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Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

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Read the complete July 2016 issue. Deer Habitat: Best Food & Cover, Predicting 2016 Whitetail Rut Dates, 5 Reasons You're Missing Ducks, Night Shift Eyes, The Lost Art of Cutbait, Gov Cuppin' Montana's Governor Cup, and more, plus discounts and special offers from sponsors.
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H UNTING & F ISHING News July 2016 Montana The Key to Successful Shooting...HSM Ammunition Made in Stevensville Montana. Available at your local retailer. PREDICTING 2016 WHITETAIL RUT DATES 5 Reasons YOU’RE MISSING DUCKS DEER HABITAT: Best Food & Cover NIGHT SHIFT ‘EYES Top 10 States: Giant Non-Typical Whitetail Bucks
Page 1: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016



The Key to Successful Shooting...HSM Ammunition Made in Stevensville Montana. Available at your local retailer.

The Key to Successful Shooting...HSM Ammunition



DEER HABITAT: Best Food & Cover


Top 10 States: Giant Non-Typical Whitetail Bucks

Page 2: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016




7 at






Page 3: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016
Page 4: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

4 - Hunting & Fishing News

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Page 5: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

...I hope this article about the 2016 whitetail rut dates helps you plan your hunt and take the biggest whitetail of your life! The intention of this article is toanswer the following questions; when is the whitetail rut, when will be the 2016 peak breeding dates, and what should be the best days to hunt in 2016?I realize that many hunters and biologists say that moon phases and position have no effect on whitetail rut dates. However, if this were true then why are so many people, hunters and fi sherman in particular, putting so much emphasis on fi sh and game solunar tables? These tables are listed in many sporting publications and newspapers, they are on our GPS, our watches, and there are even solunar table phone apps. This all attests to their popularity.Also, there are many biologists who argue that the moon does have an effect on the peak Whitetail breeding dates, and in particular, the 2016 whitetail rut date predictions. For example, the popular “Whitetail Calendar and Rut Predictions”, produced by Deer & Deer Hunting, is based on information gathered by wildlife biologist Wayne Laroche and partner Charles Alsheimer. In part, they had this to say about their whitetail rut predictions;“Sunlight and moonlight provide environmental cues that set, trigger and synchronize breeding. The second full moon after the autumn equinox is believed to trigger the peak in rutting activity.”According to their predictions the entire rut and peak breeding are determined by the moon.Highly respected Biologist Dr. James Kroll is a fi rm believer in rut timing being consistent with moon phase, and in particular, peak breeding dates being triggered by the second full moon after the autumn equinox. This corresponds with Biologist Laroche’s theory. Dr. Kroll had this to say;“There is a correlation between the full moon and the peak whitetail rut. In a healthy deer herd the peak of the rut tends to occur three to fi ve days after the full moon.”One more thing; hunting is very calculated when your biggest decision is to choose what food plot to hunt over. Moon phases and breeding dates don’t carry near the signifi cance when it becomes a choice of WHERE to hunt rather than WHEN to hunt. There are many top hunters of old, the old schoolers that we revere today, guys like David Morris, Dick Idol, Myles Keller, Roger Rothhaare, Gene & Barry Wensel, Hal Blood, Larry Benoit. These guys knew and understood the importance of moon phases and timing, and they planned their trips and hunts accordingly. David Morris and Dick Idol in particular have complete trophy walls that were fi lled on the premise of “three days after the full moon” theory. This was happening long before food plots ever became popular and were considered a hunting strategy. When you spend several thousand dollars a years on hunting trips, you want to make sure you’re booking the best dates. These guys knew what they were doing and knew how to interpret the moon phases and scheduled accordingly based on that information.Let’s take a look at the moon phases and dates so we can predict the timing of the 2016 Whitetail Rut Dates. The following graph shows moon phase dates for the months of September through December 2016 Basing the 2016 Whitetail Rut Dates according to the monthly moon phases.

2016 whitetail rut dates

5July 2016

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PREDICTING THE 2016 WHITETAIL RUT DATES www.thewhitetailshooters.com

Solunar Tables predict a slow fi rst week in November which will mean the 2016 whitetail rut dates will occur later.By the second week of November things will change dramatically. As you can see by the Solunar Tables, both the major and minor activity times fall within daylight hours. This should be a spectacular week to hunt as the chase phase will really be kicking into high gear. Rattling, calling, and decoys should be hot tickets during this week of the 2016 whitetail rut dates.

(continued on page 8)

The Whitetail Shooters

Page 6: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

6 - Hunting & Fishing News

Please support the advertisers you see in this publication and let them know you saw their advertisement in the Hunting & Fishing News.

Their support allows us to bring you this publication each month. Thank you and thanks for reading the Hunting & Fishing News.


THE MONTANAHUNTING & FISHING NEWSwww.MAGZTER.COMRead on your tablet or smartphone; whether

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Publisher - Amy Haggerty - Helena, MT.

ADVERTISING Rick Haggerty (406) 370-1368 [email protected] www.huntingfishingnews.netThe entire contents is © 2016, 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 necessarilyexpress 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 13 Issue 4 cover photo: ©Bruce MacQueen | Shutterstock.com

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Proper form and grip provide great shooting results - photo Mark Kayser

Are you looking to be the best hunter possible this coming hunting season? Here’s one easy tip to utilize to make that goal a reality. Once you have your rifl e or bow sighted in, abandon the shooting range.No, I’m not suggesting complete divorce and quitting practicing altogether. I am suggesting your move away from the shooting bench and your manicured archery range to engage targets in the world of reality.

Hunting is an imperfect sport. After you zero your rifl escope and set your bow sight it’s time to face the truth. You will be challenged to fi nd a perfect shooting bench in the hunting world, especially as an elk bolts from cover or a mule deer bounds away. The same is true of bowhunting. Waiting for that perfect, 30-yard, broadside shot in a windless day could leave you wanting for a back-strap steak for a decade or more.

To add insurance to your hunting policy move your practice time from the range to the fi eld with authentic conditions. Summer shooting is a must, but look into the future. Do you see Montana winds, October downpours, snow squalls and more terrain obstacles than a tortoise encounters in a river-bottom gravel pit? That’s why you move practice time away from the known to embrace the unknown.

BOWMy summer archery regiment includes taking my Mathews Halon to the pasture in any weather event. Of course if the wind is hurricane force I may sit it out since I feel that situation is unethical to hunt in unless you have access to a deep canyon that tames the craziness.

In typical weather events I situate targets down steep hills and in small openings to simulate the tough shots that may arise during any hunt. I want to recreate shots into small openings or in the vertical country you’ll likely encounter when bowhunting Montana big game. Last year my bow shot on my Montana bull was as steep as any shot I’ve taken at a whitetail from a treestand.

Page 7: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

7July 2016

Also, rarely do I stand in perfect form and launch arrows in archery-range settings. You’ll be bending, hunching, kneeling and any other position you can think of to snake arrows through cover. You might as well get used to those positions now because any change in form can alter an arrow’s fl ight unless you practice. Finally, shoot in the drizzle and wind. Any factor can infl uence arrow fl ight and how you perform. You really need to watch arrow performance in varying wind elements to be able to judge drift and trajectory loss. There’s no time to compute windage with your calculator when a bull elk walks through a 2-second opening.

RIFLE Don’t re-invent the wheel when practicing with your rifl e or muzzleloader.Instead of an archery target, dot a pasture with metal silhouette targets or water-fi lled milk jugs. Now set up like you would in an ambush or still-hunting situation, and imagine the target appearing and giving you only seconds to depress the trigger. Shoot from standing, kneeling, prone and seated positions, with and without shooting aids. Always try and mimic your hunting style. Lean up against a tree, use your shooting sticks or shoot offhand like you might at running game. Try other positions that may arise, but polish your top hunting strategy fi rst.

For a fi rsthand view of defl ection be sure to veil targets behind brush and limbs, specifi cally lining up a few branches to guarantee a bullet obstacle. Try this with branches immediately in front of the target and several yards out in front to alter conditions and effects. Every setting offers different outcomes depending on thickness of limbs, hardwoods versus softwoods and distance to target, but you’ll begin to see how bullets fl y when contacting foliage.

Now put a friend to work. Find a safe backdrop and use an incline to roll plywood-lined tires downhill for a simulated running shot. You can practice these at any distance and any speed for your particular hunting situation, but make sure your partner has a safe haven before you send bullets downrange.

How much should you lead a moving target? That question requires a mathematical thesis to answer and varies depending on speed of the target, distance, bullet speed, weather conditions and a good dose of “Star Wars” force.

There are two basic schools to follow when trying to make a shot on running game. You can either swing through it as you would while hunting fl ushing game with a shotgun. Earning my youthful hunting wings on South Dakota pheasants I employ this tactic and have found success using the follow-through policy after pulling the trigger. You can also match the speed of moving game during your swing and acquire the right lead pulling the trigger when the lead looks correct. Again, employ the follow-through philosophy after the shot. Only practice will reveal which method works for you.

Now is also the time to test new ammunition and loads. While testing Hornady’s new Precision Hunter ammunition (www.hornady.com) with the ELD-X bullet, my 3-shot groups tightened and routinely measure ½-inch M.O.A. Taking that information I’ve been more than impressed smacking metal silhouettes in my pasture to prepare for any Montana encounter.

I’m also mixing new charges for my CVA muzzleloader. All of this preseason practice has purpose. I want 1-shot success and you do that by abandoning the range this summer. More hunting strategies from Mark at www.markkayser.com

Mark Kayser with bowkilled mule deer

To add insurance to your hunting policy move your practice time from the range to the fi eld with authentic conditions. Summer shooting is a must, but look into the future.

Page 8: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

8 - Hunting & Fishing News

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Predicting the 2016 Whitetail Rut Dates (continued from page 5)

November 13-19 should be prime time for all day deer activity making this week the best of the 2016 whitetail rut dates.By the 20th of November the majority of the does will have been bred but there will still be plenty of chasing and cruising by bucks. Hunters have long and consistently reported seeing the biggest buck of their lives during this week, often seen standing in the open with its tongue hanging out from running hard in search of that last remaining doe in estrous. This should be a very good week to hunt hard as the Solunar Tables indicate both major and minor activity levels during daylight hours.

The Solunar Tables for November 20-26 show a traditional morning/evening movement cycle is expected for these 2016 whitetail rut dates.By the last week of November things have slowed down substantially. Almost all the doe’s have been bred by now and the bucks are looking at post rut recovery. The Solunar Tables indicate this as well. Bucks in recovery will search out quality food and want to feed a couple times a day. Morning, mid-day, and evenings, can be equally good but usually this movement will offer a very short window of opportunity for the hunter. Hunters should look for high quality food sources and plan to hunt all day in order to take advantage of any daylight movement by rut worn bucks.The Solunar Tables for November 27-30 show good mid-day movement can be expected for these 2016 whitetail rut dates.Traditionally, the fi rst two weeks of November offer the best hunting of the year, but that should be different this year. The fi rst week in particular looks to be rather slow, but by the second week things will really start picking up. By the end of the second week the 2016 Whitetail rut will be in full swing. In my opinion, this could be one of the best and most visible rutting seasons we’ve seen in several years.

My predictions for the 2016 Whitetail rut dates and the best days to hunt in 2016 are as follows.Chasing will begin in earnest on November 8th.The peak breeding date will occur on November 17th.The best times to hunt during the 2016 season will be November 10-24Get ready for a traditional Whitetail rut and a great November!I certainly don’t want to leave out my southern friends and hunters. However, the southern deer herd doesn’t have to be dependent on a specifi c date or week in order to ensure fawn survival. Things such as blizzards, deep snow, and buried food sources, don’t regularly occur in the south as they do in the northern Whitetail range. Life or death isn’t nearly as weather dependent as it is in the north. Thus the southern Whitetail rut dates are more sporadic and regionally dated. I highly suggest you contact your Department of Natural Resources and speak with a biologist about the peak breeding dates for your area in the south.

The November 6-12 Solunar Tables show a ramping up of daylight activity for these 2016 whitetail rut dates.As you can see within the moon phase graph, November 14th is the full moon. With this in mind, let’s do a Dr. Kroll forward count of three days, which places us on the 17th. This should be the central date of the 2016 whitetail breeding dates. This means the week of November 14-20 should be the 2016 peak breeding dates in the northern whitetail range. These dates fi t perfectly with the northern deer herd where breeding and conception dates are imperative to spring survival of the fawns being born. Any earlier and there is an increased risk of the fawn being born in adverse weather, and any later could see an under developed fawn entering the following winter. Breeding and conception dates are very important for northern Whitetails, and these dates fall within the traditional perfect window of opportunity. The State of Missouri recently published a study where biologist’s back-dated fetuses from late season harvested doe’s. The three year study revealed that the peak breeding date was November 15 with a simple variation of plus or minus one day! This study not only shows the consistency of Whitetail breeding dates, but also reiterates the importance of the traditional 2016 whitetail rut dates.

Page 9: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

9July 2016

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SO YOU WANT TO FLY FISH? By Drew Baker @montanatroutbum [email protected]

So you want to become a fl y fi sherman huh? Whether you’re a high school student wanting an outdoor activity to fi ll the void between sports seasons, a retiree looking for a past-time to enrich the golden years, or you just saw someone casting a line on your drive home from work one day and you thought that looked relaxing, you’re not alone. Fly fi shing is a great way to make some memories enjoying Montana’s endless outdoors. The benefi ts fl y fi shing can provide to a person at any age are endless.Fly fi shing’s growing popularity can make getting started an intimidating endeavor. The wealth of information you can fi nd on the web is often misleading and can be very overwhelming. This is partially due to the infl ux of new companies in the industry popping up left and right trying to push unnecessary products on fresh and inexperienced anglers. I often hear people say it’s a ‘spendy man’s sport’ but in all reality its quite affordable to get started. I recommend starting cheap with the essentials and as you progress as an angler you can upgrade individual pieces of your arsenal, rather than investing upwards of $1000 right out of the gate.

The bare essentials: hemostats, line clippers, fl y fl oatant, small fl y box, a rod package w/ reel and line, tippet, leaders, indicators, a few general, year round fl ies, quick dry pants/shorts (much cheaper than waders and more comfortable in summer heat) I decided to pass on waders for the fi rst few years and just wore shorts and old tennis shoes. I threw all of this gear in an old high school back pack which I also used for years before upgrading to a more functional fl y pack. Philipsburg, MT fl y fi shing guide Robert says he recommends the Redington Path rod package. “The price is right. Good starter rod.” The best advice I got when starting out: Fish don’t care if your gear is name brand or not, and Missoulian river rat Jacob Hensley had to agree. “Always remember: it’s not the gear that catches fi sh, its the person holding the rod. Practice, Practice, Practice!” How does one acquire this skill set you may ask? Try youtube.com or websites like www.sexyloops.com. You can fi nd hundreds of tips, and articles pertaining to casting, knot tying, reading water, fl y selection and just about everything else you’d ever need to know. Another excellent source of information is to get in touch with a local fl y shop. Not only will they be able to line you out with gear and guidance on what fl ies to use when and where but many fl y shops such as Missoula’s Blackfoot River Outfi tter, offer beginner classes. If you’re new to the sport or just need a refresher, classes are an excellent tool to get you lined out. Give them a call, stop in or check out their websites and get yourself signed up! Cross Currents Fly Shop Blackfoot River Outfi tters The Rivers Edge Fly Shop Learn to Fly Fish Clinicwww.crosscurrents.com www.blackfootriver.com www.theriversedge.com Winninghoff Park - Philipsburg(406) 449-2292 (406) 542-7411 (406) 586-5373 (406) 219-5173Helena, MT Missoula, MT Bozeman, MT Every Sunday - May 29th - September 5th

Page 10: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

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THE LOST ART OF CUTBAITBy Trevor Johnson We were drifting down a section of the Columbia River known as the Boise Cascade and when I lifted my jig, I felt that heavy weight of a giant walleye!! Setting the hook like I was trying to break the rod, I was hooked up! Finally, as the fi sh arose from the depths it was white like a walleye, but something looked off. Coming a few feet closer I realized I had the biggest suckerI had ever seen. As my heart sunk…my dad’s heart grew with great joyand excitement!! Scrambling forthe net like a squirrel that had lost his last nut…dad scooped that sucker up like it was a world record walleye! As I was being forced to hi-fi ve my overly joyous dad, I chuckled to myself about his sickness. Dad yelled, “Trev, do you know how much cutbait is on this bad boy?” But his love of suckers has fi lled the box more times than all other baits combined!! In fact, thisis the one secret we promised each other we would keep to ourselves. After having another amazing spring catching big walleye, it just wouldn’t be fair not to share. We have used this technique for years for all different species. The most effective times to use cutbait is in cold and hot water months when scent plays a large factor. Also, on the upper Missouri river system we are not allowed to use live minnows, but even if we could, we wouldn’t and here is why:-Cutbait is SUPER DURABLE and will stay on cast after cast and fi sh after fi sh. Live minnows fl y off every other cast.-It is real fi sh…so there is nothing better. And fi sh love salt; just like any of god’s creatures.

A pair of July Fort Peck eyes that fell to Glass Minnows equipped with Cutbait!!

Page 11: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

11July 2016

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©2016 Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP). All rights reserved. TM, ® and the BRP logo are registered trademarks of BRP or its affi liates. Products are distributed in the U.S.A. by BRP US Inc. Because of our ongoing commitment to product quality and innovation, BRP reserves the right at any time to discontinue or change specifi cations, price, design, features, models or equipment without incurring any obligation. Some models depicted may include optional equipment. Read the side-by-side vehicle (SSV) Operator’s Guide and watch the Safety DVD before driving. For your safety: wear a helmet, eye protection and other protective gear. Fasten lateral net and seat belt at all times. Always remember that riding and alcohol/drugs don’t mix. SSV is for off-road use only. Never ride on paved surfaces or public roads. Operator must be at least 16 years old. Passenger must be at least 12 years old and able to hold handgrips and plant feet while seated against the backrest. BRP urges you to “TREAD LIGHTLY” on public and private lands. Preserve your future riding opportunities by showing respect for the environment, local laws and the rights of others when you ride. Make sure that all laws and regulations, are respected. Ride responsibly.

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Brown Trout • Rainbow Trout • Walleye • Yellow PerchNEW FOR 2016! FORT PECK TRIPSWalleye • Northern Pike • Smallmouth Bass


On the Water


It is naturally attractive and pleasing to fi sh. You sprinkled salt on your eggs this morning didn’t you?? And why do you think all the old-school plastic jig grubs were packed in salt??-Very easy to maintain. Do not have to keep alive or change water etc.-You can cut whatever size you would like depending on targeted species. For walleye we like a piece about as long as your pinky fi nger. For lake trout, bigger is better!!-Works wonders 12 months of the year.-Not constantly rebaiting meaning you are in the water more and will catch more fi sh!!

Here is a step by step on how to properly cure your sucker to make cutbait:•Scale the sucker. You can purchase scaling knives at sporting goods stores for fairly cheap. An old serrated steak knife will work fi ne also. Start at the tail and work against the grain of the scales. Easy to do in the yard and then wash the scales away. Scales must be removed so the bait will undulate better and so you can get your hook through the skin after if cures.•Fillet the sides off the sucker leaving the skin on. Just as you would with a walleye, but leave the bones in the fi llet. They won’t hurt a thing.•Place the fi llets in a one gallon zip lock and add a box of KOSHER SALT. Place the bag in the fridge for at least 5 days and your sucker will be cured. The bag will be full of water because the salt drained the moisture from the fi llets. Drain the water off.•Now you are ready to cut your fi llets into pieces or vacuum seal and freeze for later. NOTE** cutbait will last at least three months in the fridge before it will start to yellow and dry out. •Before cutting your fi llet into pieces we like to carve a little meat off the fi llets to make them a bit thinner. This is much easier after the fi llet is cured and not fresh. You want your pieces to be about 1/4” thick..give or take. This is so it will have a super undulating action in the water and also so the meat will stay attached to the skin. •We cut the pieces to match a minnow. A little wider at the top and tapered down at the end. See above photo of vacuum sealed Cutbait for a reference on how we cut the cured fi llets.We are running out of secrets now folks…have fun “Jiggin’ the Dream” with Cutbait!!Trevor Johnson is the co-founder of Kit’s Tackle “Jiggin’ the Dream”along with his father, Kit. “I am a true made in Montana fi shing guide,an insane outdoor enthusiast, a wild man in the woods and on thewater and they even say I’m a quarter mountain goat. I am a happyhusband, a proud daddy to a beautiful little girl and two sweet dogs.When I’m not shoveling coal into the jig engine, you can fi nd meon the water or leaving boot tracks in the wilds of Montana.

Our friend Jeff Ingram on the Columbia River with us this spring holding his big prize of cutbait!!

Page 12: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

12 - Hunting & Fishing News

Nathan French with a successful client’s archery Dall sheep.

Mental Toughness - Are You Truly Ready For The Hunt?By Nathan FrenchOriginally published at www.gohunt.comOriginally published at

After chatting with Brady and the guys at goHUNT the past few years, it’s apparent that we all love to talk hunting. Yet, they are hot and heavy into those mule deer and, slowly, I’m trying to show them how much more fun can be had on a sheep mountain. Jokes aside, I always love hearing and seeing people’s mountain hunting adventures and sharing my own. I can’t be more proud and happy to be a part of the goHUNT community and share and read all things hunting.In the next few articles, I plan to dive into my world of all things sheep and unwrap the details that occur behind the scenes of a sheep hunt. I’ll elaborate on the stories of past hunts and successes; I’ll break down some of the key details of what it takes to endure a sheep hunt as well as how we can equip ourselves and be prepared for our next sheep excapade. I hope it will be informative and benefi cial. I also hope that readers will comment and tell me your experience and knowledge so we can all grow as a community of hunters and keep the great tradition alive!MENTAL TOUGHNESSMental toughness for hunters is keeping strong and staying focused

in the face of adversity that the mountain, elements or wildlife may throw at you. It’s the ability to keep your focus toward the end goal despite the diffi culties you encounter.

BREAKDOWN OF MENTAL TOUGHNESSI’ve had the pleasure of hunting with physically fi t hunters and others in less than optimal physical shape. Regardless of their fi tness abilities, what I have found makes or breaks a hunt is one’s personal mental toughness. When their mind can

overcome their physical limits, it often leads to more enjoyment and success in the outcome of a hunt.The mind is a powerful thing. If we go into a hunt determined and mentally prepared for any outcome, even when the hardships of hunting happen, it allows us to be ahead of the game and prepared for anything that comes our way. What are some examples that test our mental toughness? One major one is the actual mountain. Let’s unpack a couple aspects and scenarios that I feel give an individual’s mental toughness a run for his money.

Nathan French packing out a ram.

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Page 13: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

13July 2016

MISSING A SHOT Oh the joys of this painful moment. We’ve all been there and, if not, kudos to you. Nothing beats a hunter up more mentally than putting in multiple days of effort waiting for the right chance; stalking and, eventually, getting within shooting distance to prepare for the shot only to squeeze the trigger and watch the bullet or arrow miss the intended ram. It hurts, and it’s agonizing to watch the fortunate ram turn and run, disappearing over the top of the mountain.

Personally, I’ve reacted to this situation before and have seen the many types of hunter reactions to this dreadful situation. These reactions usually go one of two ways (and sometimes it’s a combination of both as the day goes by).

Reaction #1 — The world has just ended for that hunter.

Typical phrases can be, “How did I miss? I’ve ruined everything,” or “The hunt is over. I’m done. I can’t go on.” It’s happened to me and I’ve experienced it as a guide.

Up to that point, the hunt was mostly a fun joyful experience, but as soon as something of this nature goes wrong, a whirlwind of emotion pours out into one dramatic epilogue.

The next step is often a very daunting task for the guide as he tries to calm and encourage the client and repair any broken mental toughness that has set in. This reaction is completely understandable. I know how the hunter is feeling and looking at the situation. He has invested his time and money for that one moment, but it didn’t go as he planned. This is why mental toughness has to be dominant in this situation. Before we even step out the front door for the hunt, we have to plan for the whirlwinds of hunting. Then we can react in a more true grit way. But, wait; what’s that?

Reaction #2 — Usually very little is said by the hunter after the miss.

Maybe a few explanatory words of frustration and a deep breathe. This precedes the hunter moving to his pack, collecting his gear and thoughts, and, then, is eager to proceed to the next opportunity.

It’s a payback attitude: muscles burning, pushing for the summit, and not wanting to let the sheep sleep another night.

Once again, trust me. It’s heart wrenching as a guide to watch a miss. I take everything personally as a guide and when my client misses, I take it as my own personal miss. But it’s at this time where we can go through the motions. It’s there where the mental toughness either kicks in or it throws in the towel. (continued on page 42)

Page 14: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

14 - Hunting & Fishing News

Skinny Water ‘YakingBy Dr. Jason Halfen www.technologicalangler.com

Photo: Dr. Jason Halfen

In the heart of the information age, with GPS satellites positioned overhead and hyper-accurate digital depth contours below, there are precious few untapped walleye fi sheries left for the contemporary angler to enjoy. Canadian wilderness lakes represent one possibility, but how often can we cross the border after work to wet a line for a few hours? Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a friend-of-a-friend with a private stocked lake, but friends like that are few and far between. The Internet swirls with tips and rumors of hot bites and uneducated fi sh, biting eagerly on the simplest of presentations, but how many of those fi sh will be swimming when you fi nally arrive? Take heart walleye anglers, because unpressured fi sh are within your reach: not thousands of miles away or behind a locked gate, and not in a fabled “hotspot” that has the web forums abuzz. No, these fi sh are swimming in a small river near you, perhaps even in your own backyard. Walleyes are, at their most fundamental level, a fi sh of rivers. Small, large, and even the Great Lakes can certainly host phenomenal walleye populations, but even in such places, walleyes are inexorably drawn to rivers for spawning and feeding opportunities. For this exercise, let us turn our attention away from large, famous rivers like the Missouri, the Mississippi, the Detroit, and the Maumee. Rather, let’s focus on the smaller rivers that coarse through the heart of the Walleye Belt. But how do we center our attention on a select group of walleye waters with so many to choose from? This is a great opportunity to tap the information superhighway, and refer to walleye population data from your state department of natural resources. Identify lakes with healthy walleye populations that are supported primarily by natural reproduction. Now look for small rivers that feed those lakes. If these rivers lack accesses suitable for large watercraft, or boast suffi cient sand bars and rocky rapids to keep the big boats away, you’re well on your way to unpressured walleye bliss.

Although we’ll be leaving our traditional deep-V walleye boat in the garage for these trips, we still need a way to travel away from the access and frequented shore areas. The best option for these circumstances is the Old Town Predator XL, equipped with a Minn Kota console. This incredibly stable, well-appointed watercraft is easy to manage on land and offers unmatched fi shability on the water. The Predator’s Minn Kota trolling motor console is an integral component of our arsenal for small river walleyes. The saltwater-grade propulsion system moves us effortlessly along the river, to places where uneducated

Page 15: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

15July 2016

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fi sh reside, and lets us hover in position against the current so we can saturate casting targets. Indeed, the Minn Kota motor console provides the type of precision boat control that we are accustomed to in our traditional walleye boats, but in a much more compact package that is perfectly matched to the Old Town Predator XL.

Where do walleyes live in skinny waters such as these? Ultimately, walleye habitat options are limited in small rivers, making these fi sh easy to locate and catch. Your primary locations will be outside river bends, where the current has scoured out a bit of additional depth. In a small river, an outside bend that features four to six feet of water, while the rest of the river is two to three feet deep, can hold substantial numbers of all gamefi sh, including walleyes. Current obstructions in these outside bends, cover like fallen trees or rock bars, will be the primary fi sh concentrators. While some of these zones may be visible above the surface, a Humminbird Side Imaging fi shing system mounted on the Old Town Predator XL is an indispensable tool for identifying subsurface cover and marking its position with GPSprecision. In the absence of a major fl ood, these fi sh concentrators will remain in place for years, and their GPS locations will quickly become included among your favorite waypoints.

Remember that the water, even in these outside bends, remains relatively shallow, so lightweight presentations will dominate our skinny water walleye arsenal. In fact, I only bring a single waterproof Plano box with me, stocked with just three styles of baits: bucktail or marabou jigs in 1/16 and 1/8 oz weights, undressed Custom Jigs & Spins H20 Precision leadhead jigs in sizes between 1/32 and 1/8 oz, and small crankbaits, especially minnow or shad styles in sizes no larger than #7. The plain leadheads are quite versatile, and can be dressed with soft plastics like a 4” ringworm or fl uke-style bait, like Z-Man’s StreakZ, or live offerings like the front half of a ‘crawler or perhaps a minnow during cool water periods. These light baits demand a long rod for precision delivery to snaggy river cover, with a medium or medium light power rating to enjoy the tussle from these skinny water fi sh. Rods like the St. Croix Avid X AXS70MF or the St. Croix Legend Tournament Walleye Series LTWS76MLXF are great choices.

Unlike their pressured cousins, uneducated walleyes from small rivers typically reveal their presence with reckless abandon. Using the Minn Kota motor, position the Predator XL even with, or perhaps a bit upstream, of your casting target. Let the current do the work during the retrieve, delivering the bait in a completely natural way. If walleyes are present in a particular piece of cover, you’ll often fi nd out within the fi rst two or three casts. Remember, these fi sh may not have seen a bait all season, so they have no reason to be wary of your tempting offering as it sweeps in front of their hiding place. Small rivers are one of the last great frontiers in modern day walleye fi shing. Such rivers are widely distributed throughout the walleye belt, too, but see limited, if any fi shing pressure. Go off the beaten path as you search for these untapped populations of skinny water walleyes, and once you fi nd them, take an eater or two, but do your part to protect them for the future.

Page 16: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

16 - Hunting & Fishing News

Today’s Panfish TrendsBy Jason Mitchell www.jasonmitchelloutdoors.com

New technology in sonar like side imaging or side scanning makes finding crappie on many locations easier than ever before.

There is always an increased level of intensity whenever you are fishing for your next meal. When you know that you and other people are relying on what you put on a stringer or in a live well, you have your game face on. For so many anglers, harvesting fish for the table often involves panfish. In so many regions, crappie, perch or sunfish still allow some harvest where anglers can proceed to keep some fish for a meal. Panfish are sometimes considered a fish for kids… sunfish off the dock and a three-foot long snoopy rod but lets face it, adults love panfish as well. Big panfish are especially coveted and big crappie, sunfish or perch get anglers as excited as big bass or walleye. Match wits with these fish with the right tackle and you have every bit of a challenge with a fish that can just as easily break your line. Some of the most popular television episodes we have ever done were crappie and sunfish segments. Anglers love big panfish. Some of the biggest panfish I have ever personally caught were caught accidentally while targeting bass or walleye. Over the years, I have caught fifteen-inch crappie on Carolina Rigs intended for bass; ten-inch bluegills have hit top water poppers that were meant to target bass. Big perch have been caught on spinner and night crawler setups meant for walleye. These accidental catches tell me a few things… first off when it comes to finding big panfish and narrowing down lakes that have big panfish, anglers are often going to find these fish by accident while targeting other species. Some of the best Intel I get comes from talking to bass anglers. What also becomes obvious is that big panfish become predators and these larger fish have no issue hitting a presentation that may be three inches or longer.Panfish angling has evolved over the past ten years with a lot of changes happening in the last five years. Anglers targeting panfish are becoming more selective with their harvest. In many regions, limits along with size limits particularly on heavy use crappie lakes have made anglers realize

Today, most anglers won’t stop to fish until they see fish on their electronics. A lot of tackle refinements for open water panfish have crossed over from the ice fishing industry. Tungsten first became popular with ice anglers in Europe and has exploded in popularity on the American front. Anglers are discovering that the same advantages that tungsten has over lead in the winter can also be used for open water applications where panfish anglers need that extra sensitivity and weight., particularly for finesse vertical presentations.Other presentation tweaks like using dropper chains below fast falling spoons are becoming more popular amongst open water panfish anglers. The Clam Tackle Speed Spoon is an extremely popular perch lure for ice anglers searching for perch over deep water; boat anglers in the same locations for the same species are using this same lure over open water. Our Jason Mitchell Elite Series 48 inch Meat Stick rod was originally designed as an ice fishing rod that was built with a two-piece finesse tip action that loaded up to a fast backbone. Ice anglers used this rod for hole hopping shallow water panfish. Open water panfish anglers have discovered this same rod action and length is a perfect vertical jigging rod whenever anglers need extra finesse and the 48 inch rod length keeps the presentation in the sonar cone angle when fishing vertically over deep water. Not to mention that a four-foot rod is a lot of fun to fish with when vertically jigging for panfish. Few presentations have caught more panfish than traditional cork and jig combinations slowly retrieved back to the boat. Soft plastic options really shine for crappie in particular. A classic two-inch lunker grub has caught countless crappie. For slow speeds and slow pendulum affect on the jig when fishing a jig below a classic slip bobber or casting bubble, the Kalins 1.75 inch Crappie Scrub is a twin paddle tail that has tremendous vibration at extremely slow speeds. Slow fishing speeds might be popular when water temperatures remain low in the early spring when fish first come up in the shallows to spawn but another situation where slow rolling these soft plastics works extremely well is around heavy brush and docks because the fish have more time to respond. Too fast of presentations in heavy cover can sometimes miss fish particularly when fish have to turn around or leave the cover to hit the jig. Micro size crank baits and trolling equipment is also changing the game in some regions. While panfish are notorious for slamming bass or walleye size lures, smaller profiled hard baits like Salmo’s H4F Hornet is a tremendous lure for panfish. As panfish equipment and methods continue to evolve, what we also see happening is regional tactics and hacks getting shared across a much wider region. Spider rigging or long poles might be regionally popular on one particular fishery where as something else becomes popular right down the road. As more anglers discover the joys of targeting panfish and more information gets shared, we begin to see small scale regional tactics like trolling small crankbaits behind inline planer boards become more mainstream. Panfish presentations are quickly evolving. Soft plastic designs and shapes continue to evolve on one front...Trolling crankbaits is another growing presentation. Slip bobbers and live bait still works but more anglers are discovering that versatility and confidence in numerous presentations allow anglers to catch more fish as panfish anglers take on new tactics and equipment.

that panfish populations are not ever ending. Anglers are starting to understand the importance of releasing some of the largest size fish. New technology and equipment is making anglers more lethal and efficient than ever before. The catch and release ethic for trophy caliber panfish is gaining in practice.In my opinion, few technologicaladvances have changed crappie fishing more than side scan or side imaging. Suspended schools of crappie glow like lights on a Christmas tree and finding fish suspended in brush piles or under docks is so incredibly simple today. Hard to believe how we used to have to work to find these fish and also how long it used to take.

Page 17: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

17July 2016

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Here were are, just before the dog days of summer. Where bites everywhere can tend to speed up or slow down. The fi sh will move shallow or deep, depending on the heat. As for us die hard tournament anglers, it is now time to prepare for the biggest walleye tournament this state has to offer. Montana Governor’s Cup!Time is of importance. Fort Peck is not your local pond, or your local river.This is a body of water that will choose what it would like to do, and you’re there for the ride. That is why spending time on this lake, especially before tournament fi shing, is important. Knowing how longyour run is, where the fi sh are, how to catch them. Cranks? Jigging? Lindy Rigs? Off points? Shallow Flats? Weeds? The list goes on and on, and there are only so many hours in the day to attempt to fi gure it all out before it’s go time!KABOOM! Sounds the cannon for day one. The sounds of boats ripping and roaring from the starting line! The wake created! The adrenaline a team takes on as they are racing to their favorite spot. Oh man, the lines are fi nally in the water. Now here’s one of the hardest things EVER! Your rod loads up, and it is fi sh on! The anticipation and excitement have been running full steam, to only discover you hooked into a drum, pike, anything other than, the elusive walleye that is being sought. Stomaches drop, and the search continues.Boats fl ying off trailers into the water at the ramp. Day two is in the air. The talking with others and your partner about the strategy for the next day all comes into play, because now, it is make it or break it time. Boats again roaring through the water. On the run that only seems to take forever, questions and answers race through one’s mind. If you found fi sh, and good ones, are they on the same pattern? Did they move out? If you struggled, and listened to all the tips and tricks that were given, were they pulling your leg? What is the next move?When the end of day two is near, you can see at the weigh-ins, who is feeling confi dent, and who feels shamed. The numbers start hitting the board, as the announcer rambles off all the sponsors, day winners, big fi sh winners, and keeps everyone in anticipation of WHO!In any type of tournament fi shing, one can be their own enemy. Instead of treating it like any other day of fi shing, the pressure can and will be on. Talking with the teams that did good, you start to realize what you could have done different, or how you had done almost the same thing. For those that fi sh numerous tournaments, the grieving process is short, for those who did well, the confi dence of winning lives strong through the season.What a team must always remember, whether you did good, bad, or ugly, there is always a year to follow. There is always time to learn techniques, there is always time to study, there is always another chance to win!Eddie White owns and operates The Minnow Bucket in Huntley Montana, also a writer, seminar speaker and tournament angler.Contact Eddie at: [email protected] Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheMinnowBucketor by phone at 406-696-1281

Gov Cuppin’ By Eddie White

Page 18: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

18 - Hunting & Fishing News

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Snake Rigging Walleye By Jason Mitchell www.jasonmitchelloutdoors.com

Whether you are running a spread of planer boards on the Great Lakes or hitting a milk run of points with bottom bouncers on one of the Missouri River reservoirs, you would be hard pressed to fi nd a more effective presentation than a spinner harness. The combination of vibration, fl ash and profi le combined with the speed makes this classic walleye weapon so effective through the dog days of summer.On the Great Lakes, anglers are often running spinner harnesses high in the water column with split shot or through the middle of the water column with trolling weights like Baitfi sh Trolling Weights or classicBead Chain Keel Sinkers. On many inland bodies of water, three way rigs and bottom bouncers are often used to follow structure. Three ways more so in river systems or over basins and soft bottoms while bottom bouncers shine on rock, tight breaks, and sharp contours or along weeds.Like many anglers, I started out relying on crawlers to tip many spinner harnesses. Crawlers can be fi shed through such a wide spectrum of speeds and what walleye can resist the squirming undulating action of a big fat crawler pulled through the water? Over the past ten years, like many anglers… my harness tipping has evolved to include a lot of soft plastic and pork crawlers.

My own personal evolution away from live bait began on torrid bites where I literally couldn’t have enough crawlers in the boat and soon realized that I could catch the same amount of fi sh tipping with soft plastics. Over time, my confi dence in using soft plastic and water-soluble crawlers soared. Soft plastic tipping options for spinner harnesses were convenience in a bag, with no messy worm bedding or ice. There is a lot to like about not needing live bait.I started out rigging the soft plastic crawlers just like I rigged the real counterparts. The front-hook ran through the nose of the crawler (with a little bit of slack line on the back hook) so that the worm would pull straight through the water. Over time, that evolved into the snake rig that I have had so much success with over the past few years.With real night crawlers, it is important to have some slack between the front and back hook so that the crawler can roll straight through the water. If the line between the front hook and back hook is too tight, the crawler drags in a shape where the worm will often break and pull through the water unrealistic.Soft plastics however offer much more possibilities for rigging and action. By keeping the line between the front and back hook tight and imparting a curve on to the soft plastic crawler or worm, the action changes and comes alive. This type of rigging requires a bit more speed, often between 1.7 to 2.2 miles per hour. With the curved worm and the faster speed, the harness begins to zigzag through the water in a very realistic action that looks like a snake swimming in the water, the snake rig.I have had tremendous luck with this snake rigging from mid to late summer and especially so for larger walleye. I theorize that the zigzagging swimming action is more diffi cult for small fi sh to hone in on and catch with their smaller mouths where big fi sh don’t have an issue. This has been my go to weapon the past couple of summers when I need a big fi sh when using spinner harnesses. (continued on page 24)

Page 19: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

19July 2016

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Page 20: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

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July and August are typically great months to enjoy water skiing and huckleberry shakes along Montana’s lakes, as hot weather takes over, forcing many folks to head to the nearest water to try and stay cool. However, if you’re a tried and true fi shing nut, these long summer days can be some of the best when it comes to enjoying the outdoors. Many options await the savvy angler and the month of July can be epic as water fl ows gradually drop, and the waters become crystal clear. Expect good fi shingearly and late in the day throughout the summer months on areawaters around the state. It’s also the best time to plan a camping/fi shing outing. Pack up some gear, take a couple of days and get out and revel in theamazing scenery and the peaceful tranquility Montana hasto offer. Here is a list of some ofthe fi sh to target this July and some of the places to explore.Bighorn River - Trout Trout fi shing will be exceptional with a variety of tactics for bothrainbow and big brown trout thatexist here. Stripping big, gaudystreamers, drifting dainty dry fl ies,floating a nymph below a strike indicator or twitching a muted-pattern Rapala will all begood big-fi sh tactics. Spoons and spinners can also work well in the deeper runs or when you fi sh theBighorn at night. Catch rates for experienced anglers are easily in the double digits, and even fi rst-time guided fl y anglers are hooking and landing plenty of nice fi sh. A good streamer pattern will be the Woolly Bugger in size 4 and 6. Nymph patterns

Pike on the fl y - Fort Peck Reservoir Forrest Fawthrop, owner Walleye Hunter Outfi tterswww.walleyehunteroutfi tters.com

include Pheasant Tail, Lightning Bugs,or Dave’s Emergers, sow bugs ororange scuds. San Juan worms inred, rust or orange will also pick up trout in the warm waters of July.A camping area near Fort Smith and the Yellowtail Dam area makes for anextraordinary destination with goodfi shing and fewer anglers.Flathead Lake - Whitefi shSome of the hottest fi shing will exist in Northwest Montana, as the annualmid-summer bite of Lake Whitefi sh on Flathead Lake takes over frommid-July until sometime in September. The action will be fast as whitefi shcruise the edges of weedlines looking to feast on perch fry. Look for a carpet of weeds from 40 to 50 feetdeep. These whitefi sh hunt over theweeds looking to pick off fry that venture out from cover. Whitefi sh also start to gather at the mouth of the Flathead prior to thefall spawning migration later in thesummer. Anglers fi shing the Woods Bay area will fi nd plenty of action on tasty whitefi sh on both sides of theshallow bar extending southwesterly from Woods Bay Point. Large schools of yellow perch frycongregate over weed beds here.Dropping down green marabou jigs,Kastmasters or anything that looks like a perch will be effective now. Daily limits are generous on the lake on fi sh that average 2 to 3 pounds. This big body of water also has many camping spots around it. Montana’s Top Summer Reservoirs Bass - On the Lower Clark Fork in Montana, you’ll fi nd three reservoirs with largemouth and smallmouth bass - the biggest being the 7,800 acre Noxon Reservoir, followed by Cabinet Gorge and Thompson Falls.Noxon may be your best bet for the biggest smallmouths with plenty of shallow, weedy water and steep

drop-offs that the smallmouth bass prefer. You’ll fi nd anabundance of crayfi sh due to the rockyshorelines which are ideal for both crayfi sh and smallmouths. Crayfi sh and perchpatterned spinnerbaitand Rapala lures work best, casting near these rocky points.Downstream of Noxonis the Cabinet GorgeReservoir where anglers can pick up some 4 pounders.You can catch these bass using a mixed bag of traditional lures, including a variety of hard and soft plastic lures. Jigs are also a top choice on the eastern side of the state. Fort Peck Lake offers up a tremendous population of smallmouth bass.The Montana State Record was caught here on August 30, 2013weighing in at 6.7 pounds and was 22.5 inches long, caught byMelvin McDanold. You will also hook into plenty of northern pike, walleye and perch while fi shing the shorelines around Fort Peck. Land O’ Lakes - Fishing the high country Backcountry fi shing certainly has its rewards in scenery, solitude and wild fi sh, but these items come with the price of being physically fi t. Montana is loaded with these small, isolated lakes in its mountainous terrain. Glacier National Park alone has around 130 named lakes and more than600 unnamed lakes and potholes to discover. These trout like structure,including brush, downed trees, weed beds and rocks. They also will thrive around water inlets and outlets. These trout can also be selective andsometimes maddening to fi sh for, as it seems like nothing at times will work. Good backcountry options include Panther Martins, Mepps and Thomas Cyclones in yellows, reds, and gold colors. Fly fi shers can hook up witha fl oating line and a few black ants and Montana nymphs. Wait until late afternoons and fi sh into the night for the best bite. Early morning fi shing is also great. Check your fi shing regs when taking to the backcountry and be bear aware. Tongue River Reservoir - Crappie, walleyeLate July is the perfect time for a multi-species expedition to southeasternMontana’s Tongue River Reservoir. This lake is located just north ofDecker, about 2 hours southeast of Billings. It’s camping and fi shing herewith plenty of warm-water species to keep you busy. The fl ooded brush at the upper end will hold good numbers of crappie and you can troll for

Page 21: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

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

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Pike on the fl y - Fort Peck Reservoir Forrest Fawthrop, owner Walleye Hunter Outfi tterswww.walleyehunteroutfi tters.com

medium-sized walleye working the rocky shorelines along the easternside of the lake. Trolling small, rattling crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and in-line spinners likeMepps Aglia will produce good action on crappie and even somesmallmouth bass that reside in the lake. Worm-baited jigs are effectivefrom the shorelines as well.

Gear Up For Kokanee FishingBy Martin Koenig, Idaho Department of Fish and Game...With kokanee fi sheries scattered across the state, opportunities abound for anyone to experience these exciting and delicious game fi sh...Kokanee are land-locked sockeye salmon and are found in many lakes and reservoirs across Idaho. Their native range spans from the Columbia River basin to Alaska and includes Idaho. They are also one of the state’s most colorful game fi sh...They can be found near the surface early in the summer, but they tend to move into deeper waters as temperatures rise. Kokanee feed almost exclusively on zooplankton, which are microscopic invertebrates that drift in the water column. In mid to late summer, kokanee are often found at 30 to 60 feet or more in their search for cold water and the best supply of zooplankton.Fish and Game stocks kokanee annually in several lakes and reservoirs that do not produce kokanee naturally, or in places where natural spawning may not produce enough fi sh to sustain sport fi shing demands...Kokanee fi shing starts to turn on in the weeks approaching spring and continues to be good through mid-summer. Kokanee are caught mainly from boats while slowly trolling lures. Finding the fi sh often requires a depth fi nder to locate schooling kokanee. Look for kokanee around large points, across the face of dams and off the mouth of any major spawning tributary.Typical kokanee lures include a variety of spinners, spoons and soft plastic tube jigs called “Hoochies”. Colors vary from reds and pinks, to fl uorescent orange and green and others. Visit your local tackle shop for recommendations on the best lures for the water you plan to visit.Two of the most important aspects of trolling for kokanee are depth and speed. Getting your lure to the depth of the fi sh is best done with the aid of a downrigger. Don’t worry if you don’t have downriggers. In the spring, kokanee are much shallower, so downriggers are less important early in the season. You can still get your lures down to the fi sh using colored lead-core trolling lines or varying amounts of rubber-core sinkers in front of your terminal tackle. Adjust the weights for the given trolling speed until you get the right depth. Experiment to get the right speed depending on your lure and line setup - 1.5 mph is a good place to start.Most folks like to troll their lure with some fl ashy pop gear or a dodger to attract fi sh and increase strike potential. Adding some scent or bait to your lure - white shoepeg corn is a favorite - may also increase your odds of hooking a fi sh. Later in the summer, kokanee form tight schools in preparation for their spawning run, and vertically jigging spoons can be productive if you can locate a big school.

Page 22: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

22 - Hunting & Fishing News

Skinner Sights makers of custom quality firearm sights for many years and the inventor of the unique HTF Firearms covert (hide firearms in your closet in their garment bag) is coming out with a specialized survival kit for Bush Pilots and back country enthusiasts.“This unique Skinner Sights Bush Pilot Survival Kit is the result of spending a lifetime in the extreme outdoors. With the Skinner “BUSH PILOT” kit you will be prepared. To the best of my knowledge this is the first production kit of its type.” — Andy Larsson, owner of Skinner Sights.Skinner Sights Bush Pilot Survival Kit shown with some of the below listed components.Gun: This unique survival kit comes with a customized Chiappa .44 Magnum 6+1 capacity take down lever action 5-1/2 pound rifle with 16″ barrel. Finished in warm tone hard chrome stainless steel and with a walnut stock it features Skinner’s incredibly effective (and beautiful) precision rear sight with interchangeable apertures and Skinner’s fiber optic front sight.Other kit components: The kit includes a RAT-7 OKC Survival knife with a 7.2-inch carbon steel black powder coated blade and Micarta handle. The BUSH PILOT logo and serial number on the blade matches that of the carbine. The kit also contains Titan storm and water proof matches (in a sturdy capsule), a U.S. Government issue Doan magnesium fire starter, Ration brand heat and cooking stove with Hexamine fuel tablets, tough “polyester film space blanket” tube tent large enough for two adults, Brunton TruArc 3 flat base scouting compass and 50 feet of Mil. Spec. 750 Parachute cord.*The bag: All this comes packed in Skinner’s Montana made custom 1,000 denier Cordura padded carry bag with a 500 denier liner. The bag features Molle attachment points for the knife sheath, and easy open full width buckle down closure flap so there is no fumbling around in a survival situation with zippers, etc. The tough well engineered bag has room for other essential items the pilot /outdoor enthusiast may wish to add. MSRP: $1,799*Note: 750 (pound) Para Cord–has 11 triple wound strands of nylon. Those with some survival training can utilize genuine 550 and especially 750 cord further by removing some of the exterior sheath and unwinding the nylon strands as needed for many other uses such as fishing line, thread, ties, snares or even for making a fish trap net.

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B&C THREE-YEAR FINDINGS GIVE INSIGHT TO TRENDS IN BIG GAMEThe Boone and Crockett Club www.boone-crockett.org

Record-class specimens of Canada moose, desert sheep, non-typical American elk and Columbia blacktail deer, Roosevelt’s elk and typical Sitka blacktail deer have become more common afield, based on newly compiled records by Boone and Crockett Club. Conversely, records reveal a stable or opposite trend for other categories of native North American big-game species. The Club recently compiled records for the period 2013-15 in preparation for its triennial tribute to big-game conservation and management - the 29th Big Game Awards, July 14-16, in Springfield, Missouri. The event, hosted by Bass Pro Shops, features a public exhibition of the largest trophies from this three-year period, including two new World’s Record Alaska-Yukon moose and pronghorn and records-book specimens taken by youths. The exhibit is open free to the public May 9 - July 31 at the Bass Pro Shops store. Go to www.biggameawards.com for event details. “We’re looking at the last three years’ worth of entries in 36 categories of big game, and comparing the data to previous three-year recording periods,” said Richard Hale, chairman of the Club’s Records Committee.“And, we’re finding many reasons to celebrate the current state of conservation, as well as a few causes for concern.” Within the 2013-15 record book entries, the condition of most categories of big-game species is considered stable, with comparatively insignificant gains or losses compared to preceding recording periods. This list includes Alaska brown bear, Alaska-Yukon moose, bison, black bear, grizzly bear, non-typical Columbia blacktail and Sitka blacktail deer, Rocky Mountain goat, Roosevelt’s elk, Shiras’ moose, Stone’s sheep, typical American elk, typical Coue’s whitetail deer, and typical and non-typical whitetail deer. Significant uptrends in entries from 2010-12 to 2013-15 include: Non-typical Columbia blacktail deer, up 42 percentTypical Sitka blacktail deer, up 40 percentDesert sheep, up 24 percentNon-typical American elk, up 24 percentNon-typical Coues’ whitetail deer, up 18 percentCanada moose, up 17 percentWoodland caribou, up 14 percentRoosevelt’s elk, up 13 percent


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Page 23: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

23July 2016

B&C THREE-YEAR FINDINGS GIVE INSIGHT TO TRENDS IN BIG GAMEThe Boone and Crockett Club www.boone-crockett.org

Noteworthy downtrends in entries from 2010-12 to 2013-15 include: Quebec-Labrador caribou, down 92 percentCentral Canada barren ground caribou, down 78 percentMountain caribou, down 55 percentMusk ox, down 42 percentTypical Columbia blacktail deer, down 37 percentPronghorn, down 30 percentTypical mule deer, down 24 percentBighorn sheep, down 22 percentNon-typical mule deer, down 20 percentCougar, down 20 percentTule elk, down 19 percentDall’s sheep, down 19 percent

Hale said, “Three years ago we were most concerned about our caribou, and still are, but woodland caribou are making a nice rebound. Entries for Quebec-Labrador caribou are still very low, but that is to be expected because hunting for them has been scaled back over the past two years as herds are given time to rebound.” The decline of the Newfoundland woodland caribou herds has been linked to habitat loss due to too many caribou. He explained, “Antler and horn size in most species is directly linked to age and habitat quality, which is what makes these data valuable as a yardstick indicating how we are doing managing both game and their habitats. The first sign of recovering habitat is antler quality and right now there are some tremendous woodland bulls coming out of Newfoundland. This follows what we’re seeing on the ground there. Herds exploded then crashed, habitat recovered, and now herds are on the rebound.” Hunters led the restoration, conservation,

and management practices that brought many big-game species from vanishing to flourishing,and Hale expects our wildlife and science experts, with the support of sportsmen and others to do the same for those species needing a helping hand today. Boone and Crockett Club began keeping trophy records in 1906 as a way of detailing species once thought headed for extinction.

Today, trophy data reflect population health and habitat quality. Older animals being taken are a reflection of population balance and a low off take. Biologists compare and contrast records to improve local managementstrategies, as well as state and federal wildlife policies.

The Club began hosting public exhibitions in 1947 so that citizens could see the big game animals that Boone and Crockett honors as symbols of America’s historic conservation system. That tradition will continue in Springfield, Missouri, July 14-16, with Boone and Crockett Club’s 29th Big Game Awards. The event is designed to celebrate past, present, and ongoing conservation successes--and draw attention to the conservation needs of the future. To date, the growing list of sponsors for the Boone and Crockett Club 29th Big Game Awards, includes Bass Pro Shops, Wild Sheep Foundation, Federal Premium Ammunition, Dallas Safari Club, DNZ Products, Americase, Weatherby, Leupold & Stevens, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Kimber Manufacturing, Buck Knives, the Mule Deer Foundation, the Guide and Outfitters Association of British Columbia, Yellowstone Press, and Bear Trust International.

Photo courtesyThe Boone and Crockett Club

Denny Austad

Page 24: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

24 - Hunting & Fishing News

406.541.4800 | www.bretzrv.com


Nighttime is the right time to target hungry walleyes. Under the cover of darkness, hungry ’eyes focus on shallow water feeding areas where they gorge on hapless baitfi sh and othersources of sustenance.

The spring and early summer night bite can be particularly productive, as gangs of walleyes gather in predictable areas while migrating from their spawning grounds to summer haunts.

More good news: Chances to reel in a limit after dark abound, whether you’re after weed walleyes or fi shing classic rock or gravel structures.

Shallow feeding fl ats adjacent to deeper daytime hangouts can be gold mines. Anything that funnels fi sh movement, such as a slight depression or stairstep along a breakline, can be good, too. And never overlook places where incoming current sweetens the pot.

Fancasting such strike zones with crankbaits like the Lindy Rally Fish, Wally Shad and Wally Demon is a fi ne option. But often, suspending live bait above bottom is an equally deadly angle of attack.

Lighted and glow-in-the-dark fl oats shine for such maneuvers, serving as reliable strike indicators while continuously revealing your rig’s position. Plus, they eliminate the need to cast a fi sh-spooking fl ashlight beam across the surface to check your bobber’s whereabouts.

Thankfully, Thill offers a number of options, including the fully automatic Splash Brite, which lights up when it hits the water and turns off when pulled from the drink. Besides saving internal battery life for a full 36 hours or more of nocturnal fi shing time, it eliminates the need for light sticks and buttons.

As a bonus, the Splash Brite is a true center slider armed with a line-friendly brass grommet, so it doubles as a daytime fl oat when the internal battery fi nally expires.

Thill’s iconic Nite Brite is another top choice, capable of cutting through the gloom with a fi ery glow visible at the end of a long cast, even in rough water. It’s powered by a replaceable battery that lasts twice as long as standard bobber batteries, and is easily turned on and off.

Other Thill options include the Night ‘N Day Glow Float. As the name implies, the buoyant balsa body sports a luminescent paint job that glows in the dark, no batteries required.

If trophy walleyes are on your hit list, it’s worth noting that Little Joe offers a Nite Brite Lighted Pole Float. Available in 6- through 10-inch sizes, it’s ideal for presenting super-sized live baits to beefy walleyes and other broad-shouldered ghosts in the darkness.

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Snake Rigging Walleye (continued from page 18)

Bigger fi sh just like this particular action. With the right combination of speed and warp, the goal is to get the soft plastic to come alive in a seductive and realistic swimming action. Often necessary to run the snake rig next to the boat just to make sure that it is working properly. This rigging tweak can help you catch bigger walleye this season or at least give you another very effective alternative to classic live bait options. When fi sh are really off or if the bite is such where you have to feed the fi sh or let the planer board fall back, the real night crawler often trumps everything. There are other bites however where the fi sh drag and choke up on the spinner and want the spinner moving faster. When the bite is good or excellent, soft plastics take over.By hooking a soft plastic crawler with a little bit of slack between the front and back hook, you have an easy to hit target that moves straight through the water. This classic approach works many days. By just hooking the soft plastic worm with one hook in the nose, you create a fast fl uttering action when the spinner is pulled through the water. By rigging the soft plastic worm with the snake rigging method where the worm is curved like a banana, the worm begins to swim behind the harness.All of these rigging options have their place and I have seen days where each look is desired by fi sh. This season, experiment with these methods and vary your rigging to catch even more and bigger walleye.

Jason Mitchell designed the popular Pro Walleye Series spinner harnesses for Northland Fishing Tackle that featureextremely bold color combinations, alternating bead patterns to mimic bait fi sh and metal speed clevises for better blade rotation through a wider spectrum of speeds.

www.lindyfi shingtackle.com

Page 25: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

25July 2016



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Page 26: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

26 - Hunting & Fishing News

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What’s that?” The other hunter motioned toward the large bag that was strapped to my hunting pack.

“A packraft. I’m going to fl oat my deer out.” He gave me an amused look and then started off down-river from the parking lot. We had both drawn a WMA (Wildlife Management Area) access permit that was valid only for the fi rst week in November. It was the fi rst day of that week and I felt like a complete rookie. I had never hunted the area and had only been able to scout it using my onXmaps HUNT App and Google Earth. The area was walk-in only with only one public access point. On the recommendation of a friend who knew the area, I decided to use the river that ran through the WMA to fl oat out whatever I shot.

After packraft hunting between the breaks that led down to the river and the fl at river bottom for a couple of hours, I realized that many of the bucks were hiding in the steeper terrain. I had passed on a few smaller bucks and had seen over twenty deer already. I knew I shouldn’t settle for anything less than a wide fi ve-by-fi ve. I changed my strategy and started hunting the coulees that led down to the river. A half hour later, I was rewarded when a mule deer buck broke cover and busted up the side of a ravine in front of me.I had just seconds to drop into a kneeling position and evaluate him for points and spread. He looked acceptable, so when he turned broadside at the top of the ridge, I couldn’t resist. My shot hit him high in the spine and he was dead before I got to him. He is one of the few deer that actually got bigger as I walked up to him and I was ecstatic.

After taking a few pictures, I decided to test my strength and the capacity of my packraft by transporting him out whole. I was six-tenths of a mile from the river and two and a half miles from my truck as the crow fl ies. Having shot only whitetails for the past 14 years, I had forgotten how heavy mule deer are. Dragging my hunted mule deer to the river took almost two hours and was a feat that made me feel both strong and foolish at the same time. In hindsight, it would have been smarter, faster and easier to quarter him for the trip to the river.

After arriving at the river I realized I had another problem. The bank of the river had fallen off and it was at least a 10 to 12-foot drop right into the water. Looking along the shoreline, I found a small muddy shelf that had just enough room for me, the deer and the packraft. I lowered the deer and my pack with a p-cord and then I half slid, half fell, onto the staging area. I quickly infl ated the raft, but I found it extremely diffi cult to load the deer and keep the raft from sliding off into the water. Fortunately, there was minimal current,and I was fi nally able to get him tied-on somewhat securely. I loaded all my gear into the in-tube storage area (an optional add-on for Alpacka Rafts). Even with my body weight and my gear in rear storage, I was barely able to counterbalance the weight of the buck. I learned later that mule deer bucks weigh between 102 and 207 lbs. after fi eld dressing. I compared his body size to other muley bucks later in the season and I’d say he is defi nitely on the heavier end.

Page 27: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

27July 2016

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Rafting him out on this packraft hunt was also an adventure. I had to learn to paddle around his antlers and my turning capabilities defi nitely suffered due to the added weight. Every set of rapids sent tension surging through my body, as the thought of tipping the raft and having to drag a water-logged mule deer out of the river was more than a little nerve-racking. Luckily, the river was slow and calm and I made it without incident. Due to lack of rain and snowpack, the river was low and would not have been navigable with most infl atables. Even with my low-drag packraft, I did get stuck on a few rocks.

I rounded the river bend in front of the parking lot with an audience of four confused-looking hunters. The heavy, awkward load on such a small boat must have looked a little strange. The onlookers were kind enough to help me drag my mule deer to the truck, and I was home before dark.

Using a packraft on this hunt might have been more practical if I had shot my buck further from my truck. The WMA was about ten miles long and I had assumed I would have to go at least fi ve miles to get into unpressured hunting areas. As it was, I could have packed him out slightly faster if I had made one trip on foot, but that would have been a much more diffi cult trip. Also, I have defi nitely learned my lesson on packing out animals whole. Quartering deer and boning-out elk will make for a manageable weight and much less awkward load.

All things considered, packrafts can be a big help in hunting areas with limited road access because they add only eight pounds to your day pack and they can really save your back when you use them to fl oat out your meat.


Matt Harrington is the owner of Backcountry Packraft Rentals which rents and ships packrafts all over the US. Matt and his gorgeous wife, Allie, live in Browning, MT. They spend much of their free time hunting, fi shing, rafting and hiking in the spectacular area around their home (Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Blackfeet Reservation).

Page 28: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

28 - Hunting & Fishing News

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Page 29: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

29July 2016

Read the owner’s manual before operating Honda Power Equipment. Connection of a generator to house power requires a transfer device to avoid possible injury to power company personnel. Consult a qualifi ed electrician. Not all dealers carry all products. © 2016 American Honda Motor Co., Inc. www.powerequipment.honda.com

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Page 30: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

30 - Hunting & Fishing News

Page 31: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

31July 2016

The odd monstrous non-typical is walking in every state, but without question your odds of seeing one are best if you live in the Midwest, or own or lease ground there, or travel there to hunt. This region has the most soybeans and the best genetics for growing big, bad freaks. Some Midwestern states don’t allow gun hunting until after the November rut, and even then much of it is limited to slug or muzzleloader. This allows a good number of bucks to live past 4 or 5 years and begin to sprout antler junk.You can hunt anywhere in the Midwest and have a fi ghting chance of encountering a freak, but your odds go up if you hunt ground with limited hunting pressure. This might be a working farm with a good mix of soybeans, corn, brush and marsh, and where just you and a few others hunt. Or a well-managed, private tract where just a few hunters pass young bucks and harvest a handful of older deer each year.Or it might be a more unique place: A state forest, regional park or military base that offers, through a public draw, a limited number of hunting days and archery permits each fall. Look for these opportunities.Minnesota bowhunters Scott and Susie O’Konek did just that. Back in 2009, they applied for and drew tags for a 2-day bowhunt on Camp Ripley training base near Little Falls. Offi cials offer only about 6 days of deer hunting total on the 50,000-acre base each year. A place with that little pressure is bound to hold a few monster bucks, but Scott put that thought in the back of his mind. His goal was for Susie to kill her fi rst deer with a bow. He’d shoot the fi rst decent buck he saw, if he saw one.The fi rst morning out, Scott got Susie set up, and then he ran his climber up a tree a short distance away. The sun rose, and he saw a buck nosing a doe. Scott’s arrow was spot-on, and soon he and Susie were sitting in disbelief in the drizzly October woods with a massive 27-pointer that scored 227 3/8.“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d ever see a buck like that, much less shoot one,” Scott said. “I was just in the right spot at the right time.”And that is how it goes with these magnifi cent animals. Not all that many 5-year-old, belly-sagging bucks with stickers, daggers or drops on their racks roam America’s woods, but a few lurk here and there. Enough of the mystical beasts to make us hunt hard, and dream.

Top 10 States Non-Typical Bucks 2000-2016 1. Illinois 360 6. Missouri 205 2. Iowa 270 7. Kentucky 182 3. Wisconsin 270 8. Indiana 168 4. Ohio 243 9. Minnesota 128 5. Kansas 230 10.Texas 111 Source: www.boone-crockett.org.

Top 10 States: Giant Non-Typical Whitetail Bucks By Mike Hanback www.mikehanback.com

Page 32: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

32 - Hunting & Fishing News

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Selecting The Correct Rifle Cartridge For Your NeedsBy Stefan WilsonOriginally published at www.gohunt.comOriginally published at

Choosing a rifl e can be a daunting task. Not only do you have to fi nd a rifl e that fi ts you and is comfortable to shoot, but you also have to then choose the right chambering of that rifl e for the specifi c round you want to shoot. A variety of different factors play into that decision: what size game will you be hunting? What range will you be shooting? Do you want a chambering with a lot of available ammunition? What about recoil?With so many factors infl uencing your rifl e cartridge selection, it is important to understand the minute details of each that will affect your choice.Before we begin, I feel it necessary to make a disclaimer up front. I am not promoting one specifi c cartridge as the “best all-around” cartridge. I have seen way too many internet comment threads that dissolved into complete insanity and childish name-calling as a result of someone choosing a rifl e cartridge that someone else was not a fan of.Instead, this article will seek to give you the information on which to base your own decision.BASICS ABOUT RIFLE CARTRIDGESThere are three words that you need to know before we go any further: caliber, casing, and cartridge.CaliberThis refers to the diameter of the projectile being fi red (e.g., the bullet). Bullets come in all kinds of different sizes, but the two most common measurements are inches and millimeters. Here are some examples: a bullet from a .243 is a .24 caliber bullet because it is .24 inches in diameter. A 7mm-08 is a 7mm caliber bullet because the bullet is 7mm in diameter. Make sense? If multiple chamberings have the same caliber, then the bullet diameter is the same for all of them. The bullet diameter is the same for .30-06, .30-30, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .300 Weatherby Magnum — the differences lie in the weight of the bullet and the amount of powder that is propelling the bullet downrange.CasingThis refers to the brass that holds the powder charge behind the bullet. A casing is nothing but a paperweight if it doesn’t have a primer, powder, and a bullet. Casings differ in shape and length depending on the chambering of the rifl e for which they are intended because different cartridges require differing amounts of powder to push the bullet at varying speeds.CartridgeThis refers to what you get when you put everything together. A .30 caliber bullet inside of a .30-06 casing will result in a .30-06 cartridge that can now be fi red out of a rifl e that is chambered in .30-06. You still following?RIFLE CARTRIDGES AND RECOILSimple physics becomes clear when you start talking about pushing a larger, heavier bullet at speeds that are equal to its smaller, lighter peers. Newton’s third law of motion tells us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This means that the same force that is driving that bullet forward is also driving your rifl e backward. This is called recoil and it only takes one pull of the trigger on a high-power rifl e to know it well. (continued page 34)

Photo credit: Stefan Wilson

Page 33: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

33July 2016

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Page 34: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

34 - Hunting & Fishing News

Selecting The Correct Rifle Cartridge For Your Needs (continued from page 32)

This is all based on a simple formula that tells us that mass and velocity lead to energy (E=1/2MV²). I’m not going to solve for recoil energy, but the fact remains that propelling a bullet downrange at high velocities requires a great deal of energy and that energy is driving right back into your shoulder. This is why high velocity, large caliber rifl es kick so hard. The energy created from that .338 Weatherby Magnum is just too much to make that 7 lb rifl e easy to manage.You might think that simply fi nding the sweet spot of large bullet size and manageable recoil would be the ticket to choosing your new rifl e, but it isn’t that simple.COMMON MINDSET TOWARD CHOOSING A RIFLEThings start to get confusing when people start allowing conjecture and assumptions to rule the day. Here are a few common misconceptions that often lead people astray when trying to choose a rifl e cartridge:“Bigger is better” Proponents of this mindset will say, “If a .26 caliber bullet can do the job, then I know a .30 caliber bullet will do the job even better.” While this might be true in some circumstances, bigger is not always better. If shooting that larger caliber means that I feel more recoil and I am no longer able to shoot the rifl e without fl inching; this reduces my accuracy. The tradeoff was not worth it.“The faster the better” If you have the need for speed, this might be you. Speed is great as it means fl atter trajectories and more kinetic energy downrange, but at what point do we say, “That’s fast enough to kill anything that moves?” 2,600 fps? 2,800 fps? 3,200 fps? Remember that speed comes at a cost and it is usually paid in a harder recoil, louder report, and shorter barrel life. Finding a good compromising point is prudent for many.“If it doesn’t say ‘Magnum’, it isn’t good enough” I know of plenty of hunters who own multiple rifl es and the only thing the rifl es have in common is the word “magnum.” It doesn’t have to say magnum to kill even the largest of animals. For years the .30-06 was king and, last I checked, it still kills things just as dead as it did 50 years ago. Plus, with the advent of modern hunting bullets, non-magnum cartridges are more effective than ever.FACTORS REQUIRED FOR AN ETHICAL HARVEST OF AN ANIMALWith the basics and some misunderstandings out of the way, let’s address the factors that must be present for the ethical harvesting of any animal: penetration, placement, and wound channel.Penetration This refers to the bullet’s ability to go deep into the animal’s vitals, preferably all the way through, exiting on the other side. This allows for maximum blood loss and vital damage. Penetration is the result of momentum, which results in kinetic energy; speed is not the determining factor for penetration. A bowling ball rolling at 10 mph has more momentum than a 100 mph fastball. A heavier bullet moving at a moderate speed will result in better penetration than a lighter bullet that is fl ying at a faster rate of speed.Placement This is by far the most important factor in ethically killing any animal. A poorly placed shot with a high power, high-speed cartridge will likely result in a wounded and lost animal. A well-placed shot with a smaller, milder cartridge using a quality bullet will nearly always result in a quick kill. Bullet placement is absolutely paramount. (continued next page)

Page 35: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

35July 2016



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An effective wound channel This is another necessary factor. The wound channel is the damage that is caused as the bullet passes through the body cavity. It does not make a clean hole, but instead makes a ragged, expanded chasm through its path. Larger bullets tend to make larger wound channels, but bullet choice is ultimately the largest factor, not only size. A smaller bullet that expands well and retains its weight will cause a more effective wound channel than a larger bullet that breaks apart. Yet, all things being equal, a larger, heavier, and faster bullet will cause more damage, which gives the shooter a cushion for error in the event that errors occur (which they do).Combining these three factors will result in an ethical, quick kill of an animal… every time.

HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT RIFLE CARTRIDGE FOR YOUHow do you fi nd the right rifl e cartridge for you? Here are a couple of questions that I like to ask whenever trying to select a new rifl e:What is the largest bullet that I reasonably need to harvest the animal I want to hunt? If you are hunting antelope, you don’t need a .338 Lapua (.33 caliber) when a .25-06 (.25 caliber) or 6.5 Creedmoor (6.5mm) will do just fi ne.What is my recoil threshold? We all have one. It is the point where I amno longer able to comfortably and confi dently squeeze the trigger with absolutely zero fl inching. Flinching means missed shots. Whatever amount of recoil causes me to fl inch is too much.What is my budget for ammunition? If money’s‘ no object, then you can shoot any cartridge you want, but if you need something that costs less than $20 per box, your choices will be reduced considerably. Some of the most common and affordable cartridges include .243, .270, .30-06, .308, and others. Magnums tend to be pricier than their non-magnum counterparts.Am I letting others’ opinions infl uence my decision? Are you worried about what people will think when you roll up with your .260 Remington in elk camp? Don’t be! Other people’s opinions should not play into your rifl e choices. You have to live with your choice, not them. Don’t let others make your choice for you.GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR RIFLE CARTRIDGESFor the sake of helping to distill down all of the options to a manageable list, here is a basic list of the range of rifl e calibers that would be appropriate for various sized game:

Common caliber sizes for big gameAnimal category Rifl e caliber sizeDeer and smaller .243 to .30-06Elk and similar sized game .260 to .300 MagnumLarger game (grizzly bear, moose, etc.) 7mm Magnum to .338 MagnumThere are also great alternatives to some of the older cartridges. For example, the .308 has long been used as an effective hunting round, but some wanted to shoot a 6.5mm and a 7mm bullet from the .308 casing. Thus, the .260 Remington (6.5mm) and the 7mm-08 were born. These are very effective, tame, and fun-to-shoot rounds that have put down even the largest of animals with a well-placed shot. Be sure to investigate these options as they fall well within the necessary size and velocity for harvesting large game.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT CARTRIDGEThe information in this article is meant to help you make a decision, not make your decision for you. Only you know your exact needs and limits. No rifl e round will be the perfect blend of everything. You must choose what your biggest needs are and then compromise as necessary on the others. For me, I know that I mainly hunt elk and mule deer with a rifl e and that I will reasonably take shots out to 300 yards. I can handle a decent amount of recoil and wanted something that had been around for a while and wasn’t going anywhere so that there would be plenty of ammo available.All of these factors led me to the 7mm Remington Magnum — not because I had to have a magnum (I hunted with a .30-06 for almost 20 years), but because it met the most needs on my list while still being easy to shoot consistently and accurately. I plan on adding a .260 Remington or 6.5 Creedmoor to my gun safe for my wife to use on elk and deer hunts because that is the cartridge that will suit her best for her needs.Ultimately, you have to live with your own decisions. Make them carefully. Make them confi dently. Then enjoy shooting your new rifl e.

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Page 36: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

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Republic Services of Montana

7 year old Tessa with her 32-1/2”, 17-3/4” girth walleye. She was fi shing with her grandpa and grandma, Andy and Paula Hicks, on Ft. Peck Lake and landed this whopper using a perch colored crank bait. Photo Montana Walleyes Unlimitedwww.montanawalleyesunlimited.net

“The condition of some of the larger walleye was very impressive this spring,” said Fort Peck Reservoir Biologist and project-lead Heath Headley. “This is likely due to the high numbers of cisco, an important forage species, which we’ve had over the last couple of years. This abundance of food led to good growth and excellent egg production.”

Roughly 39 million eggs remained at the Fort Peck Multi-Species Fish Hatchery, which in turn raised approximately 19.5 fry. “Eight to ten million fry will be put into Fort Peck Hatchery ponds to raise to fi ngerlings,” said Wade Geraets, Fort Peck Fish Hatchery manager. “The rest of the fry will be stocked into Fort Peck Reservoir and other allocated bodies of water around the state.”

The other 40 million eggs headed to the Miles City Hatchery, where approximately 8.1 million fry were stocked into hatchery ponds and 8.7 million fry were stocked into Fort Peck Reservoir at Hell Creek. Overall, the weather was quite favorable to the walleye spawning efforts. “Although there were a few cold fronts that passed through, water temperatures remained in the upper 40’s, which is near the ideal spawning temperature for walleye.” said Headley.

During egg-take efforts in the past, some cold fronts have been more severe and longer lasting. “Some years we’ve observed water surface temperatures decrease from the upper 40’s to the upper 30’s and remain that way for several days,” said Headley. “Not only did this cause walleye to quit cruising the shallow shorelines where trap nets were located, but it also prevented any green female walleye we captured from ripening up or releasing their eggs. During those poor years, only 38-48 million eggs were collected.”

Volunteers, Headley says, were key to the operation. Over 104 individual volunteers, from all over the state of Montana, assisted with this season’s effort. “We wouldn’t be able to set all the trap nets, collect fi sh, and spawn them on a daily basis unless we had help,” he explained. “Volunteers are the main reason this has been so successful over the years. It’s always great to see new and familiar faces during the walleye egg-taking effort, discuss the Fort Peck fi shery, and see some truly remarkable fi sh.”

In addition to walleye eggs, roughly 2.5 million northern pike eggs were collected early in the effort. One hundred thousand northern pike fry were put into a Fort Peck hatchery pond, and the remaining fry were stocked into allocated ponds in Regions 6 and 7.

Fort Peck Reservoir Walleye Spawn Egg-take Effort a Success MFWP

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks annual walleye spawn egg-take on Fort Peck Reservoir was completed in April. With the help of FWP personnel and the many volunteers, the egg collection goals were exceeded. The egg-take effort began in late March, and was completed by the 21st of April.

A total of 552 female walleye were spawned, with approximately 79 million eggs collected, and 1,674 males were captured during the effort as well. The heaviest walleye weighed was a female at 15.7 pounds. Another female captured measured only 29.6 inches, but weighed 14.4 pounds.

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Page 37: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

37July 2016

HUNTING & CONSERVATION NEWS HUNTING & CONSERVATION NEWSMontana to Use Bitterroot Elk Research in ManagementSafari Club International Foundation First For Wildlife

After years of evaluating elk survival and recruitment in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, state offi cials are planning the next steps for managing the area’s elk herd. Earlier this year, the University of Montana and the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MTFWP) published the study’s scientifi c fi ndings and management recommendations in a fi nal report.This study was initiated after a sharp change in elk population dynamics caused concern for Montana hunters and conservationists. Changes in fi re activity and land use contributed to an estimated 25% decline in elk through the mid-2000s. In 2009, calf recruitment in the Bitterroot elk herd reached a historic low. Many fi ngers were pointed at increases in predator populations, particularly wolves, which were expanding in number and range. Wildlife researchers mobilized to fi nd out why the elk herd was in decline and whether predators were responsible.The Bitterroot Valley is home to a diversity of predator species, including black bear, coyote and wolf. Research fi ndings from this study, however, indicated that mountain lions were the leading cause of elk mortality, responsible for at least 20% of annual calf mortality.Research in the Bitterroot showed that mountain lions exist at an unusually high density in the valley and resulted in an increased lion harvest quota in 2013. This management action was taken to boost elk calf survival rates. Wildlife managers and biologists from MTFWP are planning to re-evaluate calf survival in the summer of 2016 and determine if the increased mountain lion harvest has helped calf survival.Results of the Bitterroot Elk Project also show that habitat quality is limiting calf production and potentially predisposing elk to predation. Adult female survival was found to be the most important factor infl uencing the overall population. Habitat treatments offer another management option to improve forage and productivity in the Bitterroot ecosystem. While there are currently no habitat management activitiesunderway, MTFWP is now working with the US Forest Service to consider forest management to improve habitat in the Bitterroot National Forest.This study highlights the importance of both predation and habitat on ungulate prey species. SCI Foundation and Montana state researchers are currently discussing the future of elk management in the Bitterroot Valley. Stayed tuned to our First for Wildlife blog for more updates!SCI Foundation has been involved with the Bitterroot Elk Project since the study was initiated in 2011. SCI’s Western Montana Chapter, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and several other organizations were also funding partners.Twice a week, SCI Foundation informs readers about conservation initiatives happening worldwide and updates them on SCI Foundation’s news, projects and events. Tuesdays are dedicated to an Issue of the Week and Thursday’s Weekly Updates will provide an inside look into research and our other science-based conservation efforts. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for more SCI Foundation news.

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Page 38: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

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A New Record Bluegill From The Panhandle

Rochester Angler Breaks Black Rockfish Sport Fish Record

Steven Charles Orr of Rochester, Washington, has set a new state record for the largest black rockfi sh caught in Washington state waters, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confi rmed today.

The 10.72 pound fi sh measured 26.15 inches and was caught May 15 in Marine Area 1 near Ilwaco, Pacifi c County, while Orr was bait fi shing with herring.

“I thought I had a ling cod,” Orr said. “It was like fi ghting a big king salmon, and when I got it up to the boat, it absolutely dwarfed a 6 to 7 pound sea bass we had onboard. It was defi nitely a fi ghter.”

The new record exceeded the previous black rockfi sh record by almost half a pound. That record was held by Joseph Eberling for a fi sh he caught in the Tacoma Narrows area of Puget Sound in 1980.

Congratulations to Elisa Rose of Kellogg for landing this remarkable bluegill. Elisa released the 11.5 inch monster, but landed a new Catch-and-Release State Recordin the process.

You can fi nd out more about the new Catch-and-Release record program and see a list of all current records at the IDFG website.

Record Year For Oregon Big Game Auctions And Raffles: 1St Rocky Mt Goat Tag Auctioned For $30K

ODFW’s 2016 auctions and raffl es for Oregon big game hunting tags grossed a record $755,963, of which $537,816 will go to the Access and Habitat Program and $218,147 to big game research and management. Winners of the special tags enjoy an extended season and expanded hunt area.The auction of 13 special big game tags grossed $517,000 and includedthe fi rst auction for an Oregon Rocky Mt Goat tag which sold for $30,000. Several of the statewide deer and elk auction tags sold for new records including a statewide elk tag which sold for $49,000 during the OHA banquet. The Governor’s combination deer/elk tag broke the previous record (by $2,000) and sold for $70,000 this year.Raffl e winners were drawn at the Oregon Hunters Association state convention on May 21 in Canyonville, OR. A total of 95,343 raffl e tickets were sold, grossing $238,964.The sportsman/conservation groups that sponsored the auctions at fund raising banquets of their organizations in the past few months will keep 10 percent of the auction proceeds ($51,700). Those groups include local, state and/or national chapters of the Wild Sheep Foundation, Mule Deer Foundation, Oregon Hunters Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International, National Wild Turkey Federation, and Oregon Foundation for North American Wild Sheep.See ODFW website’s for a list of 2016 auction sales, 2016 raffl e sales and the names of 2016 raffl e winners.The A&H Program funds hunter access to private lands and wildlife habitat improvement projects in the state. Proceeds from the pronghorn, bighorn sheep, and Rocky Mountain goat raffl es and auctions fund the research and management of these species, including ODFW’s bighorn sheep and goat transplants which are putting these species back into their native habitat across Oregon.For more information on Oregon’s Auction and Raffl e Big Game Tags visit www.OregonRaffl eHunts.com.

Page 39: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

39July 2016


The Panhandle offers a unique fi shing opportunity for northern pike not found elsewhere in Idaho, which anglers can enjoy while at the same time keeping the fi sh’s population in check which is a good thing for other species. There are about 23 bodies of water in northern Idaho that have pike. The fi sh are commonly found in Coeur d’Alene Lake and the “chain” lakes along the Coeur d’Alene River. Coeur d’Alene Lake has opportunitiesfor shore and boat fi shing, and the chain lakes range from about 200 to 700 acres, which makes them suitable for smaller motor boats and craft like canoes, kayaks and fl oat tubes. They also offer a variety of game fi sh and easy access, along with boating, picnicking and campsites...Northern pike are a large predatory fi sh (the state record is 40 pounds), that can be taken on a variety of tackle. Many anglers target them, but pike are also taken incidentally when anglers are pursuing other types of fi sh. Spring is the best time to fi sh for pike because the fi sh are often found in shallow water, and weeds have not grown that can make fi shing for them more challenging. Lots of choices for anglers Pike fi shing can be as simple or as complicatedas you want to make it. For anglers who prefer the basics, dangling a hook baited with smelt or other bait beneath a bobber will catch these fi sh. But considering their aggressive nature, many anglers prefer to tempt them out of their lairs to chase and strike a fl eeing lure.Like all fi shing, some lures work better than others for pike, and it can change from day to day, but you might use bigger-than-usual lures for these fi sh, and white, yellow and chartreuse are popular colors. Plastics that imitate a minnow or other small fi sh are also good baits for pike...Managing pike Although illegally introduced into Idaho in the 1970s, Fish and Game manages pike as a game fi sh, but there are no minimum size or bag limits on them. “Our policy has always been to encourage high harvest which keeps numbers down and minimizes impacts to other species,” said Fish and Game Fisheries Bureau Chief Jim Fredericks. Studies have shown anglers in Idaho harvest about a third of the pike population annually, which keeps the population in check and minimizes spreading to other areas. High harvest also keeps the voracious fi sh from depleting other fi sh. “In general, northern pike haven’t had destructive impacts on other game fi sh or native fi sh species,” Fredericks said. “That said, there are limited areas in Coeur d’Alene Lake where predation appears to be an issue for cutthroat trout, and we’ve been working in cooperation with the Coeur d’Alene Tribe on localized removal efforts.” Fish and Game biologists are currently surveying pike in northern Idaho to monitor their abundance, distribution and population trends, as well as the amount of harvest that’s occurring. “We think they’ve reached a stable state,” said Carson Watkins, Fish and Game’s regional fi sh biologist in the Panhandle Region. But monitoring pike is a work in progress, and Fish and Game crews are netting the Chain Lakes and tagging pike so they can learn not only about their population, but also growth rates, ages, reproduction and more.Anglers who catch a tagged pike, or any other tagged fi sh, can report them to help with those efforts. Tagging fi sh and anglers reporting them is an effi cient and cost-effective way of monitoring harvest, survival, growth and movement of the fi sh...Tags labeled with “reward” are worth cash, and the tag must be clipped from the fi sh and returned to Fish and Game for the reward to be paid. If two tags are with the fi sh, both numbers are needed.To learn more...go to fi shandgame.idaho.gov and see the link on the Fishing page (https://fi shandgame.idaho.gov/public/fi sh/tagged.pdf).

Try Northern Pike Fishing In Northern Idaho’s LakesBy Roger Phillips, IF&G public information specialist

Page 40: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

40 - Hunting & Fishing News

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Page 41: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

41July 2016

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My favorite science blog, Deer Forest Study, posted on the ideal habitat for whitetails, and from that post here are important things you need to know about deer food and cover.

BEST DEER FOOD: Early successional forest (regenerating stands of woods less than 6-8 years old) provides 1,000-2,000 pounds per acre of woody browse, forbs and soft mast. This type woods habitat can support about 60 deer/square mile during the winter, far surpassing other forest age classes.

Do you hunt a woods like that? Is that where you fi nd deer feeding?

Biologist Jeannine Fleegle points out that the list of food for deer is long and varied and includes browse, forbs, grasses, mast, fungi, algae and even mosses. It is no secret that acorns are a favorite on the list. If they are available, (acorns) dominate their diet in fall and winter. Deer ate about 1.5 pounds of acorns daily per hundred pounds of body weight in a feeding experiment. Deer can sustain a maximum of 30% weight loss during winter. More than that and they die of malnutrition…. It’s easy to see why (acorns) are so important.

BEST DEER COVER: Jeannine says, “Everybody needs a safe, comfortable place to sleep, even deer!” Deer use cover for protection from predators and temperature. Security cover is vegetation thick enough to hide 90% of a deer from observation at a distance of 200 feet or less. That’s pretty thick. Saplings and shrubs can do the job very well.

Remember that. Is that thicket 66 yards up ahead dense enough to hide 90% of a bedded or standing buck? Think like that when you are sneaking toward a stand, or still-hunting.

BIG TAKEAWAY: The biologist notes the importance of how the food and cover are distributed in your hunting area. Deer, generally speaking, won’t use forage areas more than 600 feet (200 yards) from security cover.

I’ve been writing that and saying it on TV for years: The closer your stands on the downwind side of thick cover the better, BUT you have to be able to enter and leave those stands without busting and spooking deer. You CANNOT walk through or too close to thick cover when coming or going, ALWAYS skirt well away from it on the downwind side.


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Page 42: Montana Hunting & Fishing News - July 2016

42 - Hunting & Fishing News

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Everyone is going to have their own breaking point and their own boundaries. Hunter’s all need to learn to prevent emotions from getting the best of you. Yet, I know, let me not be hypercritical, because I’ve been there on both sides, there is always a way to push through on the mountain, even when it’s the morning of the last day and time is running out. Rise above it, keep hammering, conquer your unknown and push till dark. #mentaltoughness

TORRENTIAL WEATHERMost have experienced this type of “lovely” weather if you’ve spent time on the mountain. It could be one of the most depressing experiences on a sheep hunt when the weather turns sour and you can’t glass or get out of your tent due to blinding snow. Unfortunately, sometimes, the weather does decide the success of the hunt.Even if you’ve done the homework, prepared yourself physically and fully understand that the hunt is going to be a vigorous hardship that is going to test you, now you’ve been in your tent for four, seven, or even 10 days straight! I hope you or your guide/outfi tter brought along a waterproof tent!What’s the best way to mentally prepare for this one? Perhaps the best thing to do is prepare before it even starts. Bring along a card game, books, or maybe even a bottle of whiskey. The important thing is trying to stay mentally sharp despite this hiccup in the hunt.“Nothing prepares you for the mountain other than the mountain.”While some of this may seem repetitive, hopefully it is starting to make sense. Your mental toughness will make or break your hunt. It is everything. It starts the same day you buy your new Sitka or KUIU gear, your Wilderness Athlete or Mountain Ops training supplements, and even your Zeiss or Swarovski optics! That very moment you walk up to the outfi tters booth at a convention and hand him your deposit, it’s that moment when we decide to be completely prepared for every situation.Low dwelling fog, torrential rain, hurricane winds, thunderstorms, hail, 3’ of wet snow — it’s all happened to me on the mountain.If we know all of these weather situations can and will happen, we can prepare for the worst and hope for the best. We can mentally and physicallyprepare ourselves for any given environment and condition. We can conquer and push ourselves beyond a place we comfortably prefer.

So, following everything I mentioned above, we’re now in the right mindset. We are prepared and we are ready. Yet, our next judge is the mountain itself and the saying goes,

“Nothing prepares you for the mountain other than the mountain.”The mountain will always meet you at your level head on and there will always be a greater demand beyond anyone’s preparation. When you are blasted by weather and fatigued by hiking endless miles, when your muscles are screaming for surrender — this is when being mentally tough will help you stay focused. Dig deep and fi nd your source of motivation to continue to climb higher and search out that animal each and everyday. I’m already preparing for my next season. Deep down, I know it will be another great adventure as well as a major grind. I know there will be days when my body can’t match the demands needed. Yet, my promise today is to remember that there’s always a way to go further. Remember: #itsallmental. “Your attitude determines your altitude.” Zig Ziglar

Let that saying speak for itself. I love hearing about all of the great battles on the mountain and would love to hear about your mountain triumphs. Remember that every trip into the mountains is always a success. Inches don’t equal success — the adventure and battle made while there are your rewards. I wish the best to everyone this coming season! Happy hunting...

Mental Toughness - Are You Truly Ready For The Hunt?(continued from page 13)

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In considering the teal’s acrobatics, the pintail’s agility and the raw speed of canvasbacks and mallards, is it any wonder that ducks can bewilder even the savviest of wingshooters? To bag ducks consistently requires attention to detail, from shooting technique to selection of chokes and loads. Even so, everyone whiffs on the occasional mallard. But if you’re missing more than the odd duck, maybe it’s time to consider whether you’re committing any of these common mistakes.Rushing the Shot Do you frequently miss your fi rst shot before getting on target with your second? That’s a key symptom of rushing the shot.

Ducks may be fast, but decoying birds provide ample time to smoothly mount the gun and shoot a couple. And hurried movements, contrary to their intent, don’t actually help you swing ahead of ducks — all that fl ailing causes your brain to perceive the birds as moving much faster than they are. In contrast, a slower, more deliberate gun mount makes the ducks themselves appear to fl y more slowly, resulting in easier shots. Try it!However, slowing your gun mount means one of your buddies is likely to shoot fi rst. Perfect. While he’s under recoil, you can pick out backpedaling drakes hanging in the air for easy shots.Aiming the Barrel If you were to throw a football to a running receiver, you’d look at the receiver — not the tip of the football. And if you were to point your fi nger at a passing car, you’d look at the car — not your fi ngertip (or the motorist’s grimace). You aren’t actively aiming at the target in either endeavor, but rather relying on instinct and your brain’s subconscious calculations. That’s exactly how to shoot a shotgun.Focus your eyes on the duck, with both eyes open, never glancing at your barrel or shotgun bead. Thus your brain is able to judge the duck’s distance and velocity, and guide your barrel to the correct lead. Consciously aiming a shotgun by focusing on the bead interrupts these instinctive calculations — you can’t focus on two objects at once — which increases the likelihood of a miss.Using Large Shot Despite the improvements to steel shotshells, it remains a good rule of thumb to select a load two shot sizes larger than lead for the intended purpose. So, given that the debate over the ideal shotshell for ducks used to center on No. 6 versus No. 4 lead shot, shouldn’t the steel debate pit a load of No. 4’s against No. 2’s?Yet some duck hunters swear by BB or even BBB shot, despite the fact larger steel shot affords lower pattern densities, i.e. fewer pellets downrange, and can prove fi nicky on the pattern board. If you insist on large shot, consider whether you’re choking it too tightly. Steel lacks the malleability of lead, so patterns can be detrimentally affected as large steel pellets are crammed into a choke tube’s forcing cone — not to mention the stress imparted on the choke.For geese and big, tough ducks such as eiders and scoters, the downrange energy afforded by larger shot can outweigh its drawbacks. For most ducks, however, a payload of Nos. 2 or 4 steel may improve your luck.Neglecting to Pattern Just as you’d never go deer hunting without sighting in your rifl e, hunting ducks without visiting a patterning board is a roll of the ballistic dice. Is your shotgun’s point of impact consistent with point of aim? And is your pattern suffi ciently dense for clean kills, which typically require 3-5 pellet strikes?Your goal is 70 percent pattern density (70 percent of your shotshell’s pellets within a 30-inch circle) at the distance you expect to gun waterfowl. While advanced pattern adjustments are a topic for another day, aftermarket chokes can help, as can experimenting with a variety of shotshells. Knowing you’ve achieved a proper pattern is also good peace of mind, and nothing fosters good wingshooting like confi dence.Sloppily Mounting the Gun You can pull your head off the stock, stop your swing, close an eye or commit any litany of wingshooting sins and still drop quite a few ducks. However, there’s one error in technique that almost guarantees the safety of any greenhead in your vicinity: a sloppy gun mount. Among other detrimental effects, a poorly mounted gun transfers stouter recoil and fails to align the rib with your dominant eye — at that point it doesn’t much matter if your gun’s throwing a good pattern.Fortunately the summer months are an ideal time to perfect your gun mount, which doesn’t even require visiting a range. After ensuring your shotgun is unloaded, insert a Maglite fl ashlight into the muzzle — the AA model pairs nicely with a modifi ed choke 12-gauge. Twist the fl ashlight’s beam until it’s as tight as possible. Now, with your shotgun in the ready position, direct the beam toward a corner of your ceiling. Smoothly mount the gun to your cheek without allowing the beam to waiver from the corner. A steady beam indicates a smooth gun mount. As you improve, trace the beam along the wall/ceiling seam as you mount and continue swinging the gun. A dozen daily repetitions of this drill can provide great results.

5 REASONS YOU’RE MISSING DUCKS By Kyle Wintersteen, Managing Editor Delta Waterfowl www.deltawaterfowl.org

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