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November 2018

November Bucks Moon & Rut Guide Find Late Season Ring-necks Duck Hunting Tips

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Top spots to bust a rutty November buck

ith the rut dead-ahead in Montana, area deer hunters W know November offers one of the season’s best chances to shoot the buck of a lifetime. One of the keys in finding a big, mature Montana buck is in finding enough property to hunt where big deer roam. Below are several areas that have historically produced some exceptional deer. Libby, Flathead area: Northwest Montana offers virtually unlimited entry to public lands and with the deer rut ahead hunters know big whitetail bucks will be out and cruising here in November. It is tough, mountainous and thick country to hunt, but if the conditions are right, big bucks will be very huntable. Lincoln County: Hunt drainages of the Fisher and Yaak Rivers, as well as the Koocanusa Reservoir for opportunities at big whitetail bucks. The other areas worthy of hunting during the rut include Libby Creek and the Wolf Creek area, below Koocanusa Reservoir. The Pleasant Valley area between Libby and Kalispell can also be very good hunting. Flathead area: The four major creeks emptying into the North Fork of the Flathead River - Big Creek, Coal, Whale and Trail Creeks offer good deer hunting on moderate to mild slopes. All are paralleled by gravel roads and most are passable even during the final days of the season. Heavy snows, however, can make it difficult to drive around, but will push the deer down. Other good areas include the Trego and Tally Lake areas, Hungry Horse Reservoir, and the Swan Valley which all can hold some very nice bucks. Pack a lunch and bring a pair of good boots for these hunts. The added bonus of hunting these areas is that you may run into elk and a lot of upland birds to hunt. Little Belts, White Sulphur Springs, Harlowton, Lavina, Roundup: This gentle mountain range that rises between Great Falls and White Sulphur Springs has plenty of very good hunting opportunities. You can hunt the frequent low-country slopes and ground croplands for both mule deer and whitetails. Plenty of U.S. Forest Service Lands surround the White Sulphur area and there are a few Block Management Areas to hunt. Between the Birch Creek BMA and the Catlin Ranch, you will have over 27,000 acres to roam. The Springdale Colony south of Ringling has 9,013 acres to hunt, and the Arthur Ranches (24,370 acres) will let you walk in to hunt deer, antelope, and elk. Around the Harlowton area, you can focus your hunting on the BMA’s. Start with the Springwater Colony with 14,000+ acres that hover around the Musselshell River for good whitetail hunting or you can hunt the Jim Lane Ranch with


over 12,000 huntable acres. Heading east around Lavina the Currant Creek BMA has over 39,000 acres to hunt. Plenty of mule deer bucks should be found in this area. It’s mostly walk-in from the county road, but there are driveable designated ranch roads to roam. You will also find plenty of good hunting around Roundup with the Graves Ranch and the Gage Dome BMA’s. Between these two areas you will have over 100,000 acres to find a good mule deer buck. There is no shortage of hunting in Region 5 with 113 BMA’s and approximately 613,000 acres of private, state and federal lands to hunt. Before you get out and start your hunt, be sure to check all Block Management rules, as each area has different game species to hunt and rules for you to follow. Missouri River Breaks: You can hunt the vast Missouri River area with over 300,000 acres that surround it available to hunt. Plenty of big mule deer bucks have been taken in this country and the prospects look good for another strong deer hunting season here in 2018. South of Zortman near the DY junction is the Square Butte BMA which has 49,180 acres to get out and hunt. This broken country has plenty of mule deer and if you hunt it hard and the conditions are right, you will find big deer. Also, there are two walk in areas (Lazy JD Cattle Company) that have over 11,000 acres to hunt and are surrounded by BLM. Fourchette Creek flows through this hallowed ground. It’s tough country, but can hold true giants. Chinook, Dodson, Malta: Whether you’re traveling east or west along US Hwy. 2, hunters can find an abundance of hunting opportunities. Checkered Block Management ranches litter the landscape here. (continued on page 37)

Hunting & Fishing News | 5

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Moon & Guide 2018 By Mike Hanback rom Missouri to Virginia to Canada, 90 percent of whitetail F does will come into estrous and be bred from Nov. 5-20, regardless of moon phase or weather. It’s been that way for decades in the Northern two-thirds of America, and will continue to be that way forever. Take off anytime from Halloween though Thanksgiving, and you’ll hunt some phase of the rut. Anytime you hunt rutting deer you are going to have a good time, with the potential to shoot a big buck. While many hunters and scientists don’t put much stock in the moon’s effects on deer movement, I do. I base this on two things. One, 30-plus years of hunting and observing whitetails as they seek, chase and breed each November. And two, my keen interest in all things lunar, and how the 4 phases might affect deer movement. I read all the moon research I can get my hands, pro and con, and then compare that data to my field notes. The most recent study on the moon and its effects on whitetail movement was conducted several years ago by researchers at North Carolina State University... I’ll use that to make predictions on how and when the deer will move and rut in November 2018. November 7, 2018: New Moon The NC State study confirmed one fact we already know: Whitetails are crepuscular,...they are most active at dawn and dusk, regardless of moon phase. “That fact did not change,” says researcher Marcus Lashley, who headed the study. “But the intensity of movement in each period when the deer decided to move did change.” In some moon phases, deer were noticeably more active at dawn than they were at dusk, and the new moon is an example of that. “We saw a large peak of movement at daylight during this (new) phase, and below average movement the rest of the day and night,” Lashley notes. In any given year the first week of November is one of the best times to hunt for a big deer; hundreds of giants are shot this week across North America. If you take off early in November up through the 12th, hunt as long as you can every day, because you never know when you’ll get an opportunity. But remember, with the moon new and dark and waxing crescent, bucks should be most active at daylight. Get on stand extra early and hunt the mornings extra hard. November 15, 2018: First-Quarter Moon The NC State study found that during the first-quarter moon, deer move less on average throughout the day than in all the other phases. Researcher Lashley goes so far as to say, “That would be a good seven days to work.” This is where I disagree. Looking back to my notes, it is no secret that many huge bucks are killed every year during the rut window of November 8-16. This is always a good week to take off work. On and around November 10 every season, especially in the Midwest, the “lockdown” begins in many areas as mature bucks hole up in covers and tend and breed does. Couple that with the data that say the overall deer activity will diminish during the first-quarter moon this November and things could be tough in some areas. But again, it’s the rut, and a big buck is apt to make a mistake anytime, any day. If this is the week you can get off work, go for it. November 23, 2018: Full Moon For several years I’ve been developing a new moon theory—mature bucks move great during the day in and around a full moon in November. Of course this flies in the face of what most of you have read and been told for years and probably believe–that deer are most active at night during a big moon, and therefore the full moon is bad for hunting.

But I believe I’m on to something, because the more I hunt during the “rutting moon” across the U.S. and Canada, the more bucks I see wandering around the woods, or chasing does. The NC study backs me up, at least somewhat. “A common misconception is that deer can see better at night (and hence move all over the place) because it’s brighter when the moon is full. But according to our data they actually move less on average at night during a full moon and more during the middle of the day, and also earlier in the evenings,” Lashley says. I see things setting up to be pretty good during the moon that waxes full on November 23, especially in states like Tennessee, Virginia, Oklahoma, Montana and others where peak rut typically occurs later on in November, from the 17th or so and throughout Thanksgiving week and even into early December. And in Midwest states where old bucks will be coming out of lockdown, some of them will prowl long and hard from around 11:00 a.m. until dark each day as they search for more does. Plan to get on stand by 9:00 a.m. and hunt till dark. November 29, 2018: Last-Quarter Moon Later on in November is tough and unpredictable any season. Breeding is winding down, and bucks have been pressured by hunters for two months. Simple math says there are fewer bucks in the woods because some were harvested earlier in the season. But there is hope. According to the NC State researchers, from a moon perspective, the deer movement should be best from November 29 and into the first week of December. “If you are going to hunt the last hour of the day anytime of season, you should do it on the last quarter because that was the most extreme deer movement we saw during the whole study.” Try this. Set an afternoon stand near a secluded, thick-cover funnel that leads out to a crop field where you know does are feeding. A skittish, weary buck is still ready and willing to breed any last doe that will give him a chance. You might shoot one yet as he sneaks out to check the girls in the last wisps of light.

Hunting & Fishing News | 7



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Photo courtesy Alex Comstock

If you want to be in the game with mature bucks on a year to year basis, there can’t ever be an off-season.

f I had to guess, I’d venture to say that probably most Iyearly deer hunters would like to harvest mature bucks on a basis or as close to a yearly basis as possible. Yet, when you get down to it, not many hunters actually do this. There are a multitude of reasons, but...I’m going to go over three rules that if you have, and stay true to, will no doubt help you tag more mature bucks. The real question is, are you willing to commit to them?

Before I get into the rules that will help you tag more mature bucks, I want to make it known that I’m not saying you have to do these things. But if you don’t, and then complain about how “so and so” shoots more bucks than you, understand that it falls on you. There’s absolutely, unequivocally nothing wrong if you don’t fall in line with these rules, and don’t harvest mature bucks consistently. Some people just don’t have the ability to do some of these things. Whether it be because of family, other commitments, etc. there is nothing wrong with that. But if you want to be a person that truly becomes one of those guys/gals that are always shooting a mature buck, these following things become much more important. RULE 1: HUNTING MATURE BUCKS NEEDS TO BE A TOP 3-5 PRIORITY IN YOUR LIFE If you want to consistently tag mature buck after mature buck, it simply has to be one of the top priorities in your life. I’ve talked to numerous big buck killers that have brought this point up. When it’s a top priority, you will spend more time learning, scouting, and hunting, and what it ultimately boils down to is time. The guys and gals that are putting down big bucks every year, or even multiple big bucks every year spend A LOT of time honing in on their craft. Can you hardly spend any time scouting or hunting, waltz into the woods and shoot a big buck? Sure, maybe every now and again, I’ll give you that. But not if you want to be consistent with it. It’s just like anything in life that you want to be really good at. Want to be a college football player? Well, growing up, that better be a top priority no matter how naturally talented you are at it and you better spend more time than others at it, otherwise you won’t reach your ceiling. The same goes for hunting mature bucks. If it’s important to you, and you make it a top priority in life, odds are you’ll be more successful. If not, you probably won’t shoot as many mature bucks, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but you have to be okay with that fact. (continued on page 15)

Photo courtesy Ryan McSparran

Hunting Hard? 6 Tips To Stay Strong On A Wilderness Elk Hunt By Zach Lazzari Lazy J Bar O

ou’ve been training all year for this and now the moment Y is real. You are immersed in the backcountry wilderness, traversing ridgelines and glassing remote drainages.

Like a finely tuned athlete, your body is still susceptible to cramps, fatigue and breakdowns. Here are six tips to managing your body throughout a wilderness elk hunt. 1. NUTRIENT LOAD BEFORE YOUR TRIP This doesn’t mean you should eat yourself sick before the big trip but definitely amp up the calories a bit. Focus on nutrient rich vegetables, high quality protein sources like game and grass fed beef and wholesome carbs like wild rice. Starting at 2-3 days before the trip, eat an extra serving at each meal so you have more to burn on the trip. Also eat bananas and potassium rich foods to prevent cramps when you are hard on the trail. 2. STRETCH Many hunters forget to stretch during the trip. You stretch before and after home workouts right? Stretch out throughout the day while you’re on the mountain.

Take short breaks to stretch out and interrupt any repetitive movements. This is especially important when you hike long distances. 3. MOVE SLOWLY Avoid letting your excitement get in the way of good judgment. Move slowly and methodically to avoid overstressing your body and to prevent spooking game. Be observant as you walk and stop to glass, rest and stretch as you go. You can move slowly all day and be thorough on the mountain. 4. HYDRATE This should go without saying but many hunters overlook hydration. Drink when water is available and drink even when you are not thirsty. I have a habit of getting side-tracked and forgetting to drink water myself. I notice that my muscles fatigue easily and take longer to recover when I am dehydrated. Drink regardless of conditions, including in the frigid cold. 5. SUPPLEMENTS Supplements are not a necessity but they don’t hurt either. I recommend testing supplements during the training process to see how your body responds. The last thing you want is a stomach ache in the field. Wilderness Athlete sells Hydrate and Recover packets that will help you absorb water and stay charged throughout the trip. Keep your supplement options simple and gain as much nutritional value as possible through your food sources. 6. EATING IN THE FIELD Dehydrated meals are lightweight and almost a necessity on an extended wilderness elk hunt. You will burn a ton of calories in the field so don’t hold back on your meals. Go for the most calories dense options available. Mountain House meals are popular and tasty and there are many great options for your hunt. Also carry protein bars, nuts and any other desired foods that are easy to pack and provide a good amount of fuel. Leave the potato chips and gummy bears at home, they won’t help you in the backcountry. For information on wilderness elk hunts with Lazy J Bar O Outfitters call 406-932-5687 or visit

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What happened next was predictable. The buck entered the small woodlot and immediately began scanning for the source of the rattling. When he didn’t see it, he began to circle downwind and was never to be seen again.

Photo courtesy Montana Decoy


here’s no doubt a deer decoy works best during the T whitetail rut. Playing on a buck’s robot-like trance as he is roaming forests and fields, a decoy not only

attracts deer, but also helps set up a shot, makes calls and scents more attractive, and adds a layer of excitement to an already exciting time. Here are three reasons to put out a decoy during this year’s rut.

1. Deer Decoys Make Calls and Scents More Believable

“After about four hours in the stand, I spotted a monster buck in a neighboring hay field more than a half-mile off,” said Tony Hansen of Antler Geeks. “With nothing to lose, I hit my rattling antlers as hard as I could. The buck apparently heard the ruckus because he came towards me on a run.”

We can sympathize with Hansen. We can’t count how many times we’ve seen a buck from a distance, hit the grunt tube or rattling antlers only to watch him come to investigate and then hang up out of bow range. To add to Hansen’s frustration, this scenario played out twice on the same...hunt. “About an hour later, another stomper buck responded to rattling,” said Hansen. “And the sequence was repeated. The buck entered the woodlot, looked for the source of the sounds and eventually circled downwind. I’m convinced I’d have earned a shot at one of those bucks had I employed a decoy.” Although big bucks are more visible during the rut, they are not completely senseless. Strange calls or scents originating from a source that cannot be pinpointed sends a red flag to a mature buck. You can keep grunting, snort-wheezing or crashing your rattling antlers, but that is only going to confuse him more.

When a decoy is used in combination with calls, less calling is necessary. Once the deer sees the decoy, stop calling and get ready to shoot.



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2. Deer Decoys Set Up a Good Shot

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Gary Clancy started using a deer decoy 30 years ago, and is considered something of an expert in that field. His only regret is that he didn’t start sooner.

“My typical setup, either 2D or 3D, is to position the decoy 20-25 yards in front of my stand with the wind blowing from the decoy to me,” wrote Clancy in an article on using deer decoys. “If everything goes according to plan, when a buck responds to my calling or rattling, or maybe just shows up on his own, he’ll spot the decoy, close the distance and then circle between my stand and the decoy, presenting me with a close broadside shot.” There are few things predictable about the rut or using a decoy, but this setup and the way a buck approaches is definitely going to increase your chance for a shot. To further tune your decoy setup, keep in mind a buck will usually come to a buck decoy head on and a doe decoy from behind. If using both, a deer will almost always try and chase off the buck decoy first. You want to shoot before he completes his circle and offers a quartering-to a broadside shot. Another bonus of using a deer decoy is the fact that the buck’s focus will be on the decoy, so you can often draw without getting busted.

3. A Deer Decoy Will Deliver Thrills

There’s no arguing that the rut offers incredible excitement. Add a decoy to many rut scenarios and it can be even more adrenaline-charged. It’s hard to find anything better than a day in the woods spent hunting over a decoy watching bucks, even non-shooters, put on a show. Just watch this dramatic standoff between two bucks over a Dreamy Doe decoy:

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Beating a Dangerous Chill in the Wilderness By Zach Lazzari Kawdy Outfitters wilderness hunt in British Columbia or elsewhere can throw the A gauntlet of conditions at adventurous hunters. Recovering from heat is difficult in dry areas but cold water and shade are abundant

Photo courtesy Ryan McSparran in B.C. and overheating is rarely an issue. Slow down, grab a cold drink and sit in the shade for an easy cool down. Warming up however is difficult after your body is chilled and raising your core temperature requires some knowhow. Consider these strategies to warm-up on a remote backcountry hunt. Raise your heartrate Physical activity will raise your heartrate and warm up your core temperature. Hike up a hill or do a few jumping jacks to get the blood flowing. The chill will often set in as you cool down from activity. Slow periods of glassing are especially dangerous. Strip off layers as you heat up and quickly add layers when the activity stops. You are more likely to stay warm without taking on a chill if you layer up immediately. Get dry Moisture is the enemy in cold conditions. Add a steady breeze and your body temperature can drop quickly. If you are soaked through with sweat and water, change clothes. A few minutes of skin contact with the cold is worth the change as dry clothes can warm you up while wet clothes will only draw away more heat. If you are hiking hard, wear a long sleeve undershirt to absorb sweat and pull off that layer when you stop. Focus on the core Your core is critical and ultimately determines how your blood flows. When your core temperature is dangerously low, blood flow is concentrated to protect your vital organs. Warm up your chest area with instant heat hand warmers. This tells your body that you are safe and blood will flow to your outer extremities. If your chest is warm, everything else will follow quickly. Take this lesson to your layering system as well. Always keep a good down vest or other insulating core piece. Warm drinks and calories Carry a lightweight backpacking stove for quick, hot calories. Hot chocolate is a treat on the mountain and it helps take off the chill. Freeze dried meals also make a difference and preparation requires nothing more than hot water. Warming up from the inside out is one of the fastest ways to recover from a chill. Take shelter Find a wind break and get under shelter when necessary. I like to carry an ultralight sleeping bag when I alternate between hard hiking and sedentary glassing periods during the late hunting seasons. Unzipped, the sleeping bag functions as a blanket and really makes a difference. A 30 degree bag that packs down small is perfect for sitting in cold on a cold mountaintop. For information on a guided hunt with Kawdy Outfitters visit or call 1-250-306-8624 Oct. 15 July 1 or 1-604-629-9582 July 1 - Oct. 15.

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No doubt you’ll find trails, rubs and scrapes. Set a stand or blind on a vantage 150 yards or so downwind of a convergence of hills and watch for a day or two. Once you get a better idea of how, when and where deer move through the area, move in tighter for a quick-strike ambush. Of course if you’re hunting with a gun and a burly shooter rolls by within range, take him. It could happen. #2: Look for the narrowest point between two blocks of woods, and set a stand or blind to cover it. When crossing a crop field or pasture many bucks will run the choke point between the two timbers or thickets, thereby minimizing their exposure in the wide open. This is an especially good setup for gun hunters. Stay on your toes and be ready for a quick shot, because bucks generally trot or move quickly from point A to B. Stop one in the open middle with a big grunt or a rattling blast if you have to. Photo courtesy Mike Hanback

4 Mid-November

#3: “X marks the spot” might be your deadliest tactic. Follow scrapes to a spot where it cuts a major doe trail deep in the woods. There you will find freshly thrashed saplings and more scrapes. Hang a stand on the downwind side of that intersection. You will see bucks; one might be a shooter.

By Mike Hanback his is a transitional time in the woods. Some does have been bred, others are still to be bred, bow season is still on in some states, the rifles are starting to boom (or will shortly) in other areas. Four things to keep in mind:

#4: Hunting pressure changes everything, and you have got to factor it in to your strategy. If you hunt private ground or a block of public land with people, let them have the fields, cutovers, creek funnels and other “best” spots. You check an aerial map and go the thickest, roughest hell-holes a three-quarters of a mile or more away. That’s where the big bucks will go to flee the pressure, but most of the other people won’t go there. Hunt deep inside and get your buck.


#1: Hunt where two or three ridges converge and peter out into a creek bottom or swamp. The thicker the cover the better. If food sources are anywhere close, the spot will be a dumping ground for lots of whitetails.


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Photo ©brm1949|


(continued from page 8)

RULE 2: THERE CAN’T BE ANY OFF-SEASON If you want to be in the game with mature bucks on a year to year basis, there can’t ever be an off-season. How many people do you know that consistently shoot mature bucks that have other major hobbies throughout the year? If you want to become “that hunter”, but you spend every last day in the summer fishing, or every Sunday during the fall glued to the TV watching football, it won’t bode well for you. It needs to be a year-round season. Hunting, scouting, winter scouting, shed hunting, spring scouting, summer prep work, trail cameras, all of it needs to be done every month of the year. If you only spend a few weeks scouting in the spring, don’t do anything deer hunting related in the summer, hunt every now and again in the fall, and take the winters off, you are not setting yourself up to be a consistent mature buck killer. RULE 3: YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT FAILURE This rule can actually be the toughest for some people to accept. If you obsess over whitetails, and want to consistently harvest mature bucks, it’s easy to abide by the first two rules. But when it comes to accepting failure, for whatever reason, a lot of people are terrified by it. If you don’t ever fail, then how on earth are you ever supposed to learn? I’ve learned some of my greatest lessons not only with deer hunting, but life in general from failure. You learn from the mishaps, and those failures are what will ultimately make you a better hunter. If you are afraid of failing, you won’t try new things or make that move that could result in a harvest. Instead, you’ll hunt “safely”, and probably won’t have near as much success in the long run. CONCLUSION I’ve hit on it a number of times, but it’s worth repeating once more. And to better explain it, I’m going to share a quote with you from Gary Vaynerchuk. “Your actions must match your ambition.” If your ambition is to tag mature bucks on a consistent basis, these rules will be important to you. If your ambition is to hunt when you can and have fun, then they won’t be as important to you. But don’t be surprised when you’re not harvesting mature bucks on a consistent basis, because you’ll know why. At the end of the day, you need to evaluate what you value, and what your ambition is.

Scope out powerlines. This hunting season we urge you to follow our important safety tips. Look up and look out for overhead power lines. Aim away from power poles, overhead power lines and transformers. And if you see a downed line or damaged electrical equipment, call 911 immediately.

Shawn H. Electric Operations Supervisor, 12 years of service

Hunting & Fishing News | 15

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HOW TO FIND THE BEST TAXIDERMIST FOR YOUR MONEY By Jason Schillinger Originally published at

unters spend endless hours applying for tags, H contacting outfitters, talking with their hunting buddies and dreaming of killing that next record book animal.

They invest an enormous amount of money on new packs, optics, boots, rifles and other equipment to collect the trophy of a lifetime. Some hunters have to save up for years for a hunt. Others juggle work schedules so we can pursue our passion. I like to tell my wife that hunting is a sickness and I get sick every fall for at least 2 to 3 months. I love hunting and will do whatever it takes to spend time in the mountains chasing these wonderful animals. But once you achieve your goal and make it back home with your trophy, what is the next step? It should not be looking in a phone book under “taxidermist” for the best price and most convenient place to go and drop off an animal and get it back years later. You should take as much time choosing a taxidermist as you did planning the hunt! You don’t buy a $5,000 rifle and put a $100 scope on it…It is important to invest time in carefully choosing a taxidermist. I cannot tell you how many times I have remounted animals because a hunter dropped it off at the first taxidermist they contacted. QUESTIONS TO ASK A TAXIDERMIST Always ask every taxidermist these questions before allowing them to mount your animals: - Where did you learn taxidermy? - How long have you been doing taxidermy? - How long does it take to get my mount back? All these questions should be fairly easy for a taxidermist to answer. You should also ask to see examples of finished client mounts. Their finished work in the back room is most likely what you will receive in return.

All photo credits: Jason Schillinger, owner of Schillinger Taxidermy 661-972-5532

“You should take as much time choosing a taxidermist as you did planning the hunt! You don’t buy a $5,000 rifle and put a $100 scope on it.” decide what is a fair price for your trophy. The higher price usually means they have more overhead. Might be the difference of having a store front or a large shop building at their personal residence. In the end the same profit could be made.

Average price list for mounts

Species Low Mid High Antelope $450 $600 $1,150 Mule deer $450 $650 $1,150 Elk $900 $1,350 $1,800 Bighorn sheep $700 $950 $1,200 2. Tanning the hide How do they tan your hide? Do they send it off for commercial tanning or do they tan it themselves? Ask them how they know that it is your hide going back on the mannikin. (continued on page 33)

INTERVIEW YOUR TAXIDERMIST When you interview a taxidermist, make sure to ask why you should choose him over a different taxidermist. Anyone who immediately starts bad mouthing another taxidermist should be a red flag. A good taxidermist does not need to do this. Instead, he should show examples of his work, discussing the detail and pride taken with each and every mount that is completed. Try to open up a dialogue so that the taxidermist can explain what separates his work from his competition. CHECKING OUT RECENTLY COMPLETED WORK Next, compare mounts. Ask if you can use a flashlight to check the quality of their work around the eyes. Are the pupils level? Does it look life like? Does the inside of the nostrils look like flesh? Does the inside of the ears look and feel real? A lot of taxidermists will not fill the pinholes around the lips and ears. Look closely to make sure the pinholes are filled. FIVE FINAL CONSIDERATIONS 1. Price ​An extremely low price could mean a lack of experience or a taxidermist who may be experimenting. A taxidermist that charges the highest price is not always providing the highest quality of work. It is up to you to

Hunting & Fishing News | 17

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

ontana rivers and reservoirs will produce some M exceptional fishing here in the late fall. Open water action can produce monster fish that have been mostly in

the deep water for weeks. Northern pike, lake trout, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and big brown and rainbow trout will all be surfing the shorelines looking for an easy meal now as we head into our colder months of the year. With the general hunting season now in full swing, most of our famed fishing holes are left sitting isolated and lonely. Still, a lot of savvy anglers will take advantage of these cooler days and enjoy some of the best fishing conditions of the year. It’s also a great time to combo your days with a few cast and blast outings. Northern pike: Bring your spinning rod and tackle if you’re going after big game in November. Cooling water and dying weeds will put all the toothy critters in a feeding mood, and the big, mean northern pike are at the top of the food chain in big reservoirs here in Montana. These brawny fish are feeding on a bit of everything they can now, so it’s pretty much just showing up for the dance for anglers who want to hit the water on cool, calm days. The exciting thing about fishing for pike now, is that you will usually get a mixed bag of fish that includes walleye, perch and bass as well, and all are great eating fish. Top gear for northern pike includes: • Crankbaits - perch and minnow colors • Live minnows - baited on a jighead fished in 12 to 18 feet of water near the shorelines • Spinnerbaits - white, black and chartreuse colors, tossed near the weed beds are sure to get some action! • Rapala Husky Jerks - in clear or perch colors, size No. 14 • Mepps Cyclops or Blue Fox spinners in blue/silver color • Reefrunner and Wally Divers - trolled in 8 - 20 feet of water • Rapala Shadrap - SR-9 in crawdad color • Smelt Top fishing spots for November pike include: • Fort Peck Lake - Rock Creek, Hell Creek areas • Nelson Reservoir • Salmon/Seeley Lakes • Flathead Sloughs • Tiber Reservoir • Whitefish Lake Lake Trout: You don’t need downriggers or even a boat to hook big late-fall lake trout. Fishing for lake trout usually goes hand-in-hand with big boats, downriggers and huge trolling weights. Most of the

© Coloradonative |

Madison River flowing out of Yellowstone Park in Montana.

year, motoring to the deepest parts of the lake you’re fishing is the only way to get them. But if you’re not armed for the big water, you’re in luck as there is no better time to hook into a big laker from shore then in the fall. As water temps fall, lake trout emerge from the depths to feed shallow, putting themselves within reach of your casting range. All you need to contact is a far-casting rod, the right lure and a will to succeed. Top gear for lake trout includes: • Cut bait or worms along the bottom • Silver/red or gold/red lures • Large wobbling spoons • Crankbaits - white, green or silver/black colors • Downriggers pulling flashers or squid • Kastemaster Top fishing spots for November lake trout include: • Fort Peck - near the dam or Haxby Point • Lake Koocanusa (Kamloops trout) • Flathead Lake (State record 42.7 lbs. caught in 2004) Smallmouth bass: Fall is an excellent time to catch these feisty, good-eating fish. Autumn bass will be hovering near the edges of weed beds, near boat docks, and under isolated cover looking for feeder fish. Slow-roll spinnerbaits and lures along the edges and what’s left of weed beds now. Be sure to cast along and around any boat docks, submerged trees and stumps. Top gear for smallmouth bass includes: • Spinnerbaits - chartreuse, black, white • Jigs/worms • Soft plastic jerk baits - purple color works well • Flash-N-Glow in yellow - 1/0 hook baited with a nightcrawler • Shallow crankbaits Top fishing spots for November smallmouth bass include: • Noxon Reservoir • Flathead River from Kerr Dam down to Noxon • Lake Mary Ronan • Thompson Lake Chains • Fort Peck Reservoir • Cabinet Gorge • Tongue River Reservoir • Yellowstone River (upper)


Missoula, Bozeman, Helena, Butte and Hamilton, or 24/7 at

18 | Hunting & Fishing News

Yellow perch: Cooling water temperatures don’t just affect the big fish, it also improves the perch bite here as we close out the year. A bucket full of yellow perch is a fantastic reward for any angler willing to get on the water to target these tasty fish. Dropping a jig tipped with a worm in the 15 to 30 foot depth will produce perch in November. Top gear for yellow perch includes: • Jig/worm combination • Minnows • Kit’s Tackle Walleye Fry and Yellow Perch Glass Minnows Top fishing spots for November yellow perch include: • Holter Lake • Flathead Lake • Canyon Ferry Reservoir • Middle Thompson Lake • Lake Mary Ronan • Lower Stillwater Lake • Fort Peck Reservoir • Lake Frances Brown trout: As brown trout begin their spawning period, these fish get very aggressive and will strike at almost anything they feel threatened by. Eggs will be floating on gravelly bottoms near the edges of the shore, and feeding fish will be trying to get at these morsels that are floating about. If you’re fly fishing, use streamers and nymphs, and fish along undercut banks, downed timber and in deep pools for good success. The best time to hit the water will be early in the morning and again towards evening, but as water temperatures begin to cool, you can expect big strikes pretty much any time during the day. Top gear for big browns includes: • Egg patterns • Nymphs - streamers (streamers are better for prospecting but egg patterns can be deadly where you know browns are concentrated) • Egg sucking leech in black/green colors • Countdown Rapalas - rainbow trout or brown trout colors • Panther Martin - with a gold blade and a black/yellow body • Splitshot/nightcrawler - simple, but effective Top fishing spots for November browns include: • Holter Lake • Madison River - below Hebgen • Bighorn River • Marias River - below the dam • Rock Creek - east of Missoula • Musselshell River • Beaverhead River Other great fishing prospects for November include whitefish and kokanee salmon. Top gear for mountain whitefish includes: • Bead-head Prince Nymph • Soft tackle caddis with a maggot or two • Small minnows/night crawler piece • Kastmaster - small and green Top fishing spots for whitefish include: • Flathead River (above the lake) • Fresno Reservoir • Missouri River Top gear for kokanee salmon includes: • Small vertical jigs tipped with maggots/corn • Swedish Pimple • Shrimp oil/wax worms • Kastmaster Top fishing spots for kokanee salmon include: • Deadman’s Basin • Georgetown Lake • Lake Koocanusa • Swan/Seeley/Salmon Lakes


LAKE TROUT FISHING EVENT on FLATHEAD LAKE Sept. 21 st TO Nov. 11th Fish The Entire L ake

Up to $150,000 in CASH & PRIZES

Tuesday through Sunday: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are for the contests, bonus amounts, and tagged fish. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday will be for bonus amounts and tagged fish only. (1)-$10,000 & (3) $5,000 & (5) $1000 + over 6,000 $100 to $500 tagged lake trout Top ten angler prizes - pick your best 15/24-days count on Friday through Sunday Captains $250-(4 prizes) Smallest lake trout $250-(2 prizes) Largest lake trout $500 Top lady anglers $300, $200, $100-$100-totals used Youth anglers (17-13) 1st-$200, 2nd-$150, 3rd-$75, 4-5th-$50 (12 & under) 1st-$100, 2nd-$75, 3rd-$50 Fri - Sat Weekend Prize 5@$100 per weekend Golden Angler Award (70 & older) $200 & $100-totals used Bucket Days (3 days of single/team heaviest 4 fish 10/5 Friday, 10/20 Saturday, 11/4 Sunday) Last Day $200, $150, $100 PLUS heaviest Mack under 30” - 1st $200, 2nd $100 All anglers who enter 11 or more Lake Trout qualify for bonuses. The higher your total, the higher your bonus category. Every day counts: Tues-Sun (45 total days). See for complete rules For boat inspection rules visit

Fish Fry for participants & families November 11th at Blue Bay 3:00 Awards Ceremony at 4:00 Entry forms will not be mailed out.

Enter online at

or pick up entries at local sporting good stores or you can enter when you check in your fish at the check in stations during Mack Days. It is easier if you enter before the event begins. We remind you to follow all fishing regulations. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have a special $13 fishing permit for the south half on Flathead Lake that is available wherever fishing permits are sold.

Sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks

limited with most fishing lodges closing shop at the end of October. Our guides absolutely love November partly because they finally get to fish on their own but also because it is the best month to catch the

largest trout of the year. I get pretty nervous about

steering guests towards a November trip due to the risk of weather, but for those folks traveling to Montana for other reasons or if you don’t mind colder weather November can be incredible. Photo courtesy Montana Angler



By Montana Angler For a guided fly fishing trip call 406-522-9854 or

all fishing has a cult following in Montana...For a variety of F reasons, most anglers put their fall fishing eggs in the October basket and ignore the late fall. Rivers in November are virtually

empty with most of the locals hunting and out of state anglers gone for the season. The truth is that November holds some of the very best fly fishing opportunities for huge fish both in Montana and in Yellowstone National Park. November certainly presents some risks for bad weather and early cold fronts and lodging options become more

The biggest draw of late season fishing is the chance at hooking the monster brown trout of a life time. Browns are fall spawners and let their guard down in October and November. While spawning begins as early as October the peak spawning month is November with some browns spawning into December. Not only do the big resident browns in rivers become more aggressive in the fall, but in many streams browns out of large lakes run into streams and rivers and suddenly become accessible. While there are still some 30” plus browns that reside year round in the Madison, Jefferson, Missouri, Yellowstone and a few others in the state - many of the big trout (we consider anything over 23” to be really, really big) spend their summers in lakes getting fat on large food supplies without fighting currents. These big lake run browns don’t show up until early October and continue moving into rivers well into November. Many of our guides are convinced that the biggest lake run browns are the last to enter the system. Keep in mind that we are not advocating fishing on redds (large “cleaned” gravel areas where trout lay and then protect their eggs), but simply recognizing that big browns are moving well into November and often not actually spawning until late November or even December. (continued on page 30)

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If there is a mistake many anglers make when fishing structure, that mistake would be fishing the spot versus fishing for fish. Whether you are targeting walleye or bass, deep rock structure in particular will often load up with fish in the fall and you will mark fish with your electronics. You can fish memories and catch fish and good spots are worth fishing through but I find I catch way more fish by looking over the location with my graph before I ever drop down a line. I am a big fan of the Lowrance Carbon HDS series for specifically marking fish as I trust these units.

Vertically fishing specific structure where you specifically target fish on your electronics is deadly for fall bass and walleye. Tungsten jigs give anglers a huge advantage over deeper water or when fishing heavy wind. Photo courtesy Jason Mitchell

Deadly Vertical Fall Tactics By Jason Mitchell

erhaps more than any other time of year, P fall fishing locations can be spot on where specific structural elements hold fish. An advantage that

anglers have when fishing fall patterns is that so often, many fish are relating to deeper structure where you can really trust your electronics.

To better mark fish on structure, swing the boat up and down the structure so that you can better separate fish from the blind spot that occurs over an irregular bottom. When you mark fish, hit a waypoint by moving the crosshairs on the screen so that the crosshairs are right on the fish. Once you have these waypoints, you can get to work. Fall fishing over structure is often all about boat control and luckily for today’s anglers there are many tools that make boat control easier than ever.

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Simply pulling yourself up to the waypoint where you marked fish and hitting the spot lock or anchor feature on today’s bow mount trolling motors is the simplest boat control there is, and this feature is deadly effective. You can however step up your boat control even more by making very tight and precise moves with the boat so that you pull your presentation past the fish at different angles. I often find that if I can’t get a specific fish to bite, I am usually coming across the fish at the wrong angle and I often catch that fish by simply changing direction. If your bow mount trolling motor is struggling to hold in really strong winds, don’t be afraid to use your kicker or even auxiliary motor by having the rear motor in forward gear to aid the trolling motor on the bow. Of course, back trolling with a tiller remains some of the best boat control there is when fighting really strong winds.

Vertically fishing specific structure where you specifically target fish on your electronics is deadly for fall bass and walleye. Tungsten jigs give anglers a huge advantage over deeper water or when fishing heavy wind. There are many presentations that will work for this vertical and precise fishing style. Live bait rigging chubs for example with a large egg sinker that fishes right below the boat is a deadly presentation for catching big walleye. A heavy bottom bouncer and snell can also fish well. Because of the lack of speed for this precise style of fishing, snells are typically plain with perhaps a bead or float.

Does no good to keep your boat right on top of a fish if your presentation is somewhere else. For precise jig fishing where you are attempting to mark a fish and hold the boat over the top of the fish, absolutely nothing beats the performance of tungsten. Bass anglers have embraced tungsten for fishing structure and more walleye anglers are discovering the advantages of fishing tungsten as the added weight of tungsten increases the performance dramatically particularly when fishing over twenty feet of water or when fishing in wind. Clam Pro Tackle introduced a new jig called the CPT Drop Tg last spring that features a long shank hook that is perfect for double hooking minnows or rigging plastics. In some cases, you can actually find your jig on your electronics and watch fish hit the jig. Much like what ice anglers enjoy when using electronics. This fishing style is methodical and deadly but in order for this system to really work, you have to trust your electronics enough to where you keep looking and keep hunting until you actually mark fish because this fishing style is very slow so you don’t find fish by having a line in the water, you find fish by covering water without a line in the water so you can simply look over structure faster. Once you find fish, your batting average goes up dramatically when you plant yourself over the top of fish. This fall, combine boat control with trust in your electronics and match that mindset with the right presentation to catch more fish that are relating to classic fall structure patterns.


Of course, jigs shine with this precise of boat control and the key to catching fish you see on your electronics regardless of presentation is simply keeping the presentation right below the boat in the cone angle of your electronics.

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By trusting your electronics and using boat control, you can increase your batting average dramatically by fishing fish versus fishing the spot. Photo courtesy Jason Mitchell

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Hunting & Fishing News | 23


Mule deer rutting habits and patterns. MULEDEER.ORG

The mule deer rut is just around the corner and for you die-hard deer hunters out there, this is an excellent time to be in the woods. The innate desire to procreate turns weary old muley bucks into star-struck college boys; a scene to behold for sure. Photo period and temperature both play their part in the timing of the mule deer rut, but you can almost always bank on the peak happening between November 10th and 25th. To find a buck during this time is simple: find the does. If you find a doe or a small group of does, post up and watch them from a distance as there is almost always a buck nearby. • A trophy mule deer buck can weigh more than a cow elk (over 300 lbs!) • Lack of eating and significantly increased activity can cause rutting bucks to lose up to 20% of their hoof weight during the rut • Mule deer have a 310-degree field of vision due to the position of their eyes • Like elk, and unlike whitetail deer, mule deer migrate annually following food and shelter

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• Mountain lions and coyotes are the main predators of mule deer • Mule deer can live up to 10 years in the wild and 25 years in captivity • Mule deer inhabit 15 US states, 3 Canadian provinces and Mexico • Mule deer are browsers and can eat a variety of shrubs, trees, grasses, legumes, and forbes

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Tips For Hunters To Make Block Management Program Work For Them MFWP

Access not about big bucks Bea Sturtz, Block Management administrative assistant for Region 7, said the most common misconception is the type of information that she can provide to hunters. “They assume that because we’re with Fish, Wildlife & Parks, we’re going to know where the big ones [bucks] are, but it has nothing to do with that. We’re just here to help people find access to private lands, and I think that gets lost,” she said. As long as hunters have realistic expectations about what the program can do and are willing to put in the time, Sturtz is confident that they can have a very satisfying experience.


he 2018 Hunting Access Guide is now available, directing T hunters to more than 7 million acres of private,state and federal lands enrolled in Montana’s Block Management

Program. 2018 Block Management Area Access Guides and maps are available on the Block Management page of the FWP website and in FWP regional offices. The Block Management Program is a tremendous benefit for hunters and for Montana’s economy. Hunting contributes more than $20 million annually to the area economy. Many hunters have come to rely on Block Management in Montana, but FWP staff still encounters misconceptions about how it works. With that in mind, the agency offers some suggestions that may help hunters better utilize the program.

Hunters choose where to go Some hunters say they will go wherever the staff sends them, but it’s really up to the hunter to decide where they’re going to hunt because there are so many opportunities. The staff may ask people where they want to base their hunt, how far they are willing to travel and how much they want to walk. And they do call landowners throughout the season, in part to direct hunters toward better opportunities and to disperse people. Big parcels not always better Hunters tend to want large parcels of land to hunt, but sometimes landowners limit access within those Block Management Areas. Also, hunters may be overlooking opportunities elsewhere. “They need to know not to avoid those smaller areas, because sometimes they can be a hidden gem,” Sturtz said.

Permission isn’t automatic Access programs can vary from state to state, and Sturtz cautions hunters that access here is not automatic. “You still have to make that step to get permission,” she said. FWP provides hunters with contact information for landowners, and then it’s up to hunters to make arrangements. There are two ways to gain permission to hunt: Type 1 BMAs allow a hunter to sign in at a box on site, and Type 2 BMAs require permission from the landowner or a representative. Even then, access is not a guarantee if the landowner is booked or has certain stipulations. Have a backup plan Hunters should always have a backup plan because a lot of BMAs book up pretty quickly, particularly when game populations are faring well in those areas. It never hurts to get a contact number for a second-choice area, just in case the first choice doesn’t pan out. Remember common courtesy Hunters are asked not to book more than one BMA per day. If a hunter changes plans or fills a tag, remember to call and cancel a reservation so the landowner doesn’t have to turn other people away. Another tip is to call only at the time designated by the landowner, and to remember time zone differences. It’s about relationships Landowners tell staff that they appreciate hunters who don’t take access for granted, are grateful for the opportunity and take the time to build a relationship with them, even if it’s mostly by phone. Some think they get a better group of hunters through the program because visitors have to call first. Do your homework Block Management offers hunters a lot of opportunities, “but it’s still just one tool for access, and hunters have to do their homework,” Sturtz said. “You can still use public land, and you can still knock on a door,” she added. Get a Block Management Access Guide One thing hunters can do to prepare is order the Block Management Access Guide in advance, which is available in print and online. Pay attention to variables Finally, every hunting season is different in terms of conditions on the ground. For example, in Southeastern Montana, fall hunting season and fire danger often go hand in hand. As the temperatures soar and fuels dry up in late summer, hunters should be sensitive to the fact that landowners are concerned about the increasing threat of fires. Due to current dry conditions and HIGH FIRE DANGER throughout much of Montana, hunters may encounter BMA closures or restrictions. Some BMA cooperators may be reluctant to make access commitments until weather conditions improve. Hunters should contact regional FWP staff and/or BMA landowners prior to making final hunting trip plans to identify any possible land closures, BMA use restrictions, or other actions which might affect their hunting activities The wildlife populations may vary greatly from year to year as well. Last year’s drought, followed by a tough winter, impacted both big game animals and upland birds, so hunters having good luck in prior years may not have the same experience this season. Still, if they do their research and put in the time, there are still plenty of opportunities for quality hunts.

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By Chad Harvey, Montana Regional Field Representative Pheasants Forever

cquired in February 2018, the Pheasants Forever Teton A River Wildlife Area is located approximately 45 minutes north of Great Falls, Montana, along the Teton River

watershed. Currently the property consists of approximately 279 acres of mixed riparian areas/wetlands, grass prairie and dryland crops. Purchased through a combination of local Pheasant Forever chapter and partner funding, these previously private acres are now open to the general public for walk-in recreational access including hunting and fishing. Continued support from Pheasants Forever chapters and conservation partners aims to improve habitat and land management for the benefit of upland birds and other wildlife in the area. Future acquisitions will look to connect pieces of key habitat along the river corridor, making a contiguous ribbon of habitat and increasing both the size of the complex and the benefits to wildlife.


Initial Size 278.84 acres. Location Property is immediately west of I-15, 40 miles north of Great Falls. It is adjacent on its eastern side to the southbound rest area on I-15, exit 320. Landscape Context The property is situated in the Teton River watershed, on the north side of the river approximately 1.5 miles downstream of the confluence with Muddy Creek. Land Use and Habitat The Teton River property is comprised of a variety of land uses and habitat types, designated as follows. Dryland crops (currently in spring wheat/fallow rotation) 70 acres Water/riparian/wetland habitat – 109 acres Mixed-grass prairie – 99 acres Wildlife Use The Teton River property supports a diversity of wildlife, corresponding to the various core habitat elements that are present on site. Grassland songbirds, upland game birds, migratory waterfowl, predatory raptors, deer and moose have all been recently observed making good use of the habitat. Land Management Objectives Pheasants Forever intends to manage this property for multiple uses, primarily wildlife habitat and recreation. Some land will also be in agricultural use, with the ultimate goal of sustaining a mosaic of habitat elements for multiple wildlife species...For more information on projects in Montana, visit




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hronic Wasting Disease is often misunderstood and C underappreciated by hunters. In part, this is due to the fact that studying the disease is relatively new there are numerous

unknowns associated with its spread and distribution. That said, hunters must play their part in minimizing the spread of CWD by following carcass transport laws and general carcass transport guidelines. CWD is a protein based neurological disorder that is prevalent in deer, elk and can even transmit to moose. It does not spread like a viral or bacterial infection and no antibiotics or treatments are effective. The deviant protein also takes years of accumulation in the brain before the animal shows any visible signs of infection. This means a perfectly normal acting deer could potentially be infected with CWD. While hunters harvesting animals in known CWD areas should have their animals tested prior to consumption, the immediate steps of dressing and moving the animal are equally important for isolating the animal parts capable of carrying CWD to new areas. This means taking precautions when crossing state lines and even county lines in some cases.

How CWD Spreads

The tricky part about isolating and preventing the spread of CWD is that it is transmitted primarily through saliva, urine and fecal matter. These bodily fluids are easily transmitted and the disease can live in the environment for up to 15 years. In migratory populations like those in Colorado and Wyoming, CWD has been endemic since the 1950’s. It doesn’t just die off or go away. That means any animal that is a potential carrier must be dealt with in a manner that isolates their bodily fluids to the environment in which they are harvested. This means hunters must process the animal in the field to separate the meat from the spinal column and the head. You can quarter out the animal if desired but avoid severing the spinal cord. Removing the head and spinal column is the most critical aspect of isolating the CWD carrying components of the deer. In the case of a buck where you want to keep the antlers, sawing off the skull cap or pulling the top section of jaw free to separate it from the skull, brain, spine and tongue is necessary. Ideally, you will bone out the meat while wearing latex gloves and avoiding contact with the brain, spinal cord and lymph nodes. Separate the meat and avoid consuming any animal that tests positive for CWD.

Transport Laws and Hunter Resources

Almost every state has specific laws regarding the transport of carcasses. The information is arguably under-distributed and many hunters are unaware these laws even exist. To review the laws in your state or research for a hunt that will pull you across state lines, visit the CWD Alliance website to learn about the specific laws in your state and the states you will pass through on your next hunt. They offer simple guidelines to prevent spreading CWD along with the carcass transport info for each state. For information on a guided hunt with Lazy J Bar O Outfitters call 406-932-5687 (office) or 406-350-1880 (cell) or visit

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(continued from page 20)

Performance Parts & Custom Accessories Brian McGeehan with a 25” Lake Run Brown. Photo courtesy Montana Angler






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Fall Run Hot Spots Large browns often do not run into small tributaries (although some do). Traditional fisheries like the Yellowstone River can still produce good fishing for browns. If you are looking for big lake run fish pick any reservoir on the map and give the river that feeds it a try in late October or November. Some better run fall run brown trout rivers include the Madison inside of Yellowstone Park, the Madison above Quake Lake, the Madison near Ennis above Ennis Lake, the Missouri above Holter or Canyon Ferry Reservoirs, the Lewis Channel in Yellowstone and the Lewis River above Jackson Lake. Some of the tributaries of larger fisheries like the Yellowstone and Jefferson River can experience lesser known fall runs. Where to Target Fall Run Fish Within The River It is important to find runs that “hold” browns during the fall run. For example on the legendary fall run out of Hebgen Lake into the Madison in Yellowstone Park there are some stretches where the browns move through quickly and other runs where the fish seem to stack up, or stage, prior to the spawn. Sometimes you need to find these runs by trial and error but once you do they tend to produce season after season. Focus on main river features, look for larger runs with uniform currents and some depth. Also pay attention for obstacles that slow fish down like diversion dams or simply a long flat section upstream of a deeper run. Waterfalls and rapids are other locations that will force trout to stage prior to moving upriver. Flies and Techniques for Late Season Browns Keep in mind that big trout are in big rivers so bring your 6, 7 or even 8 weights in November. Both nymphing and swinging streamers can be productive. In my experience, float fishing with a traditional fast stripped streamer is not nearly as effective as targeting just a few “holding” runs and then getting out to wade and really work the productive water. Nymphing can be deadly for late season fall run browns. The water is cold and the fish aren’t willing to move much. Make sure to get the flies right on the bottom so adjust the indicator and weight setup frequently. For fly selection egg patterns can be deadly in the late fall but also try baetis emergers and big stonefly nymphs. Fly selection isn’t as important as being in the right water and running your flies at the right depth. Takes are subtle so strike at even the slightest reaction on the indicator. Switch rods are becoming increasingly popular for fall run browns in the bigger rivers. I think the ideal switch rod is just over 11’ with a 7 weight switch line. Switch lines are more “mendable” than traditional spey rod lines and much more effective for indicator nymphing. The longer rod also makes big mends easy when fishing large rivers where the biggest fall run fish can be found. On smaller tributary runs traditional 9’ size 6 or even 5wt rods are perfect. Streamer fishing can still be productive in November but using more of a steelhead or salmon swing technique is better than aggressive stripping. The water is cold and the fish are becoming a bit lethargic due to depressed

temperatures. A full sinking line like a Teeny style line with a shooting head over 20’ with 150-250 grain line is perfect depending on current speed and depth. I carry a 150, 200 and 250 grain line with me and switch frequently to find the right combination. Streamers tend to be most productive at dawn and dusk and even after dusk. Although water temps are warmest at mid-day, big fall run browns often prefer the low light hours. Once the sun gets a little higher nymphing is often more productive. I like giant leech style of patterns like size 4 or 2 and in dark colors like black or dark purple.



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A 31.5” Monster Missouri River Brown. Photo courtesy Montana Angler

The Baetis Hatch Another perk of late season fishing is surprisingly good match the hatch dry fly fishing over the fall baetis hatch. Some of the most intense baetis (aka blue winged olive) hatches I have witnessed have been in November with hundreds of trout rising and not a soul in sight. The fall baetis can be pretty small so plan on size 18s or even 20s. The late season baetis fishing can be very productive, especially if you are lucky enough to be on the water on a cloudy day when the hatch is exponentially more intense. Many rivers can have excellent November baetis hatches but my favorites are the Yellowstone, Livingston Spring Creeks, and Missouri. Where to Find the “Sippers” On a cloudy day when the hatch is exploding you will have no problem finding “heads” to cast to. Pay attention to where the trout are on these days because you will want to revisit these locations on a sunny day when just a few bugs are trickling off. In the late fall the trout willing to feed on the surface are not interested in fighting current so skip the beautiful riffles that produces explosive strikes over the early summer caddis hatches and focus on the “soft” seams and back eddies. My three favorite types of water to look for surface oriented fish in November are the slow and diffuse seams downstream of where big riffles dump into long deep runs. The trout are not in the inside corners where the “hard” seams separate the fast water from the slow eddy water. They have moved back down the run where there is a much more subtle difference in current speed from the main current and the slower bank eddies. Another great location to find heads is in giant back eddies that collect foam. Watch the foam closely for small dark circles that quickly vanish that occur when trout suck a fly out of the foam temporarily allowing you to see the water below the foam. Tailouts of long runs just above large riffles can also be a good place to target rising trout. Weather and November Fishing November weather can be all over the map - warm, sunny and in the sixties or sub zero (and sometimes in the same day). My personal cut off is about 20 degrees, anything below that and the guides freeze up too fast (both the human ones and the ones on your rod). The gorgeous blue bird days aren’t always the best for fishing but there is always a “bite” in the early morning and late evening if you are targeting fall run fish and often a few fish will be sipping at mid day in the slow seams and back eddies during a sparse baetis hatch. When the weather turns south you want to make sure to get your rod as long as it isn’t snowing sideways the fishing can be quite good both for the fall run fish and the sippers at mid day.

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HOW TO FIND THE BEST TAXIDERMIST FOR YOUR MONEY (continued from page 17) 3. Studio Is it clean or a complete mess with the family dog chewing a customer’s moose antlers in the corner? A taxidermist who is organized and clean usually applies the same principles to working with your trophy. 4. Communication When you contact the taxidermist, is he returning your call or email in a timely fashion? 5. Attention to details Most importantly, remember to choose a taxidermist that pays attention to the details and the small things that 95% of us may never notice. It does not matter if it is big or small — it is a trophy in your eyes and that is what matters. Take the time to choose the right taxidermist. The best advice I can give when choosing a taxidermist is meet them, look at their work, and think about quality first!

Wild Turkey & Dumplings Recipe By Lindsey Bartosh a 12 Gauge Girl

Ingredients: Two carrots Two celery stalks Medium sized onion Nine chicken bouillon cubes 1/4 cup butter 3 tablespoons fresh marjoram 1 package fresh tarragon 7 bay leaves 8 cups water Wild turkey leg and thigh (bone in) 1 quart heavy cream Four cans refrigerated Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits 1 Tablespoon cornstarch Black pepper to taste

Directions: Chop up the carrots, celery stalks, and onion. Place with butter in crockpot. Add turkey leg and nine chicken bouillon cubes. Chop up and add marjoram, tarragon, and bay leaves. Pour in 8 cups of water. Cover and set the crock pot to high heat. After eight hours, remove turkey leg and shred. Discard bone and return turkey meat to pot. Transfer soup to a large stock pot. Mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with half a cup of soup base. Add dissolved cornstarch back into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and stir until thickened. Break biscuits into three or four pieces and dunk into pot. Cover and simmer for ten minutes. Stir and simmer for ten more minutes. Uncover and add heavy cream. Mix until incorporated. Cut a slice of thick crusted bread and enjoy!!!

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Hunting & Fishing News | 33


HERE TO FIND LATE SEASON EDUCATED RING-NECKS By Edgar Castillo Project Upland f you’re lucky enough to still be hunting ring-necks this Iprobably late in the season, the place to find the pheasants has changed a lot since opening day. Long tails are


quick learners. Which means they’ve already wised up within the first couple of weeks. And every day a rooster lives is another day they get to practice giving the slip to hunters and dogs.

Below is a list of locations you definitely will not want to overlook when hunting for pheasants: ABANDONED FARMS Old farmsteads and corrals that have been overgrown with tall grass, brush, and weeds make ideal cover for ring-necks. Grasses in and around these prairie relics are usually thick and make an excellent spot for nesting, roosting, and loafing. Old homesteads provide an oasis of brushy cover—and the tall, thick grass that pheasants love.

The ring-necked pheasant rooster haunts a wide variety of landscapes, habitat, and environments. Ring-necks are annoyingly clever when it comes to eluding the orange clad hunters who pursue them. The most common scenario I can think of takes place in big cornfields or large expanses of CRP grass. Hunting crop fields and adjacent cover is, of course, essential if you want to locate pheasants. But as the season winds down, bird hunters also need to look beyond the normal realm of roosters.

Additionally, the buildings (along with any nearby tree groves) provide a windbreak. Abandoned farms are a perfect place to start a hunt during the winter or after a heavy snow.

No matter where you hunt ring-necks, hunters must know how to read the lay of the land if they want to be successful. Roosters are full of trickery, deception, and all-around sneakiness. They will take advantage of whatever habitat they’re in to avoid you.

BRUSHY DRAWS In hilly country, brushy draws can often hold pheasants. Similar to drainage ditches, they offer a combination of heavy cover and protection from the wind.




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CATTAIL MARSHES & SLOUGHS The dense vegetation in wetlands and marshy areas makes an ideal cover for roosters. They are especially important and vital during the winter, when heavy snows mat down other plants with weaker stems. Birds can move easily through natural tunnels within the cattails. Cattails also function as a natural sound alarm when hunters push themselves through a thick cover of them. Roosters will either run or take to the air as soon as they hear that rustling noise: your movement is a flush trigger.

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“DIRTY” CROP FIELDS These are crop fields that have gone untreated from herbicides, been allowed to revert back to their natural state, or are where new crops get rotated into. The grassy undergrowth is perfect for pheasants to maneuver in and out of, providing cover from the elements.

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DRAINAGE DITCHES Hunters may find themselves in areas where the dense grasses and weeds of drainage ditches may be the only heavy cover for birds. Most drainage ditches have sloping sides that provide needed blockage from windy days. Some states, such as South Dakota, allow hunters to hunt along ditches. Check with local game laws and regulations for more information.

SHELTERBELTS Rows of trees planted as windbreaks (minimizing soil erosion in open country) are vital during winter storms and blizzards. They offer a refuge for birds with their thermal cover. Not only that, the grass and brush that grow along them make good roosting and loafing cover. Pheasants can often times be found in large numbers here, if the only escape out of the wind and snow are shelter belts around grass and crop fields.

FENCELINES Wide and brushy fence-lines, particularly those with trees, bushes, or plum thickets, almost always hold pheasants. Fence-lines that are adjacent to crop fields (corn, milo, and sunflower) are the best. HARVESTED CROP FIELDS Don’t overlook harvested and cut crop fields, or the fringes around them. When food runs short late in the season, pheasants will gravitate towards these wastelands of waste grain for high-protein meals. Due to openness, however, hunting around these areas can be very tough and often unsuccessful. Ring-necks will hear hunters approaching from a mile away. The key is in locating the nearby lands the ring-necks will escape to when they enter or leave. RAILROAD TRACKS Tracks that have been abandoned are a good option for hunters, even if they are difficult to access. The dense cover and overgrown vegetation along the railways can provide roosters a place to loaf. As a young and inexperienced pheasant hunter, I relied on my father’s expertise and preferences. Railroad tracks were one of those preferences he had for targeting roosters. Walking on either side of the tracks in small ditches yielded a couple of pheasant cocks in our game vests. Check with local game laws and regulations for more information on hunting railroad right-of-ways and tracks. RETIRED CROP FIELDS Fields that have been enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) or other “retired” crop fields provide excellent cover for ring-necks. Unlike hay fields, lands in this program are not mowed during breeding season. As a result, nesting chicks and young birds have a much higher chance of survival. Another key point is that many of these fields boast thick grasses interspersed with weedy crops and shelter belts, providing ample cover and food. ROAD DITCHES The tall grass and brush that grow along roadsides usually hold ring-necks. This is especially true if they are near or alongside crop fields. Ideally, ditches that have enough standing water to grow small patches or rows of cattails are the best to target. It is common to observe pheasants fly out of fields and into ditches that provide thick cover.



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TERRACES These man-made, stair-step structures located in crop fields are designed to prevent soil erosion. They typically have grassy cover, which makes them ideal sites for roosters to loaf and roost. Since most terraces are alongside crop fields, birds have easy access to a buffet. Hunting terraces can be difficult depending on how high and steep they are. My only experience in hunting terraces was in northwest Missouri. Hunting was difficult (to say the least) as it began to rain, making the terraces muddy and a complete chore to climb. WEEDY LAKESHORES One of the most often ignored places to look and hunt for ring-neck roosters are these low-lying areas along the banks of lakes. Cattails, thick weedy underbrush and thickets can hold those lone elusive cockbirds that feel safe because of the low hunting pressure. Just like hunting cattails or sloughs, though, standing water is inevitable. You’re going to need a pair of hip or waterproof boots to maneuver through them. A lot of the time, there are blowdown trees that will make for a difficult time walking. WETLANDS These are lands that are saturated with water permanently or seasonally. Pheasants take advantage of the cover and difficulty of getting to them by hunters and dogs. Roosters are not afraid to get wet and will run in water. Throw in fields and patches of cattails—and hunting running birds becomes more difficult. Or impossible. Those that flush will fly into large expanses of cattails or take safe haven on small isolated pockets of dry land or islands to avoid hunters. Pheasants are definitely farm country birds. However, crop fields and grassy fields alone are not the only places to hunt these birds. Pheasants abound in a variety of places and types of habitat, so don’t overlook the above listed areas. Hunters need to remember that chasin’ ol’ wily rooster means running through the ideal habitat of other game birds and waterfowl. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for the opportunistic wingshooter to flush birds such as quail, snipe, woodcock, and waterfowl.

Hunting & Fishing News | 35



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“1st elk with my bow. 6x6 elk, taken with my Mathews Heli-M, muzzy 100gr broadheads, 63 yards. He took 4 or 5 steps & fell over 10-15 seconds after the arrow hit him. Got the last load to the truck right at midnight, wore out but couldn’t sleep that night anyway!!!” Bob Lassiter

36 | Hunting & Fishing News

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NOVEMBER BUCKS (continued from page 5)

You can hunt north of Chinook all the way up to the Canadian border on accessible BLM and state lands that don’t require permission to hunt. The North Blaine BMA is 125,441 acres of huntable Block Management with written permission sign-in boxes. You should find both whitetail and mule deer in this area. The Dodson area is known for its history of big deer in this country along the Milk River corridor. You can hunt the Eureka Creek BMA which has 8,163 acres to hunt, with additional acres of state and BLM lands that surround it. Look for big whitetail bucks around creek bottoms in buck brush that drain into the Milk River. North of Malta holds big chunks of BMA ranches as well as plenty of BLM areas to hunt. The Frenchman Creek area is known for holding some big mule deer. The North Phillips BMA has over 25,000 acres to hunt off of Hwy. 208 and the Frenchman BMA will give up 33,917 acres 19 miles north of Saco on Turkey Track Road. Glasgow, Fort Peck: On both sides of Hwy. 2 near Glasgow there are plenty of places to hunt. It is a mixture of BLM and state lands mainly to the north with a few BMAs mixed in. Deep Creek BMA will give up nearly 12,000 acres plus a lot of BLM land clear up to the Canadian border. It’s desolate country but there should be plenty of bucks to hunt here. South of Hwy. 2 lies the Fort Peck area. If you have a boat

Photo ©cboswell|

and the conditions are right, you can hunt from the lake into the many draws that shoot up from the water. Mule deer roam these hills and valleys and you just know there are “monster” bucks that call this place home. You can hunt 2 BMAs here off of Willow Creek Road with around 75,000 acres to hunt. Be sure to check MFWP hunting regulations before you head out. Have a great hunting season!









Hunting & Fishing News | 37




By Brady Miller Originally published at

o you just shot another great buck and can’t wait to get back S into cell range to spread the news of your success. You stop at the first town on your way home and text some friends a few photos and mass email a few other hunting buddies really quickly. Since you can’t wait to share them online, you jump on social media and make a post on Facebook and Instagram. You’re on cloud nine and rightfully so. This is your third buck in a row in your honey hole you worked hard to find. You receive a bunch of congrats from your close friends. Since this is a great buck, some of your friends forward your photo to their friends through text message and email. Soon enough, everyone in your small hunting circle knows about your buck, plus a few more... THE DILEMMA The following year you are headed back to your honey hole after another great summer of scouting. You found another giant buck and it’s finally the start of the next hunting season. You arrive at the very remote area and park your truck before noticing some extra vehicles (which is odd because it is not a trailhead). You start hiking in and notice your spot overcrowded with hunters. How could this have happened? Could it be dumb luck? Or have you unknowingly leaked out your spot? HOW ARE PEOPLE STEALING YOUR HUNTING SPOTS? Technology is very powerful. Every year we have more and more devices that are able to produce AND share location coordinates. The list is growing: cell phones, digital cameras, watches, satellite messengers, etc. With your cell phone’s or digital camera’s GPS signal turned on, people have the ability to find the exact location the photo was taken from. When you take a picture with a digital camera

Photo courtesy Brady Miller

or cell phone, the file records EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) metadata information. This recorded information can include date, time, camera model, camera settings (exposure, focal length), GPS location, etc. This information is commonly used for geotagging on social media applications (Facebook and Instagram). People can then view where your pictures were taken on a map by simply entering in the coordinates. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU? Unbeknownst to you… you could easily be doing all the work of researching the location, scouting, patterning and hunting a certain animal… and you’re theoretically giving some other hunter a huge helping hand by giving him access to your information. People commonly chase dead deer (try to hunt the same unit a giant buck was killed), but this goes a step further by giving them valuable location information. Location information on a photo can be obtained numerous ways 1. Text messages. 2. Photos sent through email. 3. Photos you upload to your personal blog website. 4. Social media (Facebook, Instagram). 5. Other phone applications. Something as simple as a photo you texted can provide location information. That text message photo could be forwarded on to multiple people. It eventually might land in someone’s message stream. They send the photo to their computer and then open up the file information to reveal your GPS location coordinates. ACCESSING LOCATION INFORMATION ON A WINDOWS COMPUTER Download the image to your computer, right-click on it, select Properties, and then click the Details tab. Look for the Latitude and Longitude coordinates under GPS. ACCESSING LOCATION INFORMATION ON A MAC COMPUTER Download the image to your computer, right-click on it, and select Get Info. You’ll see the Latitude and Longitude coordinates under More Info. If you click on the file information and don’t see anything, they have been removed or never included in the photo. Many online photo hosting services will automatically strip the geolocation details as a way to protect privacy. CELL PHONE LOCATION SERVICES If you have a newer cell phone, anyone can steal your hunting spot. With location information enabled, your smartphone embeds GPS coordinate location metadata with every photo. Note: most cell phones have this enabled by default.

38 | Hunting & Fishing News

A hunter who is jealous of your success can in essence “steal” your hunting spot by looking at your photos’ metadata to find out where they were taken. All they have to do is save the photo to their computer and view the file’s properties to look for it. Then, they can simply enter these coordinates into a mapping service to see the exact location you took the glassing photo or the harvest photo. HOW TO STOP REVEALING YOUR HUNTING SPOTS If you are serious about protecting your hunting location, then my suggestion is to disable this entirely on your phone and digital camera and not rely on a third party tool on your computer before you upload. You can always select individual applications and decide if you want to share location information or select “While Using” so you can still use a mapping device while traveling. If you have a bunch of photos on your computer with location information, there are tools out there that you can download for Windows and Mac to remove location metadata. Remove location info on iPhone If you’re using an iOS device, open your settings and tap Privacy controls. Next, select Location Services. You can turn location services off for everything or select individual applications.

If you see this image above with the colored slider to the right, that means your location service is turned on for that application.

If you see this image above with a white slider to the left, then locations services are currently turned off. I suggest selecting the Camera application and then selecting Never for allowing location access. In my opinion this is one of your greatest protections against sharing your location. Your phone camera will no longer embed your GPS location in your photos. Remove location info on Android Unfortunately, this process varies from phone to phone. Different manufacturers include their own custom camera applications and each version of Android’s camera application works differently. Dig around your camera app’s quick settings toggles or settings screen and look for an option that disables this feature — or just perform a quick web search to find out how to disable it on your phone and its camera app.

A QUICK LOOK AT HOW COMMON SOCIAL MEDIA SITES STORE YOUR METADATA Facebook Luckily for hunters, Facebook automatically strips most metadata from your photos you upload from your computer and cell phone to photo albums. The exception is when you allow Facebook to mention where you are posting the photo from. A simply solution is to stop posting your location when you make status updates while hunting. If it shows up… click the “x” next to your status on the city location. Another location service you need to turn off is in Facebook’s Messenger app. This messenger could showcase your location to anyone you chat with while sitting on a mountain. You can change these settings in your Facebook application on your phone. To turn off location services for Facebook on an iPhone: 1. Tap the “hamburger” more icon. 2. Scroll down, tap Settings and select Account Settings. 3. Under your Device Settings, tap Location to enter your phone’s location settings. 4. Select Location. 5. Select Never. 6. Select Location History and turn that feature off, too. To turn off location services for Facebook on an Android: 1. Tap the “hamburger” more icon. 2. Scroll down and tap Account Settings. 3. Tap Location. 4. Tap Location Services to enter your phone’s location settings. 5. Turn off location services for Facebook. Instagram Instagram has a section called Photo Map. This stores the location of your uploaded photos. All someone has to do is go to your profile and click on the map icon to view where your photos were taken. You can find out if your photos have a location attached to them by going to your profile and tapping the Map icon (second from the right). If it is grayed out and you click it, you will get the following image. But if you click it and a map shows up with your images… that could mean trouble for your hunting spot.

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Hunting & Fishing News | 39

2018 Duck Survey Numbers Released Photo ©schlag|

Delta Waterfowl

orth America’s spring duck population declined, N but most species remain above long-term averages, according to the 2018 Waterfowl Population Status Report. The annual survey, conducted jointly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service since 1955, puts the breeding duck population at 41.19 million, a 13 percent decrease over last year’s population of 47.27 million, but still 17 percent above the long-term average. Overall, the 2018 survey marks the lowest total breeding duck population estimate since 2010.

“The breeding population decreased, but remains quite strong, with most species remaining near or above long-term averages,” said Dr. Frank Rohwer, president and chief scientist of Delta Waterfowl.

“Ducks declined due to dry conditions in large portions of the breeding grounds. Fortunately, we continue to benefit from ‘carryover birds’ hatched during highly productive springs over the past several years.



Following a record high two years ago, mallards declined 12 percent to 9.26 million, but remain 17 percent above the long-term average. Wigeon are the only index species that showed an increase, climbing 2 percent to 2.82 million, 8 percent above the long-term average. Blue-winged teal fell 18 percent to 6.45 million, 27 percent above the long-term average. Gadwalls dropped 31 percent to 2.89 million, 43 percent above the long-term average. Green-winged teal decreased 16 percent to 3.04 million, still 42 percent above the long-term average. Green-winged teal decreased 16 percent to 3.04 million, still 42 percent above the long-term average. Northern shovelers declined 3 percent to 4.21 million, 62 percent above the long-term average. Redheads declined 10 percent to 1.00 million, 38 percent above the long-term average. Canvasbacks dropped 6 percent to 686,000, 16 percent above the long-term average. Only two breeding population estimates are below long-term averages. Northern pintails declined a concerning 18 percent to 2.37 million, 40 percent below the long-term average. Scaup (lessers and greaters combined) declined 9 percent to 3.99 million, 20 percent below the long-term average. “Bluebills are drifting dangerously close to a return to restrictive harvest regulations,” Rohwer said. “And the pintail number is disappointing. We’d hoped that good wetland conditions across Montana, and portions of southern Alberta and southeastern Saskatchewan, would be enough to give pintails a boost. That was clearly not the case.” Across the U.S. and Canada, the May pond count registered 5.23 million — 14 percent lower than last year and in line with the long-term average. Pond counts in prairie and parkland Canada, which covers Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, decreased 15 percent to 3.66 million, but were still 4 percent above the long-term average. Pond counts in the north-central United States, which covers Montana and the Dakotas, declined 11 percent to 1.57 million, 8 percent below the long-term average. “The pond count has been above, in some cases way above, the long-term average for many years, and we’ve enjoyed huge duck estimates as a result,” Rohwer said. “This year, the count is average and in some cases, well-below average.” Dry conditions in the eastern Dakotas (down 32 percent) and southern Saskatchewan (down 21 percent) impacted duck distribution this spring. “Dry conditions across many areas of the prairies doesn’t bode well for duck production,” Rowher said. “However, timely rains during nesting season, particularly in North Dakota, certainly aided duck production in some regions.” And following May surveys, habitat conditions grew even more variable, forcing ducks to further compete for breeding habitat and decreasing their odds of nest success.


40 | Hunting & Fishing News

That could impact waterfowl seasons, because hunters shoot the fall flight, not the breeding population. “There will be plenty of ducks in the fall flight, but unlike years when there are plenty of easily decoyed juveniles, hunters can expect savvy, adult birds,” Rohwer said. To view the complete 2018 Waterfowl Population Status Report, visit pdf/surveys-and-data/Population-status/Waterfowl/ WaterfowlPopulationStatusReport18.pdf

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utumn is upon us and for sportsmen everywhere, the new season is charged with A excitement and the anticipation of action in the field. For those of us that share a special bond with “man’s best friend,” the experience is all the more rewarding. As every responsible hunter knows, safety is priority number one and that should also extend to our furry field buddies. There are many situations in the field that have the potential to put our hunting dog(s) at risk. Avoid injury by being aware and proactive. Hunting dogs are eager and ready to perform so it’s easy to overlook the fact that they need us to watch Photo courtesy Monty Lynch out for them. I asked my Veterinarian in Livingston what issues he sees most often in hunting dogs he treats each year. Between his valuable insight and my own experience as a professional dog trainer with Remington Firearm Company and more years than I’d like to admit in the field, I’ve put together some tips I think will help protect those hard working canines and keep you plowing into action all season long. •HEAT: Bird hunting season started September 1st, which means the days can still be hot and heat exhaustion is a legitimate threat to your canine. Make sure you have an ample water source and make frequent hydration stops for your buddy. If he looks like he needs a break, find a shaded area. •EYES: The start of the season is still dry and dust, weeds, seeds, and particles can get into your dog’s eyes just as they can in yours. Carry a saline solution eyewash – an over-the-counter product used for humans is fine. Wash out your dog’s eyes if you notice they are agitated, or just as a matter of course after a day in the field. •WOUNDS: The proper treatment of wounds is imperative to your dog’s good health. Carry medical grade gauze in your gear and cover any wound securely to protect it before you take your dog to the Vet. Veterinarians see many dogs whose wounds have been sealed up using superglue. Don’t do it. While this may seem like a cheap and fast solution, infection often sets in underneath wounds closed in this way. •NUTRITION: Good nutrition is key in keeping your dog healthy. 15 to 20 percent increased calorie intake for a working dog during hunting season is ideal. It is a myth that they need more protein. In fact, my Vet discourages any food with over a 21% protein content for any dog over 6-years-old. •PAWS: Keep your dog’s toenails trimmed properly. They cover a lot of ground and getting a split nail causes them a great deal of pain and impedes their performance. •VESTS: Consider using protective vests appropriate to your day’s activities. When Upland Game Bird hunting, I put my dog in a protective vest, or “skid-plate.” This guards his chest and belly from puncture wounds from shorn sticks and cut grain stocks, like milo and corn. These vests are available in hunter-orange, which I like for visibility. Neoprene vests are another useful piece of equipment. In late season waterfowl hunting, I switch my buddy to his camo neoprene vest, which retains his body heat and helps protect him from hypothermia. Years ago, we hunters never thought of using these vests for our dogs because they weren’t available. Heck, when I was a kid we never had seatbelts in our backseats and there were no infant car seats. Just because we didn’t know better, didn’t make it a good idea. •SHOTS: I like the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Make sure your dog’s vaccines are up to date and that he has his snake anti-venom booster up to date before you head out to the field. A rattle snake bite will still need immediate medical attention, but the booster can mean the difference between life and death for your buddy. * See a note on safety training below. •LOCATION: For late season waterfowl hunting, choose your set up site carefully and consider the retrieve hazards that may be in the area. For example – avoid areas along flowing rivers that have extended ice shelves, which pose extremely dangerous conditions for your dog, not to mention the humans in your group as well. A note on barb wire fences: call your dog to heel, then stretch an opening in the fence for your dog to safely pass through on your “ok” command. •TRAINING: A well trained dog is much safer in the field. My dog is my best friend and his safety is top priority. Our dogs don’t have the ability to perceive danger as we do. They will anxiously do anything we ask of them, so it is our responsibility to ensure we’ve spent ample time in training and that they are ready to obey our commands instantly. And “training” doesn’t only apply to dogs – sometimes a little human direction is needed as well. If I am headed to the field with a friend that has never hunted over my dog, I take a little time to acquaint them with my dog and a few do’s and don’ts before we get into the action. *A note on safety training - Make sure your dog is well conditioned to the “leave it” command. The “leave it” command means to let it go- forget about it –don’t touch. My dog is whistle trained to immediately stop and/or return at my command. We make every effort to retrieve every downed bird, so if a bird falls in icy waters in an area that may pose a danger to my dog, I will simply walk with him down river as the bird floats to a more retrieve-friendly area. NEVER allow or encourage your dog to “break through” the thin ice for a retrieval. This can cause serious injury. If you’ve ever broken through even 1/8 inch ice in waders while setting out decoys, you know it is a killer on the shins. Your dog won’t even have the protection of waders and it is unwise to put your dog through this. Rather than let your dog plow headlong into danger for a retrieve, call him back and look for a different path for him to recover the bird. The leave it command is also important if your dog meets up with other potentially threatening wildlife, like porcupines, raccoons, snakes or perhaps the worst – skunks. It is a joy and privilege to experience the unique bond between hunter and hunting dog. Taking a little extra time and effort to keep your canine safe is worth it and will make for a safe and successful hunting season for both of you. For help with field training or to book Monty and his dog for a hunt, call 406-223-4152 or visit

42 | Hunting & Fishing News

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But the best hunts typically happen on windy, stormy days. “Storm fronts push birds out...” Stringham says, “but they also bring birds in, so trying to be in the marsh as a storm front approaches — and the day after a storm front leaves — is a great idea.”

Hunting over duck decoys is the perfect way to bring ducks in for a good shot. UDWR photo.

Duck Hunting Tips UDWR


f you’re new to duck hunting, you might be a bit overwhelmed by the amount of gear some hunters have. While airboats can put you in prime, faraway hunting spots — and retrievers are trusty companions that can find birds in tough cover — a lack of those things doesn’t mean you can’t find success. Blair Stringham is an avid duck hunter who also serves as the migratory game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. He says being where the birds want to be, staying hidden and using decoys effectively can lead to plenty of good shots. “Mastering a few things can put plenty of birds in your bag,” Stringham says...The following are Stringham’s major tips for success: Tip 1 - Scout Knowing where the birds are is the first step to finding success. To learn the birds’ flight patterns, and to see the areas they’re using, Stringham encourages you to get into the field and scout. “It’s important to watch what the birds are doing,” he says. “You’ll start to notice patterns, both in the time of day birds are flying and the areas they’re using. Once you learn those, you’ll know where to be, and you’ll be on the road to success.”... Tip 2 - Weather reports You can find success even on bluebird days, when the sun is shining and there’s little wind. With competitive rates and personal service, it’s no wonder more people trust State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. Call today for a quote on your car and home insurance.


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44 | Hunting & Fishing News

When a front arrives, many of the ducks that are already in the area will fly to the interior parts of the marsh to ride the storm out. They’ll often remain there until hunting pressure drives them out. “Hunting during a storm front can be one of the best times to hunt the state waterfowl management areas and federal refuges,” Stringham says. The day after a front passes can also be a great time to hunt. “The day after a front leaves, birds will start migrating into the state,” he says. “Those days can provide excellent hunting for new birds.” More information about using storm fronts to your advantage is available online. Tip 3 - Use decoys Hunting over duck decoys is one of the best ways to bring birds in for a good shot. And, despite what many hunters think, a duck call usually isn’t needed. “If you spread your decoys about 20 to 30 yards from you,” he says, “and then hide well, plenty of birds will come into your spread, whether you use a call or not.

“In fact, poor calling can actually scare birds away.” Tip 4 - Make sure the birds can’t see you Make sure you blend into your surroundings. And try not to move as birds work your decoys or fly overhead. “If you wear camouflage and don’t move much,” he says, “the birds won’t even know you’re there.” Tip 5 - Bring waders... Invest in a good pair of chest waders. “Don’t rely on hip boots to keep you dry,” Stringham says. “Wear chest waders instead. With chest waders, you can also retrieve birds that fall into water that’s over your waist.”...

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(continued from page 39)

Zoom in even further and you can see how this can be a problem for hunters (especially if you compare the Instagram map with Google Earth). Other hunters can pinpoint the exact location where your photos were taken. You can see how this can be a bad thing for the safety of your family as well when you post photos from your home or announcing your family is going on vacation. You can remove photos you’ve previously added to your photo map by following some simple steps: 1. Go to your profile and tap. 2. Tap Edit at the top right. 3. Tap the photo or group of photos you’d like to remove, then tap Edit. 4. Tap the photo or photos you’d like to remove or tap Deselect All. 5. Tap Done then Confirm.

To prevent photos from being added to your photo map in the future when you post new photos to Instagram, simply make sure that the Add to Photo Map slide is white – if it is blue, that means you’re adding location information to the photo.

Photo courtesy Brady Miller

WORD OF CAUTION ON SATELLITE MESSENGERS We all want to be safe in the backcountry and tools such as a SPOT messenger or Delorme inReach are perfect devices to inform your loved ones that you are safe. These messengers can also spell trouble if you turn on the Social Media upload features. I witnessed hunters using this feature this past season when I was on a hunt in the backcountry. I jumped on Facebook and saw a group of hunters sharing their daily hunt updates with a satellite messenger. This little bit of information was part of the inspiration to write this article. Little did they know that their updates were also sharing their GPS location. Later, when they got home, I noticed they removed them all. My advice is to only send satellite messages to people you trust and NEVER activate the social sharing. IN CONCLUSION You might think this seems a little excessive or over the top, but when it comes to your favorite hunting spot that you worked so hard for… why leave it up for chance?

Photo by: Steve McIntosh


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Montana Hunting & Fishing News - November 2018  

November Bucks, Big Deer Moon & Rut Guide, Tips For Hunters To Make Block Management Program Work For Them, 3 Reasons To Use A Deer Decoy D...

Montana Hunting & Fishing News - November 2018  

November Bucks, Big Deer Moon & Rut Guide, Tips For Hunters To Make Block Management Program Work For Them, 3 Reasons To Use A Deer Decoy D...