End of the Season

By Hal Herring

Although I cover conservation as my writer’s bread and butter, I seldom write about the topic of global warming or climate change. I avoid the subject because it has become the equivalent of asking somebody in a polite conversation if they are a moronic Rush Limbaugh ditto-head or a filthy Mao-worshiping dreadlocked hippie. The very question has ceased to have any meaning, obliterated by an overwhelmingly stupid political context that has paralyzed us all while the CO2 continues to spew, the nitrate runoff from our farms poisons our rivers and the Gulf of Mexico, and businessmen in air conditioned Houston office parks blithely plan the drilling of 20,000 gas wells in the center of Colorado’s best elk country. Among ten thousand other, ahhh, “challenges” to our survival, not to mention our hunting and fishing, on this planet.

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The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk. – Tuco

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Thanks Max

For Immediate Release
4/23/13

SPORTSMEN LAUD MAX BAUCUS’ RECORD ON PUBLIC ACCESS & WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
Encouraged by new commitment to double-down and make Montana a better place

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The Habitat Conservation Blues

Politics is a blood sport and as the deals get made and trades on votes occur in dark corners with hushed conversations, the 63rd Montana Legislature is winding down. The blood is flowing.

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Top 10 Reasons to Attend the Wild Night 4 Wildlife

For the uninitiated, Wild Night for Wildlife is Hellgate Hunters’ and Anglers’ annual event. This banquet draws sportsmen and women together to celebrate and support our conservation efforts for the year. Our 7th annual extravaganza kicks off at 6pm in the Karl Tyler Chevrolet showroom on April 13th. In no particular order, here are ten reasons to get off the couch and join us in Missoula on Saturday night:

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Back the Front

I’ve spent a lot of time up on the Rocky Mountain Front and without a doubt; it’s my favorite place in the state. Those big limestone reefs looming overhead as you work your way up the drainage looking for migratory bulls make you feel like an insignificant speck in the eye of the world. The wind whips your face as you scan across the coulee looking for that monster muley buck to walk out like a monarch and chase his harem around. Wolves slink through the timber as they look for their next meal and the Grizzly bear knows your every move, hoping that you leave behind a pile for him to chew on instead of you.

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The North Fork Gets It's Day

This ain’t no April Fools joke folks, it’s the real deal.

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The Hail Mary

We’re down to the last third of the Montana Legislature. The newness of the halls and cameras and lights wanes as the grind of actually pushing bills through an unending process begins to take its toll on freshmen and experienced legislators alike.

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State Lands: For the Birds?

By Hal Herring

Around my part of Montana this past hunting season, there was a mind-boggling amount of pressure on our state lands. Trucks parked along back roads where I never even knew there was any state land (or I had been too afraid of offending a landowner to try and hunt it) - a quarter section here, a section there, always with two orange clad figures coming over the hill. My local antelope spot was useless on the weekends, with a steady rumble of traffic along the roads, and blown herds like specks of orange and white dust way out on the flats and hightailing it for private lands. A tsunami of license plates from west of the mountains, where, as all locals know, paid vacations abound, the wind never blows, and beautiful people sip microbrews while planning the best way to kill our game and fish.

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Hunting Ain't Killing

By Bill Geer

SB 197 allows 9 year old kids to hunt so long as they have a mentor who is 21 years old or older who is close enough to be able to yell at them. This same bill has been brought forward by national interests who don’t even work in Montana for the last few sessions. While this bill might seem like a good idea, wrapped up in the traditions of our forefathers, but it completely disregards the entire reason the state of Montana instituted Hunter Education. It also shows a huge problem with the hunting culture of today: It focuses more on killing animals than of the real lessons to be learned while in the field. Hunting isn’t just about killing an animal. It’s about connecting with the natural world and understanding the movements and habits of the game we pursue. It’s about understanding the hunter’s role in managing wildlife and the conservation of our natural resources.

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Broke Down Buffalo

If I were a buffalo, I’d be broke down and in the bottom of a bottle of whiskey after this week up in Helena.

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Happy Valentine's Day!

Senator Max Baucus has long been an advocate for public access to public lands. That commitment was re-affirmed today with the re-introduction of his bill seeking full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is co-sponsored by Senator Jon Tester. 

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Quivering Livers

It’s one of those weeks were you look at the roster of bills coming forward and think to yourself: Are you serious? Have you people nothing better to do with your time and our tax dollars?

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Fish On!

By Hayley Connoly-Newman

I was not raised in an active hunting or fishing home. In fact the entire sportsmen community, especially involved in conservation, was completely foreign to me until I moved to Montana and started working for a conservation organization focused on engaging sportsmen. Working with so many passionate hunters and anglers, in addition to living near some of the most famous blue ribbon trout streams in the country, quickly sparked an insatiable curiosity to try and haul a trout out of one of these rivers. Of course I quickly realized that for many this was not just a hobby, but a culture, a lifestyle, dare I say a religion? Bottom line, these devotees are really into fish. The intensity, strong opinions and vast knowledge can be inspiring for a novice angler, but at the same time can be extremely intimidating and overwhelming. I can’t begin to recount how many times I have walked into a fly shop and felt like a complete neophyte. There is always the awkward silence between myself and the fly shop attendant, while he tries to figure out if I have any idea what I am doing. Meanwhile, I’m like a moth to the flame and get distracted by the astounding diversity of colorful and sparkly flies, losing all focus of why I went to the shop in the first place.

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Pure Bull

Senate Bill 143 Threatens to Prohibit Bison Restoration in Montana

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Calling down the thunder

“The fightin’s commenced. Get to fighting or get out of the way”
Wyatt Earp

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Public Lands in Public Hands

There are about 3.5 million acres of public land in Montana that are off limits to the people who own them: the public.

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Railroading an Icon

By Jim Posewitz

Should Senate Bill 143 [B1] pass this legislature it will be a historical landmark of considerable significance. It will mark the point where a rich Montana wildlife conservation ethic held since our territorial years was jammed into a shuddering reverse.

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Tools of the Trade

As we head into week two of the Montana Legislature, we’re already knee deep in the hoopla. Last week we saw that the tone and tenor of this session (at least in the House) will be different than the last session. That’s good news for Montana’s hunters and anglers. The bad news is that we still have 130 bills that deal directly with your hunting opportunity, wildlife management and your ability to access public lands and waters.

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Year of the Griz

A BIG thank you to Missoula based Hellgate Hunters and Anglers for their $2,000 contribution of matching financial support toward bear management within Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) Region 2 (R2).  The funding provided seasonal technical support to James Jonkel, R2 bear management specialist, and helped fund a variety of tasks such as research trapping, responding to bear complaints and maintaining grizzly bear, black bear and bear conflict response data.  Highlights of the 2012 season include trapping two trend study grizzly bears, the collection of opportunistic grizzly bear hair samples for DNA analysis, continuing the carcass pick-up program to reduce human-bear conflicts, working with Felstet Disposal to develop bear-resistant garbage containers and promoting the “bear aware” concept through information and education outreach.

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Hellgate Hunters and Anglers
Our Mission is to conserve Montana's wildlife, wild places, and fair-chase hunting and fishing heritage.