Posts Tagged ‘muzzleloader hunting’

Pay close attention to this issue-when the public comment period starts-get as many people as you can to comment in favor of hunting grizzlies,or the animal “rights” whackos and enviro-nazis will flood the comments in opposition to hunting grizzlies.

Time to beat ’em at their own game-they’ve been using the comment period on any proposed changes of any wildlife management issue to oppose hunting of any animal. Look what they did with the wolf “re-introduction” fiasco-they flooded every public comments forum,and filed a blizzard of legal paperwork to oppose any wolf hunting or trapping,and the elk herds suffered,many have been decimated by unchecked wolf numbers.

Time to get the animal “rights”whackos and enviro-nazis out of our government’s agencies such as USFS,USFWS,BLM,EPA,etc.

Don’t let these nutcases dictate policy any longer-their goal is to ban ALL hunting and trapping on PUBLIC land-hunters ARE a huge part of the public,and it is hunters who fund well over 90% of ALL wildlife conservation in the U.S. It’s time hunters get a voice in policy making,not just the animal “rights” and enviro whackos.

Via Field & Stream

After 40 years of federal protection, grizzly bears may become fair game for hunters, as a handful of Western states push for the responsibility of managing the animals.

The Associated Press reports that a plan drafted by wildlife officials from the greater Yellowstone states of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana estimates how many grizzly bears could be harvested while still maintaining viable populations if the species were no longer protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Though the proposal doesn’t specify the number of bears each state would permit to be harvested, it does specify a 19,300-square-mile management zone that includes the wilderness and national forests near the Yellowstone National Park. Further, the proposal allocates a 58-percent share of the permitted harvests to Wyoming—likely because it’s home to most of the region’s grizzlies—while Montana would get 34 percent and Idaho 8 percent.

Officials estimate that there are more than 700 grizzlies in the defined management zone, though biologists say that there are likely more living outside the borders, as the bears have expanded their range as their populations have grown.

In a December 4, 2015, joint letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe, the states’ wildlife directors urged the federal government to retract the bear’s threatened status. “It is critically important that we capitalize on our tremendous progress and momentum. . . by proceeding with a long overdue delisting,” the letter stated.

The last legal grizzly hunt in the Lower 48 was in the early 1970s, and a total of 58 bears were harvested in the five years leading to the species’ being listed as threatened, in 1975, as the AP notes. Since that time, the bear’s numbers have rebounded. Opponents to the proposal, however, argue that it’s too soon to consider hunting as a management tool because grizzly populations are still too low.

Quentin Kujala, chief of wildlife management for Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, says that the harvest quotas will likely be modest and on a sliding scale to help maintain viable bear populations and to avoid any chance of the species reverting back to federal protection. Hunting will be allowed if there were more than 675 bears, and it will be barred if the number drops to fewer than 600, Kujala said. Likewise, Wyoming Game and Fish spokesman Renny MacKay told the AP: “We’re definitely not talking about a large number. We’re not talking hundreds or anywhere near that.”

The Christian Science Monitor points out that tourism is a $1-billion industry in the greater Yellowstone area, and that, according to research, the park could lose $10 million without the potential of spotting bear near the roadside.

If the FWS removes grizzlies from federal protection and the states proceed with the plan, the proposition will need to undergo a public-comment period. The FWS is expected to make a decision on whether to release grizzlies from federal protection early this year, but barring any court challenges, it could take up to a year for any rule changes to go into effect.

Sportsmen often quote Theodore Roosevelt’s comments on hunting and conservation, but his views on sporting life went far beyond his spoken words. Through his writings and actions, Roosevelt laid down fundamental guidelines that every hunter can learn from, if not totally agree with.

TR's Rules to Hunt By

In The Wilderness Hunter and Hunting Trips of a Ranchman, Roosevelt expressed his opinions on hunting big game across North America. In African Game Trails, he visited the Dark Continent and blended local opinions with his views from the American West. Though some of his viewpoints were colored by his time period, many are timeless lessons that every hunter can draw wisdom from.

The Cardinal Sin

“On this day I got rather tired, and committed one of the blunders of which no hunter ought ever to be guilty; that is, I fired at small game while on ground where I might expect large.”

— T. Roosevelt, Hunting Trips of a Ranchman

Roosevelt was after bighorn sheep when three jackrabbits crossed his path. He had previously written about the wariness a hunter needed to pursue sheep, but not seeing game for some time had left his trigger finger itching badly.

He wrote that one rabbit practically begged to be shot, being “perched on a bush, and with its neck stretched up.”

He knelt, fired, missed, and instantly regretted his hasty decision—off in the distance an animal stirred and disappeared without Roosevelt or his companion ever learning if it was a sheep or not.

When you target a species to hunt, stick to that animal.

Never Give Up

“I fired into the bull’s shoulder, inflicting a mortal wound; but he went off, and I raced after him at top speed, firing twice into his flank; then he stopped, very sick, and I broke his neck with a fourth bullet.” 

— T. Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter

Elk are infamous for absorbing lead like a sponge and offering no visible reaction in return. In this 21st Century age of one-shot kills and long-range shooting, many hunting guides are frustrated by their clients’ refusal to anchor elk with follow-up shots. The first shot hits perfectly behind the shoulder and the shooter takes a victory lap, leaving the guide to watch as the bull races off to parts unknown.

Roosevelt had poor eyesight and sometimes reached beyond his effective shooting range, but if he had cartridges left and the animal was still in sight he never stopped firing till the animal was secured.

There’s always hope as long as there’s lead in the air.

Measure Distances Accurately

“Distances are deceptive on the bare plains under the African sunlight. I saw a fine Grant[‘s gazelle], and stalked him in a rain squall; but the bullets from the little Springfield fell short as he raced away to safety; I had underestimated the range.”

— T. Roosevelt, African Game Trails

Theodore Roosevelt didn’t have mil-dots, rangefinders, or computerized scopes, but if he had he might have chosen to use them. Some hunters disdain technology and feel it has no place in the grand tradition of hunting, but within reason it can a blessing and not a curse. Make small changes to your equipment list, like a rangefinder, and see if the accuracy is worth the electronic convenience.

Hunting with or without modern devices is a personal choice. However, don’t let nostalgia rob you of the chance at more, and more ethical, shots.

Don’t Play The Numbers Game

“The mere size of the bag indicates little as to a man’s prowess as a hunter, and almost nothing as to the interest or value of his achievement.”

— T. Roosevelt, African Game Trails

Roosevelt and his son Kermit kept only a dozen or so of the 512 African animals they killed while on safari. The vast majority of the animals went to museums as exhibit specimens or were used for meat. He wrote that the two had not killed even a hundredth of the animals they could have if they had been willing.

As a foreign dignitary and arguably the most popular man in the world at the time, the only bag limit imposed on him in colonial Africa was the one within his own conscience. Roosevelt knew a full bag limit doesn’t necessarily mean a full day.

Judge your days afield on the memories made, not the shots fired.

Be Sure of Your Target

“The cowboy’s chapfallen face was a study; he had seen, in the dim light, the two ponies going down with their heads held near the ground, and had mistaken them for bears … He knew only too well the merciless chaff to which he would be henceforth exposed; and a foretaste of which he at once received from my companion.”

— T. Roosevelt, Hunting Trips of a Ranchman

– See more at: http://sportingclassicsdaily.com/issue/2015-1/article/trs-rules-to-hunt-by#sthash.eqpmF2S0.dpuf

DROPPING DEER NUMBERS

2009-10 DEER KILL

261,000

2014-15 DEER KILL

175,000 (estimated)

 

Years of liberal bag limits, fostered by the sale of discounted antlerless permits starting in about 2007, definitely knocked down the herd, wildlife officials acknowledge. But the build-up over decades in the number of Ohio’s whitetails, considered among the most robust and trophy-worthy in the country, clearly showed the strains of food competition. Ohio deer in recent years have taken longer to mature, to grow in body size and antler dimensions, and to produce young.

A smaller, better-fed herd should begin to reverse some of the physiological impacts, said biologist Mike Tonkovich, deer project leader for the wildlife division. In terms of managing the herd size, the acceptable number of deer on the landscape must fit what the human population — read: farmers — can tolerate.

Some hunters believe the herd has passed the point of going in the wrong direction.

“Our hunters are hanging on by a thread,” Dennis Malloy, one of two Ohio field representatives for the national group Whitetails Unlimited, said after the summit.

The future of deer hunting in Ohio might be more in flux than in doubt, but the numbers suggest the recent golden age of sorts has passed.

Hunters killed more than 261,000 deer during the 2009-10 season after tagging about 252,000 the season before. The kill has dropped annually since, from 239,400 in 2010-11 to 191,400 in 2013-14.

Through last weekend, this season’s whitetail harvest totaled 173,096, down 8.4 percent from the same point last year. When the season closes today, the final numbers likely will be around 175,000 — lower than any season since 2001-02.

The gun harvest has experienced a similar decline, having fallen every year since 2008. Hunters checked nearly 117,000 whitetails that year, and only 65,485 in the most recent gun week, in December.”

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/sports/2015/02/01/hunters-say-that-now-theres-not-enough-deer-in-ohio.html

Notice that Mr. Tonkovich did not even mention coyotes as one of the reasons for the decline in deer herd numbers.

I’ve had e-mail discussions with Mike Tonkovich in the past,he’s always responded to questions,and I’ll be the first to admit the guy does know what he’s doing-for the most part. The recent increase in the ‘yote population isn’t something the ODNR people seem to have noticed. Most don’t spend all that much time in the field,including the wildlife officers.

ODNR needs to start listening to those of us who spend more than a few days out in the fields and woods of Ohio.

I know that ODNR is pressured by both farmers-due to crop damage caused by deer,and by insurance companies,due to cars hitting deer, to reduce the deer population. As the article states,ODNR instituted low-cost doe tags,created urban zones where the doe tags were valid all season,not just until the day before gun season. Until this year,hunters were allowed to harvest 18-24 deer statewide by harvesting the max number in each zone.

Years of these policies,combined with the explosive growth of the coyote population,have reduced the deer population far too much. The recent changes made by ODNR are to little,too late. It’s going to take years for the deer population to recover-and it’s never going to recover unless the coyote problem is addressed.

Fawn predation by the ‘yotes is only going to increase,because not enough people hunt them. Unless the ‘yote population is knocked down by at least half-the size of the deer herd is going to decrease to the point there are very,very few deer-it will be like deer hunting was in Ohio during the 1970’s-when you could hunt the entire week of gun season and not see a single deer.

This year,Ohio harvest to a county by county bag limit,and limited hunters to a total of 6 deer statewide,as before,only one buck may be taken no matter where in the state it’s taken you can only take one,the rest must be does.

That’s still too many does,ODNR should limit the harvest to two deer per hunter so the herd can increase in population again.

ODNR’s claim that there is not enough food for more deer is pure bullshit-the only way there would not be enough food is if farmers stopped planting corn and soybeans.This fall,Ohio is going to institute WMU’s-(Wildlife Management Units)

Western states have been using this method for decades,most have had success using WMU’s.

I’m all for Ohio going to WMU’s,although it will make the hunting regs more confusing,it will allow wildlife biologists to manage game populations more effectively,because they can manage each area for the optimum deer population.

WMU’s are better because the bag limits can be adjusted for each unit,meaning higher bag limits in some,lower bag limits in others. This will allow the statewide deer herd to be healthier,and if managed correctly, we should see more big  bodied deer,and bucks with heavier antlers,and bigger racks.

The change to WMU’s will help the deer herd,as long as ODNR starts urging hunters to kill ‘yotes.

Fur prices are reasonable this year,so hunting ‘yotes funds itself,skin ’em out,salt and dry the hides,sell the hides,and you can even turn a profit.

Totals for all Ohio deer hunting seasons,including archery up to 1/14/2015 are-

2013-14    186,347

2014-15   169,179

That’s a 9.21% drop.

Some of the well known counties that have had a 5,000 deer or so harvest saw drops of 15% or so.

Too many does being harvested,too much coyote predation,along with several localized EHD outbreaks in 2011,2012 and 2013.

Rumor has it that ODNR is going to change the county by county bag limits to WMU’s.

Not sure what good going to wildlife management units will do,the problems are just what I stated-

1) Too many does being harvested for too many years.

2) Coyote predation.

3) EHD outbreaks.

Unless you want to see a double digit reduction in the deer harvest-get out there and start shooting ‘yotes. The wildlife biologists all agree that concentrated efforts at reducing local ‘yote numbers is effective.

What this means is that you and all your friends who hunt deer need to get out and shoot as many ‘yotes as you can, from now until after fawns have been dropped and are up and able to run.

the ‘yotes will still get fawns-but if there’s less ‘yotes-that means they kill less fawns.

Fur prices make it worth it to skin,salt and save ‘yote hides-at least you can cover your ammo cost,along with the cost of gas to go to your hunting area and back home. You might even have enough left over to pay for next year’s hunting license and deer tags. Besides that-it’s good exercise,and keeps your shooting skills sharp. Also tests your skill at camo and concealment.

We put a hurtin on the ‘yote population in the county we mainly hunt in last winter and spring,as did a lot of other guys in the county-we only saw a 1.32% drop in deer harvest totals-and we still have until Feb. 1st to get deer with bow and arrow/crossbow.

There’s nothing we can do about EHD outbreaks,or the number of doe tags/number of does harvested,but we can do something about coyote predation-unless you want to see even less deer next fall/winter-get out there and start whackin’ as many ‘yotes as you can. Every ‘yote you kill improves fawn survival rates-go get as many as you can-they’re smart,they’re sneaky,and they can both see and smell humans from a long ways off. Use your muzzleloader for a challenge-use your bow or crossbow for an even bigger challenge.

It takes some effort and some skill to take ‘yotes,look at it as training,the better you get at taking ‘yotes-the better deer hunter you become-and the higher the rate of fawn survival.

We’re still deer hunting-as soon as bow season’s over,we’re gonna start whackin ‘yotes-you should do the same. If us deer hunters make a concentrated effort-we can bring the deer population back up in 2 seasons or less-if we don’t make an effort-we will continue to see drops in deer harvest totals-drops of 15-20% a year.

Go kill some ‘yotes !