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Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

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H HUNTING & UNTING & F F ISHING News News New Look Same Dead on Accuracy Made in Montana. Available at your local retailer. Montana Montana Tech Picks Tech Picks For Hunters For Hunters Montana’s Montana’s Top 10 Elk Top 10 Elk Targeting Montana’s Targeting Montana’s NORTHERN PIKE NORTHERN PIKE LATE SPRING LATE SPRING BEAR HUNT BEAR HUNT BENEFITS OF BENEFITS OF SHED HUNTING SHED HUNTING May 2013
Page 1: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013


New Look Same Dead on Accuracy Made in Montana. Available at your local retailer.


Tech Picks Tech PicksFor HuntersFor Hunters

Montana’s Montana’s Top 10 ElkTop 10 Elk

Targeting Montana’s Targeting Montana’s NORTHERN PIKENORTHERN PIKE



May 2013

Page 2: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013
Page 3: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

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Page 4: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

4 - Hunting & Fishing News

Technology Picks For Hunters By Colby WardReprinted with permission from Bowhunting.net. For more please go to: www.bowhunting.net

...This month, I would like to share some new to the market technology gadgets that will make your time in the fi eld more productive.

3G Cellular Camera by Spypoint Navigate quickly and easily through your photos from anywhere in the world!

The images are stored online on your myspypoint.com account. Use your computer or your Smartphone to confi gure every parameter of your camera remotely and check the status of your camera at all times. With the Spypoint LIVE-3G, you will not have to travel anymore,the camera takes care of communicating with you when necessary. Fewer trips into your sanctuary, means less scent left behind which increases your odds of connecting on those old mature bucks.

Spypoint X-CEL Video CameraThe new X-CEL video camera by Spypoint allows you to attach to your bow or body, which makes recording your hunt easier than ever. This camera is shockproof and waterproof down to 30 feet. Has 640X480 AVI video resolutions and uses a micro-SD card for recording. Runs on 2 x AA batteries and ships with 4 mounting brackets for scopes, bow, forehead mount and helmet.

LifeProof Suction Cup Car MountIf you are tired of picking your smart phone up off the fl oor when you are on the way to your favorite hunting spot consider the LifeProof Suction Cup Mount for your truck or car. Keep your hands free, your iPhone mounted while navigating with GPS, hands-free calling or recording the road on your iPhone-turned dash cam makes it your perfect travel companion. You can even attach it to your tree stand or ground blind. They also make a bike or bar mount as well. (continued on page 34)



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Page 5: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

5May 2013

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The National Shooting Sports Foundation reports that a new survey shows 79 percent of the American public approve of hunting. This marks the highest level of support for hunting since 1995, according to data compiled by Responsive Management, an independent research fi rm.The nationwide scientifi c survey showed the public’s approval of hunting rose fi ve points in the past year, up from 74 percent in 2011. The survey, conducted in February 2013 using random digit dialing and supplemental cellular telephone sampling, was the fi fth in a series of similar surveys by Responsive Management to track trends in public approval of hunting since 1995.Support for hunting has remained generally consistent during this time--73 percent in 1995; 75 percent in 2003; 78 percent in 2006; 74 percent in 2011; and a peak of 79 percent in 2013.Mark Damian Duda, executive director of Responsive Management, is still looking at survey results to better understand why approval has increased. Said Duda, “Approval of hunting among Americans is fairly stable and bounces between 73 and 79 percent. The reasons for this increase are still unclear, but it is probably related to the increase in hunting and shooting participation.Added Duda, “Since 2006, hunting participation has increased by 9 percent while shooting participation has increased 18 percent since 2009. Other studies we have conducted on public opinion on hunting show that the strongest correlation for approval of hunting is knowing a hunter--over and above demographic variables or anything else. With the increased number of hunters in the fi eld and sport shooters at the range, it is possible that this is being refl ected in this uptick in support for hunting.”One thousand Americans 18 years old and older were surveyed to achieve a sampling error of plus or minus 3.00 percentage points. More than half (52%) of those surveyed strongly approved of hunting. At the other end of the spectrum, 12 percent of Americans disapprove of hunting. Another 8 percent neither approve nor disapprove (total does not equal 100% due to rounding).Responsive Management specializes in public opinion research on natural resource and outdoor recreation issues.

Public Approval of Hunting Highest Since 1995

National Shooting Sports Foundation

Page 6: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

6 - Hunting & Fishing News

ADVERTISINGRICK HAGGERTY (406) 370-1368Publisher - Amy Haggerty - Helena, MT. [email protected] entire contents is © 2013, all rights reserved. May not be reproduced without prior consent. The material and information printed is from various sources from which there can be no warrantyor responsibility by Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure, Inc. Nor does the printed material necessarily express the views of Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure, Inc. All photo & editorial submissions become the property of big sky outdoor News & adventure, Inc. to use or not use at their discretion. VOLUME 10 Issue 3.Cover photo: Jean-Edouard Rozey|Shutterstock

Please support the advertisers you see in this publication and let them know

you saw their advertisement in the Hunting & Fishing News.

Thank you and thanks for reading theHunting & Fishing News.

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But it is always under attack from privateers.Defend and advance your public water rights.

No matter what part of the country I am fi shing, the boating traffi c and fi shing pressure skyrockets in May. This isn’t the time of year to fi sh these impoundments with the heavy gear. It is time to lighten up if you want to cash in on a big bite.Subsequently, lightening the gear that you are using means taking your time and paying close attention to detail. Developing a pattern takes time and effort to dissect high-pressure areas, but once an angler is dialed in there are plenty of fi sh to be caught.The targeted areas that I focus on are grass edges, docks, laydowns and secondary rocky points that are 10 feet and shallower. These areas hold quality fi sh that have been presented with every type of jumbo worm, lizard and tube on the market. The last thing they want to see is another gargantuan worm crawling through their bedroom. Going smaller and fi shing slower offers these gun-shy fi sh an alternative to an overused tactic.The majority of anglers blind cast around structure to get a few reactionary strikes. But I prefer to go out and systematically pick apart each piece of cover and all the structure I fi nd. This is when I decipher the pattern on a particular piece of water.First, I make sure to work the entire area. Once you have boated a few keepers, start linking each fi sh you have caught to develop a pattern. Begin keeping a mental log detailing each catch; did they come from the windblown side of a laydown, did it come in 7 feet of water, did I retrieve the Berkley ® PowerBait ® Power ® Shaky Worm the same each time, and was it caught off a shade line? All these questions play a vital role in developing a successful pattern.I start my mornings by throwing some topwater baits. Shad spawn in the early mornings, but when the sun comes up I switch to the lightweight gear. Rigged on a 3/16-ounce shaky head jig, the Berkley PowerBait 5-inch Power Shaky Worm in Green Pumpkin is the way to go. The Shaky Worm has a great action when I am dragging it across the bottom. Plus, it is laced with the PowerBait scent that fi sh bite and won’t let go.When I pull up on a secondary point that is laden with a rock base, I want to position my boat so I am casting toward the bank and fi shing the length of the point. This keeps the bait in the strike zone longer. I will do the same whether I am casting around a laydown or under docks. Grass edges offer the perfect place for bass to ambush baitfi sh while regaining their strength from a busy spawning season. Make sure to position your boat so you are casting down the edge of the grass. This presentation is killer when bass are eagerly waiting for baitfi sh to ambush.For these slower presentations in high-pressure areas, I use a 6-foot, 6-inch medium-fast rod and an Abu Garcia® Soron® spinning reel. This reel has a 5.1:1 retrieve ratio, which is excellent for handling fl uorocarbon line. I fi sh that Power Shaky Worm like I do any other jig: cast it past your target and let it fall to the bottom. If nothing gets it on the way down, I will pick it up and shake it a little and let it freefall back to the bottom; pick it up and move it a little and repeat the process. Usually by then I’ve covered the area where I think that a bass is going to be and I will reel it in and fi re it out toward another bed.Line selection is key when fi shing these high-pressured waters. Berkley Trilene ® 100% Fluorocarbon in 8-pound test is ideal for this application. Being abrasion resistant and having no line memory really pay off when working a Shaky Worm down a grass edge or pulling it down a rocky point.Wherever you fi sh in May, fi shing pressure is up and lake traffi c is escalating, making this the perfect time to fi sh slower and lighter. Instead of pulling out the big guns, pick up the light tackle and develop a pattern to get more bites.

Lighten Up: Get the Big Bite By Skeet Reese, www.berkley-fi shing.com

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Illegal Signs -Fiddle Creek BridgeMeeting with commissioners successful From PLWA President John Gibson Folks, This photo is of the Fiddle creek bridge crossing the Shields River outside of Livingston Montana.

The road is clearly a County Road and the bridge was probably constructed by the state. Any way, as you can see, there are...signs within the 60 foot right of way indicating that there is no legal access to the river...On Tuesday March 26 George Bauer, Lou Goosey and I visited the bridge and took measurements to prove the signs were within the right of way. We then attended a meeting with the County Commissioners of Park County. George had scheduled the meeting and presented the evidence to the commissioners. No one opposed our fi ndings. This Bridge Access law was made abundantly clear by Judge Tucker on the Ruby River case last year and the subsequent state law.

Page 7: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

7May 2013

Get to the Get to the ((AntlerAntler)) Point PointBy Nick Simonson, Nodak Outdoors


...Where mature bucks are hard to come by, management tools like APR may be the key to quality hunting in the future. APR is a management tool instituted by managing agencies whereby hunters may only shoot bucks with a minimum number of points on one side of their rack – usually four, but in some places three or fi ve. The theory is that this program will spare many 1.5-year old bucks, and some 2.5-year old bucks, so that they may grow bigger and more mature and provide for more quality hunting in a given area in the years that follow.Recently, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) implemented APR in the southeastern corner of the state in the bluff lands along with Mississippi River, where thick oak bottoms give way to small farming operations. The chance to grow large deer and increase the number of quality bucks is great in this area, due to abundant cover and food. But despite the promise of big deer in the future, the plan didn’t go over well with all interested hunters, and many challenged the proposal immediately...Four years later, in the fall of 2013, bluff land bucks were the talk of the state, with 130-class and larger bucks, with big, curling, multi-tined racks being a regular occurrence, where once such deer were considered rare sightings. APR has worked in the southeast part of the state, raising the bar and the standard for hunting in Minnesota. And while it may not be applicable to all parts of the state, or necessary in other jurisdictions, APR is an option, and a proven and viable one applicable throughout the farmland region of southern Minnesota.I deer hunt in the southwest area of the state, which has long been home to the “if its brown, it’s down” mentality, so the debate over APR still remains a hot one, but more so a debate between generations...it has become clear – deer hunting needs to change throughout southern Minnesota. Many hunters have foregone the 9-day slug season, or at least don’t pursue it as vigorously, in favor of an autumn in a tree stand with a bow, watching and waiting for the bucks they had seen throughout the summer. And when fi rearms season does come around in November, they are more likely to stay in the stand, giving up their spot in the fi ring line for an opportunity to pick and choose the deer they take from their elevated perch.Hunters too are getting together, being more selective and taking mature bucks, even if parties on neighboring lands aren’t doing the same. They make no excuse that they can’t count the tines on the buck’s rack, or that they were taken by buck fever – they know these are bunk, and lame defenses for the old way of hunting. Again, changes come about gradually through pockets of concerned people, but over time those changes and the number of supporters become more widespread, piling up and tipping the scale, and the law will refl ect that mentality of the people.Where I’m originally from in North Dakota, hunting pressure is relatively light, habitat is still strong despite development in the west and drain tiling in the east, and a big buck mindset is well-instilled in the hunting population. In the badlands and river bottoms, APR isn’t necessary. Where I hunt now, in the farmland region of Minnesota, it would be a godsend to a population of deer that need a small miracle to make it to 2.5 years.But APR doesn’t have to be the end-all of deer hunting either, or be a barrier to success as it is implemented in its fi rst three years while those protected bucks mature. Exceptions for youth to tag smaller bucks regardless of tine count, making more doe permits available, or even providing the option for a non-APR buck tag at a higher price would help foster getting new hunters into the fi eld, placate those who hunt solely to fi ll the freezer and establish the APR program as a priority.There are a number of options out there to improve the quality of our deer hunting. It starts fi rst in the hearts and minds of outdoors-people to be more selective about their quarry and focus on the quality of each hunt – a conviction that is rapidly growing...in our outdoors.

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Page 8: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

8 - Hunting & Fishing News

Fred Mercer shot this magnifi cent bull in 1958 in the Gravelly Range Area. Photo: Courtesy Boone and Crockett Club

You can still fi nd huge bulls on public lands in Montana. Every year, big bulls are harvested by rifl e and bowhunters alike. Time spent in the woods fi nding an exceptional animal is the key to harvesting one of these trophies. On the next page, you will fi nd a list of the top 10 biggest bulls evertaken by rifl e hunters in Montana.

Turn to page 39 for Montana’s biggest archery elk.

Montana’s Biggest Elk By Hunting & Fishing Pro Staff

It’s been more than a decade since a Montana hunter has broken a state big game record, and the odds are it might be awhile. To fi nd and kill such a trophy, a hunter will need a combination of things to happen. First is fi nding a specifi c area where big game animals avoid predators, avoid getting shot during hunting season, grow old, and grow massive racks. Second is genetics, and nutrition that allow his antlers to become massive. Third is an area with very little hunting pressure. If you can fi nd such an area, your odds will increase on scoring the trophy of a lifetime. Back in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s these areas were there. Today, not so much. Montana’s landscape has changed with vast areas of land being shut out to the regular hunters, but back in the 1950’s it was much easier to get on someone’s land and hunt. In 1958, Fred Mercer was working on his uncle’s dairy farm just south of Twin Bridges. In late October, the two took a week off to hunt the Upper Ruby River country. One morning at fi rst light, he took his .270 caliber rifl e and headed out solo, walking through a few inches of fresh snow. Soon, he came across the biggest set of bull tracks he had ever seen. Mercer fi gured the tracks were an hour or so ahead of him. As Mercer got close the herd caught his scent and took off running. After trailing the herd for another 12 miles or so, he decided to cut the elk off when they reached a ridge at the head of an open canyon. Upon reaching the ridge top, he peeked over, and not 50 yards away was the biggest bull he’d ever seen. Mercer fi red two shots at the bull with a 150 grain soft point bullet. For years, the Mercer bull was the number two typical elk in the world, scoring 419-4/8”. Today, it is number nine. One of the best Montana has ever produced.

Page 9: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

9May 2013

Top 10 Boone and Crockett Club Montana Elk (Typical) Score Location Year Taken By:1. 419-4/8” Madison County 1958 Fred Mercer2. 411-3/8” Rosebud County 2000 Chuck Adams3. 404-6/8” Mineral County 1959 Carl Snyder4. 403-2/8” Montana 1912 Robert Swan4. 403-2/8” Valley County 1962 R.K. Whittmayer5. 401-4/8” Park County 1977 Wayne Hertzler 6. 398-5/8” Lewis & Clark County 1953 Richard Mosher7. 397-6/8” Cascade County 1955 John Campbell8. 397-3/8” Powder River County 2004 (picked up)9. 395-7/8” Park County 1990 Butch Koufl akNOTE: #4 tied

Top 10 Boone and Crockett Club Montana Elk (Non-Typical) Score Location Year Taken By:1. 429-1/8” Granite County 1971 John Luthje2. 423-4/8” Granite County 1971 Lee Tracy 3. 415-6/8” Madison County 1958 Michael Gecho4. 412-1/8” Lewis & Clark County 1935 C. Pierson5. 411-6/8” Gallatin County 1965 Unknown6. 410-3/8” Hill County 2000 Brendan Burns7. 409-6/8” Garfi eld County 2003 Dennis Mangold8. 408-5/8” Petroleum County 1998 Riley McGiboney9. 408-4/8” Lincoln County 1995 Grant Garcia10. 408” Sanders County 1980 John Fitchett Brendan V. BurnsBrendan V. Burns

Photo: Courtesy Boone and Crockett ClubPhoto: Courtesy Boone and Crockett Club

Page 10: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

10 - Hunting & Fishing News

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Some of the biggest of Montana’s northern pike will be caught this month in just a few feet of water. They’ll be located in the backs of bays fl at land reservoirs, and lurking in the weeds of woodland lakes and lazy river sloughs. Northerns will be either scavenging on winter weakened minnows orspawning on new vegetation. Shorecasters and anglers who work the banks from a boat will fi nd these toothy predators lurking in weeds for an easy meal. If you have never caught a northern pike, hook up to one of these game fi sh, let them take you around the boat a couple of times, and you will be hooked!In this article, I want to give you a few “go to” lures to pack away in your tackle box, plus I’ll include information on a few spots around the state where these fi sh are found.Let’s start with tackle. I know that most of you well seasoned pike pros have your “go to” lures and methods, but pike are very aggressive fi sh most of the time, and will hit on many different baits thrown their way.

Here are a few tooth extractors you might try:

Countdown Rapala, typically a #5, #7, or #9. Work the top 2 to 3 feet of water with these.

Rapala Shad Rap #5 or #7. Pitch it to an edge and crank it down, the diving lip takes it immediately to depth.

Eppinger Dardevle. Eppinger makes a variety of spoons, but the original is the mainstay for early season shallows.

Mepps Aglia Long #4 in Hot Firetiger.

Start a moderate retrieve as it hits the water, and it stays up over the weeds. Pike will come from deep in the weeds to snatch it.


By Rick Haggerty

Author with a 38” Fort Peck northern pikecaught near the Rock Creek area.

Page 11: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

11May 2013

Rapala Husky Jerk #12 or #14. This is a must for pike fi shing. Perch and fi retiger colored, or cisco minnow mimics work well.

Shown inFiretiger

Ty Gy’s Lures. Made in Montana, these lures are fl exible, well made lures perfect for area waters. Fished by locals who know what works.

Mepps Syclops. These light spoons areideal for the 2 to 5 foot depths, and they fi t the speed part of the equation.

Spinnerbaits. One of the most versatile lures for pike as well as bass. Pike can feel them coming from a distance, and will swim to them and pounce!

Jigs. Jigs are the most versatile lures in your box. You can imitate bait fi sh using minnows, worms and plastics that pike can’t refuse.

Some will say that pike will hit on “anything” you throw in front of them, and at times this is true, but most times you will fi nd that you will need to change your lures, your style and colors for various conditions.

WHEREWHERE TO FIND PIKE: TO FIND PIKE:Fort Peck Reservoir - This huge eastern Montana reservoir has become a trophy pike fi shery. You can fi sh Rock Creek in the Big Dry Arm, Duck Creek, and up the lake to the Pines area, fi shing along deep water edges or shallow, weedy bays here.

Flathead River Sloughs - Egan, Church, and McWinnegar Sloughs are good places to cast a spoon around submerged timber and shoreline weeds on these backwaters of the Flathead River southeast of Kalispell.

Swan Lake - The entire southern half of this big lake off Hwy. 83 southeast of Bigfork is pike water. You can fi nd big fi sh around sunken timber or bays that get sun that grow weeds off the bottom. Cast a spinnerbait to emerging weeds or troll a crankbait along shorelines here.

Beaver Creek Reservoir - This productive reservoir south of Havre is a sleeper. There is a lot of action for mid-sized and magnum pike. The best spot is the mouth of Beaver Creek in the upper end of the reservoir. Cast a spinnerbait or weedless spoon through any vegetation for aggressive northerns.

Pishkun Reservoir - This windblown irrigation reservoir is located west of Augusta and Choteau below the Rocky Mountain Front, and is capable of producing big northerns. The forage for the pike are stocker rainbow trout, so cast big spoons or troll imitating crankbaits covering lots of water along shorelines.

Nelson Reservoir - Located east of Malta, this is a great spot for eater-sized walleye, but also holds bigger pike. Dredge the shallows with a soft plastic swimbait, spinnerbait or troll crankbaits here. Your chances of tangling with a large fi sh are good here.

Tiber Reservoir - Tiber will offer exceptional fi shing. Pike, walleye and perch are the main species on this large reservoir here in north central Montana. Crankbaits along shorelines will produce fi sh. Shallow bays in warming water is the ticket right now.

Most of the spots mentioned are mondo for shore-casters, as many fi sh will be shallow and aggressive now.

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Page 12: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

12 - Hunting & Fishing News

FISH LIKE A PRO FISH LIKE A PRO Quick Tips from BerkleyQuick Tips from BerkleySlip Bobbers For WalleyesIn-Fisherman

A livebait leech, minnow, or nightcrawler suspended below a fl oat (bobber) is one of the most effi cient ways to target walleyes that are gathered in relatively confi ned areas. Shallow, windswept rock reefs are one common gathering area for walleyes during late spring and throughout summer. This is a fi nesse technique calling for light line, usually 6- or 8-pound-test monofi lament. To increase the visual attractiveness of the small jighead suspended below the fl oat, anglers often add a small piece of soft bait, often a bright color like chartreuse, orange, or hot red, at the top of the hook or as a body to the jig. Split shot are added up the line just above the hook to weight the fl oat so it slips under without much resistance when a walleye takes it. Thin fl oats work best in calmer conditions or in slower current. More bulbous fl oats are the choice in wind and heavier current.

The Versatile WormIn-FishermanWithin a specifi c range of sizes and actions, plastic worms are the most versatile and most effective tools to use for smallmouths in lakes. The right worm is 4 to 5 inches long and relatively thin. It can have a fi nesse tail or an action tail. When smallmouths cruise the tops of shallow reefs, pitch a worm on a 1/16- to 1/32-ounce head and slowly reel it in. When smallmouths move deeper, deliver the worm on a drop-shot rig, Carolina rig, Texas rig or split-shot rig, as the cover and depth demands.

Walleye JiggingKeith Kavajecz

Walleye jigging is about “feel”. Feeling the bottom, feeling the bottom transistions, and most important feeling the walleye bite. Berkley Fireline can make you a better jig fi sherman. Its no-stretch characteristics lets you feel everything that’s happening-yet it casts smooth and has superior knot strength. With Berkley Fireline-Feel more bites, catch more walleyes-period!

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Page 13: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

13May 2013

Build up some speed and a dog will nearly put its head through the window to catch a breeze. Our canine companions lose sense of place and time, not to mention discipline when the truck starts cooking down the highway. Albeit for different reasons, walleyes will also drop everything when a wind whips up. Instincts take control and nature’s programming says the moving air is also heating up the kitchen. Wind creates what I call a ‘food table’; a smorgasbord of consumables. An onshore wind activates the water, spawning an entire food sequence in the shallows. It traps foodstuffs there, too, waves beating against the shore. Walleyes sharpen teeth and tighten their bibs... Relative to wind and waves, it’s also a truism that walleyes prefer moving water. They thrive in rivers. And when relegated to a lake, any sign of agitating water, be it a current or wave action, serves as a summons.Wind also causes walleyes to establish in defi nable areas. On fl at calm days the tendency is for fi sh to scatter while foraging. Those same fi sh will consolidate in a gale, establishing on the windward side of structural shallows.IN THE SPRING, WIND SPEED DIRECTLY AFFECTS WALLEYE DEPTH – shallower as it gets windier. The waves break up light penetration, too, which promotes daytime feeding. About the term ‘shallow’, in my book it means anything 10 feet or less. In colored water, ‘shallow’ labels depths of only 2 to 5 feet. And I’m constantly reminding folks to never consider a spot too shallow. I’ve hooked countless walleyes in sub 4 feet, but only with a hearty onshore chop. Not all wind-pummeled shallows are created equal, though. Tapering breaks are superior to sheer walls – more roiling; more space for baitfi sh; more walleyes. Best bottoms in my experience feature gravel, small rocks and grassy weeds sprouting from the lake fl oor. Any combination of the above creates the ‘All American’ spot. A short real-life story about how wind commands the bite: A couple walleye openers ago, I was plying Minnesota’s Leech Lake — a renowned shallow water fi shery. We boated 33 walleyes for three anglers. (Yes, I keep track.) All were smacked in windblown-, weedy-, gravel-based shallows. By comparison, some friends of mine opted to fi sh traditional points and humps. Wind direction wasn’t considered; instead, just beautiful structures on a map. They only scared up two walleyes for three boats. Suffi ce to say our boat was responsible for dinner. Even given an onshore wind, I still won’t invest time in the area without fi rst probing electronically. Humminbird’s Side Imaging shoots into the shallows and shows weeds, rocks, walleyes and baitfi sh – or nothing, and I move along. Humminbird’s Down Viewing feature literally displays walleyes and baitfi sh in as little as 5 feet of water. I can cruise along marking the shallow water below while simultaneously fi ring a sonar beam even shallower. Now that’s covering water. (continued on page 23)

Having superior boat control is as important as remembering the Frabill landing net. Photo by Bill Lindner Photography



By Tom Neustrom

Page 14: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

14 - Hunting & Fishing News

The Basics and Benefi ts of Shed Hunting

By Pat Reeve

The gently fl owing creek was as cold as it was clear. I’ll never forget setting my eyes on that beautiful 3 point whitetail shed resting on the smooth gravel bar. I was touching something no human hand has ever touched before. I was six years old and my buddy and I were out searching for shed antlers. Looking back, I now realize we were shed hunting pioneers! I’m reminded of that day every time I pass my china cabinet in our home where the shed proudly rests. Some people collect antiques, others garden, I shed hunt. Shed hunting is not just my hobby, it is my passion. I like the way I feel connected to the animal when I fi nd its shed. I enjoy knowing that when I fi nd a big shed I’m creating anotherchapter in a story that is still open; the story of that buck’s life. Filming for our show, Driven TV, takes my wife Nicole and me around the world hunting and making new friends. For years, even before I was working in outdoor television, I would travel all over shed hunting. My old friends Tom Indrebo, Jim Hansen, Dennis Williams, and I would often go to Canada looking for big, chocolate colored antlers and literally fi nd between 200-300 sheds in one single week! One of the most unique sheds I have ever found was in Canada. It was both sides, fused in the middle with no hair in between, with a diameter of over 10”! I have also had the opportunity to travel the world in search of sheds from moose, caribou, elk, red stag, fallow deer, mule deer and whitetails of course.I’m often asked about shed hunting and how others can successfully fi nd sheds as well. The fi rst and most important thing to keep in mind when shed hunting is location. The term “location” has a double meaning in this situation. First, I need property to shed hunt. I’m blessed with access to private and public property near my home. Many people don’t bother shed hunting on public land because they feel that they’ll all already be picked over. That is true in a sense, but doesn’t have to be the case. First, when shed hunting

Page 15: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

15May 2013

public land, be sure to check back often. It’s the early bird who gets the worm in public land shed hunting. Also, look in secluded, out of reach places that a buck can hide and other hunters wouldn’t bother looking. Where legal and with permission, I also like to shed hunt parks, public areas, nature reserves, etc... places that hold a lot of deer. The other way I think about location is by asking myself where will the bucks be during the “shedding period”? The shedding period is usually a two month long window between mid-January through mid-March. There are other stress factors that could cause a buck to shed early such as a hunting season wound, a dry summer, extremely cold winter, and lack of food. For the most part, if a herd is healthy, the bucks should be dropping their antlers during this late winter shedding period. Many people make the mistake of looking for sheds in their favorite fall hunting spots. While they may have some luck, it’s best to start looking for sheds at preferred food sources during the shedding season. Find the food and the sheds won’t be too far away. Once I’ve located the preferred food source, I start to do a bit of reconnaissance. I will glass fi elds, run trail cameras, and keep a close eye on my calendar. Without any external stress factors, the bucks will usually shed within a few days of when they did last year. My ideal shed hunting day would be an overcast, early spring day just after a rain has washed away the last traces of snow. With no snow, and a high amount of moisture in the air, the sun bleached antlers have their own unique “sheen” to them, allowing them to be easily found. When my trail cameras, physical scouting, weatherman, or calendar say it’s time to look, I pack up my gear and start shed hunting. Before heading out on a shed hunt I make sure I have two things. I never leave the truck without my Nikon Monarch 7 10x42 binoculars. By carrying quality optics, I save a lot of time and energy. I use my high power Nikon’s to survey alfalfa fi elds, eliminating the need to pace back and forth in a fi eld where there are no sheds. Sure, I’ll miss a few little ones here and there, but the majority of the time, if there’s a big shed in a hayfi eld, I’ll be able to spot it. I also use my Nikon’s in the timber. By standing in an open area, and slowly glassing the entire forest fl oor, I usually can pick out sheds among the leaves and twigs. I also never shed hunt without my ScentBlocker Boa waterproof knee boots. It goes without saying that cold, wet feet make for a long miserable day. It is important to keep my feet warm and dry. At one point I used a pedometer to log my shed hunting miles. On average I was walking between 15-20 miles per day!Knee boots on and binoculars in hand, I start looking for sheds at food sources. Deer feed so aggressively in the winter that the chances of them jarring an antler loose are highest at the dinner table. Deer will spar, compete, thrash at the snow, and dig for a chance to eat a high calorie meal. Once I have checked the feeding areas, I’ll backtrack on the well-used trails to bedding areas. During the shedding period, deer are in survival mode and do not expel any more precious energy than necessary. If the deer aren’t lying down, they are walking to the food. The sheds should be nearby! Other places to look for sheds are near crossings where a big buck might have to jump or scramble a bit. I like to focus on fence jumps, creek crossings, steep ravines and ridges, etc... Sometimes the sudden jump or scramble up a hill will cause an antler to pop off. When looking in big timber, I focus on south facing ridges. Deer love to sunbathe and will warm up in the winter by soaking up the south sun when given a chance. Many big timbers with no crop fi elds or creek crossings will collect sheds on their southern ridge slopes. When I do fi nd a big shed, I know the other matching side won’t be too far off. I’ll do a series of semi circles around a big shed until I fi nd its partner. Mature bucks don’t appreciate such a discrepancy in the weight on their head when one shed drops so they will soon get annoyed and do what they can to get the other one to fall. I’ve completed matching sets by looking in bushes, near logs, on fences, and anywhere else a big buck can relieve himself of the annoyance of only one antler. The younger bucks with lighter antlers don’t seem to be bothered as much by this and they will sometimes take weeks to drop both sides of their headgear. There’s a lot to benefi t from shed hunting. First and foremost, it is a wonderful way to get exercise and spend time with loved ones. Nicole, the kids, and I love to be together in Mother Nature’s spring woods. After months of being cooped up inside hiding from the bitter cold, our bodies and minds are ready to reconnect with nature and get some fresh air. (continued on page 30)

Page 16: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

16 - Hunting & Fishing News


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The Spawn is on at Canyon FerryWho wouldn’t like the opportunity to have a chance to land 50+ rainbow trout in one day?? The north end Canyon Ferry rainbow trout spawn is the most prolifi c spawn in the entire world; ok I made that up, but it can sure feel like it with non-stop jigging action. The awesome thing about this folly endeavor is that shore access is very available and anglers can get big rewards without a boat. This is single-handedly some of the most exciting spring fi shing Montana has to offer...especially if you’re a jig fi sherman!! I have a special connection with Canyon Ferry this time of year and chasing big bruiser bows on their beds...it is where I learned to jig fi sh. This is also where I acquired the famous “Johnson Jig” style that has fi lled the box time after time. There isn’t a nook or cranny on the shoreline I haven’t tossed a marabou jig into hoping for a line twitch. I can still remember my grandpa’s enormous smile when I would hook a big rainbow and the drag would start squealing...talk about a slimy Disneyland for kids!! So get down with your bad self this May and head to Canyon Ferry for some incredible jigging action for HUGE rainbows.Rainbow trout build vast spawning beds and protect them with all their life. They actually place small signs written in fi nhili around the perimeter with the warning “all intruders will be devoured on site!” While fi shing rainbows during the spawn most strikes come from irritation and not predation. So in other words, using bright colored visibly noisy jigs is your best bet to getting bit. For example, if I was to sneak through the woods quiet or wrap myself in chicken bones and blow my hoochie mama cow call which would lead to a better chance of a Grizzly having me for lunch?...I think you get the point. My two highest marabou color recommendations for spawning rainbows:Egg Sucking Leech Leeches are notorious for robbing nest...mama trout gets very angry when she sees a leech swimming off with one of her babies. The best way to describe what happens next...do you remember the game Hungry Hungry Hippos?? Fire Tiger This color pattern is proven to set off the warning alarms on mama and daddy trout’s lateral line!!

•THE BIG DRY ARMI can already tell your imagining the lotion ad on television where Shaquille O’ Neil is rubbing his arms down with Gold bond...you got me all wrong. I’m talking about Montana’s famous Fort Peck reservoir and its eastern side called the Big Dry Arm. I can’t even in my wildest writing begin to describe the magic this body of water holds...especially in May!! The one thing I will say is if a 30” walleye (or two or three) is on your bucket list I would make darn sure you do your best to make the drive to Fort Peck. Walleye travel from the deep main lake basins up the Big Dry Arm to spawn each spring. After the walleye do “their thing” in April they sulk around for a few weeks recovering from the rigors of spawning. Once starting to feel like themselves again, they slowly start the migration back toward the main lake...with BIG ATTITUDES and APPETITES!! There is

not a better place in this world to catch numbers of quality fi sh than the Big Dry Arm in May!! Last year, in a single morning I landed two walleye over 30” and another 28” on my rod alone...not to mention my partners fi sh!! And this is the time for jig fi shermen to get ‘Jiggy with it’ ...literally!! And if you’re new to jigging, I can’t imagine a better place to start your cadence!!

My partner Ken Schmidt with a 31” hen

By Trevor Johnson, Kit’s Tackle

Page 17: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

17May 2013

Sounds too easy right?? Fort Peck’s Big Dry Arm in May can be as unforgiving as it can be generous...prepare for the worst here. May is notorious for huge fl uctuations in weather meaning BIG WATER!! I have seen Fort Peck go from glass calm to “oh s*%$!!” in about 2.5 seconds!! Although this sounds intimidating, you just need to play it smart and not take out a small boat or make big runs if the weather is questionable. I do have some good news on this subject though...you won’t need much boat gas this time of year. Usually in the month of May walleye are predominantly found between Rock Creek and Nelson Creek which is only about a ten or twelve mile stretch of lake. The big bonus here is that the fi sh are much more concentrated making them easier to locate and target. With the high water the last few years Fort Peck has generated a utopia spawning ground for its numerous baitfi sh species ESPECIALLY the yellow perch!! A larger reservoir pool also results in more available habitat and provides benefi ts such as nutrient release from fl ooded shoreline vegetation. In my opinion, the walleyes feeding dynamics on Fort Peck are changing signifi cantly...what once was a principal deep water pelagic cisco bite is transitioning to a shallow water yellow perch and spot-tail shiner bite. For us jig fi sherman, this is a good thing...a very good thing. The only downside with the high water is the shorelines are loaded with submerged trees and debris making a frustrating and expensive day of fi shing. Once again you’re in luck; Fort Peck’s water levels have declined drastically in the last six months meaning the lake will be free of submerged debris. Two big key points here:•Fish will see your jig from extended distances so you will get more strikes!!•You will spend more time fi shing rather than swearing at the submerged cottonwood tree that just stole your Glass Minnow!!The Big Dry Arm special!! A Yellow Perch Glass Minnow equipped with a 3” Berkley GULP minnow!! Walleye seek refuge in shallow after the spawn seeking forage. My highest recommended method for success is to create a buffer zone between your boat and the shore...about twenty yards or so. Pitch your Glass Minnows right up to the shore and jig them back to the boat along the bottom. Post spawn walleye can be very aggressive so don’t be afraid to jig it like you mean it!! I like to add a series of “pops” when I’m jigging it along the bottom. What you’re trying to mimic is a crippled juvenile Yellow Perch swimming. This makes an EASY and DELICIOUS meal for big walleyes!! Most of the BIG walleye we catch this time of year are hanging in less than 10 feet of water.Nothing reminds me more of the Big Dry Arm than the song of our beautiful state bird. The meadowlark resonates the May air from the breathtaking sunrises of eastern Montana to the last jig ups of the evening. In fact, where I live in the Helena valley, we have an abundance of meadowlarks in our neighborhood. I open my window every morning to listen to their sweet serenade while I have my coffee. If even for a moment before I start up the jig engine for the day, I close my eyes and do a little “Jiggin’ the Dream” on Fort Pecks Big Dry Arm. Please remember folks...this is one of the world’s best walleye fi sheries!! To preserve and maintain this awesome body of water for generations to come, we all must adopt a catch and release tactic. Years ago, the In-Fisherman coined the term “selective harvest” which has proven to be the most important expression in advocating for the future of fi shing. I myself believe that harvesting a couple fi sh is a very important part of the “Hunt, Camp, Fish” experience. I can still recall a Memorial Day weekend about ten years ago at Forchette Bay on Fort Peck catching upwards of seventy smallmouths including a near state record. But the most vivid memory of that entire trip was the hot fried fi sh over the cast iron skillet back at camp that night with my dad. Larger fi sh need to go back to help sustain the fi shery and create memories for anglers to come. The primary spawning walleye is 20-28” so it is of PARAMOUNT importance these fi sh be returned back to fi ght again. Here is some food for thought...a 25” walleye is pushing seven years old on average. If you keep fi ve 25” walleye you are taking THIRTY FIVE YEARS of walleye in Mother Nature’s eyes. Please do the right thing.CHEERS TO “JIGGIN’ THE DREAM” IN 2013, BABY!!

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Page 18: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

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Page 19: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

19May 2013

10. Nothing fi lls the void like a marabou jig. A person could land panfi sh, walleye, pike and bass all day with just a little easy-breathing marabou. Whether it is a Lindy Fuz-e-grub tail, a ten-cent chenille-bodied crappie jig, a Bass Buster or some other underwater incarnation of life on a lead-head, the marabou jig family is a force to be reckoned with. Try them for crappie in summer and bass and walleye in the spring. 9. What turned me on to the number nine lure in this list was a successful stretch late one summer where both smallies and largemouth smacked the skirts off of every one in my box. The spinnerbait has long been a staple for bass fi shing throughout the country. Used to simulate fl eeing prey, such as minnows, these fl ashy, pulsating lures are effective on both bass species as well as pike. White with silver blades is a great spinnerbait pattern for muddy or cloudy waters, but stock up on chartreuse, silver and bluegill skirt patterns to match forage in your area when the water warms. 8. Case Plastics Sinkin’ Salty Shad is a minnow-profi led bait that has the look of forage that big bass crave, with the subtle undulation of a stick bait that even the most negative post-frontal bass can’t resist... 7. In the past decade, I have trolled a variety of crankbaits for walleye but the one I keep coming back to is the Storm Thundercrank. In deep and medium diving models, from three to fi ve inches, the Thundercrank possesses a fi sh-catching action like no other. There is a silver pattern and a perch pattern that have been dynamite on my home lake as they imitate the local walleye forage – juvenile white bass and perch – to perfection. 6. Often copied but never duplicated, the number six lure makes catchinglunker bass easy for the inexperienced. The Yamamoto Senko is the most powerful plastic to ever be rigged for, thrown to and inhaled by monster bass...I’d never be without one in some shade, but my favorite is a fi ve-inch green pumpkin with chartreuse tip on a 2/0 worm hook for monster largemouth. Downsize to the four-inch model for an effective smallmouth lure. 5. The X-Rap is the latest model of the Rapala family to take the water by storm. Its erratic action when cranked and jerked and variety of sizes – and now specializations – make it a required part of any sportsman’s tacklebox. Try the new X-Rap Shad or Subwalk for even more versatility. For smallies, pike and walleye, this lure is beyond effective. 4. When summer is in full swing and bass are tucked tight under docks and trees, nothing gets them out like a creature bait. Though there are many effective baits that represent frogs, salamanders, and crayfi sh, my go-to is the four-inch Wooly Hawg Craw by Yum baits. Rigged with a 2/0 wide-gap VMC worm hook and a small bullet sinker, these scented plastics are great for fl ipping into thick cover and under docks where big largemouth and bronzebacks lurk. Top colors are tequila sunrise, green and pumpkin. 3. The bait that reminds me most of warm weather fi shing is the ChompersTube by Table Rock Tackle. These heavily scented tubes are perfect for skipping under docks or along bridges for bass. Texas-rigged with a wide-gap hook, Chompers are irresistible to bass. Try running them on Carolina rigs for those fi sh holding out in the weed lines, or staging off the channel of your local river after a cooler spell. Or if you get stuck in the winter doldrums, open a bag of these baits in your room to remind you of summer and scare off any vampires with their garlicky smell. 2. Even if trolling is my least favorite way to fi sh, there’s one lure I always count on to land the walleye and perch on my local waters. The JB Lure Company’s series of Vibra-fl ash spinner rigs (the ones with the hole in the blade) are tops for tricking walleye. My favorites are the crawler harnesses that come in three-hook models, but are easily shortened down to two... 1. Was there ever any doubt that the classic, potent, and downright versatile jig-and-grub combo would be tops? From tiny one-inch twisters to monster fi ve-inch grubs, there is a curly-tailed lure for every species. I have landed crappie, pike, walleye, bass, bluegill and more on this lure combo that covers the top of my tackle box. With thousands of color options and sizes, these lures can match the hatch or shock the fi sh into biting...It is fun to look back on the fun had with these lures, and none of them would have made this list if it weren’t for many successful outings. By and large, they can all be counted on to catch great numbers of fi sh, and if you’re lucky, a true trophy...in our outdoors.

Tackle Top TenBy Nick Simonson, Nodak Outdoorshttp://www.nodakoutdoors.com/tackle-top-ten.php

Author with a summer bass


Page 20: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

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20 - Hunting & Fishing News


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May promises to be one of the best times of the year to get out and catch fi sh! All area lakes, streams and reservoirs will be fi shing well this month. Whether you like to fi sh for bass, pike, walleye or trout, it’s time to gear up and hit the water. Trying to predict when and where to catch a trophy fi sh is about as easy as trying to predict who will win next year’s Superbowl, but even if you don’t catch a recordbook fi sh, you’re bound to tangle with at least a few big ones to takeyou up and down the shoreline. Like anything else, timing is everything, but you will need to beon the water to make it happen. All area streams that are legal to fi sh will be open the third Saturday in May. The bug hatches will get fi sh rising to the top for a meal, and as the air and water temperatures start to rise, so will these fi sh. Here’s arun-down of a few spots you mightconsider fi shing in May.

Staiger of HelenaStaiger of Helenawith nice rainbowwith nice rainbowtaken on Hauser Laketaken on Hauser Lake

If you’re after double digit Montana walleye, one of the top areas will be Canyon Ferry in late May. This is because the walleye will start to hold up on gravelly shorelines and rocky edges of the lake to spawn. It’s a chance to catch big females and also good numbers of eater-sized fi sh. Boaters should head to the dikes on the southern end of the lake and fi sh inside edges of the structures. These dikes were constructed out of river cobble in order to control dust when the lakebed is exposed, and also to provide critical waterfowl nestinghabitat. These areas appeal to the spawning walleye. If you can, methodically work these areas casting out to shoreline with jigs working the 6 to 12 foot water depth. The stretch between

Goose Bay Campground and Confederate Campground will producewalleye. Trolling along the edges using a variety of bottom bouncers and crankbaits works for trout and walleye here. The rainbow troutspawn will be coming to an end and the walleye should be in the middle of their spawn here in May. If you do catch a trophy fi sh, it’s always a good idea to measure, take a few photos, then release them back into the water. (Take the smaller fi sh. They taste much better.) This willhelp the system produce more fi sh for the future.

HOLTER LAKEHolter will be hot in May! Fishing up through the “Gates” will produce plenty of trout feeding aggressively after their spawning period has ended. The handsome big brown trout will be ready to pounce on anything that is in the vicinity. Plenty of eater-sized walleye will behitting on jigs as the water temperature starts to rise. Look for rock piles and slides that enter the water edges and you should fi nd some fi sh. The walleye will hold up down current of these rocky points, so hit

these points hard for good action.If you need help, or have never fi shed for walleye, but would like to learn how to catch these tasty fi sh, I recommend giving the Walleye Hunter a call. Forrest can take you to fi sh on Holter, Canyon Ferry, and even Fort Peck. Give him a call at406-459-5352.

NELSON RESERVOIRLooking for another big walleyedestination? Nelson should be good. Fish the sunken humps along the northern shoreline that will hold some chunky walleye. Big northerns will be found here too. Fish the shoulders of Pelican Island. Every year, this area produces big springtime fi sh. A worm tipped Crawler harness can be effective on big fi sh here. Northern pike in the 6 to 8 pound class are a pretty normalhit as well. Just hold on for the ride!

ROCK CREEKLet’s change the tune a little and head to Rock Creek, located betweenMissoula and Butte, just off the Interstate. Rock Creek holds blue-ribboned trout fi shing here in

the late spring. The salmon fl y hatch on Rock Creek is legendary. When these orange stonefl ies swarm the creek the fi sh go berserk. You can throw large dryfl ies in the morning, like a darkstonefl y nymph or a Copper John, then switch to a Skawala patternonce you get the fi sh to rise. There are plenty of campgrounds on the creek if you’re staying a couple of days in this beautiful area. A good place to fi sh from camp is Harry Flat or the Big Horn Area.

KOOTENAI RIVERLocated near Libby, MT. this river will heat up here, and into the summer.Expect good fi shing action aboveKootenai Falls as the water warms.Fish black and olive Woolly Buggers in sizes 4 and 6 or try Hare’s Ear, Beadhead Prince and a Zug Bug on the fl y. Big bull trout are in the system, so be ready for a smash! Remember the bull trout is protected, so catch and release only on the bulls. Another of Montana’s mostscenic areas, it’s worth the trip to Libby.

BLACKFOOT RIVERSalmon fl ies should start to hatch in late May as well here and this river can be on fi re with big bouncing trout. Nymphing a big stonefl ynymph on these western Montana rivers is a very effective way to catch a hungry trout. If the fi shing is tough on the river, you can head up the road and try out Brown’s Lake, Harper’s Lake or even Salmon Lake for some good action.

ECHO LAKEIt’s time to fi sh for bass in Echo Lake, located near Kalispell, MT.

Page 21: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

21May 2013

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Visit our website www.montanamotorsportsandmarine.com for our full selection Visit our website www.montanamotorsportsandmarine.com for our full selection You can fi sh the shallow bays, as they will be warming up and holding good-sized largemouth bass. You will most likely need a small boat as most of the shoreline areas areprivately owned. Soft plastic baits should get the attention of bass hanging around and under dockareas. There are always some nice bass that are ahead of, or behind the majority of spawners, usually in late May. You can also throw spinnerbaits near shorelines. Try white with silver blades or mix your colors until you fi nd what theylike. As you’re fi shing these areas, chances are, you’ll probably tangle with a northern pike as well. After the third Saturday in May, you can only keep one bass daily through July 1st. After that, it’s fi ve in possession daily, only 1 over 12”.Check regulations before you fi sh.

CLARK CANYON RESERVOIRLook for outstanding fi shing through the summer on this popularimpoundment 20 miles south ofDillon, MT. Clark Canyon producessome real monster trout in the 20 to 24 inch category. Try catching a big trout with a fl y pattern under a strike indicator. Good colors are black, pink, green or olive. Once

you get one of these biggies on, expect a good fi ght until you fi nally net the fi sh. Trollers will catch hungry trout dragging a Rapala or Kastmasters in a brown trout pattern, or rainbow colors. Jigging with these colors works until the weeds get too heavy.

TALLY LAKEYou can fi sh Tally Lake located near Whitefi sh, MT. for kokanee, rainbow,cutthroat, northern pike and huge lake trout. While not being well known for a trophy area lake, big fi sh call this lake home, as you can only keep a lake trout that measures over 42 inches. The lake is at its deepest point around 490 feet, making it the deepest natural lake inMontana. Troll downriggers with a M-50 Flatfi sh in rainbow trout colors slowly for fi sh that exceed 25 pounds.For kokanee and smaller trout, youcan fi sh the boat launch area down to the Logan Creek inlet. This is also where the northern pike maybe hanging.

FORT PECKThe walleye will be very aggressivehere in late May as water temperatures increase. A feedingfrenzy will occur just after the

spawning season ends. For big walleye you can fi sh out of Hell Creekacross the main lake to Sutherlin Bay, Bone Trail, Timber Creek and any other inlets that will hold big walleye, smallmouth bass, perch and northern pike. Pull a crankbait in around 20 feet of water and up, or pitch a jig or spinnerbaits near shorelines, and you are sure to havesuccess. The Rock Creek area willalso provide excellent fi shing. You can camp at either of these locationson the lake. Be prepared for the late spring weather as some days will be tough to fi sh if it’s windy andchoppy. Plan to spend at least 3 or 4days, so you can get plenty of fi shing in.

IdahoLowland Lakes: Winchester Lakecan produce good trout, yellow perch and crappie fi shing throughthe spring. Henry’s Lake boasts very good trout fi shing. Fish Twin Lakes Reservoir for largemouthbass, bluegill, crappie, perch and rainbow trout. Expect to land rainbow and brown trout, smallmouth bass, and perch in American Falls Reservoir.The best kokanee fi shing will be onDworshak Reservoir in late May and into June. Most of these waters arestocked annually with catchable rainbow trout.

Rivers and streams: Fluctuating water fl ows can be the biggest factor now on area rivers and streams. Bass fi shing in the Snake River near Lewiston, ID. will be good. Fish curly tailed grubs in around 10 feet of water near rockyareas for smallmouths. Catfi sh can be caught as well. Sturgeon fi shing on the Snake river can provide big adventure. Catch and release for sturgeon on all Idaho waters.

Salmon season will be good thistime of year on the Clearwater, Snake, Salmon and Little SalmonRivers. Anglers should stay informed on in-season changes and limits before heading outto fi sh in Idaho.

Huge Driftboat SalmonPhoto: Idaho Fish and Game

Page 22: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

22 - Hunting & Fishing News

Carp on a Stick


(406) 457-9197(406) 457-9197

[email protected]@mt.net

Box 949, Helena, MT 59624Box 949, Helena, MT 59624

8 new maps8 new mapsIncluding Including


By Mark Reller >Perhaps it is my limited cognitive abilities, but it seems to me that shooting fi shing arrows with my bow leaves me with some bad shooting habits. Namely, when I switch back to carbon hunting arrows I tend to overshoot for a while. None the less I still like to pursue carp with my bow, but only occasionally.This past April and May I had occasion to be collecting data on Canyon Ferry Reservoir between Helena and Townsend, Montana. Collecting data is the code word I use to convince the wife that I am out “working” with my high resolution GPS and Sonar equipment, collecting position tagged depth information for a new bathymetric map of a reservoir or lake. And to be honest I did “work” more than anything else this spring. I covered the entire Canyon Ferry Reservoir on 100 meter or less transect spacing which took just over 1000 boat miles and amounted to over a quarter million data points. Safe to say I learned the lake pretty well, again. Plus, I generated some nice lake image graphics to share with others as well.I say learned the lake “again” because Canyon Ferry was the fi rst place my Grandpa ever took me ice fi shing, clear back in the 1960’s. When I actually moved to Helena 25 years ago my father insisted I take his skiff with me because I would “need” it to experience Canyon Ferry. Then I lived on Magpie Creek near Magpie Bay for 7 years. Then I spent too many windy afternoons all around the lake kite surfi ng with friends. In the winter I have ridden a mountain bike out on the lake to Cemetery Island. It is the quid essential place to take guests on a scenic boat ride. Then again, there are a few places I like to access by boat for hunting deer and elk. Then yet again it is just a beautiful place to be in every Montana season. But even with all that experience on a single lake, driving another 1000 miles of transects over a couple of weeks allows you to really learn the water.What I learned made me want to pick up the bow and torment some common carp. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks lists common carp as “abundant” on Canyon Ferry and I could not agree more. On the FWP carp distribution map Canyon Ferry along with Fort Peck appear to have some of the highest densities in the State. In the past I have seen carp essentially everywhere on the reservoir from the open water to near shore. But this spring I discovered some more great places where carp like to congregate in great numbers.I am not a fi sheries biologist, but I like to hang out with a few. They tell me that in Montana common carp spawn can start as early as May but the spawn lasts into July. I couldn’t help but wonder if what I saw was part fi sh seeking out the fi rst of the warming water, or perhaps pre-spawning aggregations. Likely it was a bit of both.Like I noted earlier, common carp, are well “common” throughout the reservoir. But last spring as I mapped the west side bays at mid lake it seemed they were exceptionally common. Places like Table Cove, Horse Island Bay, Spire Bay and the small coves and bays in between all have warm shallows in their upper ends in early spring. They are protected from wind mixing and have little or no apparent surface infl ows. Thus with a bit of sun they can be up to ten degrees warmer than open water areas that are well mixed. Plus, when suspended over the light colored sands and silts these carp are quite visible and such substrates are gentle on your arrows.The more pronounced bays on the east side of the reservoir also hold spring carp, but I noticed some of the large shallows from Goose Bay and points north were cooler and at least in the spring revealed less carp than in the summer. I do recall one December years passed when a friend and I took an afternoon boat ride into the upper end of Avalanche bay just before ice up. We throttled the boat back to investigate what we thought was a few acres of fl oating bark which made for a curious site. As we approached the bark would “sink” along the edges. It turned out what we saw was a 5 acre raft of carp with their dorsal fi ns and part of their backs sticking out of the water. Can you say: “please hand me my bow”!This past spring I also learned what many may already know about boat hunting common carp. That is, there is an art to sliding into a shallow bay. But before I describe one tip, I have to raise the issue of fair chase with hopes folks will join the debate on whether or not such approaches violate fair chase ethics. When I map in small bays, the transects often look more like a bunch of zig-zags as I drive into the bay. As an engineer I must technically call them sinusoidal curves, but none-the-less I think most can visualize the pattern. Slowly from the mouth of the bay I would drive back and forth, shore to shore, until I reached the back of the bay. What I learned was this seemed to create a herding effect and push the carp together, even more than they had already naturally congregated. Push too much, too fast and they all disperse. But after driving lightly you kill the engine and drift in the last few hundred feet, and you fi nd your self sitting amongst several hundred 8 to 15 pound common carp in 2 foot of water over light colored sand and silt substrates. The Montana online fi eld guide states: “The introduction of carp into North America from Asia is considered to be one of the greatest mistakes in the history of American fi sheries management by biologists who have documented the widespread loss of native fi sh and habitat to this aggressive intruder.” That said, I say grab a Canyon Ferry Fishing map from your local sporting goods store or on-line at MarksLakeMaps.com. Dust off your bow and fuel up your boat, and head to Canyon Ferry this spring and work on developing some bad shooting habits with your bow.>

Page 23: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

23May 2013

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Windy Spaces and Angling Aces (continued from page 13)

Premium Humminbird models also offer something called SwitchFire. The exclusive feature expands sensitivity for graphing shallow water by increasing sonar intensity. Baitfi sh come to life. Walleyes are distinct. What I consider ‘fi shable’ winds are anything out to about 20 MPH – anything over 25 gets downright dangerous. Operating in even a 10-MPH wind requires serious boat control. Yes, practice is in order, but offshore so you don’t slam into shore during training camp. Backtroll or gun it with the bow-mount Minn Kota. Either way, learn how to hold steady against the wind.Not long after the spring

spawn, large female walleyesreturn to the shallows and gorge themselves on baitfi sh. Onshore winds are a strong indicator of where their hunger is being satisfi ed. Photo courtesy of Frabill

spot inside hours. By comparison, it can take 12 to 24 hours for a wind change to take effect. With those beliefs in mind, I monitor wind direction for a couple days leading up to a fi shing trip. Are some wind directions better than others? Yes, to some degree... Steady south and southwest breezes produce best, followed by westerly and then northwest winds. East is okay if it’s stable for a couple of days. But that northeaster is a downer. It usually partners with a fl uctuating barometer and the results are seldom good. Consistent wind, however, plays a more signifi cant and positive role than the actual compass direction. Honestly, if you nail down the wind thing and are captaining with control, the rest is gravy. Needn’t get any more complicated than a jig and minnow. The jig gets you in the money zone. The minnow? It’s what’s for dinner. And fi sh small, or more accurately use as light of jigs as possible. 1/16-ounce jigs offer enough gravitational pull most of the time. Upsize to a 1/8-ounce if smaller jigs are getting blown around. The goal is maintaining control with as light a jig as possible. Light jigs can be fi shed slower, which is in sync with cold water walleye feeding behavior.Casting wins out over drifting, too. Blasting through on a speed-drift achieves nothing. The bait needs to swim slowly and methodically. Blanket the water by establishing casting lanes for each angler. Hold in place; cast, cast, cast and then reposition. Using nature to your advantage, begin just upwind of the targeted range and hedge toward shore.My preferred jig is a VMC Mooneye with its long shank and wicked hook – ideal for threading on live shiners or chubs. In weeded zones, the short-shanked VMC Dominator is a better selection. By and large, I still prefer a premium monofi lament over a superline. Six-pound Sufi x Siege is my bread and butter for jigging. I will, however, switch to Sufi x 832, a superline, in a particularly strong wind. It slices through gusts and doesn’t bow as much. Longer rods are the order of the day. For jigging, I recommend the price-conscious fast-action Daiwa DXW 6’ 8” and 7” models. I was involved in the development of the DXW series. Goal was to build a guide quality walleye rod for under $100. We did it... Match the DXW with all-around-performing Daiwa Lexa 1500 reel. It, too, performs like a champ at around $100. The Daiwa Procyn 2000 is the ultimate upgrade, and what I use on most of my combos. Don’t be that guy anchored behind the island. Yes, it’s easy and carefree, but sucks for catching walleyes. They thrive in the wind. You have to brace the blow, maneuver in it, and you’ll get that peaceful easy feeling back at the dock with fi sh to show.

The actual design of the watercraft matters, too. Lund Boats tame wind like none other. Engineered for mitigating rough water, the reverse chines, power strakes and rails on the IPS and IPS2 hulls promote control trolling into a wind and motoring on plane. Having a number of quality neighborhood fi sheries to choose from, I also apply wind direction to the best structure on a properly positioned lake. Some lakes just don’t fi sh well in certain winds. You want wind pelting particular shoreline structures. How long it takes for consistent wind direction to energize an area varies, however. In calm conditions, wind can activate a

Page 24: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

24 - Hunting & Fishing News

HUNTING & CONSHunting & Conservation NewsHunting & Conservation News Proudly Sponsored ByProudly Sponsored ByAllied WasteAllied Waste RMEF to Allot $3.4 Million for Habitat

and Hunting Heritage Projects in 2013RMEF

New Mexico $104,782 North Carolina $13,746 North Dakota $65,187 Oklahoma $13,728 Oregon $233,239 Pennsylvania $63,309 South Dakota $85,396 Tennessee $10,000 Utah $10,000 Virginia $10,000 Washington $283,078 Wisconsin $67,940 Wyoming $481,285

Photo: Lawrence Stolte|Dreamstime

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will allocate nearly $2.9 million for elk and wildlife-related conservation projects in 27 states with wild, free-ranging elk populations in 2013. Additionally $570,000 will also be allocated to hunting heritage programs in 49 states. The funding totals $3,459,899, which is derived from banquet-based memberships and fundraising by local RMEF chapters, and represents a 30 percent increase from 2010. “This is a testament to the mission focused attitude of our dedicated volunteers,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Their successful chapter banquets raise money which is then turned around and put back on the ground to RMEF mission programs in their own states.”Habitat projects are selected for RMEF grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies and universities from their respective states. Examples of projects include habitat stewardship such as prescribed burning, forest thinning and management, weed control, water improvements and more, mostly on public lands. Also included are research projects to improve management of elk, habitat, predators and other factors that infl uence conservation. “These funds allow us to carry out dozens of projects that are vital to help elk and enhance elk habitat,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “Among those efforts are a radio-collar elk study in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, fi ve burn projects in Wyoming to improve forage, and various other research, fence removal and water supply projects.” Allocated 2013 amounts for states with wild, free-ranging elk populations: Alaska $17,339 Arizona $166,148 Arkansas $41,404 California $327,236 Colorado $249,376 Idaho $69,427 Kansas $10,000 Kentucky $60,558 Michigan $10,000 Minnesota $40,903 Missouri $5,000 Montana $438,129 Nebraska $10,000 Nevada $42,301The amount listed above refers to money raised exclusively by RMEF volunteers in their individual states. RMEF will also distribute money received through donations, teaming with partners, grants and other means to its national core programs of habitat stewardship, land protection, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

Hunting heritage projects are selected by RMEF staff and volunteers in their individual states and are based on the ability to provide education about habitat conservation, the value of hunting, hunting ethics and wildlife management, and reaching out to youth.

Shed-antler hunters and other recreationists planning to visit a Montana Wildlife Management Area are reminded that while many popular WMAs open at noon on May 15, several do not open until June 1. It is illegal to enter a state WMA prior to its formal opening day.Buck deer and bull elk and moose grow antlers each year, some to magnifi cent size, which drop off to re-grow each spring. Hunting for and collecting these “shed” antlers in spring has become a popular activity on more than 30 WMAs managed by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.Many of Montana’s WMAs provide security to wintering wildlife during the most vulnerable time of the year. These WMAs are closed to public use following the end of the hunting season and do not reopen until mid-May or June 1.In the past, some WMAs have opened at midnight, but the FWP Commission recently enacted regulations that require all WMAs statewide with winter closures to reopen at noon to help with consistency and public safety.To learn more about Montana’s WMAs—and to confi rm specifi copening dates—visit FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov. Click “Fish & Wildlife” then click “Wildlife Management Areas”.

Check Opening Days For Shed Antler Hunting On Wildlife Management AreasMFWP

Hardin Family Fined for PoachingMFWP

Four members of a Hardin family have been ordered to pay more than $22,000 in fi nes and restitution after pleading guilty to 18 charges of illegally killing wildlife in two Montana counties and one charge of illegal outfi tting. They also lost hunting, fi shing and trapping privileges for a total of 24 years.Paul A. Eschelman, 49, and his father, William J. Eschelman, 76, each paid $1,005 in fi nes in Petroleum County and lost their hunting, fi shing and trapping privileges for two years after pleading guilty to unlawful possession of a cow elk and two counts each of illegal transfer of a license. Paul A. Eschelman also paid restitution of $1,000.In addition, Paul A. Eschelman was ordered to pay $5,035 in fi nes and $10,000 in restitution and lost his hunting, fi shing and trapping privileges for 15 years after pleading guilty to nine poaching crimes in Bighorn County. The crimes included hunting during a closed season, killing too many deer and possession of an illegally killed bobcat, bull moose, bighorn ram, white-tailed deer buck, mule deer buck and antelope buck. He also pleaded guilty to outfi tting without a license.Jarred M. Eschelman, 19, Paul A. Eschelman’s son, pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of white-tailed deer, mule deer and antelope bucks. He was ordered to pay $1,535 in fi nes and $1,500 in restitution and lost his hunting, fi shing and trapping privileges for fi ve years.Danielle R. Eschelman, 39, Paul A. Eschelman’s wife, pleaded guilty to possession of an illegally killed moose. She was fi ned $1,035 and lost hunting, fi shing and trapping privileges for 2 years...

Page 25: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

25May 2013

SERVATION NEWSBlack Bear Population Expanding In Southeastern Montana MFWP

During the spring and fall of 2006, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) implemented region wide quota-based black bear hunting seasons across southeast Montana in response to increased sightings and sportsmen interest. After six consecutive years of regulated black bear harvest, populations looked promising enough that the MFWP Commission recently approved a fall quota increase from 4 to 8 bears, which will take effect this fall.Regional black bear management objectives strive to sustain populations at a level that promotes social tolerance and minimizes human or livestock confl icts, while optimizing recreational opportunity for sportsman (sic) and wildlife enthusiasts. Black bears can be harvested by licensed hunters anywhere across the region. Black bears actively harassing or attacking livestock can be harvested without a license by livestock owners; however these harvests are required to be reported to MFWP. One male was removed in 2012 by a livestock producer after it depredated a fl ock of sheep. Five additional incidental harvests have been reported since 2003.Annual black bear seasons include: 1) A spring season, any legal weapon, which runs from April 15 until May 31 2) A fall season, archery only, which runs from September 7 until September 14 and 3) A fall season, any legal weapon, which runs from September 15 until December 1 or until harvest quotas are met.During the 2012 Region 7 black bear hunting seasons, region wide either sex quotas of 2 and 4 were in place for the spring and fall. Five black bears were harvested; one in the spring and four in the fall. Three were males and two were females. Age results won’t be known until mid summer.This marked the third consecutive year and the fourth time in seven years that the fall quota was met. Fifty-fi ve percent of Region 7 black bear harvests were by hunters targeting some other species. Most of those were elk or deer hunters in the fall. Region 7 also has more hunters in the fi eld during the fall; most of which come to southeast Montana to hunt deer, elk, antelope, or upland game birds and opportunistically hunted bears while they were here. The spring quota has never been met.Since the inaugural (2006) seasons, 20 black bears have been legally harvested in Region 7; 14 males and 6 females. Of those 20 harvests, 12 were aged by cementum annuli analysis. Eleven were sub-adults (1-5 years old) and 1 was an adult (6-10 years old). Wildlife Biologist Dean Waltee expects ages of harvested bears to increase in the years to come. A bear that was 10 years old was harvested during the 2011 seasons. This was the fi rst bear older than 4 that was harvested in Region 7. “I suspect there are more bears across the region than most people think and plenty of bears have been surviving hunting seasons”, Waltee said. “We are getting more reports of sows with cubs every year and Montana research has shown that sows rarely reproduce prior to 4 years old and the average age of fi rst reproduction is 6. Sows with cubs indicates to me that there are older bears on the landscape that we are not harvesting,” In addition to hunter harvests, 6 incidental harvests have been reported since 2003. Those include road kills and livestock and crop depredation removals. Incidental harvests do not count towards the regional harvest quota. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks encourage reporting incidental harvest to area employees or regional offi ces.According to Waltee, regulated black bear harvest has been a successful management tool in Region 7. “Sportsmen have harvested 20 black bears while only three have had to be removed for property damage or human safety reasons. This suggests to me that we are maintaining viable populations of black bears while increasing public recreational opportunity and minimizing damage to private properties; especially livestock.” The most common issue to date has been damage to stock tank fl oats; which bears break while utilizing stock tanks for water and to cool down. Overall, social tolerance of black bears across southeast Montana remains high and reported livestock depredations have been few.

Looking forward, Waltee expects black bear populations to continue to grow and expand across the region. An analysis of suitable black bear habitat and population potential demonstrated that black bear potential across Region 7 exceeds previous estimations. Waltee suspects that the recently approved fall quota increase will simply be the fi rst of several needed to address growing populations.“Population trends will be most infl uenced by harvest,” said Waltee. “The natural black bear forage base present across southeast Montana, which includes deer, elk, antelope, insects, a variety of small mammals and birds, green vegetation, and berries is annually plentiful. Disease and weather have not been limiting factors; although prolonged drought could become one.” “The goal”, Waltee said, “will be using regulated hunter harvest to maintain populations well within the natural prey capacity so black bears have little or no need to predate livestock or severely suppress big game populations.”Waltee emphasized that management of black bears across southeast Montana will be a continual process of balancing sustained populationsand desired recreational opportunities with tolerance from private landowners and big game hunters. “When it comes to managing large carnivores in southeast Montana, we need to recognize that the region is mostly privately owned and utilized for livestock production. Too many black bears can become very problematic. We also need to remain cognizant that overharvest could result in an unnecessary loss of recreational opportunities and negatively impact our ability to utilize regulated harvest on federal lands, as has occurred in other states,” said Waltee.

Edward Hunt|Dreamstime

Page 26: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

26 - Hunting & Fishing News


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F&G Commission

Extends Wolf Hunting Season

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Thursday, March 28, extended the current wolf hunting season in the Middle Fork and part of the Dworshak-Elk City wolf management zones.The commission extended the wolf hunting season through June 30 in the Middle Fork units 20A, 26 and 27 and in the part of the Dworshak-Elk-City Unit 16 north of the Selway River. These seasons were scheduled to end March 31.Most other hunting and trapping seasons closed March 31, except hunting seasons in the Lolo and Selway zones, which also run through the end of June.As of April 1, hunters had killed 192 wolves and trappers 114 for a total of 306 wolves. Last year, hunters and trappers killed 379 wolves.For information see http://fi shand-game.idaho.gov/public/wildlife/wolves/.

GovernorSigns Bill

ExtendingLicense Revocation

For PoachingPoachers and other violators of New Mexico’s wildlife laws could lose their license privileges for periods beyond the current three-year limitation under legislation signed this week by Gov. Susana Martinez. Senate Bill 73 allows the State Game Commission to increase license revocation periods for people convicted of severe violations, including “trophy poaching,” an offense usually associated with the removal of skulls and antlers and leaving the carcass to rot. The new law will become effective June 14.“We are sending an important message to poachers,” Gov. Martinez said. “If they choose not to play by the rules, there will be serious consequences.”Lifetime revocations, such as those imposed by Colorado and Wyoming, are possible...

Fish For Large Pike At Yuba Reservoir

DWR Conservation Outreach Manager Scott Root shows a huge pike DWR biologists caught in their nets during sampling work at Yuba Reservoir in 2012.Utah Division of Wildlife Resources photo

High numbers of fi sh are feeding in shallow waterRight now is the best chance you’ll have all year to catch a big northern pike at Yuba Reservoir.Division of Wildlife Resources biologists recently fi nished a netting survey at the reservoir in north-central Utah. They were excited by the numbers and the size of the pike they caught. During an eight-hour period, they netted more than 100 northern pike.“This is, by far, the highest northern pike sampling result we’ve ever seen at Yuba,” says Don Wiley, regional sport fi sh project leader for the DWR.The average length of the pike sampled was 24 to 25 inches. But Wiley says the reservoir contains pike that are more than 40 inches long and weigh more than 15 pounds.Although you can catch pike throughout the year, one of the most exciting times to fi sh for pike is immediately after the ice has left the water. Compared to many other warm water species, pike stay fairly active, even in cold water.Scott Root, regional conservation outreach manager for the DWR, says the pike in Yuba are currently in water that’s three to six feet deep. “They’re looking for places to spawn,” Root says, “and they’re starting to feed aggressively. Now is the perfect time to get outside and target one of these monsters.”Root says the pike will likely stay in shallow water near the bank for up to a month. To catch these fi sh, he suggests using a lure that looks like a yellow perch.You can keep up to six northern pike of any size at Yuba. Because the reservoir doesn’t have a lot of prey in it, biologists encourage you to keep some of the northern pike you catch. Keeping some fi sh will help maintain the water as a trophy northern pike fi shery.

TipsKnown for their large size, aggressive nature and fast-paced fi ght, pike are growing in popularity with Utah’s anglers.Reeling in a large northern pike can be diffi cult because of the fi sh’s size and its needle-like teeth, which can break your line. Anglers often use steel leader to prevent a trophy fi sh from breaking their line. A larger diameter fi shing net (with handle) is helpful to lift a pike from the water. Needle-nosed pliers are also important for getting the hook out of the pike’s mouth.Northern pike are quite tasty, but they’re also “boney” and a bit challenging to fi let. “There are several resources on Google, YouTube and other websites that will help you learn how to catch, fi llet and cook northern pike,” Root says.

Stay updatedYou can read updated fi shing reports for Yuba Reservoir at the DWR’s hotspots fi shing page. Two other websites that provide good information are www.bigfi shtackle.com and www.utahwildlife.net...

Page 27: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

27May 2013


Kinnear Hunter Takes State Record Archery Whitetail

Shane Sanderson of Kinnear had been watching several nice whitetail bucks on the nearby family ranch all summer, but when a buck with antlers that easily surpassed the others showed up, he knew that was the one he wanted.

Sanderson, 39, has been hunting his whole life, but took up archery 13 years ago. He has taken several animals with his bow, but none like the buck that appeared on the ranch last August.

Archery season for deer opened in Wyoming Sept. 1, and early evening found Sanderson in his makeshift blind of tree branches waiting to see if the deer would appear in one of the areas where he had seen him while scouting. Once settled in he observed several deer in the area and near his blind in the fi rst hour and a half of his hunt. Around 6:30 p.m. his patience was rewarded when a few smaller whitetails showed up along with the trophy he had been waiting for.

The deer was 35 yards away when Sanderson made his shot. The deer went only a short distance where Sanderson found him dead. At the time, Sanderson had no idea he had a state record, but after the required 60-day antler-drying period, the deer was scored at 170-3/8, easily putting it in the Pope and Young record book for typical whitetail. The Pope and Young Club has a minimum score of 125 for inclusion in their record book. A check with Pope and Young offi cials confi rmed it was the largest recorded typical whitetail taken with archery equipment in Wyoming.

The Pope and Young Club is a national organization that recognizes trophy animals taken with archery equipment. Being symmetrical, Sanderson’s deer was scored as “typical.” Deer with numerous points, or with great size variation on either side of the antlers, are usually scored as “non-typical.” The score is comprised of length, circumference, and spread measurements of the antlers.

Sanderson’s buck was taken in deer hunt area 157-170 in Fremont County.

Favorable hunting conditions, long seasons, and a growing elk population allowed Wyoming hunters last year to post the highest elk harvest ever recorded in the Cowboy State.The Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s recently completed harvest survey revealed that 57,331 hunters harvested 26,385 elk for a 46 percent success rate. This bested the previous high of 25,692 elk taken by hunters in 2010. Over the past 10 years, Wyoming hunters have averaged over 22,000 elk harvested annually with a hunter success rate of greater than 40 percent.Biological Services Supervisor Bob Lanka said the exceptional harvest is attributable to a robust elk population.“We are in the golden age of elk right now,” Lanka said. “Climatic conditions in recent years have been favorable for elk and the population in much of the state has been on the increase.”Local wardens and biologists, responding to increasing elk numbers, have increased season length—some seasons now go through January—and have increased the number of elk tags available to hunters and the number of elk an individual hunter can harvest. In addition, Game and Fish has worked closely with landowners to provide additional public access, particularly for cow elk hunters, through the Private Land Public Wildlife Hunter Management Program, and through the Hunter Management and Access Program in the Meeteetse and Iron Mountain areas.“Increased opportunity along with public access programs and a willingness of landowners to allow hunting on private land has been a big factor in the increased harvest,” Lanka said.As Wyoming’s elk populations continue to thrive, Game and Fish plans to again offer expanded seasons and liberal quotas for the 2013 hunting season...

Wyoming Has Record Elk

Harvest in 2012

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual bighorn sheep survey revealed a minimum of 297 bighorn sheep in western North Dakota. The 2012 count was second highest on record and 5 percent above last year’s survey.In total, biologists counted 87 rams, 156 ewes and a record 54 lambs. Not included are approximately 30 bighorn sheep in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.Big game biologist Brett Wiedmann said the northern badlands population was the highest on record, but the southern badlands herds declined slightly.“Although adult rams and ewes were virtually unchanged from 2011, we were very pleased to see a record number of lambs recruited into the population, as well as a record recruitment rate of 38 percent,” Wiedmann said. “Nearly all of the lambs we counted during last summer’s survey survived the winter.”Game and Fish Department biologists count and classify all bighorn sheep in late summer and then recount lambs the following March to determine recruitment.A bumper crop of lambs is indicative of a healthy population, so Wiedmann is encouraged with the results of this year’s survey. However, Wiedmann added that this year’s healthy lamb numberslikely won’t be refl ected in increased hunting licenses for several years, as the total number of rams remains much lower than it was in 2008, and the current age structure of rams is also much younger than what Game and Fish biologists would like to see. “Consequently, we’ll likely have to continue to be conservative with hunting pressure for a few years, but the future certainly looks promising,” Wiedmann said. “Adult mortality was also low last winter, so we expect another good crop of lambs to begin hitting the ground within a couple of weeks.”Game and Fish has issued four bighorn sheep licenses for 2013, the same as 2012.

Bighorns Show Record Lamb Recruitment

Page 28: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

28 - Hunting & Fishing News


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Page 29: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

29May 2013

Bowhunting the Traveling Toms of SpringBy Peter R. Schoonmaker Sponsored by Mathews Inc.Reprinted with permission from Bowhunting.net. For more please go to: www.bowhunting.net

Scouting – you do it to put yourself in bow range of whitetails. Why aren’t you doing it to put yourself in bow range of wild turkeys?My hunting partner Clay is an excellent caller. So when I heard some ever-so-soft roost yelps from a hen, I naturally thought, “Boy, can that guy call or what. This gobbler is in deep trouble.” The tom just kept hammering with gobbles. The yelps were really setting him off. The hen calls were so soft that I began thinking, “Come on Clay, turn it up a notch.” The gobbler began moving around on the tree limb and he began fl uffi ng and wing fl apping in preparation of his fl y-down. Just then, a pack of coyotes that had slipped in on the action began to howl within 50 yards of me. Talk about a good locator call. Every time the coyotes howled, the gobbler went nuts with double and triple gobbles. The gobbler fi nally dropped out of the tree and sailed directly away from me and the coyote choir.The calling I had been crediting to Clay turned out to be a real hen turkey that was roosted directly above his head. Our plan to bag the tom had seemed fl awless. The evening before, we hadn’t even needed a locator call to get a gobble out of the roosting bird. The tom gobbled on his own at dawn, and we had a real live hen coaxing him to fl y down in our direction. But it was not to be, and there we were, foiled again after crawling out of bed at 4:00 a.m., just to strike out by 6:00.The Trouble with Turkeys The classic way to kill a gobbler is to call him from the roost or slip close as he gobbles, then coax him into the effective bow range. In this day and age, the term “classic” should be replaced with “rare” or “seldom.” A decade of signifi cant turkey hunting pressure has produced an educated game bird. The result: few fools rush in. The new generation of wild turkey toms make you earn your prized gobbler. Here are a few examples that can put a serious crimp in a successful hunt:•The gobbler you call to on a roost does fl y down, but moves away from your calls to draw out the hen.•A tom comes toward your calls but stops, still gobbling, trying to draw out the source of the calls.•You have a tom gobbling feverishly, only to fi nd he is already with other hens and refuses to leave them for the sounds of an unseen lonely hen in the bush.•And then there are the silent toms that slip in on hen calls to see whether or not the source is really an unattended hen.Becoming a Better Bowhunter To me, photography is hunting with a camera. By observing turkey behavior during the many hours that I’ve spent photographing them, I discovered just how little I knew about the social structure and daily routine of wild turkeys in the spring. Roost gobbling and subsequent fl y-down is only a fraction of the activities of this animated game bird.It didn’t take me long to realize that wild turkey could – and should – be hunted like their fall counterpart, the white-tailed deer. Scouting for feeding areas, bedding areas, rutting zones, and connecting trails are second nature to the whitetail hunter. So why wasn’t I taking the time to scout for spring gobblers the same way?I found roosting areas, set up my photo blind, and planned out pictures. The photo opportunities were surpassed by the education of the daily routine of spring turkeys that spend their nights on selected roosts, which in my region is usually a large softwood tree. Fly-down occurs when enough daylight lets the turkeys see a safe landing area. No matter how big or small the band of birds, fl ock organization occurs after all the turkeys are on the ground. Toms gather and begin strutting. The fl ock hen organizes the rest of the birds through loud vocal assertiveness, and confrontation when needed. The fl y-down period and fl ock organization can be one loud ruckus at fi rst light. (continued on page 41)

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Page 30: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

30 - Hunting & Fishing News

Second, shed hunting is a great way to do a bit of post season scouting. Any pressure that we give the deer will be long forgotten come fall hunting season. This is a perfect time to look for old rubs and scrapes, scout a few new potential stand locations, and start to create a game plan for fall. Finding a mature buck’s shed gets me fi red up for the next season. Often, I’ve killed “residential” bucks within a few hundred yards of where I have found their sheds the spring before. I really like to analyze each shed that I fi nd. In fact, more often than not I can recall the exact location and conditions of each and every shed I have found. If you were to ask Nicole, I’m not so good at remembering household chores, but I remember each shed vividly.It’s pretty easy to analyze the age of bucks younger than 4-1/2 by gauging their pedicle size. Once they have hit maturity it gets a bit more diffi cult, but also comes with unique rewards. Mature bucks really have a lot of unique character traits such as kickers, stickers, drop tines, and crazy twists. I really appreciate how unique and individual each shed is. They truly are one of a kind. Showing the beginner the ropes of shed hunting is a lot like taking a kid hunting or fi shing for the fi rst time. It is important to set them up to be successful and make sure the experience is a positive one. I like to watch the weather and make sure we are going to be out when it is pleasant. I don’t take rookiesto sparse places, but rather bring them into areas where I know there were plenty of deer during the shedding period. When I do fi nd a shed, I leave it alone and call everyone over to get a good look at how it looks. I have a trained eye to look for antler and tips and bleached contrast, and want other shed hunters to train their eyes to be keen shed hunters as well. By showing someone what a naturally fallen shed looks like, I’m helping to show them visual cues to look for in the future. Shed hunting with dogs is becoming very popular. A good retriever or other breed of dog can learn to hunt sheds and really help a hunter cover more ground, saving precious time and energy. There are several successful shed dog breeders across the nation. Nicole and I have really enjoyed watching our kids train their dog to shed hunt! The kids and dog have gotten so good that it is to the point where we arrive at a shed hunting location, and won’t see them at all until the evening, with tired kids, an exhausted dog, and pile of fresh sheds!I often hear “What is your biggest shed”? I don’t necessarily have a “biggest” shed. In fact, many of my biggest sheds I have found end up being given away. It’s proper etiquette to give the landowner all sheds collected on their properties, so many of my biggest now belong to others. Also, if I have a shed and know a hunter has killed that particular buck, I’ll give them the shed to help tell that buck’s story. I do have a lot of “shelvers”, which means they are big enough to be displayed on a shelf at home. While I may not have a “biggest” shed, one of my favorites is a giant shed I found with my good friend Tom Indrebo. This mature buck had tines that fl ared back and looked like a “fl yer” of sorts. We had seen this buck wintering on Tom’s property and it was a race to see who could fi nd it fi rst. I won by driving by a fi eld one day and seeing the shed laying in the grass from the road! Quickly I slammed the truck into gear and sprinted to my prize. That’s still a really special shed to me... I don’t just shed hunt to scout next year’s buck, I shed hunt to be outside, to breathe fresh air, to spend time with loved ones, to see the sun again after a long cold winter. I shed hunt to feel connected to nature. Try to get out shed hunting this spring. There are too many benefi ts to not give it a shot. Also remember, shed hunting is just like any other type of hunting, and sometimes we return home empty handed. When we do get blanked, it’s OK, Nicole and I remind the kids that the real trophy is the memories we created together, and the time we spent outdoors. When you are lucky enough to fi nd a shed, appreciate it for what it is; a unique, one of a kind trophy than no human has ever held before.

The Basics and Benefits of Shed Hunting (continued from page 15)

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31May 2013


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BackCountry Bowhunting:Wake Up in Their Living Room! By Casey Albert, www.elk-hunting-tips.net Increase the chances of ‘close encounters’ of the herd kind.

You might think BackCountry bowhunting is only for the young. I’m not willing to pass along my age, but I started my elk hunting career in 1992 at the age of 36! I now do backcountry hunting for elk every year. (Don’t tell my wife, but I think about elk hunting every day of my life.) My buddies and I only hunt on public land.I generally discuss BackCountry hunting in relation to “BackCountry bowhunting” because that is what I primarily do. Since rifl e season is later in the year, the weather is even more unpredictable. So I take additional steps to prepare for a BackCountry rifl e hunt.I am planning for a BackCountry rifl e hunt this fall. I will utilize different clothing and sleeping bag for this hunt. You must know the conditions in which you are going to hunt. I am only passing along information relevant to where I have been hunting for the past 19 years.Base Camp, Spike Camp, then BackCountry BowhuntingOn my fi rst elk hunt one of my best friends called in a young 5X6 elk that I shot with my old (heavy) Bear Jennings compound bow. Needless to say, I was hooked! As I write this in 2012, I am planning for my 17th archery hunt. I’ve regretfully missed three years during that time.First came “sleeping on the fl oor,” then Base Camp, then Spike Camp, then BackCountry bowhunting. After a few years of sleeping on the fl oor of a friend’s house during those early elk hunting trips, some of us decided to camp out near the trail head. Later we chipped in for a wall tent and had a true “Base Camp.”Sometimes we would do our distance hunt in the morning and return to camp at midday. We would then do “posting” type hunts in the evening (short out and back). It was all fun, but I found myself yearning to spend more time where the elk were, rather than looking longingly up at the BackCountry from Base Camp.I started instigating “Spike Camping” (backpacking away from Base Camp) to reduce the miles I spent traipsing from Base Camp in the morning, then hiking back to camp in the evening. The addiction to BackCountry bow hunting with “camp on my back” had begun to tighten its unrelenting grip on me.Venturing Out A few years ago I decided to try a new area where I knew few hunters roamed. This will be my fi fth year hunting that particular area and someday I just might die there. Two years ago I thought that day had come during an extremely thunderous lightning fi lled sky. I debated getting out of my tent and getting soaked while being struck by lightning, but ultimately decided to die dry and stayed in my tent. Extreme weather is one of the greatest risks of BackCountry hunting.

Planning, Gearing up and ExecutionNow let’s get to the meat of the matter about BackCountry bowhunting. I will share details about the planning that I do to get ready to make extended forays into the wilderness on this page. I am what you might call a lifelong learner when it comes to BackCountrybowhunting. I don’t claim to have all the answers. When David, of Elk-HuntingTips.Net, asked me if I would be willing to write about planning, gearing up, and execution of “hunting with camp on your back”, I agreed to do so out of my compassion for the adventure of BackCountry bowhunting. I usually have someone along, but I fi nd it very rewarding doing solo BackCountry bowhunting.I know that some of you know a lot more about extended stays in the backcountry wilderness, but if I can assist someone to begin a lifelong adventure of BackCountry bowhunting, then I will have done my small part... BackCountry bowhunting (or rifl e hunting) is very different from hiking in and setting up a “Spike Camp”. I refer to spike camping as setting up a camp, hunting from there during the day and returning there in the evening. I refer to “base camp” as where my motorized vehicle is parked, whether I have set up a shelter there or not.BackCountry bowhunting is loading my gear into a backpack, heading off into the wilderness and sleeping wherever I end up at the end of the day. The best part is that hunting begins from where I wake up in the morning! There are no hard and fast rules for BackCountry hunting.Advantages of BackCountry HuntingLet’s say you’ve spotted a bull and have decided to hunt him that evening. You set up camp a safe distance away and hunt that bull before dark. You’re camp is ready for you before it gets dark. (continued on page 35)

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Holding the crosshairs steady on a deer’s vitals is an absolute must for a successful hunt and a fast, humane kill shot. It’s not always easy. Long-yardage shots make it diffi cult. So does all that adrenaline pumping through your veins when the moment of truth presents itself.To prepare for that moment, you owe it to yourself and the animal to practice. Luckily, practice plinking is one of the most enjoyable things you can do in life – especially when you can share the experience with family and good friends.Many off-season afternoons at our hunting land in central Minnesota have been spent doing just that. My daughter Karlee can’t get enough of it. And she’s gotten to be such a great shot that she’s defi nitely keeping the old man on his toes!I’ve gotten some great pointers over the years on how to shoot better, so I thought I’d share some of them with you here. The best instruction I received came from my Dad. He taught me the fundamentals of good shooting as soon as I was old enough to shoulder a long arm.First and foremost, make sure you’re holding the gun properly. This means having the butt end of the stock fi rmly and squarely in the crook of your shoulder; having your forward arm positioned ideally on the forearm; and having your cheek on the gunstock so your sightline is perfectly aligned with your barrel and optics.If you have any doubts about your shouldering position with a gun, professional representatives at a gun shop will be happy to help you. You can also consult with friends with a lot of shooting experience. And the Internet has no shortage of shooting tips and educational videos.Remember that the way you hold the rifl e will vary quite a bit depending on whether you’re shooting from a standing, sitting, kneeling or prone position. So when you practice, make sure to do so from all of these positions. While you do it, you’ll discover little things that can contribute greatly to your accuracy. Using a shooting sling effectively is an example. Another is how you rest your arms when shooting from a sitting position on the ground. Many shooters rest their elbows on their knees. This puts the points of contact right on the bones. It’s far better to rest the muscled part of your forearms on the knees. Again, little things like that can make a big difference.Another thing I can’t stress enough is the effectiveness of shooting off sticks. Since the invention of the rifl e, hunters have done this. Back then they did it with a common stick. Well friends, we’ve come a long way since then, and manufacturing technology has given us shooting sticks today that can help you hold rock-steady at long ranges even when standing on rugged, uneven ground.I believe the Ultrec sticks I use will give you the stuff you need. Because you sometimes only have a second or two to pull off a shot, it’s important that your shooting sticks adjust for height quickly and easily, and Ultrec’s telescoping legs do that. Another important thing these sticks have is a rubberized gun V-bracket that puts a good “grip” on your gun’s forearm. The V-bracket also swivels 360-degrees which is really critical, particularly if that buck is on-the-move.So, in addition to practicing those off-hand shots, spend a bunch of time shooting from and getting familiar with your sticks. That way, on the hunt you’ll go into full autopilot with the sticks and really improve your chances of making that perfect shot.Finally, here’s a tip that will make things easier on your wallet and your shoulder. Do most of your fundamental practicing with a .22 that’s dialed in with a high-quality scope. Yes, the ballistics will be far different than your deer rifl e’s. But for honing your shooting form it will allow you to shoot with less fatigue and at a fraction of the cost of shooting the big brass. Good Hunting!

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Page 33: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

33May 2013

Page 34: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

34 - Hunting & Fishing News

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Technology Picks For Hunters (continued from page 4)

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the system originally included easily interchangeable .243 Winchester .22 Long Rifl e, and 20-gauge barrels. Now Rossi offers more versatility and knock-down power with the option of choosing either a .243 or .44 Magnum barrel.The Trifecta system features a black synthetic stock with removable cheek piece. The complete system allows the gun to be fully reconfi gured for proper fi t with each barrel option. Removing the cheek piece when using the 20-gauge shotgun barrel allows the user to use the Trifecta’s traditional front-bead sighting component. With the cheek pad in place, the stock is perfect for using the .22 LR barrel’s fi ber optic sights or for the .243 Win. or .44 Mag. barrel with a scope. The .243 Win. or .44 Mag. barrel includes a scope mount base that accepts any standard Weaver-style rings. The set also includes a hammer extension, custom carrying case and all-purpose strap. The complete line of Rossi fi rearms features the exclusive Taurus Security Systems, which utilizes a key to lock the fi rearm and offers additional safety for youth. All Rossi fi rearms also incorporate a transfer bar mechanism and a manual safety on a single shot, break-open design in which the breech cannot be closed or opened if the hammer is cocked.Rossi is proud to offer a free One-year NRA Junior Membership with the purchase of all Rossi youth models. It is recommended that children always be accompanied by an adult when shooting.MSRP $299.00 to $329.00

Page 35: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

35May 2013



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WE BUILD “MAN CAVES”WE BUILD “MAN CAVES”If you don’t get him that evening and you haven’t been busted, there’s a good chance you will be hunting that bull again the next morning. If you had to hike back to Base Camp, then back to the bull the next morning, he might just be in the next drainage. Or, maybe someone like me would kill him before you get back!Here’s a true story that will give you an idea how things might play out: After spending many hours on Google Earth and Topo maps, my bud and I headed to our new hunting grounds. We parked our car at the trail head and geared up. We hiked in 2 miles or so on an old blow-down-strewn trail.I didn’t know if there were elk there, but I did know there were no other hunters. I decided to bugle and a bull responded instantly!It was getting dark, so we decided to set up camp right there in a depression from an old blow down tree trunk. Morning came and as we were sipping coffee and eating oatmeal, the bull rang out from the opposite ridge. Saying we were psyched would be an understatement!Ten minutes later on the fi rst morning of the hunt in our new found private reserve (National Forest), we had a decent 5X5 standing 30 yards slightly uphill. I wish I had pictures of that bull, but we blew it. I did hit it, but made a bad shot.We attempted to locate him that day and the next. I didn’t think he was hurt badly. (Editor’s note from Elk-HutingTips.net: If that happens, just get over it. To minimize the chances, practice often and beyond your personal limit. Then stay within your limit on live game.)

On the third morning we ultimately scored on a bull in the next drainage north of there... We ended up with a bull and a bear on our fi rst hunt in our new hunting grounds. Our “hunt of a lifetime” there will continue in its fi fth year this fall.Two weeks later we returned to the same spot, and called the same bull that I had wounded down off the same ridge. He

busted me before we got set up. I wasn’t planning to hunt that particular ridge this year, but I might have just changed my mind!BackCountry is whatever you want it to be, as long as you are out there under the stars and having a good time. But you have to do some careful planning for it to be a good time.Once I have made my plan on the particular area I plan to go, I decide how many days I will be in the BackCountry bowhunting, before returning to Base Camp to recharge my pack and possibly go take a shower. The area I hunt is very lightly hunted, but fairly harsh terrain (which is why it’s lightly hunted).

(continued on page 38)

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Page 36: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

36 - Hunting & Fishing News

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Report Completed for Lake Trout Netting in Swan Lake, Bull Trout Numbers Show Slight ImprovementMFWP

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the Swan Valley Bull Trout Working Group have recently completed an annual report detailing the lake trout removal project in Swan Lake and the status of bull trout and kokanee in the Swan valley. Non-native lake trout were fi rst detected in the Swan River system in 1998, and caused concern because of potential impacts to the threatened bull trout population as well as the popular kokanee salmon fi shery. Research efforts to learn more about the lake trout population size and potential ways to reduce their numbers have been ongoing since 2006. Results of the experimental removal project will assist fi sheries managers with future management of the lake trout population in Swan Lake.This was the fourth year of targeted gillnetting to remove non-native lake trout in Swan Lake. A total of 10,413 lake trout ranging in size from 5-inches to 32-inches were removed by gill nets during the juvenile netting portion of the project which was conducted from August 12 to August 31, 2012. This time period was chosen because most adult bull trout are on their spawning run in the Swan River system and are absent from the lake. Netting conducted along the lake trout spawning area later in the fall (October 8-25) resulted in an additional 215 adult lake trout being caught and removed. Spawning lake trout ranged in size from 20 to 36 inches. Bull trout by catch was 432 fi sh for the entire 2012 netting effort, with approximately 60% of those fi sh being released alive.Maintaining robust populations of bull trout and kokanee remains a priority for this project and those key species are monitored annually. After four years of declining both bull trout and kokanee redd counts, the 2012 surveys revealed a slight increase in both species...

Page 37: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

37May 2013

From Sunday morning hunting shows to a seat in a stand overlooking a food plot, the sound made when antler strikes antler is a hail call to bucks in the fall. You can avail yourself of the attraction it has on whitetails by making a set of rattling antlers to take into the fi eld this year. This fun and simple project can be done in less than an hour with just a few common tools and materials. Get started by selecting a set of whitetail deer antlers, they might be the ones from a buck you shot, or a pair found while shed hunting. The tines on the antlers should be of suffi cient number and size to produce an audible click and clack when the two are rattled together. The tines along the main beam should be at least fi ve inches in length. In this case, I selected an even four-by-four rack from a buck I shot a few years back.The project will require a hand saw capable of cutting through the antlers, such as a Gerber bone saw, a drill with a 1/4-inch drill bit, a sandpaper cube and a leather cord approximately two feet in length and less than 1/4-inch in width. The starting materials are pictured in Figure 1. Select an antler and secure the bit in the drill. I recommend wearing plastic safety glasses to protect your eyes from dust and debris while drilling. Find a spot near the base of the antler, about a half-inch up from the bottom, and carefully drill a hole all the way through the antler as pictured in Figure 2. You can cautiously yaw the bit in the hole once you have completed it to provide more clearance for the leather cord, which will be threaded through the antler near the end of the project.The next step is to remove the tips of the antler tines for safety purposes. As many people hunt from elevated stands or will be walking while carrying these antlers, it is important to remove the points to reduce the chance of puncture injuries in case of a fall. Using the hand saw, remove the tip of the antler tine about one inch down from the point as shown in Figure 3. Repeat the process for all of the main-beam tines on the antler. The cut tines should resemble the image in Figure 4.Next, place the saw at the point where the brow tine meets the main beam. (If your antlers don’t have brow tines, you’ve saved yourself some time and toil and can skip to the next step.) Cut the brow tine off as close to the main beam as possible with the bone saw, so the base of your antler resembles the one in Figure 5.Once the tine points and the brow tine have been removed from the antler, it’s time to smooth the saw marks out of the bone. While this step can be skipped, the rounded tips add some aesthetics to your set of rattling antlers. Touch up the tines with a sandpaper cube, as pictured in Figure 6, and buff out the brow tine area until it is smooth.Thread one end of the leather cord through the hole in the base of the antler. Once through, tie a fi rm overhand knot and leave a short tag end for a stopper as detailed in Figure 7. Repeat the process for the other antler, and you’re done!If you have the means and are more artistic, you can scrimshaw a picture of a monster buck into the antlers where you removed the brow tine. You can also make or buy a neck pad at a specialty leather store with your name on it, which you could thread onto the cord before tying on the second antler. Make the project your own by adding a couple blaze orange beads to the leather cord before you tie it off. Or keep it simple like the completed set in Figure 8 – it’s up to you!With a pair of sheds and a free hour, this project will help you get ready for the upcoming deer seasons. Hopefully then, a curious buck will be drawn out to investigate the tick-tick-ticking of your rattling antlers reverberating through the autumn air...in our outdoors.

Projects With Antlers By Nick Simonson, Nodak Outdoors http://www.nodakoutdoors.com/projects-with-antlers.php

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BackCountry Bowhunting... (continued from page 35)

Scale It Down It would not be possible for me to plan to BackCountry with 60 to 80 pounds on my back. I typically plan to spend three to fi ve nights during each outing before returning to base camp. I try to plan a route, so that I do not cover the same areas on the same trip, unless I want to for some reason.With every ridge I cross there is a new drainage that I have not seen that year. I make mistakes all the time. Last year I tended to have destinations in mind rather than truly “just hunting”. Destination hunting can work out well, but then you are working the clock just to get where you planned to be.A much better way to BackCountry hunt is to hunt during the day and camp wherever you are when the sun goes down.

Finding Water is ParamountSince I have been hunting this area for a few years and studying maps and Google Earth a fair amount, I know where the lakes, ponds and major streams are.I can’t emphasize enough that water is of the highest priority. Last year on my fi rst day hunting into a drainage from a new direction, I thought I would be at my watering hole by 2:00 p.m. As I ran out of water and became thirsty, I dropped some elevation to try to fi nd a source based on the GPS rather than heading directly to the spring I have used for the past few years.

None of the other sources panned out, so I headed in the direction of my spring. Had it been dry, I knew that I would have to drop straight down the mountain to a year round stream. My spring was running,but it was about an hour before dark. I was slightly dehydrated and quite thirsty. I quenched my thirst, watered up and set up camp nearby. I should have and could have started my day carrying more water. I will carry more water this year.

Now that you have decided to walk away from the car, base camp, cabin, etc. and not return for a few or several days... are you ready? I thought I was, and still think I am, but I keep learning something new every day in the fi eld and every year after returning home. I started preparing for this year, while I was on my way home last year.

Keep Refi ning Your List I have been making an “elk hunting list” for several years. (See mine on the link below.) Since I am a fl atlander I have to ship my hunting goods to my jumping off point. So, I have refi ned my list further and further to reduce the volume of the goods that I ship.Many of you will fl y to get to your hunting area. Mailing or shipping your goods can save money in this age of extra baggage fees. However, you must plan, pack and ship wisely.Plan, Then Plan Again I started planning “Elk Hunt 2012” while I was packing up “Elk Camp 2011.” As I was emptying my backpack, I was taking notes of where everything was, whether or not I needed it, or if I needed to fi nd a better alternative.My personal plan is to be able to do BackCountry bowhunting for three, four or fi ve nights at a stretch. If it wasn’t for the fact that I am the type that wants to see what is over the next ridge, the view from the top of the mountain, or go where I have not gone before I probably could base camp or spike camp more. However, I have too many places to see. So I need to get better at BackCountry bowhunting!

My Hunting Gear List You will fi nd my actual hunting gear list for both base camp and my backpack list at:http://www.elk-hunting-tips.net/backpack-hunting.html

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Pennsylvania Man Pays $5,180 for Montana Hunting Violations MFWP

A Pennsylvania man has been ordered to pay a total of $5,180 in fi nes and restitution for misdemeanor big-game hunting violations in four Montana counties.John Feucht, 29, of Camp Hill, Penn., pleaded guilty in Missoula County Justice Court in Missoula, Mont., to purchasing a resident license for non-resident use during the 2010 big game hunting season. He was fi ned $1,035 for that violation. In Park County Justice Court in Livingston, Mont., Feucht was ordered to pay $3,340 in fi nes and restitution for killing and possessing a bull elk in 2010, a bull elk in 2011, a white-tailed deer buck in 2010, and a white-tailed deer buck in 2011 without valid licenses. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Warden Todd Anderson of Glasgow said Feucht also used resident licenses as a non-resident while hunting these animals. In Gallatin County Justice Court in Bozeman, Mont., Feucht also pleaded guilty to purchasing a resident big-game license for non-resident use. He was fi ned $135 for that violation. In Lewis and Clark County Justice Court in Helena, Mont., Feucht pleaded guilty and paid fi nes totaling $670 for purchasing a resident elk license and elk permit for non-resident use.In addition, Feucht lost his hunting, fi shing and trapping privileges for 24 months in Montana and the 38 other states participating in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.FWP wardens traveled to Pennsylvania last year to further investigate Feucht’s illegal activities. There they were helped by Pennsylvania Game Commission offi cers. Two bull elk and a whitetail buck were seized in the process...

Page 39: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

39May 2013

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Montana’s Biggest Elk (continued from page 8)

Top 10 Pope and Young Club Montana Elk (Typical) Score Location Year Taken By:1. 409-2/8” Rosebud County 2000 Chuck Adams2. 407-3/8” Rosebud County 2003 Chuck Adams3. 395-3/8” Rosebud County 2007 Jeff Larson4. 392-6/8” Yellowstone County 2006 Walter Tate5. 392-1/8” Blaine County 2005 Matt True6. 391-6/8” Big Horn County 2008 Salvatore Blancato7. 388-1/8” Meagher County 1994 Mitch Kottas8. 386-5/8” Madison County 1986 Allan Mintken9. 386-1/8” Sweetgrass County 2004 Buck Duncan10. 385-6/8” Beaverhead County 1998 Ray Ford

Top 10 Pope and Young Club Montana Elk (Non-Typical) Score Location Year Taken By:1. 409” Lincoln County 1996 Terry Crooks2. 405-6/8” Hill County 2000 (photo pg 9) Brendan Burns3. 403” Powell County 1987 Donald Roberson4. 396-58” Petroleum County 2005 Mitch Kottas5. 391-4/8” Garfi eld County 1995 Mitch Kottas6. 391-1/8” Fergus County 2001 Matthew McWilliams7. 385-5/8” Petroleum County 1997 Greg Herrin8. 384-7/8” Fergus County 1999 James South9. 384-2/8” Chouteau County 2001 Bill Strong10. 384-1/8” Garfi eld County 2006 Bill Waigle

Montana has many areasrenowned for trophy elk hunting, including the Snowy Mountains, Judith, Big Belt, Highwoods, and Bull Mountain ranges.

The Missouri River Breaks and the Elkhorns are famous for producing world class animals as well.

With the new technology, andpopularity of hunting with a compound bow, a new recordmay be broken in the future by some skilled, persistent bowhunter. Still, the odds of

killing a big bull are low.

Only about four percent of elk hunterskill a 6x6 or

better bull elk.

Most of these elk are shot bylocal hunters who have fi gured out an area and elk movement, backcountry hunters who hunt for many days off horses and a wilderness camp, or by hunters who have access to prime private land.

The challenge of fi nding the state’s next top trophy is a huge one. Fortunately, Montana is a great state with long hunting seasons and immense country that allows anyone theopportunity to fi nd and killthe next Montana state record.

Tyler Mullaney with his 7x6 bull - Gross score 351-7/8”

|Super Tag| Chances On Sale Now MFWPMontana’s SuperTag chances for the hunt of a lifetime are on sale. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks hopes to beat last year’s sales that topped 76,400 SuperTag chances sold. Proceeds from SuperTag sales go to enhance hunting access and enforcement.Hunters can win the SuperTag drawingby purchasing one or more $5 SuperTag chances for the fall 2013 hunting season. The deadline to purchase SuperTag chances is July 5.Eight SuperTag hunt licenses are offered—moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, elk, deer, antelope, mountain lion and bison. Winners may hunt any district open to the species for which they won a tag.SuperTags are available at all FWP offi ces, license providers, or online at fwp.mt.gov. Click “Montana’s SuperTag.” SuperTags can be purchased using FWP’s online licensing service.A 2013 conservation license is needed to purchase a SuperTag.

Page 40: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

40 - Hunting & Fishing News

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41May 2013

Bowhunting the Traveling Toms of Spring (continued from page 29)

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Once organized, the fl ock heads to the fi rst feeding location of the day. This is when toms and hens begin to break off into smaller groups. Strutting and courting is normally very active during this early period. Bands of jakes circle the area and stay clear of the big toms. The fi rst three hours of day-light see the largest period of mating activity as the fl ock moves along like a herd of caribou. By mid-morning, most breeding activities have occurred. Hens disperse to nest, and toms begin roaming for unattended, interested hens.By midday the daily routine will fi nd bands of hens, bands of jakes, single hens near their nests, and small groups and single mature gobblers. When the hens wander away, the gobblers follow them. This wandering period of mid-morning through mid-afternoon will take the splinter groups of interested suitors through other feeding areas, and one of several social centers – the dusting areas for their daily baths. These areas, like early morning fl y-down locations, are excellent strutting zones. Daily activities then conclude with the birds feeding their way back to the roosting area at dusk.Scouting for Success Wild turkey scouting consists of locating tracks, feed scratchings for feeding, and droppings. Instead of scrapes, you’re looking for strutting zones and dusting bowls.Tracks of mature gobblers are noticeably larger than hen tracks, and have middle toes measuring 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches long.Fresh turkey droppings are moist and green with a dash of white. Gobbler droppings are in the shape of a J while hen droppings are round and spiraled.Scratchings are where turkeys rake the ground for old mast like acorns, green shoots, and insects.Dusting bowls are shallow, oval shaped depressions in dry dirt areas. Since bathing and preening occur in dusting areas, look for feathers strewn about, especially the black-tipped breast feathers of gobblers.Strutting marks are shallow, narrow grooves made by the tips of a gobbler’s primary feathers as he puffs up and parades, dragging his wings. Going into spring turkey season, you should have noted when and where you saw turkeys and turkey sign at common roosting, feeding, dusting, and strutting areas.Intercepting the Spring Routine Strutting and courting are done heavily during early to mid morning.My turkey hunting has primarily consisted of calling roosted birds, and then walking and calling until a talking tom answers. It took an older, more experienced turkey hunter who had become hard of hearing to enlighten me to hunting turkey travel routes as you would hunt whitetail trails. He routinely scouted and glassed strutting gobblers and their open fi eld locations prior to the season. One Saturday, he took a gobbler with a 10-1/2 inch beard, and the following Saturday a gobbler with a 12-inch beard. The hunter scored by putting decoys in view of a strutting zone and hiding in the corner of the fi eld. Every 15 to 30 minutes, he did some light hen calling. Between mid-morning and noon each day, the lonely gobblers strutted right into bow range...Tough Birds There is more to bow shooting a turkey than the shot. I have successfully shot wild turkeys with 3- and 4-blade Muzzy broadheads and the Mar-Den Mini-Max. All my shots had been body hits from the front and side. But none put a bird down on the spot like the hit I made on this spring bird, where I centered above the wing butts in the back. Although other shots were fatal, a quick recovery sprint was required to subdue the fl eeing turkey. I lost the very fi rst fall turkey I bow shot because I let him wander off, fi guring I would fi nd him. I learned the hard way that even though the turkey is dead on its feet, it will possess a lot of gusto for a while, so you have to get out there and retrieve that bird. Be careful of fl ailing wings and sharp spurs.Concealment and Enticement is Key Hunter’s Specialties decoys and ground blinds are excellent turkey hunting tools.Nothing is more disheartening after putting in all the time and effort to get a shot at a spring tom, than being detected by the gobbler as you draw the bow. The turkey’s greatest asset is its eyesight and he will remind you every chance he can. Full body camo, a facemask, and gloves are very important, plus more and more bowhunters are using completely enclosed portable blinds for total concealment. There are some beautiful models out there today designed with the bowhunter in mind.

A turkey hunter should be able to produce the following basic calls: the hen yelp, a cluck, a content purr, an excited cutt, and a gobble. A gobble call should be used sparingly during the spring season for safety concerns. But if you have hens around your blind and a big tom that’s hesitant to come in, a gobble will have that tom there in a hurry to claim his ladies. I have successfully used the H.S. Cutter Deuce single-sided box call on several occasions. You can use Gerber’s Deluxe Hunter’s Pruning Kit that features ratchet clippers and a slide saw to set up quickly to call, cut shooting lanes, and clear brush for your blind.ConclusionIntercepting the traveling toms of spring means doing your preseason homework. It is the observation and knowledge of your intended gobbler’s daily routine that will put you in the right place at the right time. It requires less use of the call, but more strategy in stand locations, and more use of your eyes and ears. It consists of setting up decoys so the gobbler has to pass your concealed location, and letting the gobbler come to you.On the last day of spring turkey season, I again put this tactic to test. The sun was above the horizon by the time I got set up in a woodland opening, between a hardwood ridge and a swamp. A light, moving fog obscured my decoy as the dew burned off. A half hour later, a gobbler approached from the timber above. At 75 yards he began to gobble at the two hen decoys. Suddenly a thundering gobble came from the swamp edge. Like bookends, the two full-blown gobblers approached the hens and each other. The uphill bird was walking right into my shooting lane. I controlled my excitement and released the arrow.

What a show!Today, due to sportsman-funded wildlife restoration made possible by the Pittman-Robertson Act, our wild turkey populations have rebounded from 100,000 in the early 1900s, to a thrivingpopulation of more than 5 million in North America today. Strutting and courting are done

heavily during early to mid morning.

Page 42: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

42 - Hunting & Fishing News

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Doug Foote of Lolowith his 2012 Black Beartaken in BMU 200with a Mathews bow

Finding a bear’s food source will be your key to getting a shot at a bruin here in Montana. No baiting, or the use of hunting with hounds to track a bear, put the odds in the bear’s favor. But, if you can fi nd a good food source, there is sure to be a bear in the area.

Bears will seek out foods like the new forbs, carrion, greens and grasses which will appear in meadows where the sun warms the ground. As the bear’s digestive system becomes more operational, they spread out looking for old berries and fruits, and inner bark of trees, insects, honey, eggs, rodents and deer and elk calves. Bears will use the heaviest cover available for protection, but must come into sunny areas to fi nd these foods. Locate open slopes or avalanche chutes during spring green up. Use the mid-day or late afternoon for your best odds spotting a bear.

Another strategy to locate bears is to hunt traditional elk calving grounds. The bears know these areas, and when they are ready to eat meat, this is where they will start hunting for calves. This is when calling in a bear can work best. You can set up much like a coyote caller with a favorable wind, and as much visibility as possible, using a rabbit or deer fawn distress call. This method can be very exciting if you know there is a bear close by.

WHERE TO HUNT:Opportunity knocks when you encounter gated roads. Less traffi c means more animal activity. Roads without traffi c will often green up earlier, and it’s not unusual to fi nd bears feeding in green areas on a warm spring afternoon. You can cover this country on foot or with a mountain bike. Pay attention to overlooks, sharp corners and switchbacks where you can glass open country.

A black bear is most active from 3 in the afternoon until sometime during the night. Keep this in mind when you are planning a day hunt into and behind a gated area. Start out before noon so you can get into your prime hunting country at the proper time, as timing is everything! On the average, to be a successful bear hunter, you will need to spend at least 7 to 10 days in the fi eld to locate, set-up and harvest a spring black bear.

Once you have located where a bear is frequenting, it’s just a matter of time spent, patience, and a lot of glassing to fi nd your spring bear. The peak of the season is usually in the middle of May.

BEAR FACTS:• Most bears are shot in the two hours prior to sunset• Good bear hunting can occur throughout the day and numerous bears are taken in the fi rst hours of the morning• Sixty-fi ve percent of record book black bears are taken using the baiting methods of hunting (NOT LEGAL IN MONTANA)• Signifi cant numbers of bears are taken by calling using distress calls• Black bears are second only to white-tailed deer for total number of entries in the Pope and Young Club’s records• A black bear hunt is very attainable - it’s fi nancially reasonable and the opportunities are widespread• The opportunity for spring hunts, as well as fall hunts, further expands the attractiveness of black bear hunting• The world record black bear is a bruin from Mendocino County, California - scoring 23-3/16” shot in 1993• Montana’s State Record Boone and Crockett black bear is 21-8/16” taken in Fergus County in 2005 by Pat Descheemaeker • Montana’s top Pope and Young black bear scored 21” and was taken in 1990 in Lake County by Colin Andrews

A Late A Late Spring Spring Bear Bear HuntHunt

The month of May will be your best opportunity to harvest a springtime bear here in Montana. The weather will be warming as each day passes, bringing bears out longer as they feed to gain precious calories lost over the long winter months.

By Hunting & Fishing Pro Staff

Page 43: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

43May 2013

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Page 44: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

44 - Hunting & Fishing News

It’s Bigger Than A Battle Over Bullets By Dr. Dave Samuel, Sponsored by HECS STEALTHSCREEN & ATSKO Reprinted with permission from Bowhunting.net. For more please go to: www.bowhunting.net

I know we don’t use ammunition while bowhunting, but the battle over ammunition shortages impacts gun hunters and many citizens who legally own fi rearms. It also is affecting gun training programs, local law enforcement agencies, and others. So, I decided to take a look at this issue.First, there is a serious shortage of ammunition, and of course, when there is a shortage of anything, the principle of supply and demand steps in and prices go up. In the case of ammunition, prices have soared through the roof, and it ain’t over yet.Writers, bloggers, private citizens, pro gun and anti gun organizations blame part of this shortage on the Connecticut shooting and proposed federal legislation (and realized at the state level in a few states) to ban certain guns, clips, etc. Although it now appears that federal legislation will not happen, the scare is out there and gun owners are buying up ammo.However, there is one other aspect of this situation that has caused major controversy, and that is the huge purchases of ammunition by the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security has ordered up to 750 million rounds of ammunition for use at its training facilities over the next fi ve years. Last year these training facilities were used by 90 different federal agencies and 70,000 law enforcement offi cers and agents.

In addition Immigration and Customs Enforcement put in contracts to buy; 40 million bullets a year for up to fi ve years, another 40 million .40 caliber bullets, another 176,000 rifl e ammo, and 25,000 blank bullets. The overall total for government purchases has been listed around 1.6 billion rounds over the next fi ve years.Ammo manufacturers say that the feds get priority over private citizen needs, and this huge federal demand means less ammo out there for private citizens. This situation triggered ultra conservative bloggers and websites to accuse the Whitehouse of doing this to dry up supplies for the public as a way around the 2nd Amendment. The suggestion is that by controlling federal orders for ammo, the government can control the supply to private citizens. This triggered Congressmen Coburn to call for an investigation, and he asked Home Security for some answers. Home Security then released data showing how many rounds were bought the previous three years and exactly what the rounds cost.

(continued on page 46)Will hunters be impacted by ammo shortage? Price wise, for sure.

Page 45: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

45May 2013


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I handed her my long black gun case. She put it behind her driver’s seat, saying, “Sure hope that thing doesn’t fall on me! What’s in it?” “A hunting shotgun,” I answered, just as she, the airport shuttle bus driver, apparently saw my “Got turkey?” sticker slapped to it. I was returning from an out-of-state spring turkey hunt this recent season. “Well you better not come and hunt MY turkeys in MY backyard! They’re like children to me,” she said. This conversation was off to a strange start. I took the offensive. “Do you know how those turkeys got there?” I countered, smiling. “Well, no I don’t. I just moved here a few years ago. They’ve always been in my backyard as far as I know.” I launched into a short history of trap-and-transfer wild turkey management, and how hunter dollars paid for much of the restoration, and that in a way she had us to thank for that.“Well, do you eat those turkeys?” she asked, curious now. After hearing my positive response, she said, still driving slowly, “Is there one in THERE?” meaning my overweight checked bag on the fl oor in front of me. I said there was. Furthermore, I said, we were likely having it for dinner soon, as I love to cook wild game. She thought hard about all this, going silent. Ever had an encounter with an anti-hunter? Been on the defensive a time or two? There are ways to act at such moments. As the saying goes, “You’ll catch more bees with honey.” Be courteous, thoughtful and polite. This is called for even if the person verbally attacking your lifestyle isn’t. Know your sport. Look at this moment as an opportunity to teach the person a little about wildlife conservation, how hunters fund the management of deer, bear, moose, wild turkey, waterfowl, other game species, and a host of other non-game creatures. Let them know you eat your wild game. Sometimes this is the decidingfactor. Though at times it might be a negative, anti-hunters might fi nd it hard to argue with you putting food on the table. Sometimes they might just call a truce...

Dealing with Anti-Hunters By Steve Hickoff , Yamaha Outdoors

Page 46: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

46 - Hunting & Fishing News

It’s Bigger Than A Battle Over Bullets (continued from page 44)

2010 2011 2012 RP Cost RP Cost RP CostCBP 66,248,000 $17,376,248 48,461,000 $13,895,900 36,475,000 $12,255,040FLETC 17,056,000 $ 5,507,057 22,735,654 $ 7,062,254 7,678,946 $ 2,485,045NPPD/FPS 2,946,000 $ 976,621 1,498,000 $ 517,412 2,804,000 $ 928,345ICE 25,212,000 $ 7,703,308 13,221,000 $ 4,505,731 28,061,000 $ 6,633,460TSA 15,383,000 $ 2,818,760 7,124,000 $ 2,010,642 14,864,000 $ 4,484,581USCG 17,472,325 $11,465,150 6,782,540 $ 8,442,495 9,791,274 $ 8,309,944USSS 3,997,500 $ 2,097,971 8,841,860 $ 1,802,871 3,503,980 $ 1,439,495Ttl DHS 148,314,825 $47,945,115 108,664,054 $38,237,305 103,178,200 $36,535,910

Here is that information, obtained on the Internet at:http://www.coburn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?a=Files.Serve&File_id=9cde768f-bb3a-4fd9-8176-1745c21519c2 How many rounds of ammunition has the Department purchased during each of the past three fi scal years? How much did these acquisitions cost?CBP = U.S. Customs and Border Protection TSA = Transportation Security AdministrationFLETC = Federal Law Enforcement Training Center USCG = U.S. Coast GuardNPPD/FPS = National Protection and Programs Directorate/Federal Protective Service USSS = U.S. Secret ServiceICE = U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement DHS ComponentRounds Purchased: RP

Does DHS plan to purchase more ammunition in the current fi scal year?

How much is budgeted for ammunitions acquisitions?

DHS Components FY 2013 Estimates for Ammunition Acquisitions

CBP $12,528,146FLETC $5,900,000NPPD/FPS $470,000ICE $5,200,000TSA $4,515,552USCG $7,400,000USSS $1,250,000Total DHS $37,263,698

How many rounds of ammunition does the Department currently have in its inventory?

DHS Components Component Inventory as of November 20, 2012CBP 94,404,329FLETC 18,797,942NPPD/FPS 2,500,000ICE 42,300,000TSA 29,909,514USCG 70,258,197USSS 5,563,380

Total DHS 263,733,362

OK, the numbers are a bit mind boggling, but what it shows is that Homeland Security has been using a ton of ammo over the past three years. Thirty-eight million spent on ammo in 2011, and a proposed $37.5 million for 2013. It does make the head spin. The release of this data by Homeland Security caused a fi restorm of opposition, and among other things, the high amount of inventory was in question. One blog pointed out that Homeland Security bought 361 million rounds of ammo in the past three years, and ordered another $37 million worth for 2013, but they still have 73% of the previous three years worth of ammo in inventory. So, why do you need another $750 million for 2013. Maybe Homeland Security has good answers, but it does make you wonder what is going on.Let me add that right after the above data were released by Homeland Security, they announced the purchase of 364,000 rounds of .40 caliber hollow points for a training center in New Mexico that had already received 240,000 rounds of hollow points the month before. That is a ton of hollow point ammo for one training center in two months time.So, why are private citizens, some Congressmen, etc. concerned here? ...My thought is that the government is using a lot of this ammo in the way they should. But given the past fi ve years, I can see why millions of Americans just don’t trust the federal government. And what does all this have to do with bowhunting? We, among others, own this country and we’d like it back.

NOTE: This just in 15 Conservative Politicians Demand Answers To Huge Purchases of Weapons & Ammo By DHSFirst, the Department of Homeland Security went on a massive buying binge, one that included buying at least 1.6 billion bullets. Then, the DHS told Sen. Tom Coburn that it was buying such massive quantities in order to bring down prices. Finally, the DHS ignored a formal request from a House member asking about the purchases and, instead, told a U.S. News and World Report blog that it wasn’t really buying anything at all; it was just putting out the possibility of buying ammunition and weapons “up to” a certain amount, because that’s how the bureaucracy works. In other words, the DHS is buying a lot and talking just a little.

Now, fi fteen Republican House members are increasing the pressure on the DHS by sending a formal letter demanding that it explain why it is purchasing so much ammunition. The letter also asks it to confi rm or deny whether it is deliberately attempting to restrict the bullet supply available to the American people. Regardless of its intentions, many believe that the current ammunition shortage is related to the DHS’s commitment to purchase up to 2 million bullets in a year.

Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-California) authored the letter. In it, he wrote:“The extraordinary level of ammunition purchases made by Homeland Security seems to have, in states such as my own, created an extreme shortage of ammunition to the point where many gun owners are unable to purchase any”.

He then asked, “Are these purchases being conducted in a manner that strategically denies the American people access to ammunition?” Fourteen other Congressman joined with him in asking this question. There is no word yet as to whether a DHS representative has responded to Rep. LaMalfa’s letter.

Regardless of the DHS’s motives, when a big agency, in a big, cash-strapped government, starts making inexplicably big purchases, the people are entitled to know what’s going on. Until the DHS steps forward to explain fully why it has gone on this spending binge, it should not be surprised that people who are directly affected by the governments hitherto unexplained actions are going to assume the worst.

Page 47: Hunting & Fishing News - May 2013

47May 2013

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