tenderfoot Trust, 8,200 acres along Tenderfoot has the opportunity to be conserved and opened to the public. The land lies in a (continued on page 11)

ounding a slow bend in the river a disturbed osprey took to the air departing its vantage point on an overhanging limb. Flying up river the bird didn’t travel far before choosing another perch with a view of the water. This was not surprising considering we were both in search of the same thing – a fat trout. The Bitterroot River is described as a medium sized freestone stream being born with the joining of the East and the West Fork of the Bitterroot near Connor, Montana. It flows through the scenic Bitterroot Valley on its way to meld with the Clark Fork near Missoula. This is truly a blue ribbon stream with its banks lined with willow, dogwood, cottonwood and other riparian plants. The Bitterroot Valley has been fairly well developed, and is now the fastest growing region of Montana. As a result, services and other amenities are easy to find. Plenty of fly shops, motels, restaurants, and shuttle services are available with very little searching. The fly-fishing pressure is not bad considering other Montana rivers of the same reputation. In early spring fishing pressure can be heavy, but will decrease as the summer begins. There are few times when the Bitterroot will be crowded and there is no “combat” fishing to be found. With its moderate water flows in its upper stretches and with slower stretches below Florence the banks are a mix of woodland and pasture and are considered prime agricultural area. Private

land is abundant but there are plenty of Sportsman’s Access points and places to launch drift boats and rafts. Floating the river can be considered an easy float with no whitewater and with the exception of some in-stream obstacles. Watching your drift and the river will prevent accidents. This allows almost anyone to float the river safely using a raft, drift boat or canoe. Fishing by this method is also easy due to the moderate river flow. In late summer during low-water years, the section of river between Corvallis and Stevensville can become slow due to irrigation water exiting the river. Be sure to check current flows and inquire at local fly shops for the latest conditions. Below Stevensville, the Bitterroot River picks up more flow and floating can resume without any problems. Just below Stevensville, the river flows through the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Sanctuary, providing great opportunities for seeing wildlife. After leaving the refuge the river flows toward Missoula with slightly slower current flows found during the last ten-mile stretch. The primary fish found in the Bitterroot are rainbow trout. Some Brown trout are found in the upper part of the river and in decent numbers. These browns are not of the monstrous size fish found in some of the other Montana rivers. Cutthroat trout, (continued page 15)


AUGUST 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

Wade Lake Campground visitmt.com

Wade Lake Campground is located within the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest in southwest Montana. At an elevation of 6,400 feet, the campground encompasses 20 acres of land with 30 campsites. Restroom facilities and drinking water are provided. Fishing, swimming boating may be enjoyed at Wade Lake. A boat launch is provided, as well as trails around the lake for hiking. Pets are welcome. The maximum recommended trailer length for the area is 32 feet. Please limit your stay to 16 days. There is a small fee for the use of this campground.

Activities offered: Boating Camping Fishing Hiking Lake fishing Picnicking RV camping Swimming Tent camping Contact information: Mailing Address: Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest 5 Forest Service Road Ennis, MT 59729

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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Now handling Pace American cargo trailers!

Phone: 406-682-4253

Season: 6/1 - 9/30

Website: http://fs.usda.gov/bdnf

Services offered: Boat launch Campsite Handicapped accessible Toilets Trail Water

Directions: The campground is located about 37 miles south of Ennis on Highway 287. Turn west at Wade and Cliff Lakes signs on Highway 287, take Forest Road 241 west for 5 miles.

Cliff And Wade Lakes Interpretive Trail visitmt.com

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n easy, interpretive nature walk. Cliff and Wade Lakes Interpretive Trail goes downhill from Hilltop Campground to Wade Lake Campground or uphill from Wade Lake to Hilltop. After the walk, you have the option of returning on the trail or following the road from Hilltop or Wade depending on where you started. If you are not staying at Hilltop Campground it might be best to start at the Wade Lake end of the loop since there is parking at the sign. Those who do not enjoy walking uphill could be dropped off at Hilltop and picked up again at the bottom. From Cliff Point Campground, the Fault Trail connects to the lower end of the interpretive trail. This interpretive walk illuminates the varied ways nature creates its different environments. You will see wide-ranging examples of these works such as flying rocks, twisting trees, beetle kills, creeping ground, and a talking fir named Doug. The signs throughout the trail delve into the diverse natural processes which affect the landscape. Some of these are lightning, fire, canyon forming, and slope aspects. Along the way you will learn how to identify local trees, birds, and even lichens.

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Length: 2.0 miles round trip. Low difficulty. Season: May - September Directions: Follow US Highway 287 about 40 miles south from Ennis. Turn right at the sign for Cliff and Wade Lakes. Continue down the dirt road for about 6 miles to Cliff and Wade Lakes. The trail begins alternately at the back of Hilltop Campground or on the road just before Wade Campground. Large interpretive signs entitled Nature Builds and Destroys mark the trailheads. The Fault Trail also runs about a mile up the canyon from Cliff Point Campground, tying in at the bottom of the interpretive trail.

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10 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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he Dearborn fishing access site is located on the Missouri River, 10 miles south of Cascade, and is open year-round. It has a primitive carry-in boat launch only. Campers are allowed, however, large RV’s are not recommended for this location. FAS camping fee $12.00 without fishing license, FAS camping fee $7.00 with fishing license. There is a toilet at this location. This location has difficult accessibility for those in wheel chairs. Take Canyon Exit 244 off of I-15, then 6 miles south on Recreation Road. MFWP

AUGUST 2010

State Record Rock Bass MFWP

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n May 14, 2010, Lance Dennis was fishing at lower Crazy Head Springs on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation and caught a new Montana state record Rock Bass. Lance is an accomplished fisherman who regularly fishes the Tongue River in southeastern Montana. When Lance caught the Rock Bass he knew it was unusual but was uncertain if it could be a new state record. Lance said “I’ve caught Rock Bass before but this was the biggest one I’ve ever seen”. He called local game warden, Bill Dawson and told him he may have caught a new state record and wanted Mr. Dawson to witness it being weighed on a certified scale. They took the fish to the town of Ashland at the Ashland Merc and it officially weighed 0.82 pounds and was 9 7/8 inches long, eclipsing the previous record of 0.57 pounds, 8.6 inches caught in 1989 at Tongue River Reservoir. Crazy Head Springs is on tribal land managed by the Northern Cheyenne and fishing there requires non-tribal members to purchase a tribal fishing license in Lame Deer at the Natural Resource Office.


AUGUST 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 11

BIG SKY

Outdoor News Fly Tying Corner:

Fur Ant

Ants, Ants, Our Most Abundant Terrestrial Insect - Three Patterns For 3000 Species BY JIM ABBS fedflyfishers.org

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hile ants are not an aquatic insect, they appear to have a special place in the diet of many fish, including brook, brown and rainbow trout as well as all kinds of panfish. When ants are super-abundant, such as when a bunch of flying ants get blowed into the water during a hatch in the fall, fish seem to eat nothing else. Even when no fish are rising, small ant imitations (sizes 18-22) are very often deadly, even in very clear and smooth water. The intriguing question is why. Edward R. Hewitt tried to figure this mystery out by tasting the ants himself. He found them tart, and suggested that ants offered a savory pleasure to the trout--- like a dill pickle. But there are probably more basic reasons for the effectiveness of ant patterns, especially late in the season. First, ants are especially abundant late in the summer, a fact that August picnic goers know well. Secondly, mayflies are less common as summer goes on, and there is some research indicating that for some lakes, terrestrials make up over 50% (and up to 80%) of a fish’s diet during August and September. None other than Ernest Schwiebert argues that ants, because of their incredible numbers and constant presence, are the commonest insects available to trout. Third, like spinach and broccoli for my kids, ants are good for the fish! Biologists in California tested the food value of various insects and found that ants are pretty nutritious for their size. For example, it takes almost 10 midge pupa or over a dozen caddisfly larva to equal the calories in one ant. Finally, once an ant falls into the water, it is pretty much at the mercy of the fish... it does not float well on the top of the water and certainly does not have the ability to swim away. Interestingly, the many ant patterns are not dry flies, but rather ride within the surface film---being neither wet nor dry. This means that ant patterns must be carefully designed and tied to be effective. The other challenge with ant patterns is that there are an estimated 3,000 different species of ants, varying from the size 8-10 carpenter ants to the 22-24 minute black ants. They also vary in color from red to reddish brown to black of course, and some are even two colors like red and black or red and brown (see table for variations in color and size). There are three basic ant ties: (1) the so-called ant wet fly, that is fished subsurface, particularly effective in fast and/or deep water, (2) the “suspended” ant, with a fur body that is somewhat more buoyant than the wet ant so that the fly rides within the surface film... definitely not on top, and (3) the flying ant, to imitate the fall hatches that excite even the avid mayfly angler, which rides low in the water. MATERIALS: Hook: Mustad 94840 or 94833 sizes 8-24 Thread: 6/0 black Thorax: (1) wet ant: Wrapped and lacquered thread, (2) suspended ant: Dubbed fur, (3) winged ant: dubbed fur or poly. Note that deer hair (folded back and tied down) has also been used in ant patterns by Chauncy Lively and Paul Calcaterra, with legs from deer hair fibers that have been picked out. Head: Same segment as thorax. Some tiers recommend creating a separate segment for the head (yielding two segments in front of the waist) in flies size 14 or larger. Abdomen (also called the gaster): Same material as the thorax, but segmented from the thorax by a very thin waist. Hackle: Dry fly hackle to match body color (see table below for eight color/size variations) Wings: (Only for flying ant) Hackle tips or a bunch of white poly, tied behind the thorax and pointing toward the rear

TYING STEPS: 1. Create the abdomen (gaster) with layers of tying thread (for the wet ant) or dubbed fur or poly (for the suspended or winged ant). With the wet ant abdomen, apply tying cement until the abdomen is smooth and shiny. 2. Tie in the wings (for the flying ant) and hackle (sparse dry fly style) for all three patterns. 3. Wind hackle around waist and trim the bottom so the fly rides down in the water. 4. Form the thorax in the same way as the abdomen with a separate segment for the head, if the fly is size 14 or larger. Apply tying cement until the thorax is smooth and shiny 5. Whip finish head, cement and go fishing. VARIATIONS IN ANT PATTERN COLORS AND SIZES: Abdomen Thorax Hackle Sizes Black Black Dark Dun 16-18 Black Black Dark Dun 8-10 Black Black Dark Dun 22-24 Red-Brown Red-Brown Rusty Brown 12-14 Yellow/Amber Yellow/Amber Ginger 20 Black Redish Brown Dark Brown 12-14

Conservation Groups Work To Acquire Key Land On Tenderfoot Creek (continued from page 8) checkerboard of ownership, with almost 13 square miles interspersed with National Forest land. On July 20, 2010, the conservation partners completed a first phase purchase of Tenderfoot lands. In this initial phase, the Bair Ranch Foundation sold 1,160 acres of Tenderfoot lands to RMEF. RMEF then conveyed these lands to the Unites States for inclusion in the Lewis and Clark National Forest. The federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) provided most of the funding for this acquisition.

“The Tenderfoot is a key area for public use,” said Carol Hatfield, District Ranger for the White Sulphur Ranger District on the Lewis and Clark National Forest. “The Forest Service greatly appreciates the Bair Ranch Foundation for making this available and for all the public support and hard work of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Tenderfoot Trust.” Wayne Hirsch, President of the Board for the Bair Ranch Foundation, said, “This has been a desire of the board of directors for several years.”


12 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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Montana Fishing Report

AUGUST 2010

Sponsored By Boston Beer Co. And Summit Beverage

CHRIS MADSEN

Western Montana Fishing Report

RYAN ONGLEY

Southwest Montana Fishing Report

Brought To You By Missoula

Brought To You By Bozeman

BY CHRIS MADSEN, (406) 523-9000 e-mail: fishing-115@live.com BY RYAN ONGLEY (406) 586-0100

July has been warm and dry for most of the month, but with the generous late spring and early summer rains we had the fishing hasn’t suffered. The rivers and lakes are in good shape going into August and water temps have held steady. It should be a stellar year to fish your favorite hopper patterns tight to the bank in anticipation of an explosive rise. If we can continue to get a shot of cool rain every now and then we may even be able to avoid the dog days of summer. There are plenty of great fishing opportunities in western Montana this month, so let’s get right down to it. FLATHEAD LAKE: If there is a better place to spend a hot August day than Flathead Lake, I’ve never been there. The big draw for August is the much anticipated Lake Whitefish bite. If you’ve never fished for Lake Superior Whitefish, they are a cousin of the Rocky Mountain Whitefish. Lake Whitefish run larger than their river counterparts, with some as big as five or six pounds, and are highly predacious. In August they move out of their deep water haunts in huge numbers, gathering in shallow bays to savage schools of perch fry. The fishing has a carnival atmosphere about it, with lots of boats fishing in close proximity, and most everyone, kids with Snoopy poles included, catching whities hand over fish. The ticket is to fish the bays (Elmo and Big Arm are good bets), in about 50’ of water. The standard tactic is to jig with a green colored, 1/4 or 3/8 spoon like a Kastmaster, Rattle D’Zaster or Buckshot Spoon, especially one with green prismatic tape on it. Other effective lures will include whitefish flies, tube jigs and Gitzits. SEELEY AND SALMON LAKES: While these lakes are definitely not in their prime during August they shouldn’t be overlooked. The pike are still there and they still need to eat.

Will It Be Hopper Mania?

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Early morning is the best chance for numbers of fish. Get on the water before the sun has a chance to warm things up or the water skiers’ crawl out of bed, and you can catch fish still hanging out in their shallow water haunts trying to ambush baitfish. The standards such as Husky Jerks, spinner baits and weedless spoons are all good choices. Fly anglers can also do well with a sink tip line and a big ugly fly cast along the weed edges and drop offs. GEORGETOWN LAKE: The lake is quickly filling near to the top with weeds, but fishing should stay strong through the month. Trolling wedding rings or spoons that run fairly shallow will be a good bet, as will still-fishing Powerbait around drop offs, rocky structure and edges of weed beds. A fly rod is really the weapon of choice up here, because in addition to the storied damselfly hatch, most evenings in August will give you a shot at Georgetown’s other marquee bug, the traveling sedge. The traveling sedge is a large caddis fly that emerges right at dusk, and will skitter around the surface of the lake like a motorboat, leaving a v-wake in its path. Trout focus on this movement, and attack these bugs with a vengeance. The key is to fish a large (usually a #8), extremely buoyant pattern and retrieve it across the surface at a steady pace. Strikes are fierce, and it’s awfully easy to break

off a pig under those conditions. ROCK CREEK: With above average flows going into August this popular river is a great option for some mid day fishing when some of the other local rivers are slowing down in the blazing sun. Rock Creek is a great stream for casting your favorite attractor patterns on. The fish in this little river seem to have an affinity for bugs tied to look exactly like nothing but look a little like everything. From standard Yellow Stimulators to the Frankenstein foam and rubber legged creations that wander off the tying bench, a variety of flies will get the attention of the fish. A small nymph dropper tied to one of these larger flies will definitely up your chances of success. If you run into some of the picky fish on the river a size 16 X-caddis or smaller Parachute Adams will usually do the trick. Don’t be afraid to walk away from the road. Hike a little ways up or down river and you can get away from a lot of the traffic. KOOTENAI RIVER: The Kootenai is another tail water fishery that’s worth taking a look at when the summer heat keeps you off your favorite local river. It doesn’t get as much press as it’s cousins but it ranks up there with the best of them as a quality fishery. It’s a big river so there is plenty of room to (continued page 15)

ugust is here and fall and Elk hunting are just around the corner. It is truly amazing how fast our summers pass by in Southwest Montana. Fishing throughout July was outstanding with great Caddis, PMD, Salmonfly, and Golden Stone activity. Let’s hope it carries right through August with Hoppers, Attractors, and other Terrestrial patterns. Forecasts for late summer have had our hopes up for a Hopper season of epic proportions. At the time of this writing the weather has only warmed up for a couple weeks. So hopefully it will continue to be dry and get those hoppers active. If it comes off as forecasts say it could be ridiculous fishing around here. UPPER MADISON: The Upper Maddie year in and year out can be counted on for some great dry fly fishing in late summer. Hoppers, Beetles, Ants, Trudes, and Wulffs should be well stocked in your fly boxes. A small beadhead dropper off the back of your hopper can be deadly. The fly ant swarms up here if you catch one can bring the fish into a true frenzy. Black and Cinnamon ant patterns are must have in case you hit it. Spruce Moth imitations are also a must. Once this activity starts the trout definitely key in and will rise to these whenever they fall into the water.


AUGUST 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

YELLOWSTONE RIVER: The Yellowstone really comes into it’s own in late summer. High riding Hopper patterns along with Trudes and other attractors keep the trout looking up. Again the dropper nymph will keep you into fish during the slower times. The Lower stretches of the river below Livingston will give up some huge trout during times of Hopper activity. The fish are fewer but truly can be huge on this stretch. HEBGEN LAKE: Gulper season will be well under way on this fine lake in August. Huge emergences of tiny Tricos will be on the water along with Callibaetis mayflies as well. Any calm morning in the Madison arm and other areas will provide some very challenging but rewarding angling to the patient caster. Accuracy and delicate presentations are a must as cruising trout will be all around you. Crippled Callibaetis imitations along with spent trico spinners are a couple very good choices for patterns. You’ll be

amazed at the amount of insects on the water on a good morning. There are literally millions. YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK: Late summer into fall is my favorite time to spend time fishing in America’s first and in my opinion best National Park. Slough Creek and the Lamar River offer up some incredibly fun and challenging fishing to native Yellowstone Cutthroats. Hoppers, Ants, Beetles, and Huge Mormon Crickets, and some late Green Drake activity round out the buffet. These fish are gorgeously colored and so much fun to take on a fly. Make sure to get out there and enjoy it. Be sure to look around and enjoy the beautiful backdrop as well. Take it all in and remember how special of a place we are lucky enough to call home. I guarantee you there aren’t many places left like we get to enjoy each and everyday. Tight Lines!!!!!!!!! have. The high water this year has really stirred up the mosquitoes and I mean they are bad. I’m sure you have heard of at least one of the 13 plus pound walleye that have come out of Canyon Ferry and I predict a few more will come out of here in August.

JESSE FLYNN

North Central Montana Fishing Report Brought To You By Helena

BY JESSE FLYNN (406) 457-7200 e-mail: fishing167helena@yahoo.com CANYON FERRY: Plenty of walleye are being marked in and around 10 to 20 feet of water. Find points that reach into these depths and you should pick up trout and walleye both. Quarter and 3/8 oz jigs are best. A jigging spoon (3/4-1oz) is a very effective rig when fishing deep water; otherwise known as vertical jigging in the angling world. Fish that are suspending in 30-40ft will be most effectively caught by using lead core line, down-riggers, and or deep cranks or of course vertical jigging. If you are going to be fishing the south end of the lake be sure to bring plenty of bug repellant because the mosquitoes have been biting better than the fish

HAUSER LAKE: Seems to be the slowest of the three lakes. Anglers can expect to go out in an evening and get a few but no real numbers that I have heard. Weed beds are growing everyday, but don’t let them get the best of you. When fishing in weeds it is best to go with heavier baits than normal. I’m talking 3/8 oz, ½ oz or even heavier. And try bigger swim baits as well. These heavier baits allow you to punch through the thick weeds and the bigger baits are more of an attention getter in thick cover. Of course it can be frustrating cleaning algae off your jig every cast but when it’s all said and done it can pay off ten fold with a fish of a lifetime. There are weed less jigs out there not to mention several hooks and rigs that are weed less. HOLTER LAKE: A reoccurrence of fisherman have been speaking a lot about the perch fishing in Holter. Tossing 1/8 oz. jigs with a twister tail is going to be a great go to bait when targeting the perch population. If walleye fishing, you may want to increase jig weight to ¼ oz. or even 3/8 oz. Trolling harnesses are too producing walleye, it just all depends on your method to the madness. REGULATING RESERVOIR: Kokanee fishing has been steady as of late. Trolling has been producing most of the fish. Use wedding rings attached to a flasher set-up. Spoons have also been picking up a few, also attached to a flasher rig.

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 13


14 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

AUGUST 2010

Remembering Mark Henckel Mark Ward

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he news about the death of Mark Henckel Saturday morning May 29th 2010 came as a shock to sportsman and women all across Montana. With Marks passing Montana lost an important voice. A voice that stood for what is right with Montana hunting and fishing. The afternoon before his death I had exchanged e-mails with Mark Henckel regarding his schedule for the weekend. Every week we communicated our weekend plans to each other, just as most friends do, but my relationship with Mark went beyond close friendship. We first met 12 years ago. I had just started broadcasting my statewide hunting and fishing show, the Montana Outdoor Radio Show, and Mark of course was the legendary outdoor editor of the Billings Gazette. Mark called me and asked me a few questions about the show after hearing it for the first time one Saturday morning. We decided through that initial conversation that we had a common interest—Montana’s outdoors—and that we might be able to help each other, me providing information for his readers and him providing information for my listeners. Mark volunteered to call in every Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. to report on fishing and hunting news for the Billings area. Soon after that I started to write weekly columns for the Missoulian and monthly columns for Big Sky Outdoor News and Adventure. Up to that point I had no experience writing a newspaper column. But Mark assured me. “Not to worry,” he said. “I will edit your column to get you started.” He did more than get me started; every week for 12 years Mark has made it a point to help make my “rough draft” more enjoyable for you to read. That Friday two months ago it was business as usual with Mark. He planned to go fishing on Canyon Ferry Reservoir over the weekend, leaving Saturday morning and returning early Monday evening. The deadline for this week’s column was Tuesday, so that schedule worked out great. I could make calls on Monday and find out where the fish were biting and get my

rough draft e-mailed to him to look over, edit, and back so I could submit it Tuesday morning. It was the perfect plan and it would work out just like it has for the last dozen years. Except Mark never left his home Saturday morning. While preparing for his weekend fishing trip and his weekly Saturday morning call-in to the radio show Mark collapsed and died unexpectedly. He was 59 years old. If you have every harvested a wild game animal, cast a fly into a Montana blue ribbon trout stream, or just enjoyed the great Montana outdoors, that Saturday morning you lost a friend. Mark Henckel worked hard as self-described “wordsmith” and he loved what he did. He wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion, which he did many times on hunting and fishing issues, though his weekly newspaper column. Whether you agreed with him or disagreed, one thing was for certain, Mark’s love for Montana and keeping alive its hunting and fishing heritage was what shone through. Mark could have been my father, uncle, or brother. But he wasn’t. He was my friend, a very good one at that, and I will miss him.

Mark Ward is known as the Captain of the Montana Outdoor Radio Show heard statewide every Saturday from 6am - 8am. Log onto www.montanaoutdoor.com to find a radio station in your area. You can also read his weekly column in the Thursday Missoulian Outdoor section.


AUGUST 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

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Trout Of The Bitterroot (continued from page 8)

many of decent size, are also found extensively in the upper portion of the river, especially upstream from Hamilton. A short drift last season between Darby and Hamilton produced several browns in August 7 - 8 (Sat & Sun) a day of fishing. Fall Classic A major and productive hatch is Contact Travis Scott at 366-5603 the Skwala stonefly hatch beginning in August 13, 14, 15 late spring. Brown trout are real Camp Walleye suckers for this pattern but must be Tiber Reservoir released unharmed. August 21 - 22 (Sat & Sun) By late May or early June (this Yellowtail Fall Finale year) the high water run-off will end and Contact Kevin Anthony at 861-2781 the Bitterroot become the place to cast a August 21 fly. Many of the regular dry fly patterns, Women’s Tournament such as the Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Fort Peck Marina. Adams and the Pale Morning Dun, in sizes of 8 to 14. In addition fishing with grasshopper imitations is a real no-brainer beginning in July and lasting through early September. (continued from page 12) Hopper fishing works well on the entire spread out. Wading and floating are both good length of the Bitterroot during this time options but floating allows an angler to cover period. Hoppers are generally best fished more water. August is good month to throw right along the shoreline, focusing on hoppers on this river for the hard fighting undercut banks and natural obstructions resident rainbows. These larger than average such as downed trees. However, it never meals bring the some of the rivers bigger hurts to occasionally throw a hopper right residents out of hiding. A bullet head hopper out into the middle of the river, as the with a nymph dropper is a good combo along with the usual caddis and may fly patterns. larger trout will come to the surface for the large meal a hopper provides. Try BEAVERHEAD RIVER: I realize I’m hopper patterns in sizes between 2 to 8. not exactly giving away any family secrets The best times to fish this hatch will be by suggesting that you head over to the during the afternoon, on overcast days, but Beaverhead, but with Clark Canyon more than don’t let a blue-sky day stop you. Patterns bank full after decent snow pack in that area, and a cool spring, fishing has been hot since for this hatch will be the March Brown, the opener. Now I’m not suggesting that you Quigley Cripple and the Green Drake will show up and have the place all to yourself, Wulff. Check with the local fly-fishing far from it, but the water flow from the dam shops to find what hot now – they will be has been stable due to the good snow pack glad to sell you a few of the flies that are this winter, and put a little pep back into the catching fish. Beaverhead’s step. Hordes of big browns and Many anglers will fish beginning rainbows are still ready and willing to take small at the Florence Bridge and ending where bead head nymphs, and Trico spinners, caddis the Bitterroot flows into the Clark Fork. and hoppers will bring some fish to the surface, particularly downstream of Barrett’s Diversion. Although heavily used for recreational Wherever you decide to wet a line floating anglers should not pass this easy this month, remember that August is a month water. Trout populations are not as when the early bird really does get the worm, so plentiful as places further upstream, the plan on getting on and off the water early. Stay rainbow trout in this segment can get quite safe, and don’t let the dog days bite.

Western Montana Fishing Report

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 15

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large but be warned they are quite selective with their diets. The summer fishing is best described as one of the best opportunities to exercise your dry fly abilities. The river offers the dry fly angler and abundance of mayfly hatches. Expert anglers as well as the beginner fisherman can and will find trout. Matching the hatch is not a requirement because an attractor pattern like maybe a stimulator will usually do the trick. For fishermen who prefer wading as well as those who prefer floating from a raft. Many access sites provide the wading fisherman ample stretches to spend a few hours or the entire day. Watch for the brown signs announcing “Fishing Access”. September and Labor Day mark an end to the heavy tourist season. With children going back to school and vacations over the river lulls to a slower pace. As October approaches the local Montana people begin to ready them for the winter. Many begin gathering wood that they will use to heat their homes

during the next 6 months. Elk and Deer seasons begin later in the month and it is time to sight in that favorite rifle. After the third weekend in October you can count on having the river almost to yourself almost the entire day. The only local fishermen you will bump into are those like yourself who have chosen to spend their time fishing rather than hunting. Late fall fishing can be the golden opportunity that you have been waiting for. The closest commercial airports are in Missoula or Butte plus there are other rivers in the area as well as and recreational activities for the non-angler. Spending time on one of Montana’s Blue Ribbon Streams is both an enjoyable and an interesting angling experience. Anglers will find a wealth of information in the book A FLYFISHER’S GUIDE TO MONTANA by Chuck Robbins – MONTANA’S BEST FISHING WATERS both published by Wilderness Adventures Press, Inc. Their complete catalog is on line at www.wildadvpress.com/


16 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

AUGUST 2010

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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!

SIZE COMPARISON OF THE DIESEL TURBO LIFESAVER 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.

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AUGUST 2010

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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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The Air-Controlled Suspension (ACS™) Allows The Rider To Adjust The Ground Clearance Of The Machine

In addition to the standard features BRP has added to the 2011 800R X MR front and rear Air Control Suspension (ACS™) which allows the front and rear suspension performance to be adjusted on-the-fly depending on terrain or vehicle load, 30-inch Gorilla Axle Silverback tires, 14-inch (35.6 cm) ITP cast-aluminum wheels, BRP XL3000 winch. Integrated snorkel system (ISS) which allows the engine to breath easily in mud, relocated the radiator to keep it out of the mud and water, dual-mode dynamic power steering (DPS) which allows the rider to choose between two on-the fly modes for the amount of assist for the ultimate in power steering and performance , and more. MSRP: $15,399 For more information, visit your local ATV dealer.

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18 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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ATV Club Rides Capital Trail Vehicle Association - Helena 08/21 Fun Ride Hellgate Campground (east side of Canyon Ferry Lake) Contact: David Koch 406-461-4674 Treasure State ATV Association 08/07 - 08/08 Sunlight Basin

Treasure State ATV Association 08/21 - 08/22 Middlefork of the Judith River Treasure State ATV Association 09/04 - 09/06 Basin If your club is having a ride, let us know at bigskyoutdoornews@yahoo.com

montana tested gear

Reviews provided by Montana Test.Com The Country’s Leading Outdoor Product Testing Site. Reviews are independent of advertisers and all products tested in real time hunting and fishing conditions. Montana Test .Com does not guarantee positive reviews to any manufacturer. www.mtBowHuntingreviews. com and www.bowhuntingreviews.net are part of Montana Test.com. Visit www.montanatest.com

Leatherman Surge

Recommend...Yes Highlights: If you spend time outdoors, you own a Multi tool. There is a multitude of manufactures making this indispensable tool for our needs. Leatherman happens to be the name most of us recognize as the first name in Multi tools. We tested the Leatherman Surge. We used it in the Duck Blind fixing decoys, in the drift boat for minor and major repairs and around the house. The Leatherman Surge offers nineteen different features, needle nose pliers, wire cutters, serrated knife, 5/16” screwdriver, large and small bit driver, too many to mention here. Each one will get you out of a jam if your luck heads south. How important is Multi tool? If a rod, reel, or gun breaks down on you on the water or in the field, with a tool nowhere in sight, the Leatherman Surge will be the first piece of equipment you will pack the next time you hit the hills. You do not want to go anywhere without it. 25-Year Limited Warranty. Drawback...None Rating...6 Point...Great Tester: Pat Stinson Suggested Retail: $89.95

The Deluxe Survival Kit™

Recommend...Yes Highlights: The Deluxe Survival Kit™ from Ultimate Survival Technologies is the first for Montana Test. Packed in a HardCache™ carrying case. Inside you will find the SaberCut saw, StarFlash signal mirror, JetStream whistle, BlastMatch fire starter, and WetFire™ tinder. We tested the WetFire™ tinder and the SaberCut saw, and the whistle and mirror both work as we did a quick review. What held our curiosity were the WetFire™ tinder and the SaberCut saw. After using both, we can report here both performed exactly as advertised. The WetFire™ tinder started immediately when we put a match to it. The SaberCut saw is incredibly sharp, and requires some elbow grease and a few minutes to cut, depending on the size of log. We did not test under extreme weather conditions, but have no doubt; this Survival kit is necessary for backpackers and big game chasers. Drawback...None Rating...8 Point...Best Tester: All Suggested Retail: $59.95

Ace Decoy Anchors

Recommend...Yes Highlights: After 40 plus years of rigging decoys, we have learned a few tough lessons. First, if anchors do not stay on your decoys, your bag will be a wreck. You need weights that stay attached to your deeks in your bag until you are ready to set up. Ace Decoy Anchors is one of the best we have tested to keep anchors where they belong. They grab the keel of the decoy. The entire system works with a J shaped anchor in 4 and 8 ounce. Included are treated neoprene straps. The strap stretches around the keel for a secure fit. Each one comes with a small piece of tangle free cord, tied to the end of the anchor for simple removal or attachment. The field test is putting out and picking up in bitterly cold weather. As clumsy as Neoprene gloves are, I can grab the cord on the anchor and lock on to the keel. If affixed properly your blocks will come out of the bag without tangles and setting and picking up is a breeze. Drawback...None Rating...8 Point...Best Tester: All Suggested Retail: $24.00 4 oz. Per Doz. $32.00 8 oz. Per Doz.


AUGUST 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 19

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20 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

AUGUST 2010

RMEF Earns Highest Marks Roosevelt Challenges Boone and Crockett Record Holders From Charity Watchdog BOONE AND CROCKETT CLUB For the second year in a row, demonstrates to the public it is worthy of The Boone and Crockett Club success of conservation—that is, America’s premier charity watchdog their trust.”

has given its highest marks to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Only 21 percent of all U.S. \charities have attained Charity Navigator’s coveted 4-star rating for two or more consecutive years. The achievement denotes RMEF’s exceptional ability to manage and grow finances—a key factor for donors selecting top-performing conservation organizations for philanthropic gifts. Ratings data show RMEF spends just 6.7 percent on administrative costs, and 3 percent on fundraising costs. Therefore, more than 90 cents of every dollar that RMEF spends goes directly to its mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. Charity Navigator President and CEO Ken Berger wrote, “Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way, and outperforms most other charities in America. This ‘exceptional’ designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation from its peers and

To review ratings of all charitable organizations, visit www.charitynavigator. org. Details on the RMEF rating are at the link/URL below: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index. cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4406 Profiled by Forbes, Business Week and Kiplinger’s Financial Magazine, Charity Navigator estimates that it annually evaluates 10 times more charities than its nearest competitor, attracts more online visitors than all other rating groups combined, and influenced over $10 billion in charitable gifts over the past year.

is now receiving four times more trophy entries than 30 years ago, and Theodore Roosevelt’s great, great grandson says hunters who reach this apex are notable beneficiaries of historic conservation successes. Further, the TR descendant says trophy record holders are perfectly positioned to help keep hunters at the forefront of America’s resurging conservation movement. Simon Roosevelt, whose great, great grandfather was the 26th President of the United States, legendary sportsman, consummate conservationist and founder of the Boone and Crockett Club, delivered the remarks as part of his keynote address at the Club’s recent 27th Big Game Awards. Roosevelt said all hunters share a legacy with early Club members who developed the hunter-funded, science-based system that helped to recover that era’s devastated wildlife and habitat. That system remains the lifeblood of conservation still today. But those who achieve special status within the hunting community have a chance to join TR and his contemporaries in accomplishing “something even more important—more crucial for the long-term

fundamentally changing the way Americans think,” he said. Although 80 percent of U.S. citizens now live in cities, they understand the importance of natural resources and sustainable use, says Roosevelt, but, “What they don’t understand is how we as hunters fit, or maybe better said, that we fit, and why we’re important. If we fail to get this message across, we will continue to lose hunters and hunting access, and ‘hunting’ may well come to mean nothing more than high-fence farms and park culling.” Boone and Crockett record holders openly communicating who they are, what they do and their love of doing it—even when they don’t take an animal— will lead to greater public support of hunting, says Roosevelt. And that, in turn, will spur more resources for today’s conservation challenges: climate change, habitat loss and fragmentation, and diseases. Roosevelt’s speech was a highlight of the triennial Boone and Crockett Club event held June 24-26 at Reno’s Grand Sierra Resort.


AUGUST 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 21

Improve your odds with TROPHY SEARCH® Trophy Search® is available as a yearly subscription. For just $50 a year (or $40 a year for current B&C Associates) you can have unlimited access to the Club’s trophy database... The possibilities are endless. www.booneandcrockettclub.com or 406.542.1888 Visit our website at www.booneandcrockettclub.com to see our weekly field photo.

Justin, Age 14 “First Bull Elk.” Ruben McKinney Of Havre “Nice Buck Taken The Last Day Of The 2009 Season In The Missouri River Breaks.”

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August Barany Of Missoula “Only 10 Yards Away, But 6 Miles From The Truck. Scored 362-5/8 Gross.”

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SUBMIT YOUR HUNTING, FISHING, OR OUTDOOR PHOTOS TO BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE e-mail: bigskyoutdoornews@yahoo.com or mail to: 8591 Capri Drive, Helena, MT. 59602

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22 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

AUGUST 2010

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Mule Deer Foundation Breaking Records With Sales Of State Auction And Raffle Hunting Tags

MULE DEER FOUNDATION

T

he Mule Deer Foundation (MDF) has announced that in 2010 there were 129 State Auction and Raffle Hunting Tags sold for a record $1.84 million. The tags were sold at MDF’s National Convention (Western Hunting and Conservation Expo) in Salt Lake City, Utah, in February and at several local banquet events. These tags are highly prized by big game hunters throughout North America. No other conservation organization has matched MDF’s record in dollars or diversity of tags sold in 2010. The previous record was 175 tags which sold for $1.66 million in 2008. MDF, in partnership with eleven different state wildlife agencies and the Jicarilla Tribe, sells big game hunting tags to provide much needed funds for the management of mule deer, black-tailed deer, elk, bison, antelope, turkey and other game species. Over 93 percent of the money either goes back to the state wildlife agency for management programs or is spent on habitat projects. Highlights in 2010 included the sale of a Utah Statewide Mule Deer Tag

for an all-time high of $260,000. Arizona’s Statewide Mule Deer Tag sold for a record $177,000. Colorado’s Statewide Deer Tag sold for a record $130,000. The New Mexico Big Game Enhancement Package sold for $130,000 and included five hunting tags which consisted of a mule deer, elk, oryx, antelope and ibex. The unique California Golden Opportunity Grizzly Island Tule Elk Tag sold for $32,500. Beginning in November of 2010, MDF will once again be selling the 2011 Auction and Raffle Tags at our fundraising events. If you are interested in bidding on a tag or buying a raffle ticket, log on to www.muledeer.org for event dates and locations. The Web site is updated frequently so keep checking for a fundraising event near you. Many of the higher valued tags are sold at MDF’s National Convention which will be held in conjunction with the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 3-6, 2011.

Upland Bird Association Hosts Youth Wing-shooting Workshop And Hunts, Plus Sporting Clays Contest

T

he Big Sky Upland Bird Association is hosting a workshop for youths at the Missoula Trap and Skeet club in Missoula on Saturday August 21. The purpose of the half-day workshop is to educate kids about upland bird hunting, the species and habitats found in Montana, the types of shotguns and dogs used to pursue pheasant, grouse, and partridge, and the particular shooting skills and safety requirements of the sport. The workshop costs $10 and is limited to the first 20 youths who RSVP with parent permission. Youths must be 13-17 years old, and be graduates of hunter’s education. Students will receive wing-shooting lessons from a certified firearms instructor on a skeet field. Loaner youth shotguns and ammunition will be supplied, or student may bring their own shotgun. The workshop starts at 10AM, and includes lunch. Kids who successfully “graduate” from the workshop will be offered an upland bird hunt later this Fall. The Upland Bird Association will also be holding its 12th annual Wingshot Warm-up Invitational Sporting Clays shoot at Big Sky Sporting Clays near Polson on Saturday, September 25th. The 100 target shoot costs $50 for current BSUBA members and $75 for non-members; annual

membership is $20. The Big Sky Upland Bird Association is dedicated to improving habitat for all upland birds, opening more land to the public, encouraging ethical hunting and good relationships with landowners and agencies, and educating and informing upland bird hunters while fostering friendships among them. It publishes an online newsletter and holds meetings quarterly in Missoula. Registration for the youth workshop will be taken through August 14. Registration for the sporting clays shoot will be taken through September 12. To register for either event, contact Ben Deeble, BSUBA president at 327-9939 or e-mail: bddeeble@gmail.com.


AUGUST 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

Start Your Fall With A Bang

Upland Birds Opens September 1st

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 23

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o how do you put together a good early season upland bird trip? It all depends on what you are after. The early start dates for Huns, Sharptails, Sage, Mountain Grouse and Mourning Doves can get you in the field starting September 1st. If you can’t wait for a day or two in the field before the archery opener, you had better start making plans now!

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HUNGARIAN PARTRIDGE (HUNS) Huns are hard to figure out, in that they use rangeland, cropland and CRP - all seemingly in equal amounts. Huns can be everywhere, in the rose hips and snowberries along a stream, in the sparse grass above, and in the wheat stubble. MOUNTAIN GROUSE (RUFFED, Since those habitats make up most of BLUE, AND FRANKLIN) Central and Eastern Montana, it’s a good Typically, Ruffed Grouse are idea to key in on any shelterbelts and masters of the creek bottoms, while Blues abandoned farmsteads that provide winter tend to travel higher ridge tops. Franklin’s cover for the small birds. Hun hunters can be just about anywhere! Some or all can go just about anywhere secure in the can be found in the stream drainages of knowledge that they probably won’t see western and central Montana. another Hun hunter all week, if not all If the weather conditions are season. There are, of course, good reasons particularly dry, focus on food-producing for this. As tough as pheasants can be areas near swampy edges and bogs to hunt, in good cover you can usually or along flowing water. Drought-like count on seeing at least a few birds. But circumstances stunt plant growth and crop forget all that with Huns! You can--and production, so grouse will seek out places I’ve done it quite often--hunt half a day where there’s plenty of water to grow in prime cover and never move a covey. succulent foliage. Look especially for Huns are abundant in the triangle between soft-mast forage like berries and greens. Great Falls, Shelby and Havre; around If moisture conditions are Stanford in Judith Basin County; and in normal, concentrate on clearcuts and edge the extreme eastern portion of the state. cover near streams, abandoned farmland, Like most gamebirds that are and logging roads. Look for regenerating uncommonly hunted or written about, clear-cuts in the sapling stage. Anything Hun hunting abounds in myths. Take it that looks impossible to walk through is from a distinctly un-mythical wing shot, where you want to be! Hunt the edges of Huns are not, despite what you may have clearcuts abutting mature timber. Grouse read, difficult to kill. There’s no need to use these areas to feed and roost. The resort to high brass loads of 4s or 5s--or clearcuts provide food; the mature growth high brass loads of any size--no matter offers roosting sites. how late in the season you hunt them. Shot Once you’ve downed a grouse, from 6 to 71⁄2 will kill a Hun as far as you examine the bird’s crop to see what it’s can hit it, which for me is about 40 to 45 been feeding on, then concentrate on areas yards. that hold those food types. Buds, insects, berries of all types, even mushrooms may Places to stay for Huns -- Cattle King be found in the crops of grouse. These are Motor Inn, Scobey, 487-5332; W-V Motel, soft-mast foods, normally found in Wibaux, 796-2446; El Toro Motel, Havre, clear-cut areas that receive plenty of 265-5414; Sundown Motel, Stanford, sunlight. 566-2316. Places to stay for Mountain Grouse-Days Inn Helena Prospect Ave.- 442-3280, (continued on page 32) Three Bears Motel 203 Main St, Lincoln 362-4355, Best Western Paradise Inn

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24 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

AUGUST 2010

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(406) 830-3368 • emslapawn@hotmail.com Montana Set To Offer Wolf Hunting Licenses August 23 MFWP

M

ontana’s Fish, Wildlife & Parks will offer licenses for sale beginning Aug. 23 for the state’s regulated wolf hunting season. The FWP Commission set the statewide harvest quota at 186 wolves for hunting seasons that are set to open September 4 for archers, September 15 in select backcountry areas and October 23 for the general hunting season. Licenses will be valid within 13 specifically defined wolf management units. Hunters must obtain permission to hunt on private lands. Wolf licenses will be available for purchase online at fwp.mt.gov, or from any FWP license provider. Hunters must have, or also purchase, a valid 2010 conservation license. Wolf hunting licenses are $19 for residents and $350 for nonresidents. Montana’s wolf hunting seasons generally correspond to the state’s archery only, early backcountry, and general big game hunting seasons. The general wolf season is scheduled to end December 31, or when quotas are reached, whichever occurs first. The archery-only season for wolves, which is set to end October 17, is limited to not more than 20 percent of the established quotas or subquotas. The 2010 wolf hunting season, however, could be blocked by a lawsuit in federal court seeking to return the wolf to the endangered species list. In 2008, legal challenges prevented wolf delisting and a hunting season. FWP continues its vigorous defense of the federal wolf delisting decision. To learn more about Montana’s wolf population, visit FWP online at fwp.mt.gov. Click “Montana Wolves”.

Attention All Public Asked To Comment On States: Prepare Proposed Land Purchase In Deer To Be Sued Lodge Valley MFWP Over Wolves RMEF Montana Fish, Wildlife & forsaidaMack variety of fish and wildlife species,” Parks (FWP) and the Montana Natural Long, FWP Region 2 W

ith their latest petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, animal rights activists are preparing to sue for federally mandated release of wolves in every state, warn officials with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. David Allen, RMEF president and CEO, says animal rights groups have learned that introducing wolves translates to major fundraising, and activists have found a way to exploit the Endangered Species Act—as well as taxpayer-funded programs that cover lawyer fees—to push their agenda and build revenue through the courts. “There are now about 100,000 gray wolves in the U.S. and Canada, and over the past few years in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, activists discovered that every wolf is also a cash cow,” said Allen. “If we don’t get some reform in federal laws very soon, we’re all going to be living in Jurassic Park. This is not about saving a lost species. It’s about money and special interest agendas.” “Americans need to wake up,” he added, “because when you respond to those fundraising letters with photos of cute little wolf pups, you’re writing a check that our country’s rural and traditional lifestyles can’t cash. You’re eroding the fundamentals of America’s model for wildlife conservation.” Allen said undermanaged wolf populations in the northern Rockies are compromising the health of other wildlife species—especially elk and other prey. In areas of Montana and Idaho where wolves share habitat with elk, calf survival rates now are too low to sustain herds for the future. (continued next page)

Resource Damage Program (NRDP) are seeking public comment on a proposal and various documents associated with FWP’s plan to purchase 27,616 acres of important fish and wildlife habitat in the Deer Lodge Valley. Known as Spotted Dog, the land is currently owned by Rock Creek Cattle Company and spans the triangle between Deer Lodge, Garrison and Avon in Powell County . The property would become part of the FWP’s system of Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) to be managed for fish and wildlife habitat and seasonal public access.

“The purchase would also ensure lasting public access to previously inaccessible lands.” The lands are home to the largest concentration of wintering elk in the Upper Clark Fork and provide yearlong habitat for antelope, mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, moose, black bear and other species. The property includes extensive native intermountain grasslands and approximately 45 miles of riverside habitat along Spotted Dog, O’Neil and Trout Creeks. Native westslope cutthroat trout reside in these creeks and their tributaries. “Spotted Dog provides a unique opportunity to permanently protect and manage a large, intact landscape between the Black foot and Clark Fork watersheds

Supervisor. “The purchase would also ensure lasting public access to previously inaccessible lands.” In combination with intermingled State School Trust lands, the protected area would approach 38,000 acres. FWP has requested $16,574,009 in Restoration Funds administered by the state NRDP to fund the project. NRDP officials say the project qualifies for funding by restoring or replacing resources injured by historic mining and smelting in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin (UCFRB). These funds would cover land purchase, the assumption of an existing 10-year grazing lease on state lands and a five-year maintenance account. The project proposal would require an amendment of the NRDP’s grant process document to receive funding outside of the regular NRDP grant cycle. NRDP is asking for public comment on the proposal and the corresponding amendment to the funding process. The proposal, the Trustee Restoration Counsel’s funding recommendation, the NRDP Criteria Evaluation and the UCFRB Restoration Plan Procedures and Criteria amendment can be found on the NRDP website at http://doj.mt.gov/lands/naturalresource/noticespubliccomment.asp. The public has 45 days to comment on the proposal and the amendment. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. on August 9, 2010 and can be sent to NRDP, PO Box 201425, Helena, MT 59620 or nrdp@mt.gov, or faxed to (406) 444-0236.


AUGUST 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 25

Hunting And Conservation News Enjoy Pheasant & Chukar Hunting Pheasants & Chukars On Private Land Hunt September through March Located along the Smith Creek

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Duck Numbers Looking Good For Fall MFWP

W

ith the duck factories of North America still producing healthy populations of waterfowl, hunters have something to look forward to this fall. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently released its report on breeding ducks and wetland conditions from the annual spring survey. This year, the population of 10 primary species of ducks on the traditional survey areas was 40.9 million, similar to the total in 2009. The good news is that this number remains 21 percent above the long-term average that stretches back more than 50 years. “The fact that the high duck numbers have been maintained for yet another year is good news,” said Jim Hansen, the Central Flyway coordinator for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks in Billings. “Parts of Montana were quite dry early, but recent rains have helped in some areas, and there should be good numbers of ducks coming out of Canada.” Among the ducks important to Montana, mallards, the most sought-after species in the state, were at 8.4 million, similar to last year and 12 percent above the long-term average. Gadwall numbers were also similar to last year and

67 percent above the long-term average, while wigeon numbers were similar to 2009 and the long-term average. Numbers of pintails and scaup were steady but remained below the long-term average. Canada goose numbers for Montana hunters are likely to be similar to last year. Overall pond numbers for Prairie Canada and the north-central U.S. were similar to last year and 34 percent above the long-term average. Some of the wettest areas were the eastern Dakotas. Parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan, significant contributors of ducks to Montana, were dry when the early migrants arrived in April, but southern Saskatchewan pond numbers were still 21 percent above average. “One highlight that will help this year’s production, and is sure to affect next year’s duck production, is that much of Saskatchewan had tremendous rains in May and June, with some areas getting over 12 inches.” Hansen cautioned that the loss of wetlands, and the loss of nesting cover from Conservation Reserve Program land coming out of the program, will continue to affect duck populations over the next few years. The fall flight of ducks overall will likely be similar to last year, but hunting success will be influenced, as always, by weather and local habitat conditions. The framework for federal waterfowl regulations are established in August. Montana’s proposed waterfowl regulations will be presented to the FWP Commission on Aug. 5, with final regulations adopted via an Aug. 31 conference call. For online information on the federal duck and wetland report, visit flyways.us.

DANETTE L. PERRIEN PRONGHORN 81-6/8 B&C COUNTY IN: CARBON COUNTY, WY. 2008

Attention All States: (continued) “How do animal rights groups who claim to defend wildlife justify elk calf survival rates below 10 percent? Clearly they have another agenda,” said Allen. Participation in hunting and the funding it generates for conservation also are being negatively affected, as are local economies, livestock production and potentially even human safety. Continuous lawsuits by activists have setback wolf control and management efforts, compounding problems and costs for states. RMEF has helped to successfully restore elk populations in Kentucky, Tennessee, Wisconsin and other states where habitat is suitable and citizens support the effort. Elk restoration is being considered currently in Virginia and Missouri using these same criteria. Animal rights groups filed a petition July 20 complaining that wolves now inhabit just 5 percent of their former range in the U.S., and that wolf populations should be recovered in all significant portions of that range. The (USFWS) responded by saying that it is reviewing “what is realistic and where the suitable habitat would be.” For more visit www.rmef.org.


26 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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Sighting In A Rifle: Do It Right So You Can Depend On It BY DAVID ROWELL www.elk-hunting-tips.net

Sighting in a rifle properly requires exacting attention to details. Shooting at a stump and “getting close” will set you up for failure when taking a hard-earned shot at an elk or other big game. A less than precise approach might result in a wounded, unrecoverable, wasted animal that you expected to take home as a trophy. At least a little perfectionism is in order when sighting in. Two people don’t see exactly the same way through the scope. If you are shooting someone else’s rifle, be aware of that fact. Sighting in a rifle is a personal thing. Sighting in a rifle or rifle practice is frustrating if the rifle scope is not one with the rifle. Simply put, the scope should very accurately predict where your rifle will send a bullet at any reasonable distance. Wind, temperature, humidity and other conditions may affect the results in reality, so take as many variables out of the picture that you can control as possible when sighting in. Do it on a calm day. Zero at 200 Yards? Most hunters will “zero” at 200 yards, when sighting in a rifle caliber big enough for hunting elk. While traveling forward, the bullet will drop faster and faster as it slows down. Because your scope is mounted above the barrel, your bullet will actually arc above the flat “sight line” of your scope. The bullet will rise above and then drop back down across your straight sight line. If you “zero” your rifle at 200 yards, that is, set it so your point of impact is the same as your point of aim at 200, you will be good to go all the way out to 250 or farther, depending on your caliber and ammo. Check the ballistics from the

manufacturer of your ammo to determine how high it will be at 100 and how low it will be at 300, when zeroed at 200. On a large animal, a few inches of variation will easily allow you to hold on the same spot and still keep you safely in the large lung area, especially on an elk. All you have to know is how far out you can hold on the same spot, before the bullet drops too far. At that distance you know you have to begin to hold higher, or not take the shot. Determine that critical distance when sighting in your rifle. Secure a Quality Scope with Quality Mounts The first step to is securely installing a quality scope with quality scope rings to your rifle. A good scope on cheap mounts that cannot hold up to the violent jolt of a powerful gun, renders the whole rifle undependable. Buy the best rifle scope and mounts you can afford. A good quality used scope (if it’s still a good scope) may be better than a new scope of cheaper quality. A scope of dependable quality can easily cost as much as, or more than, the rifle it will be mounted on. Bore Sight Next If you buy a scope and/or rifle from a reputable dealer, you can usually have them mount the scope and bore sight it for you. That will get you “on the paper” at a close distance. If you have a lever action or semi-automatic rifle, bore sighting is a little more difficult. If you want to bore sight your bolt action rifle yourself, it’s easy. You can buy a laser bore sighter, or do it this way: 1. Take the bolt out and stabilize your rifle so it can’t move. (continued on page 30)


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28 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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AUGUST 2010

Rocky Mountain States Young Angler Catches State Record Carp; Heaviest Fish in Colorado History

A

14-year-old Golden resident became the newest member of Colorado’s angling elite after landing a 51-pound grass carp while fishing at Prospect Park Lake on June 4. The mammoth carp, caught by Cody Moreland, set a new species state record and ranks as the heaviest fish ever caught in Colorado. Moreland, who regularly fishes the small Jefferson County lake, caught the record-setting fish using a Rapala Dives-To lure, 14-pound line and a Zebco rod and reel. Moreland says he was initially targeting bass but changed tactics after 14 YEAR OLD CODY MORELAND WITH seeing large carp within casting COLORADO STATE RECORD CARP distance of his lure. “When I got to the lake, I could “This carp is the heaviest fish see carp ‘tailing’ quite a ways out from that we have ever entered into our record the shore,” said Moreland. “I knew they books,” said Paul Winkle, CDW fisheries would probably hit the Rapala because biologist. “Grass carp can grow to I’ve caught smaller carp using that same enormous sizes, so it’s not surprising that technique before.” this species has now taken the top spot in At approximately 3 p.m., this category.” Moreland cast his line toward the feeding Widely considered a “rough fish” carp and started retrieving the minnow-like by most anglers, carp are not members of imitation. Within seconds, the monster fish Colorado’s sport-fish group. However, due grabbed the lure and then charged in the to their hard-fighting nature and tendency opposite direction, peeling monofilament to grow to enormous sizes in neighborhood line from the Zebco reel. lakes and ponds, carp deserve a spot in “This was my first cast of the day Colorado’s record books. but I could tell right away that this was a “Grass carp and the more plentiful huge fish,” said Moreland. “I had to make common carp provide tremendous angling sure my drag was set just right to keep opportunities for Front Range and metro from losing it.” area anglers,” said Mark Cousins, DOW After 25 minutes of give-and-take, hunter education coordinator. “Anglers Moreland landed the enormous fish in front who have discovered the thrill of carp fishof wide-eyed spectators who had gathered ing have coined carp the fresh-water boneto watch the nearly half-hour-long battle. fish because of the tremendous battle they Moreland’s grandfather also witnessed his pose on a fly rod or light spinning gear.” grandson’s stunning achievement. Moreland, who has aspirations of “Everyone was in awe when I becoming a professional angler someday, finally landed the fish,” said Moreland. hopes this is just the first of many record“Even my grandfather was shocked. He breaking fish and angling accolades. just kept saying, ‘Wow, that is the biggest “I started fishing when I was 3 fish I’ve ever seen.’” or 4 years old and have been hooked ever Moreland’s carp measured 42 since,” said Moreland. “It’s my favorite inches in length, 28 inches in girth and thing to do and I hope to become a profesweighed exactly 51 pounds--nearly 7 sional fisherman someday. My goal is to pounds heavier than the previous keep improving my fishing skills.” 44.8-pound record, caught in 2006 at a The DOW added the record carp private Lake in Larimer County. to the Colorado State Fishing Records and In addition to breaking the state issued Moreland a Master Angler award record for grass carp, Moreland’s catch is certificate and patch, further recognizing the heaviest fish ever recorded in Colorado, his outstanding achievement. surpassing a 50.35-pound lake trout caught “We want to congratulate Cody by Donald Walker at Blue Mesa Reservoir Moreland for his exceptional fish,” said in 2007. Winkle.

New Game Laws Take Effect Two changes for the 2010 season everal new laws took effect S affect holders of nonresident deer or elk July 1 affecting the 2010 hunting seasons. tags. Nonresidents can now buy a three-day nonresident small game hunting license. The license is valid for upland game birds, migratory game birds, cottontail rabbits, huntable furbearers and unprotected and predatory birds three consecutive days. Some species also require tags or permits. The license is valid for hunting turkeys as long as a valid tag is purchased as well. The license is not valid for hunting pheasants during the first five days of the season. The license costs $33.75, plus an issuance fee of $1.75.

A nonresident deer or elk tag may be used on a black bear or mountain lion or gray wolf during the deer or elk season when the black bear, mountain lion or gray wolf season is open. The addition of gray wolf to the nonresident deer tag is new for 2010. This will be the first year a nonresident elk tag would be valid for tagging a black bear, mountain lion or gray wolf. Young turkey hunters may purchase a hunting license while they are 9 years old to apply for controlled turkey hunts, but they may not hunt until they are 10 years old.

Fall Chinook Harvest Season Set The Idaho Fish and Game It is unlawful to take or fish for salmon by Commission during a meeting in Kellogg snagging. Salmon caught in a legal Thursday, July 8, adopted a recommended harvest season on fall Chinook salmon to open September 1. The season will continue seven days a week until further notice or October 31, whichever comes first. Fishery managers predict 23,075 adult hatchery origin Chinook salmon will cross Lower Granite Dam, the last of four federal dams on the lower Snake River on their way back to Idaho. Most of them are headed for the Snake River above the mouth of the Clearwater River, and Idaho Fish and Game has proposed a fall Chinook harvest season on the Snake River between Lewiston and Hells Canyon Dam. The daily limit would be two fall Chinook, only one of which may be an adult; the possession limit is six of which three may be adults. Anglers may keep only fish with a clipped adipose fin, evidenced by a healed scar, and they may keep 40 salmon for the year, including spring, summer and fall Chinook. All salmon with an intact adipose fin must be released. Anglers may use only barbless hooks no larger than five-eighths inch from the point to the shank. When the daily, possession or season limit is reached, the angler must stop fishing for salmon, including catch-and-release.

manner must be either released or killed immediately after landing. Anglers must have a valid Idaho fishing license and salmon permit in possession to fish for salmon. A salmon permit from the spring or summer season still is valid; for anglers who didn’t keep theirs, replacement permits are available for $7.25. A permit costs $12.75. The Snake River is open from the Washington-Idaho border to Hells Canyon Dam. No fall Chinook may be taken in the Clearwater River. The Washington-Idaho boundary is a line from a posted sign on western side of Confluence Island due south to the point off the Green Belt boat ramp. The mouth of the Clearwater River is a line from a posted sign on the north bank, south to the western-most point on the south bank. The Snake River fishery is open in four sections: -From the Washington-Idaho border to Bridge Street. -From Bridge Street to the Oregon-Washington border. -From the Oregon-Washington border to the mouth of Sheep Creek. -From the mouth of Sheep Creek to Hells Canyon Dam. A map showing the boundaries is available in the 2010 Fishing Seasons and Rules brochure.


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Rocky Mountain States Special Sage-grouse Hunt Application Open A

pplications for the 2010 Special Sage-Grouse Hunt at Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) are now available on the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) website at ndow.org/hunt/apps/. The Sheldon hunt will be open for two weekends Sept. 18-19 and Sept. 25-26. This is a permitted hunt, with 75 permits awarded by random draw available for each hunt by reservation only. The hunt is open to both residents and nonresidents. The daily limit is two and the possession limit is four for sage grouse. Permit applications are available in PDF via the NDOW website (ndow.org/hunt/apps/). Applications must be received by 5 p.m. on August 6 at the NDOW headquarters office (1100 Valley Road, Reno, NV 89512). “The Sheldon Sage-Grouse Hunt is a popular hunt with only 75 reservations available for an early and late season,” said NDOW game biologist Shawn Espinosa. Both residents and nonresidents must have an upland game stamp and either a hunting license or short term permit to hunt

while hunting upland game in Nevada. The Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge is in northwest Nevada on the Oregon border. Although the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced in March that it would place greater sage-grouse on the list of “candidate species” across its range in the 11 western states and two provinces, Espinosa reports that sage-grouse populations in the Sheldon NWR do support a hunt season. “Sage-grouse lek count data collected from the Sheldon NWR sagegrouse population has shown an increasing trend from 1999-2009,” he reports. “We are very concerned with sage-grouse populations in general and if we determined that sage-grouse hunting was having a detrimental or additive impact on that particular sage-grouse population, we would recommend closing the season as we have for many other hunt units in the state.” NDOW also reminds hunters to remove one wing from each sage-grouse taken as part of a long-term study of the state’s sage-grouse populations.

Department Kills Bear At Scene Of Attack A

250-pound male black bear was caught and killed at the Sandia Mountains picnic ground where a young woman was attacked, the Department of Game and Fish announced. “We are more than 95 percent sure we got the right bear,” said Donald Jaramillo, the Game and Fish Department sergeant for the Albuquerque Supervisory District. The bear’s feces contained hair that appeared to match a dog that was killed and eaten during Sunday’s attack. The bear was taken to Veterinary Diagnostic Services at the University of New Mexico for a necropsy. The 20-year-old victim had surgery at the University of New Mexico Hospital. Her father told Sergeant Jaramillo that she would recovery completely. The victim was dragged from her tent early in the morning, but fought the bear and got away. She stood up to appear larger, and then ran to her vehicle. The bear, believed to be about 5 years old, was chased with hounds, but escaped early in the afternoon. It returned

to the scene that night or early the next morning, and was caught in a live trap. The bear had a long scar across its face and did not appear to have been caught by Game and Fish previously. The woman was attacked while camping with two male companions in the Sandia Mountains. They had numerous items that would attract bears to their tent. Those included: the dog, Gummi Bears and Doritos. Game and Fish has killed or authorized the killing of three black bears in the Sandia and Manzano Mountains. All three were believed to be dangerous and were either associated with this attack or attempting to break into homes or camping trailers. “The Department wants to encourage everyone using our national forests to remember that bears have a tremendous sense of smell,” said Tod Stevenson, Director of the Department. “No one should keep food or trash anywhere near where they sleep. Even toothpaste, deodorant and some insect repellents can attract bears.”

Walk-in Area And Hunter Management Area Access Increases For 2010 Hunting Seasons Of note this year is the addition of six new hunter management areas: Copper Mountain for elk area 47 east of Thermopolis; Cow Creek near Saratoga for antelope area 52; Parker Gulch for elk area 6 near Cheyenne; Hanna Draw near Hanna for elk area 16, deer area 161 and antelope area 48; Missouri John near Medicine Bow for antelope area 47; and Upper Nowood for Buhler said Hunter Management Areas differ from Walk-In Areas in that a permit must be obtained to hunt. “To use one of the Hunter Management Areas, a physical permission slip can be obtained on-line or at Game and Fish offices,” Buhler said. Details on obtaining HMA permits can be obtained on the Game and Fish website http://gf.state.wy.us or by calling (307) 777-4600. A listing of ranch rules and the license types that are yoming hunters will have valid in each of the Hunter Management more access to private lands this year that include six new Hunter Management and Walk-in Areas is also available on the website. Hunters should be aware that Areas and more walk-in acreage as well. rules governing use of HMAs can vary Walk-In and hunter management areas with the different areas. offer access for hunting for big game “In some of the areas, permits are including elk, deer and antelope as well as a variety of upland bird species, waterfowl unlimited,” Buhler said. “In others, they are limited and a drawing is held to issue and small game and predators. the Hunter Management Area permits.” The complete list of 2010 As with Hunter Management Hunter Management and Walk-In Areas is now available on the Wyoming Game and areas, Walk-In areas provide hunting opportunity for big game including elk, Fish Department website http://gf.state. deer and antelope as well as a variety of wy.us. Hunter management permits are upland bird species, waterfowl and small available on the Game and Fish game and predators. website. Hunters should be aware that The Walk-in Atlas lists the rules, license types and hunt periods vary species that can be hunted within each with the different Hunter Management area and the dates when individual areas. Maps of each area along with species that may be hunted and valid hunt walk-in areas can be accessed. Walk-in areas are now available on the Game and areas, license types and other ranch rules Fish website and printed copies of the are also found on the Game and Fish Walk-in Area Atlas will be available in website for each area. early August. Access coordinator Matt Buhler The Walk-in Program is funded said more than 1.6 million acres of access to a large extent by the Game and Fish are provided on private lands through the walk-in and hunter management programs Department’s AccessYes Program through contributions of anglers and and that acreage can be doubled with the hunters usually at the time of license access those private lands provide to purchase and application. public acreage.

W


30 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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Sighting In A Rifle (continued from page 26) 2. Point the rifle at a close object that you can see through your barrel. 3. Center the object (door knob, top of fence post, target, etc.) as you look through the barrel. 4. With the gun very stable, change the windage and elevation adjustments until the crosshairs (reticle) of the scope are on the center of the same object. Start at 35 Yards After bore sighting take your first shot at 35 yards to begin with. If you’re still off the paper, move closer. Turn your scope’s windage and elevation knobs a few clicks at a time to begin bringing the bullet’s point of impact to your point of aim. A consistent shooting rifle should be able to put three shots in a fairly tight group at one hundred yards. Ammunition Quality You can start with cheap ammunition to “get close”, but switch to premium ammo that you will use for hunting to readjust to those bullets. Using low end ammunition for big game is a recipe for failure. Premium ammo costs significantly more, but gives you the best “shot” at hunter success. Regardless, all ammo will fly differently. Even the same kind of ammo can fly differently when made from a different “lot”. The difference probably won’t be huge, but a new box should be checked for flight pattern. Free Paper Targets If you don’t have access to a furnished rifle range, start with a good backstop that won’t allow stray lead to travel or bounce. Use something stable to hold your paper targets. You can go to http://www.elk-hunting-tips.net/supportfiles/target2.pdf for free printable targets, or just use four-inch square plain white pieces of paper on a box at a hundred yards. Use larger squares for 200 yards. A box weighted down with dirt works fine to tape or staple targets to.

Stabilize and Cushion Your Rifle Use a range finder or accurately step off a hundred yards to begin with. Use a stable shooting bench or low table of some kind with a fore stock and butt stock rest on the table to hold the rifle steady. A sand bag under the butt will keep you from having to grip the gun tightly to hold it. Without a rest on each end you would have to grip securely with your hands in two places, which causes minute movements. You may notice that even your own heart beat will move the gun. (Yeah, that’s scary. Isn’t it?) An adjustable (padded) fore-end rest will allow you to make fine adjustments mechanically that will stay where you put them. The butt rest will allow you to shoot relaxed with little movement. Use your non-trigger hand to lightly squeeze the butt-end sand bag to make slight movements to center exactly on your hold spot. You can pay a lot of money for a rifle rest. We use an inexpensive one by Case-Gard called the Shoulder Gard Rifle Rest™. It works great for us. The butt rest is not adjustable, but the front is. Both rests are padded. It has a compartment to put in weights and store gear. Weather Affects Bullet Flight Remember that very cold weather can affect how your gun shoots. Most of us end up sighting in your rifle when the weather is warm in summer or early fall. Consider rechecking it when cold weather sets in. Relax, Don’t Be A “Jerk” You probably already know to “squeeze the trigger”, without jerking or blinking. Sometimes that’s hard to do while anticipating that there is about to be a violent explosion inches away from your face! You have to divorce yourself somehow from the coming explosion. Cool, calm, collected and in control is the mantra. Relaxing effectively improves shooting, but requires practice. If you’re

having trouble relaxing while shooting, consider doing some “progressive relaxation” (Google it) while telling yourself something like, “just relax, cool and calm”. Practice this relaxation technique often and eventually you will only need the words and you can take this ability to relax “on demand” to the range, in the field, and in stressful situations of life. Check out our further discussion of focused shooting on the rifle practice page. Establish A Pattern And Adjust Shoot three shots taken with good, relaxed form to establish a good shot pattern. Make adjustments to move the center of the pattern where you want it to be. Shoot at least two more shots. If the holes are farther apart than an inch or so, take a third shot again. Keep adjusting until the shot patterns are centered where you want them to be, usually 1½ inches high at 100. Once you are set at 100, try it out at 200. Your patterns should be right on (zeroed) at 200. Ideally, move out to 300 to see what your rifle and ammo does at that distance. Avoid Pain To Avoid Bad Shooting Habits Here’s another point that I think is very important. We never let our guns hurt us. If you do, you might start developing a flinching habit. We use padding on our shoulders, like a small pillow, while shooting from a bench. Another option is to buy a LimbSaver type recoil pad for your rifle. These are great products that absorb most of the kick. Remember that when you shoot at an animal you will be shooting through a cold barrel. Your barrel will heat up if several shots are taken fairly quickly. If it gets hot, let it cool with the action open before shooting again. After you’re through it is best to recheck your final results when the barrel is cold.

Sighting In A Rifle Is Not A Once A Year Thing Don’t assume it will stay sighted in. Check it a couple of times during the season. Do it all over again before the next season. Keep your gun barrel clean. A clean barrel shoots more consistently than a dirty one. Use solvent, even copper solvent, inside the barrel with a brush at least yearly followed by clean cotton patches and a very light oiling. (Follow your gun cleaning kit directions.) Properly sighting in a rifle means you know you can depend on your “best elk hunting rifle” and rifle scope to be “on”. Doing it right and keeping it right takes one big variable out of the picture, when you suddenly have that hard earned opportunity to pull the trigger on an elk! Now go to the next level: gun practice. Consider rifle practice a separate issue from sighting in.

Supertag Winners Announced MFWP L

ucky hunters from Montana, Arkansas and New York will get another shot at the dream this fall after winning Montana’s moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat SuperTag lotteries. The three winners are: •Moose: Gilbert Stallknect, Lewistown,MT •Bighorn sheep: Dean Robinson—Lisbon, NY •Mountain goat: Michael Baum—Wynne, AR While resident and nonresident hunters could buy an unlimited number of $5 chances to win any Montana SuperTag hunting license, among this year’s winners only Robinson purchased more than one chance. He purchased 22 chances for the bighorn sheep SuperTag. Montana’s mountain goat, moose, and bighorn sheep hunting licenses are among the state’s most prized big game hunting licenses. Each year, Montana attracts more than 55,000 applications for about 1,000 mountain goat, moose, and bighorn sheep hunting licenses that can be used in a specified hunting district.


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Archery Spotlight

Start Your Fall With A Bang

Phantom FG4 Bowsight

SHARPTAILS Sharptails are tied almost exclusively to large tracts of native rangeland. You can have a hard time with this, because not every section of prairie has lots of sharptails, and you often see them feeding in wheat and barley fields. In September, the prairies are like an oven in the mid day, burned white by the sun, with more than enough rattlesnakes to keep things interesting. Look for the birds in the more native prairie areas, as sharptails prefer it to the ag that most pheasants love. When you take a bird, open it up to find what they’re feeding on, then hunt areas where those plants are found. Some of the more interesting foods I’ve observed are dandelion leaves and flowers, prickly lettuce seeds, and the buds of western salsify. Don’t be surprised, however, if your normally steady bird dog has trouble at first finding the birds. Many a pointing or flushing dog that performs like a champ on Pheasants and Huns will fall down hard on sharptails. Give them time, as most dogs will adjust after a couple days of hunting. Conversely, the best hunting is usually in the northern third of the state bounded by the Front Range, Alberta and Saskatchewan, North Dakota and the Missouri River. Sharptails are also well distributed in McCone, Dawson, Prairie and Wibaux counties as well as in the southeastern corner of Montana.

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS STAFF

I

t’s time to focus on the big game archery season that gets underway this month. Putting the best gear you can find, or afford, on your bow is key to making that “one shot” when it counts. New this year from Outdoor DNA is the Phantom FG4 bowsight. The Phantom FG4 features: *Some of the best pin visibility in low light conditions *Fully enclosed pins *Fully protected fiber optics *Unparalleled Accuracy *All Anodized aluminum construction *Level bubble for accurate bow position *Large, rugged adjustment screws *Laser etched windage and elevation markings *Patent Pending “Infinity” Pin sizings *Torque indicating reticle Sight light ready *Bright visibility ring all stainless steel hardware

The Triple Threat Reticle system gives you a third point of alignment. Traditionally you had only two aiming points to align (your peep and your pin), but with the exclusive Triple Threat Reticle, you have three. This makes aligning much more accurate since you are aligning three things (your peep, your pin, and now the reticle circle.) The reticle design also allows for instant identification of bow torque – a common error that leads to inaccurate shooting. The staff at Outdoor DNA sent me the Phantom FG4 to use and review. I have the sight on my bow and have used it at the indoor range and have shot it outdoors in hunting like conditions. The bowsight is much better than the sight that I was previously using. This sight has everything a bowhunter needs to shoot right on when it counts. For more information on the Phantom FG4 go to outdoordna.com or give them a call at (406) 880-0888.

AUGUST 2010

(continued from page 23)

Places to stay for Sharptails -- Best Western Sundowner Inn, Forsyth, 356-2115; Travelers Inn, Circle, 485-3323; Chinook Motor Inn, 357-2248; Sagebrush Inn, Baker, 778-3341; Sherwood Inn, Plentywood, 765-2801. SAGE GROUSE The iconic symbol of the West, sage grouse have been in the news a lot the last few years. Threatened by habitat loss, West Nile Virus and range fires, many traditional hunting areas for sage grouse have been curtailed or even closed. Sage grouse are tied mainly to sagebrush habitats and associated wet meadows in east-central Montana south of the Missouri River. Sage grouse are different from sharptail and most other upland birds in that they lack true gizzards and cannot eat hard seeds. As such, they eat mostly plant material and are quite fond of plants with a milky sap. Like sharptail, sage grouse are attracted to the common weed-prickly lettuce, but they eat the leaves and not the seeds. Other sage grouse foods includes plants such as curly cup gum weed (rosin weed) and milkweed. Find these tasty treats in any concentration, and you may find sage grouse. It pays real big to field dress these birds right after harvest, as the crop and digestive juices can taint the meat! (continued on next page)


AUGUST 2010

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D.I.Y. Public Land Hunts (continued from page 5)

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 33

HUNTING SEASON is just around the corner... ARE YOU READY?

• Helena’s Only Pro Shop • Fully Stocked Retail • Custom Strings • Lessons & Lanes • Valley’s Best Archery Techs • All Levels From Beginning Archers To Advanced Advanced into range for Matt. It didn’t work; his route was going to miss Matt. Three steps later I realized he was headed for me and I was going to get a shot. I was not ready! My bow was lying beside me with no arrow knocked. As I scrambled to prepare I quickly ranged two locations and was just knocking an arrow when he stepped clear of the aspens. I was now at full draw, picked a spot, released the arrow and hit my point of aim. Matt was excited and whispered loudly, “You smoked him. You smoked him!” I had been so focused on the shot I hadn’t realized the bull was not completely broadside but it stopped after 90-yards with his head low. I continued to call softly and the bull slowly walked to the nearest grove of trees and lay down. We sat watching, calling to calm him, when another bull answered. I turned and there were four cows at 80-yards and closing. Matt crawled back to his bow as a bull stepped out 40-yards from me. In the excitement Matt rushed the shot and sent his arrow over the bull’s back. We had almost doubled! Matt was sick to say the least. We sat for another 45 minutes watching the bull and talked about how big it was. We guessed less than 330 then 320. After waiting an hour we approached the bull and only then did I realize he was a lot bigger than I had thought. “He is a good 345!” We took pictures and sent text messages to buddies, then quartered and packed it out. We were just heading down the road when we ran into a friend and his brother in-law who responded to the text. Kyle had to score it, and after the first antler I told him he messed up. The bull would gross near 360. He was not wrong! After the 60-day drying period its gross score was 357 7/8 and netted 348 1/8 P&Y. Both main beams measured over 56”. It still hasn’t sunk in. Heck, I would have been happy with a 320” bull. Texting everyone it was a 320 bull made me the butt of a lot of jokes, but at least it turned out bigger and not smaller. The morning turned out to be one of those experiences that comes along once in a lifetime.

Epilog: Speaking with Brandon a year after his successful hunt I asked what he would have changed if he could do it over again. His only regret was not having a better visual image of the bull to confirm it was perfectly broadside. Even though the arrow made a complete pass through he would adjust his point of aim so it would exit farther forward in the chest cavity. He was using G5 Tekan II Mechanical 125-grain expendables that he had picked up at Bob Wards Sporting Goods in town. I believe in trying new technology and any good bow hunter that has shot expendables/mechanical in the past and found that they were reliable, needs to throw those away and buy the new models. The mechanical have come a long way in the dependable performance. With an animal the size of an elk there is no question about the advantage of an expandable broad head in an animal of this size and strength. Brandon had full pass through and perfect expansion. Now the last thing I want to do is start a war between the expandable and the conventional tipped broadheads. We had a battle like that year ago between the cattle ranchers and the sheep ranchers regarding grazing and no one can tell me today what that war solved. Bottom line, if you don’t shoot a mechanical you owes yourself the opportunity to give them a try. Note: A good tip for elk hunters can be learned from Brandon and Matt’s story. Beginning with their original plan: they knew the elk would be in the field during the night feeding then leave in the early morning. They would move first to a water hole then continue up the aspen choked draw, not venturing onto the open hillside anymore than necessary. The elk’s final destination was a bedding area in the dark timber chosen for solitude and protection from the mi-day heat. Knowing preferred travel routes and planning to be in a specific position provided our hunters cover within range for a bow shot. These are all good tips to remember. Game animals travel for food, water and shelter and knowledge of their movements determines where your ambush point should be.

Let us help you with your hunt.

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Helena 406-449-3111 buffalojumparchery.com

Start Your Fall With A Bang Adult males range from 26 to 30 inches in length and average 4 to 7 pounds in weight; adult females range from 19 to 23 inches in length and 2.5 to 3.5 pounds in weight. Loads for these birds must be heavy, with hi-base 12ga loads of 4’s or 5’s 1 ¼ oz. payloads a better bet than most lighter upland loads. Scouting is the key in the fall as hen & juvenile Sage Grouse tend to be in completely different locations than that of the “Big Bomber” male Sage Grouse. While they are mainly viewed as a public land species, it is important to note that most creek bottoms in eastern Montana are privately owned and that good private lands are easy access if you contact the landowners ahead of time. Surprisingly, good sage grouse habitat often has a few Huns. Scouting is the key in the fall as hen & juvenile Sage Grouse tend to be in completely different locations than that of the “Big Bomber” male Sage Grouse. Places to stay for Sage Grouse -- Big Sky Motel, Roundup, 323-2303; Fellman’s Hotel, Jordan, 557-2209. MOURNING DOVES While not truly an upland bird, Mourning doves are considered a Webless migratory bird, which means you will need a state migratory bird stamp to add them to the menu. They also open on September 1st and can take up the slack after a successful grouse or hun hunt.

(continued from page 32)

If you thought that any of the above were difficult targets, well get ready to meet your match! Doves can move in directions and angles that exceed what a F-22 Raptor can do, and will simply blow your mind! P.S.. doves ARE sub-sonic! Find the right spot near a wheat or barley field, or near a waterhole or river bank the last few hours of daylight and you can’t load your gun fast enough. You can control most of the elements that will make or break a dove shoot -- where you set up, how you conceal yourself, how you shoot, what you shoot, and so on. It can be pretty laid back compared to all of the above species. Locate a dove flight path connecting a feeding or watering area with a roosting site and you can have some pretty hot shooting during the morning and evening hours. Another great hunt involves advance scouting to identify the whereabouts of roost trees. Setting up near them to ambush birds coming in from feeding and watering also provides some wonderful action. Shot sizes from 71⁄2 to 8 will kill doves as far as you can hit them, for me (on a good day) is about 40 to 45 yards. If you have located a good spot and there are lots of birds, bring lots of shells! So take your pick, and start your fall out with a bang! Good luck out there!!


34 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

•

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ull River Campground is located on the Kootenai National Forest in northwest Montana. At an elevation of 2200 feet, the campground has 26 campsites 2 of them pull-through sites. Restrooms, drinking water, and firewood are provided. Groceries, a food service, and shower facilities are available within one mile of the site. There is a boat ramp, fishing access, and hiking nearby in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness. The site is located adjacent to the Cabinet Gorge Reservoir which is an excellent game fishery. Season: 5/15 - 9/10

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he Skelton Creek Trail (1078) makes a nice day hike. About halfway, the trail passes through a winter range area for wildlife. The lower mile of the trail parallels the West Fork Pilgrim Creek road rather closely, weaving through a densely timbered area. Length: 2.4 miles Trail Begins: Road 2744 Activities offered: Bird watching Hiking Nature area Picnicking Wildlife viewing

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AUGUST 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 35

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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. © 2010 American Honda Motor Co., Inc.


36 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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Women Outpace Men As New Hunters NSSF More women than men took up hunting last year, according to new net

Fishing On The Big Hole River Brownes Bridge FAS MFWP

figures from the National Sporting Goods Association. While total hunters in the U.S. decreased slightly (.05 percent) between 2008 and 2009, the number of female hunters increased by 5.4 percent, netting 163,000 new participants. Growth areas for women included muzzleloading (up 134.6 percent), bowhunting (up 30.7 percent) and hunting with firearms (up 3.5 percent). Data also show women outpaced men among net newcomers to target shooting with a rifle, where female participation grew by 4.1 percent. New hunters and shooters are cause for celebration because more participation helps with funding for conservation, according to officials with National Hunting and Fishing Day. Congress established NHF Day, set for Sept. 25, 2010, to recognize America’s sportsmen and women for their leading role in fish, wildlife and habitat conservation (more info at www.nhfday.org). “New hunters, shooters and anglers are a good thing for everyone who loves the outdoors,” said Denise Wagner of Wonders of Wildlife museum in Springfield, Mo., the official home of NHF Day. “Hunting and fishing license sales, combined with special taxes on firearms and ammunition, bows and arrows, and rods and reels generate about $100,000 every 30 minutes, totaling more than $1.75 billion per year, for conservation. When it comes to funding for wildlife and wild places, more is definitely better.” Connie Smotek, 45, a two-time Olympic skeet shooter, bronze medalist in the 2009 World Cup, and avid bird and big-game hunter, added, “Shooting and hunting are activities which a woman can enjoy for a lifetime.”

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ish the Big Hole river at this MFWP fishing access site located 6 miles south of Melrose on the Frontage Road at Browns Bridge. The site offers primitive campsites, a gravel boat launch, and handicap accessible toilet. Game fish opportunities include: Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Mountain Whitefish and Rainbow Trout. MFWP


AUGUST 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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38 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

AUGUST 2010

Bob Ward & Sons New Gear Review Each month we select several products that are brand new to the market and may appeal to our Montana readers and customers All products shown available at Bob Ward & Sons or at www.bobwards.com.

Gore Optifade Forest Camouflage Pattern This is the first camouflage pattern to

consider how a hunter appears in the eyes of his prey. It was developed by a group of experts, including an animal vision scientist and a leader in military concealment. The new Big Game/Forest pattern takes into account circumstances unique to tree stand hunting including: the elevated angle of attack common in tree stand hunting, the vertical effect of trees, which can make detection of a hunter easier for the prey, and closer engagement distances than those in open country hunting. Sitka Gear, which has seen sales skyrocket with the debut of gear featuring the original GORE OPTIFADE Concealment, will incorporate the new pattern on an innovative line of gear for 2010. The gear itself is specially designed for tree stand hunting, which often requires hunters to endure long sedentary periods in adverse conditions. Pieces of the system also incorporate Gore’s durably waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX® and windproof, breathable WINDSTOPPER® technical fabrics.

Hardscrabble Light Hunting/Hiking Boot The new Hardscrabble Light is a very tough and supportive hiker made

lighter. The 2.0 mm full grain leather in all the right places provides the necessary support and heavily padded Cordura® nylon collars provide exceptional comfort. Waterproof and breathable Wind-Tex® membranes keep your feet cool and dry. Kenetrek’s exclusive K-Talon™ outsoles provide excellent traction in any terrain. The Hardscrabble Light has the same great fit, performance, and support as Kenetrek’s all leather boots but weighs only 3.3 pounds a pair! Men’s sizes (whole & half) medium (8-12,13,14) . Made in Italy. style #KE420LT2

Leupold RX-1000 Compact Digital Laser Rangefinder Smaller and markedly brighter than previous

rangefinders, the RX-1000 Compact line or rangefinders are less than 4 inches long and uses an incredibly vivid OLED display with multiple display-intensity settings to optimize your viewing. Pristine image quality allows the RX-1000 to serve as your full-time optic while the cutting-edge laser and processor generate the fastest, most reliable readings ever produced. The incredibly bright OLED display dramatically increases light transmission by up to 3x higher than LCD models. Packed with features never before offered at this price, the Leupold RX-1000 Compact line significantly raises the bar on function and performance. Features: 6x magnification gives you plenty of power, with a wide field of view to track movement, three user adjustable intensity settings allow you to perfectly match the OLED display to dynamic lighting conditions, three selectable reticles: Leupold Plus Point, Duplex and Duplex with Leupold Plus Point, compact pocket size, lightweight.

Browning Hard Core Hunter Knife/Saw Combo Browning knife models have taken care

of skinning and dressing game for over 38 years. The new Hard Cor Hunter Knife/Saw Combo gives the hunters the ultimate three-piece hunting set with two sizes of fixed blade knives and a saw. The 4 3/4” hand saw features a comfortable handle design that minimizes hand fatigue. The larger knife has a 3 1⁄2” drop point main blade and style #322437 The small caping knife offers the precision for delicate field chores with its 2 3/8” blade. Design by famous knife maker Russ Kommer.


AUGUST 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 39

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Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure - August 2010  

hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, outdoors, montana, rocky mountains