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Big Sky

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JULY 2011


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JULY 2011

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Building Quality Bowhunting Gear for Working Class America Jim Shockey Signature Series Yukon The Alpine Yukon was designed for legendary archer, Jim Shockey, who wanted a high performance bow that would: • Shoot broadheads perfectly, every time at high velocities; • Have low recoil and quiet performance; • Be reliable and trouble-free, especially in rugged & remote locations The Yukon does all of this and Jim has proudly added it to his “NO GUFF™” Gear! Check out the Yukon - and other Alpine Archery products - at Bob Ward’s.


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JULY 2011

Twenty-First Century Hunting On Public Land ADVERTISING

RICK HAGGERTY (406)370-1368 AMY HAGGERTY PUBLISHER 8591 Capri Dr., Helena Mt. 59602

The entire contents is © 2011, all rights reserved. May not be reproduced without prior consent. The material and information printed is from various sources from which there can be no warranty or responsibility by Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure, Inc. Nor does the printed material necessarily express the views of Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure, Inc. VOLUME 8, Issue 4

Big Sky Outdoor News is free to our readers, because of the advertisers that you see in our publication each month. Please support their businesses when you can and let them know that you saw their advertisement in Big Sky Outdoor News And Adventure. We thank you, our advertisers and the locations that allow our distribution each month.


3D Deception Pattern

FWP To Conduct Wildlife Horn, Antler Auction In Missoula MFWP M

ontana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will auction non-perishable wildlife parts, such as antlers and horns, Saturday, July 30 at the FWP Region 2 office in Missoula, with proceeds to go to the state FWP account. Items will be auctioned to the highest bidder, including bighorn sheep horns and one full size sheep cape, deer and elk antlers, and a few specialty items. The public will be allowed to view auction items beginning at 9 a.m. and bidding will start at 10 a.m. at the FWP office in Missoula (3201 Spurgin Road). For more information on the auction and items available, contact the FWP Region 2 office in Missoula at 406-542-5500.



ook during the off season so that you are ready when the season comes or if you need to apply for a specific area in the application process. Some 25-years ago, having success hunting public land meant taking an occasional mule deer doe then, once every five years, you might get a cow elk. I rifle hunted back then in places well within my comfort zone because the dark timber of the Colorado Rockies was very intimidating. Everything changed eight years ago when I started bow hunting. A whole new world opened before me as bow hunting transformed me into a twenty-first century hunter. The average rifle hunter, myself included, sights in his rifle once a year then drives up a logging road, steps one hundred yards into the timber, and sits. Not bow hunters. When you make the commitment to bow hunt, you have to practice. Not two or three times, but all summer long, every day. The effort changes your attitude; when I’m doing that much work, I’m going to make each hunting trip worth my time and effort. The extended effort started with scouting, not on foot, but with my finger. Becoming a twenty-first century hunter required me to use the Internet using aerial photos, on-line information from the division of wildlife, and hunter websites. Sitting at home I gathered information and found likely places to hunt with the best places being

the high mountain meadows with a south facing slope that leads up to a well-defined ridge top. Once over the top the cover changed to heavy, dark timber on the north-facing slope, the elk’s bedroom. Once the right topography was found the footwork began. I started after the snow melted with GPS, compass and maps in hand combining old school technology with new, to easily remember then relocate places you have found. The majority of the early season hoof prints were from last year’s elk, telling me where the elk had been. By July the fresh tracks told me where the elk were living now. After pinpointing the best spots my last trip in early August found me carrying tools to construct a ground blind. I have never been a fan of “run and gun” because public land is hard hunted and the animals spook easily. I have never been able to get on an elk without scaring it to death, which is probably not a legal hunting method. The blinds were set up on the top of the ridge at likely crossing points. They were not fancy but needed two things: first, to hide movement and the second to play the wind. The most important is wind direction, so I picked an edge where the morning and evening downhill winds would blow back, away from the blind with the crossing areas out in front. I also built the blinds early enough so they became part of the natural environment. You will know when you have done it right as you step over fresh tracks to enter the blind. (continued page 38)

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Montana’s Hunting Experts


Right Camo for 2011



Ihunts love camo! For me it means…..bowhunting! When it comes to successful this fall, you want to be in the right camouflage clothing for our climate and hunting conditions. There is nothing more exciting than getting close enough for the shot on that wild critter you have been working so hard for. So you need quiet, comfortable camo that makes you invisible. Whether you want the latest and greatest no matter the cost or something more value priced but also very effective, there are great new choices this year. Let’s go through some of our favorites by brand. For years, bow hunters have known about Predator camo and how effective it is in breaking up your body outline or silhouette. It’s a high contrast pattern that doesn’t look like a tree or plant or typical camo patterns. In the past it has been primarily offered in brushed cotton and some fleece, which work fine in the right conditions. This year there are two very good new pieces that will enhance your hunting success. In a new 100% polyester warp knit fabric that is highly breathable, colorfast, extremely soft, quiet and lightweight, you will find a six pocket pant and poly stalker jacket in brown deception that will be excellent choices for this fall’s hunt. Combine with a Predator polyester Henley and you will be ready to go. ASAT, is one of our most successful camo brands. “All Season, All Terrain” is its claim to fame and those who own it, know that this unique camo pattern is very good at breaking up your silhouette. Again, a camouflage pattern that is high contrast and doesn’t look like tree’s or plants. The new Elite Essential Pant is an exciting addition for ASAT. A six pocket BDU, made of a soft poly cotton fabric and Lotus Nanobarrier that is water resistant and very breathable. This is a perfect pant for the bowhunter in Montana. Plus they have AG Vaportech Silver Odor Suppression to knock down some of our “stinky”. It can’t hurt! ASAT offers a complete lineup of camo clothing. From cotton t-shirts, pullover hoodies, gloves, hats, jackets to the Vanish Pro 3D suit. This funky looking camo pattern is a winner. Sitka Gear emerged on the hunting scene not so many years ago and has proven itself to be very effective camo“Hunting Gear”. While some might jump at the sticker price, those who wear it know that it is the most highly designed and engineered camo hunting clothing available. Besides its additional “unique” camo pattern that also doesn’t look like tree’s and brush, Sitka provides the ultimate in layering for hunters who expect a lot of performance from their clothes. First of all the camo pattern is OPTIFADE , by GORE. A micro and macro digital camo pattern designed specifically to confuse ungulates (you know, elk, deer, etc.) Open Country is our pick for those of us on the ground as it optimizes concealment “horizontally”.Sitka has quite a bit of new technology in its anti-microbial Polygiene fabrics and the addition (continued on page 29)

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JULY 2011

Perseverance Pays Off BY MARCUS MCDOWELL


efinition of perseverance: To maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement. My definition of perseverance: Montana Backcountry Wilderness Area Mountain Goat hunt! Hunting five hours away from my home and traveling into my goat country was not easy from the start. The Boulder Drainage in Montana holds some of the most picturesque places I have ever seen. Jagged glacial peaks surround the crystal clear mountain lakes. Old fire burns and deadfall litter the countryside, and is home to more predators than I’ve ever encountered before, which made for memories I’ll never forget.

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Scouting trips started back in early July with my in-law’s Paul and Forrest Fawthrop, taking an ATV trip deep into one of Montana’s last places to explore by ATV in the backcountry. Although the road leading up to the high country lake area we wanted to explore is not in the Wilderness Area, it is a 10 mile ride by four wheeler, so we decided to camp at the lake and fish for Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. We never encountered mountain goats on that mountain, but hours of glassing led us across the canyon to where we determined we needed to be to get in the heart of goat country. Three additional trips led us up different trails fording by foot. Finding mountain goats on every trip was making it easier to dig every footstep into the rocky trails ahead of us. After long hours on the phone with biologists both active and retired, old outfitters in the area and

previous hunters with the tag, we had pinpointed exactly where camp would be located. Our good friend of the family, Bob Scott assisted us with packing in camp. With years of packing experience in the high country peaks of Montana as a guide in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and his amazing horsemanship skills, Bob was irreplaceable on this hunt. Using his horses to help pack camp in, and our horses we leased (Big Sky Horse Leasing, Townsend, MT), we were able to finally get camp packed in on the ten mile trip from the trailhead. We made the decision to pack in a few days early and set camp up. We had been tipped on an old outfitters camp not found by trail, which nestled up to a creek and a grassy meadow for the horses to utilize. After a full day at camp setting up the wall tent, building a makeshift kitchen and assuring everything was strapped down tight and ready for any storm Montana had to throw at us, we were finally ready to hunt. We stayed at camp that night dreading the long journey back to the trailhead to pick up the rest of our food supplies. As morning drew near, the cold September air woke me from my sleep earlier than anticipated. Lying at camp in a warm sleeping bag with the wood stove drawing down to just coals, I laid there not wanting to get up. I unzipped the wall tent flap and looked out to an indescribable view. The mountains were covered in snow, three inches bearing down on the meadow, and flakes piled up on the horses standing at the highline. (next page)

JULY 2011


I was told to be prepared for unpredictable Montana weather, and that is exactly what happened. As we drank some cowboy coffee that Jimmy had prepared we readied the horses for the long trip back. Jimmy flew in from New York for the hunt to help with camp duties and quickly earned the nickname “Jimmy Big Time”. It took us nearly four hours to get back to our camper at the trailhead, as we had to take it easy on the slick rock beneath the horse’s hooves. The last half hour of the pack out was the most intimidating; every step we took down the trail was guided by the freshest grizzly bear tracks I’ve ever seen. With fresh snow, we knew we were not far behind this monarch of a predator, so I made sure I was ready, with bear spray attached on my pack and pistol by my side. Once down at the bottom we were relieved to see the bear tracks continue in the opposite direction as we had work to get done. We let the horses take a break and tied up at the camper for the night. We were all tired, and were relieved to chill out and joke around that afternoon. The next day we loaded gear bright and early to one of the most beautiful sunniest days of fall, and from that day forward the temperature never changed and stayed extremely hot. As the horses paved down the unmarked trail to the old outfitter camp, I could hear Paul saying a bear had visited us. As we tied up the horses we were all surprised to see that a grizzly had decided to frequent

camp overnight. He was probably on his corridor down the creek bed and found new residents inhabiting his territory, so he decided to paw at the tent by the wood stove and lean on the top of the crossbar sidewall bending the pole. Thank God nothing serious was done to camp, just a slight reminder that this is bear country and we needed to be cautious of our surroundings. We took precautions by using an old hanging pole at camp and bear boxes we packed in, and never had bear problems at camp again. Though New Yorker “Jimmy Big Time” packed his .44 everywhere he went around camp. Everything was in place and we were all ready for the hunt now. Bob had work commitments, so we thanked him for his hard work and he headed back out with his pack string of horses and we would not see him until the last few days of our ten day hunt. Day one of our hunt was something I had been looking forward to for over three months. Numerous scouting trips, days on end of hiking, glassing, packing in horses, all led to this moment. We had originally decided that a specific mountain we had seen on the map was going to be our first hunt, but after awaking we decided to head back up towards the divide and glass up top. We quickly spotted two big white spots through the spotting scope way back in a bowl that was really only accessible by foot. We had made sure it was a billy and spent the rest of the day planning the days following hunt. Trying to pick out goats


in the 85 degree weather with sun rays pounding down upon us was not something we were really prepared for. Usually in Montana and especially in the backcountry, temperatures in late September and early October are cold with freezing rain, sleet, snow, fog and terrible winds.

Over the course of this ten day hunt we all witnessed something we have never seen before. We dealt with record high temperatures and never saw a cloud in the sky for ten straight days. That being said, every goat in the county was at the highest peak on the shady side of the mountain! Our first actual hunt on foot towards the goats found us climbing over deadfall trees that had succumbed to a fire back in 1988. Since our camp was nestled in the bottom of the valley and there was no access to get on top of these goats meant one thing, we were climbing. We climbed over deadfall for hours just to get to the base of the mountain where we could even

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begin the torturous assent to the goats. Finally, after two hours of tightrope walking on deadfall we reached a vantage point and put the spotting scope on the two goats. We were able to get within 200 yards of one which turned out to be a small billy that I could have taken. The other never presented us a shot, but was a monster billy that had the appearance of a musk ox. His thick hair and big hump swayed back, thick horns and large black blotches at the base of his horns told us there was no question he was a true trophy. We headed back to camp knowing that we would be back to try our luck with the big goat that called that rock face his home. We awoke the following day to no goats in that particular basin, so our decision to head on a two hour adventure by horseback around the backside of another mountain was explored. On the way Paul looked up through the trees at a peak while on his horse and saw on the skyline what looked like goats, so we all got off glassed and were ecstatic to have goats in a killable spot. The problem we were running into was trying to find a goat that we could actually harvest that wasn’t three basins away, or on top of a sheer rock face and would slide 1500 feet down shale rock. After tying up the horses and making the climb we were able to get to within 150 yards of a six inch billy standing broadside on a little rock. If I took him he would not had gone anywhere or broken any horns. (continued page 10)



JULY 2011

David Hannigan

Understanding Elk in Colorado Chad J. Bishop, PhD., Mammals Research Leader, Colorado Division of Wildlife Introduction by Jim Bulger, Hunter Outreach Program Coordinator, CDW

Iwhatoftenelkgethabitat questions from readers concerning looks like, where do elk like to hang out and which terrain they like during different seasons of the year. When I moved to Colorado more than a decade ago, I had to learn a new way of hunting since I was a whitetail hunter from the South. This “elk” was a different sort. They seemed to have no pattern, they did not seem to haunt the same one square mile that my southern bucks lived in, and they did not play by the “rules” I had learned as a deer hunter. Well, the elk were set in their ways, and it seemed that I was the one who had to change so I went to class and began to learn why elk did what elk did. Last September I asked Chad Bishop to write an article about understanding elk in Colorado. The first time through, read it and digest the points that Chad makes about what elk eat, where they like to live and what they do when they get pressure from either weather or hunters. Next, take out your maps of the game management units you want to hunt, read his last section on “Putting It All Together,” and find those places on your maps which look like places Chad describes. After working through that process, I think you will be able to look at places on the map, look at aerial photos of the area and narrow big elk country into a much more manageable area to choose to hunt. –Jim As hunters, we commonly seek out information on the animals we hunt in hopes it will explain exactly when and where to find them. We quickly learn, time and again, it’s not that simple. All too often, we find that what works one time fails miserably the next, and we can go from a state of euphoria to desperation in

JULY 2011


the course of just a few hunts. Much of this inconsistency can be attributed to variability in animal behavior, weather, and habitat conditions. Over time, however, we gradually improve our hunting skills by combining our understanding of the animals with lessons learned from our many hunting experiences. Thus, it is beneficial to understand the ecology of the animals we pursue, as long as we keep our expectations in check and appreciate that the systems we hunt can be extremely variable. My objective here is to present a basic picture of elk ecology in Colorado. My hope is to give the novice elk hunter a better idea of where to begin and to help the seasoned hunter make a little more sense out of past experiences afield. What do elk eat? Elk are herbivores capable of consuming diverse diets of grasses, forbs, and shrubs. The term forb refers to any broad-leaved herbaceous plant that is not a grass. Forbs are an important dietary component of elk and other wild ungulates and have high nutritional value during the growing season. Elk eat green grasses and forbs during the growing season but also commonly eat cured grasses and forbs during the winter. When elk and other ungulates eat shrubs, they typically select the tips of branches which comprise the current year’s growth and offer the most nutrients. It may be easiest to explain elk diets by contrasting them to those of some other common herbivores. Deer, for example, are often referred to as browsers because much of their diet is comprised of shrubs. Cattle and sheep, on the other hand, are commonly referred to as grazers because they consume large quantities of grass. The distinction between deer and livestock arises from physiological differences in the proportional sizes of their rumens (i.e., stomach) and in their associated digestive strategies. Elk are considered intermediate to deer and cattle/sheep, which means elk are better adapted to grass diets than deer yet are capable of consuming relatively large amounts of browse (1). Therefore, elk should be capable of meeting their nutritional requirements across a greater spectrum of habitat conditions than deer or livestock as long as adequate forage quantities are available.

This basic knowledge of elk diets is useful for understanding why elk occur where they do. At a broad scale, elk can successfully occupy a diversity of habitats across Colorado because they are foraging generalists and are adaptable. You can find elk just about anywhere in Colorado west of Interstate 25. At a finer scale, we expect to find more elk where there is a greater abundance of grasses, forbs and shrubs,

collectively referred to as “understory” in forested habitats. In sagebrush and mountain shrub habitats, understory typically refers to the abundance of grasses and forbs only. Using this information, you can begin to visualize more-productive and less-productive habitats based on the amount of vegetation covering the ground. For example, in conifer forests, elk seek out and feed in recently-burned areas, areas with beetle killed over-story, or small clear-cuts because these sites provide greater amounts of quality forage than the understory of a mature forest. When mature trees have been removed, grass, forb, and shrub species capitalize on the released nutrients and dominate the site until the forest regenerates. In such instances, elk utilize the mature forest primarily for cover and move into the openings to forage, typically during morning and evening. As a general rule, habitat types with greater understory will be preferred by elk. Elk Habitat Use Elk utilize most habitat types occurring in western Colorado at some point during the year. However, some habitat types are far more productive than others. Arguably, the most productive habitat for elk is aspen. Aspen typically has extremely productive understory and supports large numbers of elk. It is likely no coincidence that Colorado has both more aspen and more elk than any other western state or province. Other extremely productive habitats that commonly occur in proximity to aspen are oakbrush and mountain shrub. Oakbrush habitat provides food and a good source of cover. It is not uncommon for elk to spend their days in oakbrush during hunting season because it provides great security. Oakbrush can be very difficult to hunt because it is thickly vegetated and difficult to quietly stalk through. Hunters that learn how to hunt oakbrush effectively, however, are often rewarded. Perhaps the best combination of habitat for elk is mosaics of aspen, oakbrush, and mountain shrub, which provide optimal forage and cover. Aspen is also commonly located in proximity to conifer habitats. Spruce-fir forests with intermingled aspen stands are another example of prime elk habitat. The spruce-fir forest provides cover and the aspen understory provides a source of quality forage. Generally speaking, large tracts of mature conifer forest are not that productive for elk because they have limited understory. Ponderosa pine forests can be an exception because they often support a relatively robust, herbaceous understory, and, therefore, can be quite productive for elk, particularly along the front range of Colorado where there is less aspen and oakbrush. As mentioned above, spruce-fir forests provide a good source of cover and are valuable when adjacent to more productive habitats. Lodgepole pine forests are typically unproductive and of utility to elk only when adjacent to other habitat or when used as escape cover from hunting pressure. (continued on page 19)


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and tried to take a drink of milk! To this day we still think it was a billy, possibly the nanny had weaned the kids off of her and they were seeking other options. When they tried to get milk the goat had kicked them away as if it didn’t have milk to give. So, in hindsight no goat was shot at and the goat we call “Billannie” was left to live another day.

JIM DONALDSON SAVED US $500.00 A YEAR ON OUR AUTO INSURANCE. Rick & Amy Haggerty, Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure

Perseverance Pays Off (continued from page 7) MARCUS ON HIS HORSE LEASED FROM BIG SKY HORSE LEASING

The next couple days were filled with long hikes in unforgiving and possibly uncharted territory. We hiked and rode for miles on end finding goats in places that we couldn’t get to. Finally, half way through the hunt we were riding on the trail two hours from our base camp and looked up to see two goats on a little ledge half way down the mountain. We quickly got them in view and figured a way to make a hunt on them. We followed downed timber and were able to get to a hilltop for a 450 plus yard shot uphill. I dropped down put my bipod out and we made sure a billy was in our scopes. I could see by the look on Forrest’s face that it was a trophy billy, as his facial expressions said it all. We waited for the goat to get up out of its bed, and I put the cross hairs 12 inches over his back to compensate for the drop. After the shot had gone off Forrest said, “You hit high, shoot again!” I chambered another round and hit off mark again. After the missed opportunity, a scope to the nose, and then seeing my gun topple over and hit the scope on a small boulder, my heart sunk into my chest. We took time to sight in my gun the next morning in the meadow by camp. Fortunately we decided to check the gun, I was 12 inches high, so after dialing back in, I felt good about the days to come and kept optimistic.

I decided he was too small and we backed off him. Soon after that, the goats crested the mountain top and we followed them knowing there were more goats to glass. We found them feeding in some green grass in the shade under a rock ledge. Finally, a big goat was spotted. Forrest and I were 99% sure it was a billy;

because next to it was a large nanny and we could distinctly tell the difference. On the count of three I was going to take a 300 yard cross canyon shot, and on number two of the count Forrest yelled, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot!” Two little kids with the group had decided they were hungry and went to what we thought was the billy

The days were getting longer; staying just as hot and we had nothing to show but bumps, bruises, blisters and no billy! The last day had me on edge, especially after seeing a woman and her husband dragging a white body on the adjacent side of a basin we were glassing the day previous. We ran into them two days earlier and they were

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only there for the weekend, hadn’t been in one day all summer, and low and behold were holding a mountain goat. It was a hard pill to swallow, but we all decided it was do or die. So, we made the two hour trek by horse one last time to the back side of the ridge we had seen goats on previous. On the way I decided to dismount my horse and pick up a horse shoe I spotted. My grandpa always told me that a horseshoe found was good luck. We got to our destination, and found four goats feeding at the three quarter mark on the mountain. We all looked at each other and could tell we were all in. The 1800 foot assent led us to the billy and took three hours to get there. We were able to stalk within 200 yards. The Swarovski told us what we needed to know, and after judging we knew we had one small billy, a small nanny, a nanny over 11 inches and probably an 8-9 inch billy. All were up feeding except the bigger billy. Finally, after an hour of waiting he got up and we quickly deemed him a shooter, but just to make sure and get final judgment we wanted one more look. I had my gun settled on his shoulder and I watched in awe as he walked over to the small nanny and mounted her briefly, at that time all I heard was Paul say, “shoot, it’s a billy, shoot!” With one crack of the gun, the shot rang across the rocky canyon and went right through both front shoulders knocking him down and stumbling about 40 feet, he stood up and I put one more in him, which put him down right where he stood. After many high fives, screams of happiness rang across to the next hunting district over and a sense of self accomplishment consumed my mind. We never lost track of our goal, and pushed ourselves to extremes we’ve never experienced before, and made it count on the last day. We logged 2200 total truck miles to and from the trailhead, 38 miles on ATV, 155 miles on horseback, 89 plus miles on foot, and earned 1 beautiful Wilderness Area Backcountry Mountain Goat, which is my definition of perseverance!

JULY 2011


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4. When packing in with horses, go slow, take your time. A safe trip is one where all the gear and hunters make it to camp safe. On the way, allow time for horses to break and get some water. 5. Logistics! Make 10 lists if you have to, one for food, one for clothes, one for camp gear, etc. this is a very important part of a backcountry hunt, Civilization is a long way from the campsite, so ensure everything is accounted for.

three-day, summer workshop is set for Aug. 5-7 at the Lubrecht Experimental Forest camp near Missoula.

6. EAT and DRINK! Eat well, you will burn calories like never before and need to replenish your body. Drink well also, water and electrolytes (found in Gatorade) are key to keeping your body energized.

8. Scout, have good optics (don’t cheat yourself on the optics) and look over your entire area. Making trips up different trail heads allows you to narrow down where you will want to set camp and hunt.

Women are encouraged to bring a friend and learn a new activity or improve existing skills. Participants choose four classes from a variety of topics including basic gun handling, rifle, shotgun, fishing, map and compass, outdoor cooking, canoeing, plant identification, outdoor survival, and more. The fee for this summer is estimated to be between $200-250, including meals and lodging.

9. Biologists can be of great assistance, contact old ones, retired ones, current ones, whatever it takes, they give great advice on concentration of goats on particular mountains, trophy quality, and also where to watch for predators!

Women who have attended the BOW summer workshop in the past and those who have always said they wanted to attend one will want to mark their calendars and save Aug. 5-7.

10. Talk with previous hunters and or outfitters in the unit to find out where they had achieved success and to also find out possibly where to set camp.

For more on the BOW and Beyond BOW workshops scheduled this summer go to Click “Women Outdoors.” For more information, call Liz Lodman at 406-444-9940, or by email:

7. Take all the help you can get, having help packing in and out, a camp tender, or family and friends to make the long hikes and stalks will keep you more mentally driven, and allows for amazing memories.

Forrest (L) and Paul Fawthrop with Marcus McDowell’s Goat





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T his simple, healthy recipe is surprisingly satisfying after a long day on the trail and is a great summertime dish. Ingredients: 2 fillets of firm white fish (halibut and Mahi Mahi work well) Old Bay Seasoning Olive oil 4 Corn tortillas or homemade flat bread Slaw: 1⁄2 bag coleslaw without dressing 1/3 cup of mayonnaise 2 Tbsp. lemon juice 1-2 Tbsp. capers without juice 6-8 Calamatta olives chopped Ground black pepper Preparation: 1. Coat the fillets in a thin layer of olive oil and sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning 2. Grill the fish over bed of coals until opaque and flaky (if your rack is too stick, try lining with a layer of non-stick aluminum foil with holes punched in it to allow moisture to drain) 3. In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice, capers, olives and black pepper. 4. Add slaw to the dressing and mix to coat well. 5 Break fish into bite-sized pieces, place into warmed tortillas, and top with slaw. Due to inclimate weather, pictures were taken inside. However, they did use their regular camp cookware and Pocket Rocket set-up to prepare the food. Visit to see all photos.



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LURE OF THE MONTH: Slow Death Bleeder Chain Harness HOLTER LAKE Walleye fishing is heating up fast. Fishing throughout the river system from Gates of the Mountains to Holter should be excellent. Try as many spots as you can until you can find some schooled up. Look for shoreline structure where grass flats meet rocky points with deep water nearby. The largest points on a lake are natural spots to find them. Try vertical jigging and crank baiting off of mud banks and rocky points early in the morning. Bottom bouncing and lindy rigging slow death hook harness’s from Canyon Ferry Fishing Tackle when the water warms up will produce fish. Great colors this year have been fire tiger and orange early in the morning and on overcast days. When the sun comes out try blue, purple, and brown crayfish patterns. Trout fishing has been great off of shore next to the campgrounds and trolling crank baits in perch and blue colors should be excellent. Good reports are near split rock and shorelines near cottonwood inlet. HAUSER LAKE The causeway has had great reports of smaller walleyes and a few rumors of big ones being caught early in the morning or late at night. This may be the best water temperature to be on the water. I like to use one rod with a lindy weight and floating jig head that I can watch and another rod casting jigs or suspending rapala’s. Good reports of trout being caught on each shoreline from Black Sandy to

Hauser dam trolling deep crank baits and spoons. CANYON FERRY After the long spring runoff and almost unfishable water on the south end of the lake look for things to pick up fast. This is the best month of the year to be on Canyon Ferry. Walleye will start moving back to their typical structure of choice. Walleye fishing should be great at hole in the wall, Confederate, and duck ponds one to four. Try to not follow the crowds to the south end and go explore the middle section of the lake. It has a lot to offer and may surprise you.Vertical jigging in eight teen to twenty eight feet should be good in the middle section of the lake. Down at the south end try bottom bouncing and slow death rigs behind small lindy weights at slow speeds. Don’t overlook running swallow suspending rapalas. I also recommend trying yellowbird planers on the south end to get your lures away from the boat. With lots of boat traffic and shallow water they can get spooky. Trout fishing has been good between hole in the wall and white earth. The northern end of the lake has been producing good numbers around painters point and Canyon Ferry dam.

JULY 2011


Fly Tying Corner: WOLFY’S HOPPER Outdoor News



uly through September are months when we should be looking for opportunities to use a grasshopper pattern. (At least in the U.S. and Canada.) Warm days with a strong wind blowing them into the water are best. When the hoppers are active watch to see where they are flying and falling into the water. Sometimes they hop from one place to another and miss the landing. This is why many casters work the shoreline, especially if there are overhanging grasses, etc. However, don’t neglect areas away from the bank. Sometimes a hopper will attempt to fly across a larger stream only to run out of energy part way and drop. One nice feature about hopper fishing is that you don’t have to make a delicate cast. Let the fly hit with a splat. The hard landing attracts the attention of fish that are looking for a big meal. What happens after the landing is sometimes hard to imitate. Several years ago I watched grasshoppers crash in Montana’s Missouri River. There were three post splat actions: One drifting downstream quietly, another struggling as it drifted and the third was a regular frog-kick toward shore. I don’t know about you, but I can do a reasonable job imitating only the first. In 1992 Eric Schubert then President of the North Idaho Flycasters was tying flies at the Club sponsored Flyfishing Exposition at the Silver Lake Mall in Coeur d’Alene, ID. His Wolfy’s Hopper was different enough to put in my fly box and tell others about. Eric said this about the fly’s history: “I originally developed it for fishing large brown trout on the Green River in Pinedale, Wyoming. As with most hopper patterns that I was using at the time, I found that they did not float sufficiently in the fast moving water of the Green River. The Wolfy’s Hopper solved my problem. When “hopper” fishing Eric works stream banks carefully. For the reasons above. He fishes a lot on “The River” (Coeur d’Alene ?, St. Joe ?) where he wades and casts to the bank. But he also fishes some small streams. One of his tricks is to stand on one bank, cast across to the other bank and then hop his fly into the water. Fish think it is real and slam it. He started this technique on the Green River. Eric uses his fly for more than a grasshopper pattern; it also serves him as a stonefly imitation on the Clark Fork River. MATERIALS LIST: Hook: Mustad 9672, Tiemco TMC 200R, etc. 8-10 Thread: Olive, Gudebrod 6/0 Body: Deer hair, dyed green, yellowish olive or yellow Rib: Tying thread Underwing: Olive marabou Wing: Turkey wing quill Bullet head and collar: Dyed deer hair: orange, olive, mottled yellow, brown TYING STEPS: 1. Smash barb if you wish, and wrap a thread base around the bend a little. 2. Select a pencil size bundle of deer hair, remove fuzz and tie it on at bend with butts pointing rearward. Let hair surround the hook. Pull deer hair forward tightly and spiral thread forward over the body for about 3/4ths shank length. Trim excess hair. 3. Select two or three dozen marabou fibers. Trim them to shank length and attach so they lay on top of body. Tips of marabou extend beyond the hook a little. 4. Pick a segment of turkey wing quill about 3/16- to 1/4-inch wide and round one end with your scissors. Tie wing so it is a little shorter than the marabou. Lacquered (Grumbacher spray or head cement) the wing to strengthen it. (I treat the turkey quill and let it dry before starting to tie.) 5. Take another pencil size bunch of deer hair, stack it and cut it to about shank length. (Eric has tied so many of them that he doesn’t measure; he just stacks, trims and ties.) Tie hair just behind the eye with tips facing forward. Take two wraps around the bundle. Tighten thread, and when hair starts to flare, give your tying thread a solid pull making the hair spin and flare completely. A few more tight thread warps and move thread backward to front of body. (Spinning deer hair with 6/0 Gudebrod works, but I had to use 3/0 with some other brands.) 6. Bring all the deer hair back, hold it along body and tightly wrap with thread. This makes a neat bullet head and a flared deer hair collar. Finish fly with a whip finish behind the head. (Eric uses three half hitches.) Put head cement on whip finish or half hitches and work some into the head to make it more durable. “Hopper Time” is here. Pick colors to match hoppers in your area, and make a few easy to tie Wolfy’s Hoppers. Your next assignment: Go out and catch fish.


• 13



JULY 2011

Say Hello To Success: Where to chase the Fish this Month Brought to you by

then switch to surface imitations in the afternoon as Risers become active. Fishing the evening Caddis hatch is another smart option. If you have never been to Georgetown Lake, give it a shot. It’s an easy roadtrip, and the scenery is breathtaking.

Zane, age 7 of Missoula with his Mccormick Park monster. This fish was pushing 11 lbs. and 30 inches.


CLARK FORK The lower Clark Fork can be a very productive fishery during the summer. Often overlooked or more famous streams, it produces some great fish in July. Once the water levels drop and some clarity in the system is there, expect the Trout to start rising. Numerous hatches of bugs should keep the fish active. Long light leaders and tiny flies are a good bet to catch these hungry fish. Don’t overlook the warm water fish either. Smallmouth bass are eager to feed as well. They will bite on just about anything you put in front of them. Natural bait such as a nightcrawler or artificial worms and a surface lure will produce good fish. Caddis, Salmon Flies, Yellow Sallies and Green Drakes should be abundant with the cool weather we had in June. A slow warm-up in weather means good fishing in July!

BLACK FOOT RIVER With a later than normal Salmon Fly hatch, this river should start producing as temps climb. Streamer fishing will produce when the water turns green. Try ConeHead Wooly Sculpins, Double Bunnies, and Zonkers for an early morning or late afternoon fish. It’s all about the water level in July. Look for some great fishing here in the next few weeks.

ROCK CREEK It will be crazy on Rock Creek in July! The river should be clear and fishable now. Hungry fish will be active as the normal flies will be out in droves. If you can beat the crowd to your favorite spot, fishing will be exceptional here.

BITTERROOT RIVER Floating the Bitterroot in July should be good. Look for high, steady waterflows on most stretches. The flies should be out in abundance as well. Green Drakes, PMD’s and Caddis should bring the fish up to the top and will produce some excellent fishing. Call Bob Ward’s in Hamilton for river updates and any advice you might need to fish this stretch. Phone 406-363-6204 for the latest or stop in for any gear you might need.


If you’re interested in fishing Georgetown Lake July is the month to do it. One reason: Damselflies. Dry Damsel patterns will consistently catch large Trout on Georgetown. It is one of the few lakes in the country where this can be done. Fish Nymphs in the morning as Trout set-up to ambush migrating Damsels before they reach the shore,

The Lake Trout and Perch should continue to fish well this month. Whitefish should start to show up later in the month. Whitefish are a hard fighting, great tasting fish. They will congregate in Flathead’s bays in around 40-50’ of water to feed on hatching Perch fry. Try jigging with a green Rattle D’Zastor, Kastmaster, Buck-shot Spoon or Swedish Pimple with a Whitefish Fly Dropper. Hot fishing usually starts towards the end of July and into August for fish in the two to four pound range.

BIG HOLE RIVER The Big Hole is primed for good fishing in July. Water levels will start to recede and the bugs will be flying everywhere. The Salmon Fly will be finishing early this month with Caddis and PMD activity to follow. Same story here, the longs days of July will provide big fish and lots of them!

BEAVERHEAD RIVER This summer will be excellent on the Beaverhead. The big fish are definitely back and late Spring hatches will keep the fishing active here in July. With so much water to fish in Southwest Montana, it would take you years to explore it all, so get out this month and fish as much as you can. There are many stretches along the highways to pull off and fish. For updates of the rivers and streams in Southwest Montana, stop by Bob Ward’s in Butte or phone 406-494-4452 or Bozeman at 406-586-4381.

GALLATIN RIVER The Salmon Fly hatch should be in full swing here in July along with Golden Stones. The hatch will work its way upstream into Yellowstone Park. Caddis and PMD Emerges will get going as the river warms up. In the middle of July Green Drakes will emerge and Trout love to feast on these bugs for sure.

UPPER MADISON Many species of Caddis will be emerging here.Try fly patterns in tan, black, brown and olive colors as the water should be clear and excellent to fish. Mayflies will be going well too. The evening Caddis activity right before dark should be spectacular. So stay late and the fish will produce.

YELLOWSTONE RIVER Good Salmon Fly Emerges here and should produce first-class fishing. Big Trout will be looking for bugs on top of the water. If conditions are right, look for Caddis and PMD Emergers.

CANYON FERRY Fishing can be remarkable here in July. Throwing jigs and crankbaits will probably be your best bet here. Trolling will produce some giant Trout. For Walleye trolling a harness set-up tipped with a nightcrawler or leach will set-up nicely. Berkley Gulp work as well. Canyon Ferry Reservoir is a big body of water with a lot of area to fish. Once you have figured out the right depth, you will be into fish and lots of them. If you are in the Helena area, stop by Bob Ward’s for the latest fishing gear and talk to one of their fishing experts for additional tips. They will set you up with the gear that works on these Central Montana waters.


JULY 2011



Expect good fishing to continue here. Trolling, drifting and jigging will catch Walleye and Trout in July. If cooler temps continue, look for strong Walleye fishing as long as the water temps stay in the low 50’s. Once hot weather arrives, fish early in the morning and late in the evening. The most productive times for Trout to be feeding. Don’t be afraid to move from hole to hole if the fish are slow to bite. Fish the banks and ledges for fish hanging around under cover.


If you are up for a road trip, you need to be on Fort Peck now. With water levels as high as they’ve been in years, fishing will be phenomenal this month. Big Pike will be eager and ready to respond to a lot of different set-ups. Fish weeded inlets where big Pike like to hang out and feed. Northern Pike is a terrific sport fish to catch; very exciting once you get one on. They will put up a great fight and they are plentiful and big here in this reservoir. Lake Trout fishing will pick-up in July as well as big Walleye and Smallmouth Bass. Weather will be the key here in July. If it warms up and the winds stay moderate, this combination should The fishing on the Upper Holter produce lots of impressive fishing. this Spring has been fantastic! Early summer jigs and minnows Big Trout and lots of them! Walleye are your best bet for Walleye in all in big numbers. Many average to sizes. Bottom bouncers and small size, but a few 2 to 4 lb. fish are spinners will start producing fish. being caught. Look for the Walleye For the latest on Fort Peck fishing bite early and fish shaded banks or call Hell Creek Marina at troll with Rapalas. Even if the fishing 406-557-2345. Rock Creek Marina slows down there is no better way to spend a day fishing than here with all will be fishing strong too! You can of the spectacular scenery this canyon phone them for updates at offers. 406-485-2560.


Rob Marshall of Helena Fishing on Fort Peck. 4+ and a 3+ pound Smallmouth in June. All caught on a husky jerk I was throwing off the bow while slow trolling. Nice Northern Pike caught same trip.


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s many of you know fishing and family go hand in hand or if you put it in fishing terms you might say hook, line, and sinker. Fishing is a great excuse to spend time with your family no matter how far that family member is away. That was the case for me last month as I traveled nearly 1000 miles to South Dakota in order to help celebrate one of my brothers 50th birthday. The birthday boy was Dan Ward who still lives in my hometown of Bryant South Dakota. Dan made it known however that if any of my other 5 brothers and sisters were going to help him turn 50 on June 11th we would have to join him at his other home which just happens to be his self proclaimed fishing camp. That camp is located next to the Missouri River in a place called East Whitlock Bay on Highway 212. I was looking forward to fishing the Missouri River in South Dakota but I made a short detour along the way. I had stopped at Fort Peck Reservoir to do the Montana Outdoor Radio Show during the annual Rock Creek Walleye Tourney. That tournament saw the team of Dan Majeski and Scot MacKenzie from Billings win with an impressive 85.80 pounds of fish for only two days of tournament fishing. Fort Peck Reservoir is noted for its monster walleyes. It is not uncommon to catch a 10 pound plus walleye during just a few days of fishing.

the fish. Every day we had our limit of walleyes by at least 2:20 in the afternoon. The daily limit for walleyes in South Dakota is four fish with only one of those fish measuring over 20 inches, compared to 5 fish per day with no minimum length on Fort Peck. If the size of our 12 walleyes was any indication, then the South Dakota Fish and Game’s walleye management plan looks like it is paying huge dividends. Most of our fish were in the 16 to 18 inch length and every day saw us catch our limit of fish over the 20 inch slot. The largest walleye we caught measured about 23 inches. It’s worth noting there is also a unique walleye trophy lake in South Dakota. It is called Reetz Lake in Day County in the northeastern part of the state. On Reetz Lake you are allowed to keep one walleye per day and that walleye has to be over 28 inches in length. All of this seems to make sense for a state that claims the walleye as their state fish. So for me it was a great few days to spend with my mother, brothers, and sisters re-living the memories that were made as we grew up in a small town in eastern South Dakota. Fishing with my family whether it’s in Montana or South Dakota! It doesn’t get much better than that.

South Dakota walleye fishing on Lake Oahe on the Missouri doesn’t boast the catching of large walleyes, but you will catch a lot more walleyes consistently in the 16-20 inch class than you will in Montana on that same Missouri River that flows through Fort Peck.

Mark Ward is known as the Captain of the Montana Outdoor Radio Show heard statewide every Saturday from 6am - 8am.

When there is family involved, at least with my family, we usually get started late in our fishing day. That was the case all three days that we fished as we didn’t get a line in the water until 10:30 in the morning. It didn’t seem to matter to

Log onto to find a radio station in your area. You can also read his weekly column in the Thursday Missoulian Outdoor section.

JULY 2011



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ocated on America’s longest river, the Missouri, the Toston fishing access site provides an opportunity to catch a wide variety of fish on some of Montana’s premiere fishing waters. The Missouri gets it’s start in Montana near the town of Three Forks. Right from the start the Missouri is running big and wide on it’s long journey across North America to join the Mississippi over 2300 miles away. Fishing opportunities include: Black Crappie, Brown Trout, Burbot, Channel Catfish, Mountain Whitefish, Northern Pike, Paddlefish, Rainbow Trout, Sauger, Shovelnose Sturgeon, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Yellow Perch

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IF&G Commission Adds Salmon Season, Adjusts Limits IDAHO FISH AND GAME

The Idaho Fish and Game

Commission has increased the bag limits on adult Chinook salmon in the Clearwater River drainage to two per day and six in possession. The commissioners also set a limited jacks-only season on another section of the upper Salmon River. Fish and Game fishery managers estimate the numbers of adult Chinook heading back to Idaho’s Clearwater drainage to be about twice the preseason estimate, anadromous fish manager Pete Hassemer told commissioners.

The commission set a Chinook fishing season in the upper Salmon River reach near Stanley. The season opens July 9 and closes at the end of fishing on July 17. Fishing hours are from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. MDT. The season is limited to two jack salmon per day and six in possession. No adult Chinook may be taken. Only Chinook less than 24 inches long, with a clipped adipose fin, as evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept.

The Stanley area reach extends from a posted boundary about 20 yards upstream of Valley Creek in Stanley, upstream to the posted boundary The increased bag limits are effective about 100 yards downstream of the immediately on the Clearwater River weir at the Sawtooth Hatchery south main stem, the North Fork, South Fork of Stanley. and Middle Fork Clearwater rivers, and the Lochsa River. Anglers must stop fishing for Chinook salmon when they have retained their The statewide season limit remains daily, possession or season limit of 20 adult Chinook during any 2011 adult Chinook or their overall daily or salmon seasons occurring before possession limit of Chinook of any September 1, 2011. All other salmon size, whichever comes first. fishing rules remain the same and are listed in the 2011 Chinook seasons All other salmon fishing rules remain and rules brochure. in effect.



JULY 2011


Helena Cycle Center

An Expert’s Guide to Backcountry Fitness BY BRODIE SWISHER

E very year, countless hunters head into the backcountry in search of

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big game. With loaded packs, they head off thinking they have everything they could possibly need to find success on the critters they pursue. For months they planned and prepared to ensure theyʼd have every item they could ever need when the moment of truth arrives. Theyʼve secured every last item on their gear checklist, and they have confidence in their ability to stack a tight group of arrows out to 60 yards. But again and again these same hunters fail at success because they neglected to prepare the one item that often matters the most on a backcountry training. This month weʼll get some words of wisdom from a couple guys that have been down the trail of success on big game in rough country. They do it year after year because they are always training to hunt. At the 2011 ATA Show in Indianapolis, IN, I met Kenton Clairmont and Dan Staton, two guys that I had read about and respect in the world of fitness training for hunters. They are co-owners of a gym in Spokane, WA and have dedicated their lives to helping others succeed, both physically, and in their success when hunting big game in the backcountry. These guys wrote the book on fitness training for hunters. Well, actually they wrote the website journal on fitness training for hunters. Itʼs called, and through daily video journals and articles these guys become a hunterʼs “personal trainer” for backcountry fitness training. I had a chance for some Q & A with these guys and they shared some great insight on how to best prepare for the upcoming season. Why Train to Hunt?


Q) So, why should we train to hunt? What are the benefits...what does it do for your hunting ability? A) Kenton – “Hunting is a very demanding sport that requires us to be prepared for anything. If we

fail to prepare physically or mentally for even the simplest of hunts we may regret it. Dan – “Training for hunting aligns with football players training for their sport in the fall. The original athlete was a hunter. It should be no different today. Hard work outside of hunting fosters longevity, improved focus, and makes the hunt easier. The demand of each hunt varies. You have to be prepared for the known and unknowable. A fit hunter is a better predator; more alert, fatigue resistant, and tougher between the ears.” Q) Is training to hunt necessary for the eastern hunter as well as the western hunter? A) Kenton – “Unfortunately, mother nature doesnʼt care if you hunt in the west, the east, or the land of Oz. If you are not prepared physically, you will not be able to out-hunt those who are.” Dan – “Training is never a must for anyone, nor is practicing your archery shot or taking your rifle to the range before the hunt. Itʼs a choice, but an intelligent decision regardless of your quarry or terrain you hunt. A fit hunter is more motivated to take the hard road...hang more sets, scout harder, further, and longer. The diligent hunter skips the short cuts and puts in the extra mileage which will undoubtedly separate the successful ones and the not so lucky ones. If being fit and harvesting every year was easy; then everyone would do it.” Q) What are the consequences of NOT training to hunt prior to a hunt in the backcountry? A) Kenton - “This question is something that I donʼt take lightly. There are a wide range of consequences to neglecting your fitness. Missing that bull of a lifetime because you couldnʼt pull your bow back. Not being able to get meat out in time, or worse yet, having to leave your injured hunting partner in the woods overnight because you could barely get yourself out of the (continued on page 21)

JULY 2011



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Understanding Elk In Colorado (continued from page 9) As a general rule, the utility of conifer forests depends heavily on how much they are intermixed with meadows or other habitats. The exception to that rule is in October when forage in meadows and more open aspen stands has cured while forage in the conifer understory is still green and lush. Elk may not venture out in the open if the forage and security are better in coniferous forests. Alpine habitats, above treeline, offer a productive habitat for elk during summer and early fall and can be heavily utilized by elk. Alpine habitat can offer good hunting opportunities during early-fall hunting seasons, particularly if adjacent conifer habitat is not very productive. Hunting pressure and frost both make the alpine less appealing as fall advances. At the other extreme, elk can be found in pinyon-juniper and lower-elevation sagebrush habitats, particularly later in the season as elk move to lower elevations.

Colorado. In mild years, elk will remain at high elevations throughout the second rifle season and occasionally into the third season in many areas. This explains why DOW field personnel commonly refer to elk being located in dark timber during mild hunting seasons, and therefore, difficult to find. In contrast, when significant fall snowstorms occur, many elk will move to transition and winter ranges as early as second rifle season, which typically makes them more vulnerable.

Elk Response to Disturbance It is well-documented that elk alter their movement patterns in response to human-related disturbance. For example, a number of studies have demonstrated that elk tend to avoid roads (2, 3, 4, 5) and that their survival declines as density of roads increases because of increasing vulnerability (2, 6, 7, 8). During hunting season, elk will often seek out refuge on private lands or national parks where there is little or no hunting. In the White River Elk Migratory Behavior National Forest in northwest Colorado, the Most elk utilize different areas during opening day of archery season caused elk summer and winter and spend variable to move from public to private land (9, 10). amounts of time transitioning between Similarly, in the San Luis Valley in the two areas during the spring and fall. south-central Colorado, elk moved into Thus, biologists refer to three major types Great Sand Dunes National Park in of ungulate use areas: summer, transition, response to the opening of archery and winter range. Summer range typically season 11. Opening of rifle seasons are includes the highest elevation elk habitats, thought to cause additional shifts by elk transition range encompasses mid-elevation away from public land to secure areas. habitats, and winter range encompasses the Generally speaking, elk are adept at lowest elevations. As with anything, there seeking out refuges to escape hunting are exceptions to the rules. Elk habitat use pressure and will move many miles to do so. and migratory behavior is heavily driven The above information explains why by weather. In mild years, some elk will hunters with access to private lands that remain at high elevations late into the fall are managed for limited hunting typically and may spend winter at higher elevations do well. Likewise, hunters gaining access on south-facing slopes that remain largely to limited-harvest units by using preferfree of snow. In years with severe fall or ence points also fare well. However, most winter weather, nearly all elk will migrate hunters do not have access to these optimal down to low elevations to seek forage and hunting situations during most years. For escape deep snow. public-land hunters in over-the-counter Migratory behavior is an important concept units, efforts to get away from roads generally for hunters. Generally speaking, most elk pay off. There tend to be fewer hunters and will be at higher elevations (i.e., summer more elk in more remote areas. It is also range) during archery and muzzleloader helpful to obtain maps showing seasons and usually first rifle season in secondary roads, (continued on page 27)

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Easy But Often Overlooked Advice -- Be PREPARED! PREPARED! Packing For The Outdoors BY TOM CARLSEN, MFWP


After doctoring their blisters and giving them extra moleskin and a cup of A few years ago, some friends and coffee they I horse-packed into Danaher Creek were off again. in the Bob Marshall Wilderness This is only one example of why, for a week-long fishing trip. After a when I’m outdoors, I carry a morning of great fishing we were survival pack. Regardless of the sitting around camp lying about our activity, if you spend enough time angling exploits when a father and outdoors, things not only can go son backpacking team hobbled wrong—they will—for you or for into camp. someone else. essons learned the hard way might be the lessons we remember longest.

One look at their new hiking boots and it was apparent they suffered from painful blisters on their feet and heels. They didn’t have a first aid kit or even moleskin with them. This was likely the first and last time they broke in new hiking boots in the wilderness.

The best defense is to be prepared—and yet this simplest of mottos is overlooked time and again in the rush to recreate outdoors. One sure remedy is to always carry a pack equipped with the

‘right’ gear to deal successfully with almost any common situation. Right also means that what you carry is specific to the season and the activities you enjoy. Don’t forget the handful of items that might also ensure your survival. Some basics for survival include a light weight backpacker stove, freeze dried meals, an extra water bottle and some commercial fire starter which is readily available at your local sporting goods store. There is also benefit in having two kits, one for your vehicle and a second for your back pack or saddle pack. Equipped with a pre-planned, pre-packed kit, you will always be prepared to carry on, even if things go seriously wrong. And, in happening upon someone else’s emergency, you will be the stranger everyone in trouble hopes to meet. To keep it simple, I use the same pack year round, adding or pulling out gear and clothes, depending on the season.

JULY 2011

Most importantly though, commit to never getting more than 20 feet from your rig without putting your pack on. Survival priorities are to stay warm, dry, fed, hydrated, and to have something to use to signal for help. Here are the essentials I carry winter or summer.

OUTDOOR BACK PACK LIST -Pocket knife -Wrist or pocket watch -Extra Clothes, -Gore-tex rain gear (good for layering) -Polar fleece or wool stocking cap, light weight balaclava that covers the head exposing only the eyes and nose -One quart of water. More is optional. Carry a filter canteen for water in the field---this is a container with a filtering system incorporated into it capable of filtering giardia among other harmful pollutants. -Compass or GPS unit -High-energy foods -Extra gloves -First aid kit—additions for canine companions might include a muzzle or gauze for making a dog muzzle or wrapping an injured paw, tweezers, and fleece blanket to use as a stretcher and to keep dog warm if it needs to be transported This time of year I’m transitioning -Flashlights, at least two and from a hunting pack to a spring and check batteries before you go. summer pack. I remove the huntMost headlamps these days have ing-related gear, but retain universally switches that don’t easily turn on in useful items—for example, the a pack. Look for one with an LED aluminum blanket and GPS. Spring bulb. through late fall I now also carry -Extra batteries bear spray on the outside of the -Maps pack where it is easily accessible. -Matches in waterproof container/ windproof lighter My first aid kit expands to hold bug -Fire starter- various kinds on the spray in the warmer months. I’ve market or make your own also assembled a first aid kit for -Rope—25 feet of small diameter my mules and horses when I pack nylon cord and ride. If you spend a lot of time -Toilet paper in plastic bag outdoors with a dog, it would be -Orange flagging smart to identify some key canine -Large eye, heavy duty sewing first aid items and make them a needle and floss or heavy waxed regular part of your kit. thread -Large plastic garbage bags For overnight backpacking trips, SURVIVAL STUFF simply transfer items from your -Space blanket day pack to a backpack. Try -Whistle storing items by category in small, -Signaling mirror labeled stuff sacks so they are -Backpacker stove to warm water easily transferred from one pack to -Freeze dried foods, tea bags or another. instant hot chocolate

JULY 2011



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Training to Hunt

An Expertʼs Guide to Backcountry Fitness mountains to go get help. As dramatic as that may seem, I think that we all owe it to ourselves, our hunting partners, and our families to be physically ready for anything. Chances are that your hunt will go as planned, but why limit yourself and take a chance. Remember, mother nature doesnʼt discriminate.” Dan – “The consequences of showing up to a hunt out of shape can be endless. You might have to lug around an extra 20lb of fat everywhere you want to hunt and that alone can take a toll. You might be stuck at base camp when you could be tucked away on top of a distance ridge line; no one ever killed right from camp. The amount of time, planning, and resources dedicated to a backcountry hunt need not be wasted burning precious vacation hours back at camp.” Pre-Season Training Q) 3 months out from hunting season...How should we be preparing physically for the hunt? A) Kenton – “If you havenʼt been training, always start with getting really good at moving yourself. Hiking, running, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, squats, box jumps, burpees, and dynamic stretching. Once you get good at this, add weight to the movements. Put some weight in your pack and hike/run, add some weight to the squats, add dead lifts etc. Lastly, you want to add the compound movements (power clean, the push jerk, the snatch). These movements will increase your balance, power, coordination, agility, and accuracy so you can stay dirty side down in the mountains.” Dan - “Assuming that the individual is already training, the focus should still be eliminating weakness in the body. If youʼre

(continued from page 18) just starting your program make sure to build your base in the first couple of weeks, listening to your body and providing just the right stimulus so the body recovers properly.” Q) 2 months out from hunting season....How should we be training? A) Dan - “8 weeks from a hunt is still enough time to really ramp up training, intensity, and push the envelope. By this point, you should have your weaknesses pin pointed and slowly chipping away at them. As far as endurance, you should be doing dress rehearsal workouts that encompass all your gear, including pack, bow or rifle and trekking into the woods, hills, or mountains for extended bouts. The miles should really start to add up at this point and the weight of the pack should increase weekly. The more realistic your dress rehearsal workouts can be, the better prepared youʼll be.” Q) Final weeks before season... How should we be training? A) Kenton - “As you approach hunting season, you should be training a bit more specifically for your type of hunting technique, but donʼt neglect any area of your fitness. Longer hikes with more weight, and donʼt forget to shoot!” Dan - “The strength bias workouts start to take a back seat to more total body workouts and the frequency of hikes, run, and climbs should increase. Shooting and equipment inventory should start to finalize and build-up should lead you right into a 5-7 day taper before the big hunt. You should be showing up to camp at fighting weight, rested, and ready to tackle any and all obstacles that might lie in your way.” Q) What are the top 3 recommended exercises for someone wanting to (continued page 29)

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Over 300 booths of firearms and related items, cowboy and Indian memorabilia, bits, spurs and saddles, six shooters and old rifles, western and wildlife art, furniture, vintage clothing and jewelry, knives, books, prints and photos. Held at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds. Phone: 406-580-5458

ENNIS 9TH ANNUAL ENNIS ON THE MADISON FLY FISHING FESTIVAL: SEPTEMBER 2-3 Kids’ Program: Fly Casting & Fly-tying Instruction, Awakening your Inner Pixel, Fishing Down Under, Fly Casting Clinic, Fly-tying: Learn from the Experts, Madison Fly Swap: Trade Your Favorite Patterns, “Sitting in a Boat with Jerry”, BBQ & Live Music, Mega Trout Live Auction Phone : 406-682-3148

GLASGOW MONTANA GOVERNOR’S CUP WALLEYE TOURNAMENT: JULY 7-9 Walleye fishing at its best can be found in Fort Peck Lake. Plus Montana Governor’s Cup is now a member of Walleyes Unlimited Circuit. The Montana Governor’s Walleye Tournament brings anglers, from 18 states, Canada and all over Montana, who are willing to pay $400 per team to try for the $15,000 first place prize. Phone: 406-228-2222


A tasting event that offers a variety of food, microbrews and non-alcoholic beverages as well as entertainment. Held at Bedford Street in Hamilton, at the corner of 2nd and State. Phone: 406-363-2400


Join the Big Hole River Foundation and the town of Melrose for a day of celebration at the annual Big Hole River Day and Foundation fundraising dinner, raffle and auction. Pancake breakfast starts at 8 AM Vendors, arts and crafts open at 9 AM Demonstrations of fly tying, casting and rowing begin at 10AM Workshops and seminars begin at 11 AM Tours of diversion dam and fencing projects begin at 12 PM Music by Mountain Moongrass band begins at 5 PM BBQ dinner, auction and raffle drawing begins at 6 PM. Phone (866)533-2473 or visit

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Broadwater Rod & Gun Club Walleye Derby is a fishing derby for adult/child, male/female or female/female teams, starting and ending at Goose Bay Marina. This is a one day walleye tournament on Canyon Ferry Lake, limited to 75 teams with a $1,000 cash first prize. Cash prizes will be awarded in all categories. Held at Goose Bay Marina on Canyon Ferry Lake, 15 miles north of Townsend on MT Highway 284. Phone: 406-266-5279


Gun sales, flea market, barbecue, and street dance Held downtown Widsom. A Schuetzen Competition will be held Saturday at 1:00pm at the shooting range. Phone: 406-689-3400

Events To Support WILDLIFE MULE DEER FOUNDATION 7/16/2011 Missoula Western Montana Chapter Gene Foster 406-218-9883 8/6/2011 Billings Big Sky Chapter John Wilson 406-256-4909 8/12/2011 Bozeman SW Montana Chapter Chad Rempfer 406-539-7030, 8/27/2011 Helena Lewis & Clark Chapter Dennis Deaton, 406-461-2844, NATIONAL WILD TURKEY FED. 7/16/2011 Helena Last Chance Gobblers George Carella 406-458-8677 7/29/2011 Kalispell NW Montana Longbeards Frank Brisendine 406-857-3711 ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUND. 07/21/2011 Bozeman Gallatin Life / Sponsor Event Scott Westphal, 406-266-3042

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The Hunting Shack Sponsors Charity Golf Tournament Aug 13 at King Ranch for Paralyzed Veterans of America Join the staff and friends from The Hunting Shack as they support the Paralyzed Veterans of America with a charity golf tournament, August 13th at King Ranch Golf Course in Frenchtown. The Hunting Shack is working with the Paralyzed Veterans of America’s Outdoor Recreation Heritage Fund in sponsorship of this event. All proceeds from sponsors go to support the Paralyzed Veterans of America. Sponsorship levels include the Gold Sponsor, Silver Sponsor, Team Sponsorship, or be a Hole Sponsor for just $100. Sponsorship money will be used to pay the course rental and all remaining proceeds from this tournament will go DIRECTLY to the Paralyzed Veterans of America. For more information or to become a sponsor call The Hunting Shack at (406) 777-2106.

Register Now For Game Damage Hunt Roster MFWP Hunters interested in participating in

game damage hunts on private land or possible management seasons this year have until July 15 to register online with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Prospective hunters must register for the hunt rosters online at . To register, hunters will need their ALS number. A final roster, randomly generated from all online registrations, will be posted by Aug. 1 on the FWP website at Game damage occurs when animals such as elk, deer or antelope concentrate on private farms and ranches and damage crops and property. FWP’s game damage hunt rules are designed to respond to the needs of landowners who provide public hunting during the general hunting season, yet who could nevertheless suffer losses due to wildlife damage without this additional management tool. In addition to game damage hunts, those who register will also be eligible for special management season hunts. Special management seasons are called for in response to concentrations of big game due to seasonal migrations, extreme weather conditions, restrictive public hunting on adjacent or nearby properties, and other factors.

JULY 2011





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W hat does it take to get a shot at a bull? Well there are several things that

can get you a shot, as long as you can keep your cool. FIND ELK Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? If you can find a group of elk that are in a localized place then you have it made. Finding those places however, and making the right moves once you get there is probably the most important part of the puzzle. You can start by studying maps and satellite photos. Then the work starts, you have to go to these places and put eyes on those animals. The sooner in late July and early August you can get to these places, without the immediate need to get close and get a shot, the better. Now your optics can pay big returns allowing you to watch from a distance. If you pick a location, but once there find that it is without elk, move to the next likely location. My personal rule is if there is sign (rubs, tracks and droppings) that is OK, if I see elk that is much better.

Now that you have found your spot, and have a feel for their morning, midday and evening movements, it is back to the maps to plot your approach routes. Where should you be to catch that bull as he moves from a lower elevation park, to a midmorning bedding area? What is the wind like? How can you cut the distance if he decides to side hill instead of moving up the ridge? If you have a plan for several directions of travel, you have options. CALL LESS AND MOVE CLOSER We all love to hear a bull answer our calls. But why are we giving him a reason to move away from us? If you hear a bull, instead of stopping and calling back, cut down the distance!!!

If you can position yourself on the route then you have the best chance, and he bugles, you know where he is! Keep the wind in your favor, and you might not even need to call, but calls work so much better when an elk is 100 yards away vs. 1000. Bull Elk are much more aggressive, and will always listen first and move in close to another bull, especially if he doesn’t have any cows. They want to see the other bull and be able to size him up before they challenge him. The key here is, elk like calling, but like to see other elk better. Calling a bull to within 100 yards is not too hard, but getting him to close that gap is the hardest part of all. Moving in as close as you can will make the gap much smaller, and put you eyeball to eyeball much quicker. CALLERS AND SHOOTERS Anytime you can get a partner or two to be spread out behind you, calling back and forth will greatly increase your odds of pulling a bull into range. Callers should be at least 60-80 yards apart and at least that much further away from the shooter. Callers can cow call back and forth, and are able to move to keep the shooter between them and the Bull. Shooters are not going to call at all!! Only to stop a bull for a shot is what I tell my shooters, nothing else. A perfect set up places the shooter within 50-75 yards of the bull, callers back behind and best case slightly uphill. Shooters can and should be ready to move when a bull chooses a path to the callers. This is where it all starts to all fall into place. The Bull will be looking past the shooter to the callers, and if he hangs up, it should be right in a shooters lap. FIGURE OUT THE RIGHT GEAR Walking over some of the most rugged

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Helena 406-449-3111 terrain to find a bull is not easy work. Add 10 to 30 extra pounds of gear, food and water, and the days get really long!! So what do you really need to have? Everyone is different, but try to whittle it down to the bare minimum. How big of a pack do you need? Is it a day hunt or are you camping where you stop. Tent or tarp, it is your call. List of must have items should include: 1. Food and water - filtering your water can allow you to find it where you are hunting and cut down lots of weight. Freeze dried meals are light and easy to make after a long day. How are you going to heat up water for your meal? There are some really small jet boil and similar burners that can get you a hot meal quickly. 2. Sleeping bag and or bivy sack - you are going to need to sleep sometime, and the less you get, the worse your brain is going to work. Nothing is worse than sleep deprivation. 3. Extra socks and clothes - dress in layers and always have extra socks can make a bad day better. Wet socks and a 5-10 mile hike are not things you want to mix together. Dress in layers if it is cold, strip down to the bare minimum when climbing hard for long periods, but make sure to have extra layers to put on while waiting for a bull to come in or at night in your camp. 4. Knife, rope, gamebags -if you get a bull, now the really hard part begins. Is he coming out on your back, or are you going to drag him back to the truck?

Depending on the where, it is much easier to bone out an elk than to just quarter it. Why carry bones home then just throw them away? 5. Know where you are? – GPS, good maps and a compass are really nice to have so you know where you are going and how to get back. And make sure to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to get back. Ever see the movie 127 Hours? If something happens to you, it would be nice for someone to know where to send the search party. MAKE SURE OF YOUR SHOT Practice shooting your bow with the same clothes that you plan to hunt in, and not just in the back yard! Get out and stage different shot distances and angles. Hopefully, when that bull steps out just 32 yards away, you have already set that shot up and muscle memory will take over. Get your bow, arrows and brain all on the same page. Train yourself to go thru the same steps when shooting every time. Tune your bow so it shoots right where you want it to. Also take the steps to train your body before, during and after the season. (I am lacking in this department!) More elk survive simply because you can’t get to them physically. Committing to killing an elk, and learning what it takes to get the job done is not an easy task, but it can be one of the most rewarding achievements in the archery world.



JULY 2011

New TV Series ‘RMEF Team Elk’ Premieres July 3 new television series A premiering July 3 at 3:00 (ET) on Outdoor Channel, “RMEF Team Elk” features the hunting and conservation adventures of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation members. A host of members appear in the show’s first season, including celebrities such as baseball Hall-of-Famer Goose Gossage, outdoor personalities Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, football legend Walt Garrison, racing champion Johnny Unser, pro bull riders Dustin Elliott and Austin Meier, along with other RMEF members, volunteers, supporters and series hosts Brandon Bates and Cameron Hanes. The premiere episode features Montana logger, cowboy and RMEF co-founder Charlie Decker pursuing a monster five-by-five management bull on the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Arizona. Decker also reflects on RMEF’s historic success. From humble beginnings, the organization has become a major force for conservation with 178,000 members—salt-ofthe-earth folks as well as celebrities—working together as Team Elk. RMEF soon will pass the 6 million acre mark in habitat conserved or enhanced for elk and other wildlife. After the premiere, new episodes of “RMEF Team Elk” will air Sundays at 3:00 (ET) with additional airings Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. (ET) and Saturdays at 6:00 p.m. (ET). The show is the first television series fully owned and produced by RMEF. “‘RMEF Team Elk’ is more than a TV show. It’s part of a growing movement that’s making a difference for conservation and the future of hunting,” said Steve Decker, vice president of marketing for RMEF. “The show uses a new website and social media to further engage viewers in our mission. I hope everyone who likes what they see on TV will become another proud member of Team Elk.” Watch for “RMEF Team Elk” promotions and news at: Web site: Facebook: Twitter: Presented by MidwayUSA, “RMEF Team Elk” enjoys additional sponsorship from Weaver, Browning, Brunton, Danner, Hunter’s Specialties, Buck Knives, Eberlestock, Cooper Tires, Sitka, Nosler, NAP, Budweiser, Under Armour, Archer Xtreme and Buckstop Truckware.

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JULY 2011

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Understanding Elk In Colorado (continued from page 19)

terrain features and public/private land ownership to evaluate where elk may be more likely to move in response to disturbance. If you lack the ability to hunt in remote areas, getting off the road even a short distance and still-hunting on foot can greatly increase your opportunities. It is not uncommon for animals to bed down in thick cover near roads and not be disturbed, even as hunters pass by on the road throughout the day. When hunting roaded areas, it is often helpful to identify patches of heavy cover where it appears elk might bed down to avoid being disturbed.

After deciding when to hunt and factoring in weather, the next step is to evaluate habitat in terms of forage, security cover, and roads. As a recap, elk prefer habitats with abundant understory, which typically include aspen, oakbrush, and mountain shrub habitats. These habitat types are often intermixed with, or adjacent to, conifer forest. Areas with mosaics of aspen, shrub, and conifer are preferable to large, unbroken expanses of spruce-fir habitat, for example. During hunting season, in particular, elk will tend to avoid roads and place a heavier emphasis on seeking out security cover or refuge areas. Putting It All Together It is useful to consider the spatial Many hunters know the general location arrangement of public and private land they intend to hunt based on past experience, parcels on the landscape you intend to contacts, recommendations, etc. However, hunt. If public-private parcels are if you’re new to Colorado elk hunting, intermixed, hunting public land near there are a few things worth considering: private land may be advantageous as animals will likely move between private Colorado’s largest elk herds occur west and public land in that scenario. On the of the Continental Divide. Colorado’s other hand, hunting public land adjacent highest elk densities generally occur in to large blocks of private land with association with aspen, oakbrush, and minimal hunting pressure will be less mountain shrub habitats. ideal. In Colorado, it is the hunter’s responsibility to know land ownership Public-land hunting opportunities span boundaries and not trespass, even where everything from remote wilderness areas private land is not fenced or signed. to heavily-roaded forests and rangelands. Once you’ve determined the general Ultimately, these various considerations location you plan to hunt, the next should help you assess the overall consideration is when you plan to hunt. If landscape you intend to hunt: Is there you plan to hunt early in the season (e.g., ample forage and security cover? Are you late August through mid-October), a far enough away from potential refuge majority of elk are likely to be at higher areas (e.g., large blocks of private land, elevations. If you plan to hunt later (e.g., National Parks) such that elk will likely late October through December), elk are remain on public land even when likely to be mid-slope or even down on pressured by hunters? If so, where are winter range just above the valley floors or elk likely to go when pressured? What plains. Many rifle hunters head to the field are the relative road densities across the in late October and early November. At landscape? Are there “holes” that you can this time of year, maintaining access? When you factor in all these flexibility with your hunting plans can be considerations, it should be possible to an effective strategy. Elk can be anywhere assess a large landscape and identify on the mountain depending on weather specific spots to hunt. In summary, areas events, and it is best not to lock yourself to select are those that provide abundant in to exclusively hunting one spot. Elk are forage, ample security cover, fewer roads, large, herd animals that leave abundant and do not have obvious refuges. sign. If you’re not seeing evidence in your For references visit area, it’s advisable to seek out ing/ElkHuntingUniversity/EHULessons2011/ other areas. EHU2011UnderstandingElkHabitat.htm

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JULY 2011


The Right Camo for 2011 (continued from page 5)

of merino wool in its core tops and bottoms. I think the new Traverse Hoody zip-T and the Contrail windshirt (highly water resistant and really packable) are super additions for Sitka. If you want the ultimate in high performance fabric’s and design, I recommend you try Sitka, you will feel its performance.

Kings Outdoor with it’s Desert Shadow pattern works well for those of us here in the west. It’s pattern looks much like our terrain especially whenever you’re hunting near or in sagebrush. Using polyester materials, Kings starts with t-shirts, then 6 pocket pants, hoodies and jackets and gloves and hats. Ladies 6 pocket pants, mock-tees, hoodies, ¼ zip fleece shirts and wind defender jackets all perform well. This affordable camo is a great choice for bowhunters.

New from Russell Outdoors this year is Realtree AP and Max 1 camouflage patterns. Explorer cargo pants, long and short sleeve t-shirts for men and youth are our picks this year for very reasonably priced cotton camo. The new APXg2 soft shell jacket and pant for men provide soft, quiet protection from wind and water with high breathability, making them an excellent outer layer. Hope this helps. These are our top picks for 2011. Happy Hunting.


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Training To Hunt

An Expert’s Guide to Backcountry Fitness (continued from page 21) train to hunt? A) 1 - Tabata Intervals - which are 20 seconds of max effort work followed by a short rest of 10 seconds performed for 8 straight sets. The total elapsed time is just under five minutes and you can apply them to any modality (biking, hiking, lifting, swimming, etc.). Intervals allow more work to be accomplished in less time and they not only foster stamina and endurance, but they decrease the chance of injury by minimizing the time invested. 2 - Hiking with a pack on, heading up trails, hills, or scrambling. There is no substitute for this now matter how you slice it. As season closes in make sure you ramp up your duration.


• 29

3 - Thrusters: this is a front squat to overhead press done harmoniously as a single effort movement. It requires a tremendous amount of power, flexibility, strength, balance, coordination, and speed. This movement works your bodyʼs hardware and software, meaning you get your muscles stronger and your nervous system coordinating more efficiently. When performed

with intensity, this movement sears away calories and makes your entire body stronger. This movement gives a lot of bang for the buck. Both Dan and Kenton admit that hunting bugling elk in the month of September is what motivates them all year long as they prepare. Kentonʼs favorite hunt continues to be his first archery bull that he took in Idaho while hunting with his dad on public ground. Dan also looks back on a hunt with his dad as his most cherished. It too was Danʼs first archery bull elk, killed in New Mexico on public land. Their passion for the hunting lifestyle and the desire for quality -- and quantity - time in the woods with family and friends, led the two to begin The website features a ton of videos, articles, and info on how to best prepare for your next hunt. The site also features videos on how to specifically perform the exercises mentioned in this article, as well as many others. See how training to hunt will undoubtedly make you a more lethal predator when hunting season rolls around again.



JULY 2011

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ontana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is seeking applicants to fill volunteer positions on the Region 2 Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC). The CAC is a general advisory committee that provides input and guidance to FWP on a diverse array of issues—from wildlife and fisheries management to access, state parks, outdoor recreation and law enforcement. The CAC is designed to have a membership that represents a variety of west-central Montana communities and natural resource interests. To ensure a diverse membership and to fill the gaps left by members with expiring terms, this year FWP is specifically recruiting for prospective members that are landowners and local business owners, and those that live in Deer Lodge or Powell Counties. Selections may also be made from applicants that live in other parts of west-central Montana, including the counties of Ravalli, Missoula, Granite, Mineral and the southwestern portion of Lewis & Clark. In addition to the previously mentioned categories, FWP welcomes applications from hunters, anglers, trappers, boaters, outfitters and guides, conservationists, other outdoor recreationists and those with an interest in natural resource issues.


The panel of volunteers typically has four to five evening meetings per year in Missoula. Members serve four year terms and can reapply when their terms expire. Meals and travel expenses are provided. The function of the CAC is to: • Provide a forum for ongoing two-way communication with our neighbors and communities; • Help FWP personnel maintain and improve responsiveness to the public; • Help FWP identify emerging issues; • Provide advice and perspective on important resource and management issues; • Assist FWP with crafting local, sustainable solutions on regional and statewide issues. Applicants will be asked to provide an overview of their interests and involvement in natural resource issues and write a few sentences on why they are interested in serving on the CAC. To apply, download the application online at Or, email or call Vivaca Crowser at, or 406-542-5518. Completed applications must be received by FWP by Friday, July 8, 2011. FWP Region 2 managers and current CAC members will review applications and select the new members. Successful applicants will be invited to attend their first CAC meeting on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011.

Complete issues & back issues, hunting and fishing photos, fishing hot spots and more!

Electric Fencing Is A Solution For Bear Problems MFWP It is a quiet summer night. Your kids

have just made their last trip into the house and back outside to sleep in their tree house. As you shut off the lights there is suddenly a commotion outdoors. You flip on the flood light you’ve rigged to light up your backyard. The kids are still in the tree house—but a huge black bear is ripping into a nearby shed where you store grain for your 30 chickens. The bear has the door nearly torn off of the shed. This isn’t the first time your chickens have attracted a bear. Your gun is loaded with fire cracker shells that rip into the night frightening the kids. The bear retreats, inexplicably making off with a case of toilet paper also stored in the shed. This and a series of similar incidents convinced the Cook family of Troy to erect an electric fence around the perimeter of their property last fall. Barbara Cook said so far it appears bears have walked along the fence and then moved off. Only a deer has challenged it and broken one of the wires. “We will have to do some repair and upkeep, but that will be minor in comparison to the peace we’ve gained— no more grizzly bears 12 feet from the house,” she said. “Our local Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks bear biologist, Kim Annis, was very helpful during the planning and construction phases.” “Electric fences have been the greatest achievement in terms of reducing chicken, beehive and sheep depredation,” said Mike Madel, FWP bear management specialist in Choteau.

“Wherever sheep occur in grizzly habitat it is only a matter of time before the bears will locate them. Sheep use common bedding grounds that become saturated with scent and are very easy for bears to find.” “We’ve worked up and down the Rocky Mountain Front with landowners to get electric fencing around sheep bedding grounds,” Madel said. One livestock owner north of Choteau is installing electric fence around several hundred acres of sheep pasture. There are some nonprofit organizations interested in reducing bear depredation that sometimes match funds with livestock producers, and there are also matching funds available through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Madel said. “We have more folks than ever raising chickens, goats and pigs and we are seeing a response from predators of all kinds to these new opportunities for them,” said Jamie Jonkel, FWP bear manager in Missoula. “If you are making an investment in chickens or other livestock, erecting an electric fence is simply the right thing to do.” Those interested in putting up an electric fence have a lot of resources to turn to locally and on the Internet. An easy to follow guide for beginners is available on the FWP website at on the Be Bear Aware page. It is titled Bears and Electric Fencing: A Starter’s Guide For Using Electric Fencing To Deter Bears. The brochure includes contact information for FWP’s regional bear managers who are equipped to assist landowners in planning electric fences to prevent bear depredations.

JULY 2011



• 31

Hunting And Conservation News

Easement Protects 1,036 Acres of Montana Elk Country RMEF Science Leads To Poacher Conviction MFWP


deal has been completed to permanently protect 1,036 acres of elk winter range on the outskirts of Missoula. A new conservation easement held by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation ensures wildlife habitat values by restricting development even if land ownership changes in the future. The easement was partially donated by the Deschamps family of Missoula. City of Missoula and Missoula County open space bond programs provided support. RMEF brokered the deal and provided technical assistance to make the project happen. The property has been in the Deschamps family since 1908. The area is now under considerable development pressure with more and more houses dotting the landscape at lower elevations. The conservation easement guarantees a different fate for Deschamps land, and the family plans to continue its ranching tradition. “This is an incredible parcel of land that’s been in the Deschamps family for generations. We’re grateful to them for their vision to protect it forever,”

said Mike Mueller, lands program manager for RMEF. “The easement on this property covers a great diversity of habitat from forests and streams to native grasslands and wildflower meadows. About 75 elk spend each winter here, and there are deer, bear, songbirds, raptors and many other species of wildlife.” He added, “You can see this property from up and down the Clark Fork River valley, Interstate 90, State Highway 93 and across the Missoula valley, so countless people will always be able to see and enjoy the open space and productive ranchland.” Mueller thanked the Missoula County Commission, Missoula City Council and both city and county Open Space Citizen Advisory Committees for “using open space bond funds to save some of the area’s best elk country.” Jackie Corday, open space program manager for the City of Missoula, said, “This beautiful property contributes significantly to the scenic view shed of the Missoula Valley and has important wildlife and bird habitat, and it presented a great opportunity for the city

and county to jointly contribute to its preservation since it straddles the Missoula and Frenchtown Planning Regions. The generosity of Deschamps family in donating 50 percent of the value made the project possible.” Director of Missoula County Rural Initiatives Patrick O’Herren said, “Missoula County and city residents are fortunate to have generous landowners who recognize the value of their land to current and future generations. This parcel hosts significant wildlife, plant and soil communities, which contribute greatly to the quality of life that makes western Montana such a desirable place to live, work and visit. The county’s Open Lands Committee and the county commissioners congratulate the landowners, RMEF and all the supporting people and organizations that made this project such a success.” Monitoring conservation easement provisions is the permanent responsibility of RMEF. Get involved at or 800-CALL-ELK.

Wildcat Naha Jumper, age 36, from Florida, was found

guilty of unlawfully killing a bull moose on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation in 2007. A concerned citizen, who was suspicious of the origins of the moose, reported the possible violation to MFWP authorities. USFWS seized the trophy moose which had an antler measurement that qualified for the Boone and Crockett minimum “All Time Awards” entry score. Naha Jumper was charged with a misdemeanor Lacy Act violation and paid a $1,525.00 fine. During the investigation, it was determined that an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe told Cheyenne authorities that he had killed the moose on that reservation. Science was employed in gathering the evidence for this case. Two different geologic maps of Montana were referenced in order to determine the underlying strata and rock age from both reservations. Bone samples were taken from known game animals harvested on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation and compared to bone samples from the moose in question. Strontium Isotope levels deposited in bones and antlers vary based on the vegetation and specific soil types in locations where wildlife live and eat. The test results were consistent with the theory that the moose had lived its life on the Rocky Mountain Front and not in the low lying forests of Southeastern Montana. The comparison suggested the moose was probably not killed on or near the Northern Cheyenne Reservation as the geologic findings from the moose did not match the geology within the Cheyenne Reservation.



JULY 2011

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recently attended the 1st annual Sportsman Rendezvous over this past weekend here in western Montana. It was a collaborative effort amongst a few of the local and state conservation and sportsmen groups. Western Montana SCI sponsored the event and coordinated logistics for MT SFW, The Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, and numerous local entities and retailers. It had all the makings to be a great family event at the scenic Lumberjack Saloon, near Lolo, MT. We of course jumped at the chance to participate and speak with our members and members of other organizations and groups that would be in attendance. Birds of a feather…..The one resounding thing I heard from the SFW members who attended (and many folks who joined SFW that day) was that MT SFW is on the right track with our message and activity. One member said from what he could tell our slogan should be; “A strong, family-oriented conservation group that seeks to unify Montana public land users and create hunting and outdoor opportunities for everyone while helping Ag groups protect their interests from predation”. Wow, did this fella nail it. I couldn’t have come up with that, but that is what we are. More game animals equal more opportunities for all the folks involved, but we need to be also mindful of land owner tolerance of these game animals as well. There is a pretty thin line to walk. And we must walk it while trying to make sure predators are in check and the Ag community doesn’t lose their

livelihood and someone listens to them. Many members I spoke with wanted to shake my hand and praise our involvement in many tough issues facing Montana’s sportsmen, ranchers, and property owners. They were pleased with SFW’s general visibility and the realities that we are very aggressive on the wolf issue as well as taking Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to task on mismanagement of our resources. We have morphed over that last year considerably from being disgruntled Montanans hunters, to one of the leading conservations groups in Montana. The new thought for you to ponder is “Common Sense Conservation”. As in using your head on some of this stuff. I thanked every one of them and personally challenged them to become more involved in SFW in their local communities by starting a chapter and using “Common Sense” when dealing with what is right for all of us and the Montana economy and our heritage. You have no right to complain unless you are involved in one way or another and support a group with like ideals. I’d just as soon be afield or on a river somewhere then volunteering many, many hours to this group. But if I don’t who will and who will speak for the people of Montana? This of course has not sat very well some Eco groups such as Defenders of Wildlife, Alliance of the Wild Rockies and numerous other money-driven, lawyer-hiring, dishonest, greedy green groups.

Nor has it sat well with traditional groups like the Montana Wildlife Federation and some of their affiliates, who just this year, categorically testified against nearly every bill that our group, RMEF, SCI, Wool Growers and Cattleman’s groups supported in the state legislature. Why? If you disagree with them, then YOU must be wrong. They know what is best for wildlife and our resources (or so they’d have you believe). They get paid to run that organization and if you’re a volunteer of another group, you are simply wrong. You are wrong because they have given away nearly 6,000 free memberships (that’s right it’s free) so they must be right, because they claim to be the biggest in the state. Well I can tell you the voice of Montana’s people has spoken and they are not happy with the course of the MT Wildlife Federation. We don’t give free memberships to MT SFW (except to some of the kids) and we have nearly 1,000 members who’ve joined us in the last year. I do hope that at some point we can work together to address Montana’s issue. I will be having lunch with officials of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) who is a parentorganization to the MWF. I hope we can find some common ground, although I will be asking them questions about their “Adopt a wolf” program on their website among other

things! The following week I will be having lunch with Executives from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to see what we can do together to help with issues facing you, your family, our game herds, public access, habitat restoration, etc. See a trend here? We have been to the table with the Ag/ Ranching communities, the Outfitters, as well as the everyday Montana public land hunter. We also meet with groups who are completely 180 degrees with the philosophy and views of MT SFW. And though we feel they are completely out of touch with Montana and the growing discontent concerning their group, we will speak to them nonetheless and see if there is a bridge for some of these massive divisions. We speak regularly with the largest national conservation groups. And while we don’t always see eye-to-eye on every issue, we have a lot of common interests and places to start. Cohesion amongst real sportsmen and conservation groups is needed. Not division. We can’t do this alone. SFW is committed to sovereign state rights to hunt, fish and trap on our public lands in Montana as well as protect our sheep, cattle and domestic pets from predation. I encourage you to become a member of Montana SFW through the above membership card or our website at

JULY 2011



• 33



uring the dog-days of summer your pre-hunting activities are kicked into high gear. Final scouting trips should be planned, and your maps marked. Target practice is very important at this point, and by now you should be hitting in groups of 4 inches to maximum 6 inches at 30 yards. If you plan on using an elk call, you should be comfortable with it; please donʼt practice on elk while sitting in your car at the side of the road—elk learn fast! As the hunt draws near, spend time in the forest (not necessarily where youʼll hunt) and practice making tough up-hill, and down-hill shots (check forest regulations first). Itʼs also a good time to judge distances before pulling out the range finder to verify your guess. Go back over your hunt plan. When it comes time to start packing for a hunt, start a couple weeks early to check gear before itʼs packed and loaded into the camper. The camper is used as a base camp (which can easily be substituted with a tent/wall tent). Making a list and checking it off is helpful; try making a list of all the gear you take and separate it into two categories—gear for a backpack hunt, and gear for a base camp or static hunt from a fixed tent. If you decide to use a base camp, you can then configure your pack with essential gear you need to carry and know what weight you are carrying. Knowing weights of items beforehand comes in handy when planning to carry a backpack! Packaged goods are unwrapped and sealed in plastic bags that can be reused for hauling trash back out. Conserving weight by carrying items that serve more than one purpose is a good practice; the multi-purpose tool, for example. It has a saw blade that will get you by in the back-country to cut branches for firewood, elk pelvis, and ribs, and a sharp blade that can take care of an elk. Donʼt forget to bring extra coolers—a quartered elk will fill two king-sized (really big!) coolers. No matter how well you plan, you can count on one thing: the elk have complete disregard of your plan. Be flexible. No secret here—elk are where you find them, sometimes hunting from base camp will keep you in elk range. But you may have to follow the herd. Having a backpack ready to go might be your best option, planning for more than one scenario both can increase your odds of success. My preference is packing a

BY ALAN HANNASCH AND JASON GARNETT, Courtesy CDW mid-sized backpack to carry emergency items, along with sufficient supplies to field dress an elk and even having a game bag or two will save an extra trip back to camp. Archery season can bring hot days and cold nights; donʼt be surprised by early snow, rain with lightning, sleet—even all of the above in one day. Dress in layers; most days start off frosty-cold in the morning to mid-day sun in the 80s. specially important, these days you can carry one of a number of devices that allow you to send messages and/or emergency location signals. The piece of mind is priceless. Your food supplies are a personal choice, and for day hunts be sure to have nutritional bars and plenty of water. During the archery season you have more daylight hours, which make for a long day in the field. Getting back to camp and cooking a meal and then cleaning up (being bear aware) is a lot of effort. Simple heat-and-serve meals might be considered. Now itʼs time to head out to your elk camp, always leaving a map and specific information location, arrival, and departure times with someone at home. Before you leave, get a 10-day weather forecast and print it out. Have a list of phone numbers that you can carry in case of emergencies—and donʼt forget your hunting license. One last check of the bow and a final practice round before the hunt are in order; by now, your confidence in your shooting needs to be high. Once in the field a host of decisions must be made. Should you call to the elk or just move slowly through the woods and hope to intercept them? If you have had time to scout your area extensively you can try to set up on a wallow, water hole, game trail, or elk crossing and wait them out. If your scouting has been limited, spot and stalk may be the ticket. Archery hunters will tell you that all of the tactics listed above work and more often than not it is the correct use of all them that leads to a successful harvest. First things first—find elk! All of the map making, planning, and practice are of little use if the elk that were in your “secret spot” a month ago are now one drainage away. Hopefully you are able to setup camp early enough before the season opens that you have time to do some last minute scouting. Of course you donʼt want to go stomping around the woods that youʼre going to be hunting but you can learn a lot by simply looking and listening.



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“Glassing” your hunting area from a high vantage point can gain you invaluable information about elk movement in your hunting area. Elk tend to move up and down the mountains they inhabit early in the morning and also late in the afternoon or early evening. This habit can make it fairly easy to pinpoint travel routes. These routes or trails can be a great place to ambush elk as they move between feeding and bedding areas.

As you sit looking over your area, listen very carefully; elk are the most vocal members of the deer family and, contrary to popular belief, elk communicate back and forth to each other all the time. Bull elk donʼt have to be in the full swing of the rut to bugle, and the chirps, bleats, and mews of cow and calf elk can be heard year-ʻround in the Colorado high country. Elk regularly announce their presence and the hunter who is paying attention can profit from this apparent lack of restraint. Now that you have current information on movement and location (even if very general) you will want to put together a plan for the morning hunt. Your plan should put you on course to intercept moving elk. Again, elk will move between feeding areas and bedding grounds. Choosing a spot that, from your scouting, shows the most promise of a well-beaten trail, saddle, or a (continued on page 46)


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JULY 2011

Rocky Mountain States Will 2011 Match ‘90 As “Year of the Sucker”?

A urora Reservoir continues to produce record-sized fish in Colorado but the latest whopper out of the impoundment wasn’t a fish most people think of when they think “trophy”. Parker angler Jay Grupp was hoping to catch walleye near the dam at the reservoir when he hauled in a new state record sucker on Tuesday, May 3. Grupp’s 23 3/8 inch, 5 pound 6.65 ounce white sucker was caught on spinning tackle with a jig lure. The catch breaks a 21-year-old state record and one that was set four times in 1990. The sucker isn’t the only state record fish caught at Aurora Reservoir in recent months. On Nov. 12, 2010, 11-year-old Conner Peitsmeyer caught a 20 3/4 inch, 6 pound 8 ounce smallmouth bass at the reservoir east of Denver. On Oct. 4, 2010, 20-year-old Jessica Walton landed a 43-pound channel catfish at Aurora Reservoir. “Aurora Reservoir has ideal forage conditions to produce very large fish,” said Paul Winkle, DOW aquatic biologist who manages the fishery. “There’s an outstanding population of crayfish and yellow perch, which provides an excellent food source for fish to grow to enormous sizes.” In the last decade, the DOW has stocked more than 135,000 fish at Aurora Reservoir, including trout, bass, catfish, walleye and wiper, helping to establish the 640-acre reservoir as one of the state’s most popular fisheries. Despite the propensity of Aurora Reservoir to produce huge fish, a new statewide record sucker wasn’t on the minds of most of the people around the Division of Wildlife. “Not a lot of anglers target suckers,” said Greg Gerlich, statewide aquatic manager. “Most people catch suckers to use for cut bait so it’s unusual to have one turned in for a record but I’m glad Mr. Grupp recognized that this fish was a nice catch.” The previous record for a sucker was set in September 1990 when Joel

Musich of Northglenn landed a 23-1/4 inch, 4 pound 5.5 ounce flannelmouth sucker in the Colorado River in Garfield County. Interestingly, the state record for suckers was broken four times during the summer of 1990 and has not been touched since. Was there something about 1990 that made the sucker fishing prolific? Will the same hold true for anglers looking for a way to get in the record books in 2011? “I’m not sure there is anything environmental occurring that would lead one year to be better for suckers than any other,” said Winkle. “It’s probably just related to anglers hearing about the old record falling and heading to the water to try and do better. Who knows, maybe this record will be broken several times this year when word of the achievement gets out.” Anglers who are targeting suckers should rig their line with several small weights to keep the bait along the bottom of the lake or river. Slow, wide river sections tend to be good for finding the fish. Suckers generally prefer worms, night crawlers and dough balls but other baits, lures and even flies can be effective if they’re along the bottom where suckers feed.

Cell Phones, Satellites Help Prevent Wildlife/Auto Collisions C

ountless cell phones on the ground and 24 satellites, orbiting 12,550 miles up in the sky and connected by the Internet, are part of a project in Island Park to help decrease vehicle collisions, resulting in deaths of wildlife and humans. Last February, Fish and Game placed GPS collars on 30 cow elk and 26 cow moose. Data has been collected to see where these animals move back and forth across the highway. Volunteers have patrolled the route to see what animals have been killed and where un-collared animals crossed the road as well. “The goal of this project is to not just indentify where animals cross the highway, but the quality of the crossings,” University of Montana graduate student Nick Sharp said. “We want to learn what makes a good place to cross versus a place where animals end up as road kills and automobiles are damaged.”

“Thanks to the new wildlife reporting website and the new smart-phone technology, images collected by the public of wildlife killed on the highway and live animals moving nearby can be included in the project as well,” Sharp said. The latest “smart” cell phones can automatically record the location of pictures and transmit the information onto a specially designed website. The newly created Idaho Fish and Wildlife Information System website is available for the public to enter information about road kills or sightings of live wildlife and upload GPS location tagged pictures. This information collected during this joint project will be extremely valuable to managers trying to determine ways to improve human and wildlife safety not just along Highway 20, but elsewhere.”

Leftover Moose Permits Available H

unters still have a chance at 13 leftover moose controlled hunt tags available in the second drawing.

Colorado is home to eight species of suckers, including the endangered razorback sucker found in the Colorado River Basin. Anglers that catch an endangered razorback sucker don’t want to hang on to it in hopes of getting a state record, those fish must be returned to the water immediately in accordance with federal law. The bluehead and mountain sucker are common in the state but it’s the flannelmouth sucker and white sucker that grow to be the largest.

The second controlled hunt application period for leftover moose tags runs from June 15 through June 25. Any permits left over from this drawing will be available first-come first-served beginning July 10.

The DOW tracks fish records by weight in 43 different species categories. Potential record-holders must have a valid Colorado fishing license or be under the age of 16. The fish in question must be weighed on a state-certified scale, and a weight receipt must be signed by a person who witnessed the weighing. The fish, before being frozen, gutted or altered in any way, must be examined and identified by a DOW biologist or wildlife manager before an application is submitted.

Controlled hunt applications may be submitted at any hunting and fishing license vendor, Fish and Game office, with a credit card by calling 1-800-55HUNT5 or 1-800-824-3729, or online at or

Tags available are: 1 bull in Hunt 3037, area 10A-1. 1 bull in Hunt 3044, area 12-3. 3 bulls in Hunt 3053, area 16A. 4 bulls in Hunt 3054, area 17. 4 bulls in Hunt 3056, area 20. There are no leftover sheep or goat permits. The application period for leftover tags for deer, elk, antelope and fall black bear hunts will be August 5 to 15. Check the moose, mountain goat and bighorn sheep rules brochure and the controlled hunt information section for details on each hunt and specific controlled hunt information.

The resident controlled hunt tag and application fee is $173. The nonresident controlled hunt tag and application fee is $2,116.50. These fees include a nonrefundable application fee of $6.25 for Idaho residents and $14.75 for nonresidents. Tag fees must be included with moose controlled hunt applications. There is a service charge for processing phone-in and Internet applications. The phone-in charge is 3 percent of the transaction plus $5.50; the Internet charge is 3 percent of the transaction plus $3.50. Applicants also must have a valid Idaho hunting license.

JULY 2011



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Rocky Mountain States Commission Denies Sportsmen Thirty Deer Hunting Units In 2012 Access To Deer Hunting Deer hunters, the wait is over. The number areas the Division of Wildlife Resources of smaller areas Utah’s five general season set up decades ago. The DWR split the state into management areas to help regions will be split into for the 2012 D espite excellent game surveys, good biologists gather biological data about the season has been decided. precipitation and increasing populations wildlife in each area.

of deer, the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commission voted to reduce the allocation of mule deer buck tags statewide at its meeting in Reno. Against the recommendations of Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) big game biologists, the Commission reduced mule deer buck tags in all but five unit areas, cutting staff recommendations by 25 percent, and reducing mule deer buck tags in five specific hunting units by cutting staff recommendations by 10 percent. The Commission accepted staff recommendations for youth tags. With these reductions, 11,536 mule deer buck tags were allocated statewide for 2011, compared to the 14,910 recommended by staff, a reduction of over 22 percent from staff recommendations. The Commission-approved 2011 tag quotas are almost 15 percent less than the 2010 levels. Under the guidance of NDOW Acting Director Ken Mayer, increasing Nevada’s mule deer herd with habitat restoration and improvement programs has been a priority for the agency. “Based on increased population numbers, herd condition and exceptional moisture levels in much of the state, the NDOW big game biologists recommended an increase in 2011 quotas,” said Mayer. “However, the Commission chose to ignore the scientific data presented by staff and reduced tag numbers, which creates a significant loss of opportunity for deer hunters.” In addition to being contrary to staff recommendations, the cuts are also divergent from the recommendations of the state’s County Advisory Boards to Manage Wildlife. These boards are officially tasked to gather information and opinions from area sportsmen, then advise the Wildlife Commission about how to manage wildlife and recommend seasons and limits for their counties. In 2011, Nevada witnessed a modest increase in the statewide mule deer population estimate for the second year in a row. Biologists are optimistic that good body condition, low winter mortality and mild winter conditions in most areas contributed to increased

NDW Photo My Daughter Niki 014 buck taken Oct 2010 this was the largest deer we have ever taken. Found this deer in its bed did an awesome job with the stock and one shot with her 30-06 Awesome hunt! - Alan Barrail

production in the spring of 2011. “Biologists and staff experts put a great deal of effort into the scientific survey work that is the basis for their tag quota recommendations,” explained Larry Gilbertson, Game Division Chief for NDOW. “Disregarding these recommendations negates all of the hard work and dedication of Game Division employees, with our sportsmen coming out as the biggest losers.” The Commission also made significant changes to the recommended big game season structure at its meeting in February. For other big game tags, the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners approved NDOW recommendations with little changes. The Commission allocated 8,082 tags for all other big game statewide representing a 21 percent overall increase in non mule deer big game. Rocky Mountain Elk are thriving. Due to record elk survey samples in some areas, population increased accordingly. The 2011 statewide adult elk population estimate increased to 13,500 elk compared to 12,300 last year. The Commission approved an 11 percent increase in bull elk rifle tags, with 1,027 tags, 101 more than last year, and a 58 percent increase in cow elk rifle tags. Many other big game species saw increases in tag quotas as well. The only other species with a decline in tags was the mountain goat, due to a disease event in the Ruby Mountains and East Humboldt Range. Antelope have fared exceptionally well in much of Nevada, and the Commission responded by approving 3,059 antelope tags, up 122 from last year.

General season deer hunting in Utah in 2012 will happen within 30 smaller areas known as hunting units. And that number is 30.

“These unit boundaries were established a long time ago to encompass deer populations in the state,” says Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR. “The units have clear, definable boundaries. The boundaries should be

The decision to split Photo by Mike Keller Utah into 30 smaller areas called units was easy for hunters to follow.” made June 9 by the Utah Wildlife Board. The Wildlife Board will determine the The boundaries for the 30 hunting units number of permitters for each unit in mirror the boundaries for management spring 2012.

Wyoming Record Fish accessible for angling to the public, are ineligible. uring the coming months, fishing D -Fish must be caught on rod, reel and line activity will be on the increase and if the rest of 2011 is like the past few months, several more fish will be caught that will qualify as new state records. Already this year, new state records have been set for two species, the splake and white sucker. Some records are likely untouchable like the 11 pound 4 ounce golden trout caught in 1948, but, a glance at the records shows that half of Wyoming’s entries have been caught since 2000. Over the years there have been numerous reports of anglers catching large fish that for some reason, were never entered into the state record book. Entering a fish for record consideration is quite easy, but there are rules that must be followed. -The fish must be weighed on a scale certified for legal trade. Scales in post offices or places of commerce are usually all certified. The scale in your tackle box is not. The weighing must be witnessed by two persons other than the applicant. -Fish caught from private club or fish hatchery waters, or private ponds not

or pole and line and hooked (no snagging) with any legal hook or lure. -The species must be verified by the Game and Fish Department. The identity of most fish is usually obvious, but there are certain species such as lake trout, splake, brook trout, walleye, sauger and some of the sunfish species that could easily be mistaken. -Fish must be taken during the legal open season of the water where caught. Other advice is to get the fish officially weighed as quickly as possible. Over the years, several fish have been submitted for record consideration that were not weighed until a number of days after they were caught. A large fish will lose moisture over time and that can add up to enough weight loss that could keep a fish from becoming a new state record. Fish record entry forms are found on the Game and Fish website . Anglers can contact Game and Fish regional offices or Game and Fish headquarters (307) 777-4600 for more information.



JULY 2011

Join The Boone and Crockett Club Today! Just $35.00 Year. You don’t have to have a trophy in the records book to join the Boone and Crockett Club, just a passion for big game and the desire to keep hunting them. Join online at or call 406.542.1888 HUNT FAIR CHASE Kyle Lopez with his 2010 Coyote

Katy Repke of Superior with her 2010 Mule Deer Taken Near Malta

Togood Merriam with his Argentina Stag

Greg Merriam with his Archery Wolf

Julie Seid of Winchester with her Cow Elk

Samantha Newsom with her Kudu Taken in South Africa

Have A Hunting Photo You Would Like To Submit? e-mail:

Don’t wait! Sign-up for our Summer Camps! Sign-up closes July 11th

Women’s Hunter Education Course Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch

Outdoor Adventure Camp Wildlife Conservation Camp

July 31st - August 5th, 2011 Youth ages 14 -17 (or entering grades 9th -12th) Topics include conservation ethics, species diversity, habitat management, population ecology, predator–prey interactions, capture and census techniques, animal and plant identification, hunting as a management tool, hunter safety, shooting and fishing skills.

Outdoor Adventure Camp Outdoor Skills Camp

August 7th - 10th, 2011 Youth ages 10 -13 (or entering grades 5th - 9th) Campers will use digital cameras, GPS units, maps and compass to gather and analyze their experiences on the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch and adjacent public lands.

For more information or to register call 406-472-3311

August 26th & 27th, 2011 Women 18 years and older Topics for the course include: Wildlife Conservation and Hunting Ethics, Hunting Laws and Regulations, Firearms and Firearms Instruction, Preparing for a Hunt, Target Shoot with a shotgun and rifle, Identify Montana Wildlife. Participants take the hunter education test at the end of the course to receive certification. The test for certification as a Hunter in Montana and test review is included at the closing of the day.

JULY 2011


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The Perfect Tree Stand BY BRIAN DAM


hat constitutes the perfect tree stand? Simple – it’s one where you can take a big buck without having to sit still until mold grows on your butt. The secret to the perfect stand is finding the perfect spot. Most hunters don’t realize that finding that spot is where the real hunting is done and all the important hunting must take place before you ever sit in the stand. When done right, your entire season will boil down to 20 seconds of adrenalin filled action and end with a trophy.

– that’s your hunt - but I can provide a hint: the biggest bucks are nocturnal except for a brief time after the onset of the rut. They might get rut-stupid for a few days and wander during broad daylight but even then, they will most likely stay back in the timber choosing areas with lower light levels. Placing yourself at the edge of cover, where deer emerge into the open, will not work for the biggest bucks. You need to be where they stage, checking scent and waiting for dark.

Doing your part requires knowledge of wind, travel lanes, bedding and feeding areas, and access routes – both for the deer and you. Skip one ingredient and you’ll sit there alone and bored. If you have hunted an area before then previous knowledge of bedding area locations should fill that blank. If it’s a new woods, then a topo map and aerial photo will shorten the search time. Google maps will replace old paper versions and make this part of the hunt quite simple. Once the bedding area is located a bit of groundwork will determine the preferred feeding locations but remember these will change as crops are picked and the ground is plowed.

Bow hunters need a spot where they have a 20 to 40-yard shot opportunity, which means they must get intimate with a staging area then lay out a secluded access route to the tree so their entrance and exit will not compromise the stand. My best route to a premium bow stand went right down a streambed, into the wind, which was followed by two steps to the tree. There was never any ground contamination to spook deer and the stand was high enough to keep my scent from being carried into travel lanes by swirling breezes. A number of big bucks used the area as they lingered at the edge of the swamp, waiting for dark or as they trailed a hot doe during the rut.

Sweet tasting succulents like alfalfa and canola or a winter oat plot will remain in use all fall while a good corn lot will have enough spillage to keep deer interested long after it is picked. If you know the landowner talk him into leaving a row of standing corn close to your tree stand and you can make a magic spot even better. Somewhere between the food and the bedding area is where your magic spot is located. I can’t pick the magic tree for you

Gun hunters can exercise more stealth and stay well away from a hot travel lane, staging area, or preferred food source. Being able to reach out and touch a big buck at 200 to 300-yards means the big boys will never know you are in the neighborhood. A perfect rifle stand doesn’t mean you just back off a bow stand location, it requires shooting lanes back into the cover (continued page 38)


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JULY 2011

Murdoch’s Buys Quality Supply Stores Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply, locally owned and headquartered in Bozeman has acquired Quality Supply (headquartered in Missoula), with store locations in Butte, Dillon, Hamilton and Missoula. The transaction closed June 14th, and all Quality Supply locations have become Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply. After 30+ years of dedication, Quality Supply owners, Dave and Suzanne Peterson, recognized they were nearing retirement and pro-actively sought out an opportunity to sell their business as part of a planned exit strategy.

The Perfect Tree Stand (continued from page 37)

Twenty-First Century Hunting On Public Land (continued form page 4) That’s how opening day of the 2009 archery season started. After several years of bow hunting and having tagged a 6x6 bull plus several mule deer, I started my daily ritual with a shower and scent free clothes, both twenty-first century innovations. An elk’s nose will get you every time, so every little bit helps.

softly. I saw legs approaching from under a large spruce just twenty yards away. He kept walking then stopped directly behind the tree and I came to full draw. After what seemed like an eternity he stepped from behind the tree and I told myself, “Yes, it’s a bull, at least a 4x4. Pick your spot, aim, and release.”

After dropping off my sons and one of their friends along the way, I got into my blind in the area where we had limited success for 20-years. I stepped over fresh elk tracks getting into the blind, a good sign. Not too long after the meadow at the base of the south-facing slope erupted with bugling elk, I knew the boys had done their cow calling wizardry and fired up the bulls. One had a bull come but no shot. After not getting a call on my twenty first century cell phone to tell me they had an elk, things settled down a bit.

As he disappeared I fell apart; I’m blessed to get buck fever after the shot, not before! When I finally calmed down enough to rally the troops, we followed the blood trail and recovered a bull a lot bigger than what I had thought. It turned out to be a Pope and Young bull with a gross score of 333 and a net score of 325.

After an hour I heard a bull bugle to the west headed up the south slope. He was at least two hundred yards away so I made two loud cow calls. I don’t call much because I don’t think I’m good at it. When the bull got to the top of the ridge, he bugled once again and I answered back. I figured he had left, but two minutes later I heard a short, quiet grunt. He had covered the distance in a short time so I cow called

The next day my son’s friend shot a 5x5, two weeks later one of my sons took a 4x4, then my friend, who I hunted with 25 years ago, got a 6x6 during muzzleloader season from another of my ground blinds. We don’t expect a season like that again but good opportunities on public land are available and worth the effort. Last season I arrowed a cow elk and mule deer buck both from ground blinds. The good old days were good, but the new ones are better. Join hunting’s twenty-first century to enjoy success on public land.

where the big boys wait until dark even when hot does step out and feed before last light. Excellent binoculars, a great scope, a good rest, and an accurate rifle are needed to pull this off. That’s assuming you have shooting lanes back into the cover. The biggest bucks will stand well back out of sight until dark then emerge when you can’t do anything about it. I know – I had a monster that would step out with just enough light to pick out his main beams with my binoculars then, when he put his head down to feed, the antlers would disappear. I was adjacent of 8000 acres of posted CRP ground, which provided a perfect sanctuary and bedding ground. Solved that dilemma with a few shooting lanes made during the summer. Next time he left the CRP and lingered along the river waiting for dark, I watched him approach well before quitting time. The 25-06 spoke and the buck of a lifetime piled up where he stood – which happened to be 275-yards from my stand! Perfect placement of the stand allows you access to the biggest bucks and a high success shot option. Poor choice for an access route and the bucks never materialize. Poor wind choices and the bucks will never arrive. Make any of these basic mistakes and you’ll need a good book to pass the time!

Dave Peterson, Owner and President of Quality Supply, stated “We’re proud to announce the deal after spending the past year seeking out a ‘best-fit’ buyer to purchase our stores. It was important to Suzanne and me that we find a buyer who had similar values, understood the industry and was capable of growing and evolving the Quality Supply legacy we’ve invested in all these years. We’re confident that Murdoch’s will do an exceptional job as the new owners.” Quality Supply and Murdoch’s have a lot in common, including: a focus on western lifestyle products, the understanding that delivering outstanding customer service is essential to success in retailing, a commitment to philanthropic support in their local communities, and last but not least, that the employees are the core of a successful business. And, like Quality Supply, Murdoch’s is a Montana-owned company. Murdoch’s has committed to offering nearly 95% of Quality Supply’s 175 employees, almost all of which work in Quality Supply stores or distribution center, an opportunity to transition and continue working as employees of Murdoch’s. Rick Ungersma, President of Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply, stated “This opportunity is very exciting for many different reasons. Dave, Suzanne and their team have built a successful company that does so many things well which strengthens our organization. We are able to bring over 160 new team members into our company with years of experience and expertise. And since Murdoch’s, like Quality Supply, is based in western Montana, we believe our product lines and understanding of our customers mesh well with what Quality Supply has been doing for over 30 years.” With the purchase of the four (4) Quality Supply stores, Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply doubles the number of store locations it currently has in Montana. In total, Murdoch’s will now serve 21 communities.

JULY 2011



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JULY 2011

NEW GEAR REVIEW Sponsored by Bob Ward & Sons

Ruger Introduces All American-Made SR1911™ Pistol


turm, Ruger & Company, Inc has released the Ruger® SR1911™, an “All American” classic rendition of John Browning’s most famous handgun design. The single-action .45 Auto Ruger SR1911™ features a bead-blasted stainless steel frame and slide, precision CNC machined for a precise slide-to-frame fit. The stainless steel barrel and bushing are produced simultaneously, from the same ordnance-grade barstock, for a precise fit and improved accuracy. The slide features rear cocking serrations and a dovetailed three-dot sight system with a Novak® rear sight and standard front sight. The Ruger® SR1911™ is completely manufactured in America with all American-made components.” The Ruger SR1911™ pistol features a titanium firing pin and heavy firing pin spring, which negates the need for a firing pin block, offering an updated safety feature to the original “Series 70” design without compromising trigger pull weight. An extended thumb safety offers improved manipulation and an oversized beavertail grip safety provides positive function and reliability. A visual inspection port offers visual confirmation of a round in the chamber. The Ruger SR1911™ grips feature a Ruger logo in checkered hardwood panels. Each pistol is shipped with one 7-round and one 8-round stainless steel magazine, bushing wrench and a soft case. The SR1911™ will fit currently available holsters. Availability is limited on this fine pistol. Don’t wait. Get yours today.

Federal® Ammunition Introduces Pink Top Gun® Shotshells


hooters can now blast clay pigeons for a cause. Federal® Ammunition’s special edition Top Gun® Target loads support finding a cure for breast cancer. These distinctive pink hulls are an effective hunting and shooting practice option or a solid load for shooting competitions. A portion of the sales of this product will go directly to the search for a cure. The new 12-gauge 2-3/4-inch #8 shotshells deliver consistent performance for all types of clay target shooting. An on-box royalty program sends proceeds directly to breast cancer research. Shooters, survivors, family and friends can all support this great cause. Top Gun Target loads are designed for high-volume shooters. They offer consistent performance at reasonable prices. These shells may look different, but they deliver every time—as shooters have come to expect. “We are proud to be able to support such an important cause with these shells,” said Brand Director Rick Stoeckel. “Shooters still get impressive performance—while also supporting the fight against breast cancer. These pink shells are a win-win for shooters and breast cancer research.”

Trouthunter Tippets And Leaders - Winners Of The Dealers’ Choice Award For Best Fly Fishing Accessory Whether nylon or fluorocarbon, TroutHunter tippet material offers unsurpassed strength and reliability. Their leaders afford the angler unprecedented levels of turnover and control. Winners of the 2010 Dealers’ Choice Award for Best Fly Fishing Accessory, their products won’t let you down. This is one of the best performing Fluorocarbon on the market, with superb knot strength and abrasion resistance. It’s nearly invisible due to low refractive index. The 50 meter spools afford anglers superior material at a low per meter price. Bound on Trouthunter’s proprietary misty gray polycarbonate large arbor spool. Designed for low material memory and easy handling in a stackable, compact, durable design. Made of premium rubber, with a water repellant tippet tender, and unique colors for each diameter. Available in 0X-8X & 6.5X Stop in and check out the other fine Trouthunter leaders and tippets at a Bob Ward & Sons location near you. New outdoor gear and apparel arriving daily! Bob Ward’s has stores in Missoula, Bozeman, Helena, Butte and Hamilton. Or shop online at (not all products available online).

JULY 2011


The Endless Pursuit of Power and Economy H ere at Gomer’s Warehouse Distributing /,

we deal with customers every day that are looking for performance and fuel economy improvements for their diesel trucks. Most diesel truck owners are familiar with the basic performance products that are available such as electronic tuners, intake kits and exhaust systems. But what if you’re looking to step up to the next level? This is where some folks might get a little confused or intimidated by some of the products that are available. It’s really quite simple, so let’s talk about some of the products we show our customers every day right here in our shop.

If you’ve installed an electronic tuner

or high-flow injectors in your diesel truck, then you’re probably seeing some black smoke when you put your foot to the floor. That’s unburned fuel that can be turned into power (and economy) with the right turbocharger. Engine power is proportional to the amount of air and fuel that can get into the cylinders. When you add more fuel, then you need to add more air. Like everything else, there is always room for improvement over the factory design. So whether your engine is hot-rodded or bone stock, you can still benefit from a better turbo and enjoy an increase in horsepower, fuel economy, better throttle response and lower exhaust gas temperatures (EGT’s). Performance turbos are available in different “stages” and configurations to match the modifications that have been made to the engine and the way you drive your truck.

Another often overlooked item in the high performance arsenal is the intercooler (or charge air cooler). When the turbocharger compresses the air, it also heats it up. Since cool air burns more efficiently than hot air, an intercooler is placed between the turbo and the inlet to cool that air back down before it enters the engine. An aftermarket intercooler is larger and will have more volume than the wimpy factory intercooler. This design helps your engines performance by offering less airflow restriction, and also by cooling the compressed air down significantly more than the factory setup can. This is particularly helpful for those that have made some performance modifications to their engine, but all engines can benefit. If a performance turbo or intercooler isn’t in your budget right now, then you might take a look at some of the turborelated accessories that might be available for your truck. For example, aftermarket wastegates, compressor wheels and turbine housings can help squeeze some extra boost from your old turbo. Aftermarket intercooler hoses can help ease the airflow and offer better cooling properties. Cold air intake kits and intake elbows will also help maximize cool air and unrestricted airflow to your engine. It’s the little things that count, and anything that you can do to maximize cool unrestricted airflow equates to better engine performance and fewer stops at the fuel pump. We would like to invite you to visit our website at to see the selection of turbochargers, intercoolers and other accessories that are available. The list of products is changing every day, so please don’t hesitate to call us at (800) 823-4444 if you have any questions or don’t see what you’re looking for. Gomers Warehouse Distributing 2400 Palmer, Missoula, MT 59808


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Register for our Charity Golf Tournament to Support Paralyzed Veterans August 13th.

JULY 2011

Hunting Shack Supports Paralyzed Veterans Of America With Bear Load Ammo BY NICK SCHIELE

O ur involvement in the Paralyzed Veterans of America annual Alaskan Bear Hunt began two years ago, when we were introduced to Joe Fox Sr., President of Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). When speaking with Mr. Fox we learned of the organization and what they were doing to help our wounded veterans. We felt the need to pay tribute to our soldiers and help out in any way possible. Mr. Fox asked if we would like to come to the Bear Hunt and assist the hunters while they were there. We immediately jumped at this opportunity, and have been on the hunt twice. HSM owner, Travis Campbell and Sandy Seymour went on the trip this year. During their experience at bear camp they were fortunate enough to meet some great people and were able to give back to the individuals that sacrificed so much for us. In the past two years at this hunt, nearly all veterans have been able to harvest bears. To further our support of the PVA and give them long term funding, we donate a portion of each sale of the Bear Load ammunition directly to the PVA.

JULY 2011



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Call it a lineup. Call it a family. Call it a dynasty. One fact is constant: Yamaha Grizzly ATVs top the categories that matter most. No wonder - with full automatic Ultramatic transmission, On-Command 2WD/4WD with Diff Lock, independent rear suspension and of course, Electric Power Steering, the Grizzly 700 EPS, goes where no other utility ATV can.

There’s an old saying among deer hunters that

you can’t eat tracks. True enough. But you can sometimes learn enough from tracks, and other sign, to ultimately put some delectable venison on the table. In a previous tip I offered some general advice on scouting. What follows are some more detailed tips on what sign to look for when scouting out a deer stand location. We may as well start with the obvious: tracks. If you’re looking for any deer, you’re looking for any deer tracks. They’ll tell you where the deer have been, and the fresher the tracks the more recent the use. More abundant tracks obviously mean greater use. It may be tempting to set up on deeply-rutted trails. It may even prove productive in areas of light hunting pressure. But in areas of heavy hunting pressure, deeply rutted trails are more often used at night. If you’re not sure, you can always set up a trail camera. If you’re looking for bucks, you need to look for buck tracks; and distinguishing them from doe tracks is an oft debated topic among deer hunters. Can you tell the difference? Sometimes. Bucks, in general, are bigger than does. A bigger track has a greater likelihood of having been made by a buck. However, relative size varies considerably over the whitetail’s broad geographic range. In the north woods of Maine, no tracker worth his salt would follow a track unless it’s at least as long as a 30-06 cartridge. In the south, deer just don’t grow big enough to make a track that size. Another thing to look for are beds. In the absence of snow, they may be little more than a slight impression in the grass or leaves. Beds in an open field are more likely than not night beds. The thicker the cover, the more likely it’s a place deer use during the day. Once you find beds, try tying that in to some other sign, like tracks and trails, or feeding areas. To find feeding areas, first find food. Deer eat a broad variety of food but your best bet is to try to ambush them where there’s a concentration of preferred food. This could be something like acorns, apples, persimmons, agricultural crops or (obviously) food plots. Once you find the food, look for the sign. Are the leaves turned over and pawed up? Are there distinct trails entering and leaving the corn or soybean field? All these are signs you can take advantage of throughout much of the season. There are other signs that may have a narrower period of application, particularly the rut. We’ll look at those in more detail in a future installment. Til then, ride safely.




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aiting through a long hot summer until hunting season opened was a little bit like waiting for Christmas back when we were in elementary school. Every day was filled with anticipation, wondering if this year would be as good as last. The same anticipation applies to us older kids before hunting season; elk season to be precise.

217 Snowy View Drive • Libby, MT. 59923

Toll Free (877)690-4170 or (406)293-6712 e-mail: •

Don’t Miss Bob Ward & Sons’ 8th Annual Shooter’s Weekend Bob Ward & Sons’ 8th Annual Shooter’s be available: Remington, Marlin, Weekend will be held on August 6 & 7 Savage, Browning, Winchester, Para with a new twist. This year, the shooting demo will be turned pink and proceeds will benefit Montana breast cancer patients!

Bob Ward’s has teamed up with Chicks N Chaps and Tough Enough to Wear Pink in addition to iconic hunting brands Federal, Remington, Browning, Winchester and many more to raise funds for our neighbors fighting this deadly disease. On Saturday, August 6th, the shoot will be held in the Missoula area at Deer Creek Shooting Center. On Sunday, August 7th, the shoot moves to the Butte area and will be held at the Rocker Gun Range. Times for both events are 10am – 4pm. There is no charge for spectators, but there is a charge to demo guns and shoot. Rifles, Shotguns and Handguns from the following manufacturers will

Ordinance, Nighthawk Custom, Springfield Armory, Ruger, Glock, Smith and Wesson, H&K, Walther, Kimber, Benelli, Beretta, Sako, FNH, Ruger, Armalite, Steyr, Weatherby and more. Bob Ward’s and the manufacturers provide all firearms and request you not bring your own. Raffle tickets for guns and gun-related products can be purchased at each site. Proceeds from these raffles will be donated. For more information, visit the hunting department at your local Bob Ward’s store in Missoula, Butte, Helena, Bozeman or Hamilton.

This year I wanted to increase my odds of making a good shot and gain an edge on elk that always stood a bit too far away. Gaining that edge required me to spend a great deal of time during the off-season shooting my 80-pound Hoyt at targets beyond 35 yards. Too many of the longer distance shots had been thwarted by my lack of shooting skill following a long grueling stalk, to continually accept such short distance limitations. It took some tweaking and subtle gear changes but consistent three-arrow groups centered in the kill zone at 50 yards added numerous shot possibilities. Building a permanent, three-tiered tree stand in the backyard, which allowed shooting from heights of 12, 16 and 22 feet, helped also. Practicing from the elevated stand would provide an extra advantage when looking look over the edge of a ridge at an elk. The shot would replicate my practice from a high perch. The Green River area of Utah held plenty of bulls and on the first day we saw four that would easily make the record books but renegade crosswinds made an alert cow’s job quite easy. Following that first day fighting swirling winds, our breakfast conversation became routine and the first topic of discussion each morning was current wind direction, and how to escape detection. Even though we could do little to correct the detection problem in such windy conditions, talking it to death became our only option. Rising air currents on the fourth day, plus a constant west wind, almost allowed us to get into position on our first bull, but

the game was called one ridge too soon as daylight faded into dark. We had finally beaten the wind, now all we needed was a touch of luck. After our daily canyon country marathons piled up more miles than we cared to calculate, any success came down to getting lucky on the final day and breakfast that morning was filled with high hopes of keeping our tradition of success alive. As the morning progressed, the prospect of taking a bull on the last day looked better when a group of elk we had bumped into from time to time headed for a narrow opening that would take them into a second canyon. We had chased this group before and knowing where they were headed we split into two pairs, planning to meet on top of a ridge with a good view of the elks’ eventual destination. When we approached the entrance to the next canyon the short, thick cover around the entrance seemed like a good spot for the elk to stop. My cousin and I sprinted toward the south side to get into position before stopping to catch our breath. The top of the sheer cliff face where we stopped was an excellent place for an ambush if the elk passed below. We were standing 40 yards apart at the top of the cliff face when I turned and gestured with my fingers - one, two, three. On three we peeked over the cliff to see if either of us had chosen the right spot. My cousin saw cows. I saw antler tips! He stood still and watched as I drew my bow, centered the pin in the peep sight, and tiptoed closer to the drop off for a shot. It took a few seconds before antler tips grew into a huge bull, standing broadside, his jaw vigorously working on his last meal. All my practice from the 22-foot stand paid off! I was standing at the edge of the cliff and had the advantage when I hit the release. The bull scored 340 5/8! I am so grateful we made the edge of that last canyon.

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Archery Elk Hunting

(continued from page 33)

or a wallow would be ideal. Do what it takes to be not only downwind of the elk, but appropriately up or down hill from them as well. The cool morning air in the valleys and draws of the Colorado mountains tends to move uphill as it warms. As temperatures drop in the afternoon, the cool air that is at the ridge-tops begins to move back down the mountains.

scent, effectively marking their territory. These small bodies of water can be as large as a back yard pool or as small as a kitchen sink. Evidence of fresh tracks in the mud around a wallow is evidence of recent use. But chocolate milk-colored water and fresh hair prints (made as the elk rolls in the mud) near the edge of the wallow is sure proof that elk are near.

Get into position early—the quicklyfading darkness of early morning will afford freedom of movement without detection that daylight hours will not. The key is not spooking the elk out of your area before you get a chance to hunt them. Use every trip in and out of the woods before and during your hunt as a scouting trip. Be mindful of elk sign.

As the morning passes, listen for the tell tale sounds of elk movement: a twig breaking, rolling rocks, cow calls, or possibly a bugle. Once elk are located it may be necessary to move to the elk or you can try to call them to you. Try a soft cow call, then, if you get a reply, wait a minute and call again. Be patient. It may take some time for the animals to move to you. If your call is not answered, try again just a bit louder. You may even want to try a bugle. Remember, start soft then work louder—donʼt blow their heads off with your first call!

A good sign that elk are using an area is “rubbed” trees. Look for a smaller aspen trees or pine saplings that bull elk use to rub against to rid their antlers of drying velvet, and to otherwise vent their general frustrations! These trees tend to be stripped of bark 2 to 6 feet from the ground. A bull with a real bad attitude will wipe the tree clean of all branches and bark. Check rubs for “freshness”; newly rubbed trees will still have a softness to their bark and will still be oozing sap. Look for wallows. Elk use wallows for several reasons; cooling themselves down in the hot, early days of fall, to control pesky insects, and to spread

Calling elk is, for most, is a trial and error process; listen to the elk and try to sound like them. Listen for a response. It may take just seconds for a “hot” bull to answer, but it can take several minutes. A bull that doesnʼt feel that the caller is close enough to be threatening may simply ignore calls. If these attempts fail to produce a response, consider the wind direction and start to move slowly on a course that will put you ahead of the elk. At all times be mindful of animals that may

be present but remain quite. Few things in life prepare a hunter for his or her first up-close experience with one of natureʼs greatest residents. Itʼs hard to imagine that an animal that can hear a pin drop on a feather pillow, see a gnat blink, and smell an unscented candle from across a football field can be successfully hunted. Take a moment to settle yourself. The unbelievable thrill of the moment can quickly sour with an ill placed shot. Shoot like you have practiced, pick a spot, draw smoothly, anchor, peep, pin, trigger, breathe and squeeze. Take some time to savor the moment. Most likely, the release of your arrow is the culmination of a yearʼs worth of hard work. Enjoy it! Allow 30 to 45 minutes before beginning your recovery efforts. Generally, big game will travel down-hill, and rarely in a straight line. Pay attention to every detail, place markers often. Spend a few minutes preparing the animal for the trophy photo; clean up excess blood. If the tongue is hanging out, take pictures from the other side or tuck it in. If you do harvest an elk be aware of the temperature. You should quarter the elk and pack the meat in coolers for the trip home. Youʼve worked hard to get to this point; proper care of your prize is critical. And . . . Congratulations!

Wood Lake Campground


ood Lake Campground is located in the Lewis and Clark National Forest. At an elevation of 5,500 feet, the campground encompasses 2 acres. This small forest service campground has 12 campsites and provides restrooms and drinking water for campers. Fishing and swimming may be enjoyed at Wood Lake; however, motorboats are prohibited. Scenic hiking trails skirt the camp. The maximum recommended trailer length for the area is 35 feet. Activities offered: Bowhunting Deer Hunting Elk Hunting Fishing Hiking RV Camping Swimming Tent Camping Services offered: Established Fire Pits Handicapped Accessible Pets Allowed Picnic Tables Toilets Water Phone: 406-466-5341 Directions: Wood Lake Campground is located 24 miles west of Augusta on Benchmark Road 235.

JULY 2011



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JULY 2011

Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure - July 2011  

Hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, outdoor recreation in Montana and the Rocky Mountains