Hound News


December 1999
Hello Houndsmen:

     The December FWP Commission meeting was held this past week in Helena. The Tentatives for 2000 Hunting seasons are on the table.

     On Tuesday, Dec. 14, 1999 Harvey Nyberg presented the Region 1 Lion Committee report to the FWP Commission at a Commission work session. The results of the Lion Committee meetings and their recommendations were:

Department:

  1.) Region 1 wildlife biologists and managers should carefully track the harvest and consider beginning the closure process when the reported harvest reaches 75% of the quota in districts with a history of over-quota harvest. Managers should consider hunting conditions, hunting pressure and whether it is a weekend or not in making the recommendation to initiate the closure process.

  2.) Encourage FWP to conduct saturation patrols in areas with high hunter numbers.

  3.) Encourage FWP to return to the kill site for 25 percent of the lions reported to verify location of kill.

Commission:

  1.) If an over-quota harvest occurs, the biological quota for the following year should be reduced by the same number.

  2.) Allocate a portion of the total quota to be issued as permits (25%) for selected Hunting Districts with a history of intense competition and over quota harvest. These would be issued through a drawing process and non-residents would be limited to 10% or less of the available permits. This would allow a small number of hunters and to be more selective in choosing an animal to harvest. These permits would be valid during the entire winter season 12/1 through 4/14 and would restrict the hunter to harvesting a cat in the HD where the permit is valid. The permit would be valid the entire season even if the rest of the quota fills.

Legislature:

  1.) Seek a legislative sponsor, and encourage FWP to support legislation to limit the number of non-resident lion licenses available to hunters who do not use the services of a licensed outfitter.

  2.) Initiate a two tiered license structure including a "Trophy or Kill" license and a "Pursuit" license; and require a hunter who harvests a lion one year to wait three or four years before purchasing another "Trophy" license.

  3.) Open the Resident (winter) hunting season on 1 December and the Non-resident hunting season on 8 December to give the resident hunter a short time at the beginning of the season to hunt in a less crowded situation.

  4.) Restrict non-resident hunters to 10 percent of the quota in each hunting district.

     After Mr. Nyberg made his presentation of the Lion Committee recommendations, the floor was opened to public comment at the request of Commissioner Charlie Decker (although it was published that there would be no public comment taken). Several people spoke and requested not just 25% permits, but 100% permits in Region 1 and one person spoke in favor of 100% permits in Region 2 as well.

     On Wednesday, Dec. 15, 1999 at the formal Commission meeting several houndsmen spoke and the Commissioners gave their opinions. The department's proposals for Lion tentatives are reprinted here for you to read. During the discussion, the possibility of a reciprocating law for non-resident hunters was brought up. This would be a regulation that if a state allowed lion hunting the hunter could come to Montana to hunt lions, but if their home state did not allow lion hunting, they could not hunt lion here. No proposal was made concerning this. The Commission decided upon two alternatives for Region 1.

  Alternative #1:

100% permits for Lions in HD 100, 103 & 104. Two times the quota will be issued - each HD will still close upon reaching the quota. [NO harvest guarantee for permit holders]

  Alternative #2:

25% of the quota issued as permits in HD 100, 103, 104, 120, 121, 122, 123 & 130. Hunting in the permit area will continue for permit holders until April 14, 2001, even though the remaining 75% of the quota has been filled and the HD closed for all other lion hunting (this includes the 20% available during Rifle season).      UNDER BOTH ALTERNATIVES, a hunter who is successful in drawing a permit would be permitted to hunt ONLY in the HD for which the permit is valid.

     Neither of the above alternatives affect the regulations or quotas for the Early Rifle Season Lion hunt where the use of dogs is prohibited.

     One thing we should be concerned about is under both alternatives; the wording is "permitted to hunt ONLY in the HD for which the permit is valid." It should be changed to read "permitted to harvest ONLY in the HD for which the permit is valid."

Other items of change to be noted are:

Other items of change to be noted are:      East half of HD 292 [that portion east of Garnet Range Road and Bear Creek] will be closed to ALL lion hunting. This is the area of the Mountain Lion study and they are having trouble getting the study done with hunting in the area.

     It is proposed to be written in the regulations:

  Under special circumstances the FWP Commission may close the season prior to reaching the quota in order to minimize surpassing the quota.

  Commission may close any season on 12 hours notice.

     THERE WILL BE Regional meetings on the proposed Tentative Regulations during the month of January. The dates and places have not yet been set. Please check with your regional headquarters and plan to attend and speak your mind at your local meeting. Here is a list of phone numbers to check on your regional meeting.

        Region 1, Kalispell, MT (406) 752-5501
        January 22, 2000, Cavanaugh's, 9 a. m. (open house), 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.         (public comment)


        Region 2, Missoula, MT  (406) 542-5500
        January 13, 2000, Double Tree Hotel, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

        Region 3, Bozeman, MT   (406) 994-4042
        January 18, 2000, Holiday Inn, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

        Region 4, Great Falls, MT  (406) 454-5840
        January 19, 2000, Heritage Hall at MSU College of Technology, 7 p.m.         to 10 p.m.

        Region 5, Billings, MT  (406) 247-2940
        January 13, 2000, Holiday Inn, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

        Region 6, Glasgow, MT  (406) 228-3700
        January 10, 2000, Cottonwood Inn, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m

        January 12, 2000, Havre, Best Western Great Northern, 7 p.m. to         10 p.m.

        Region 7, Miles City, MT  (406) 232-0900
        January 18, 2000, Miles City Community College, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

        State Headquarters, Helena  (406) 444-2535
        January 22, 2000, Jorgenson's Restaurant, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

     THE STATEWIDE MEETING FOR PUBLIC COMMENTS WILL BE IN HELENA ON JANUARY 22, 1999 - THIS WILL BE THE FINAL OPPORTUNITY FOR PUBLIC COMMENTS. The February FWP Commission Meeting is listed on the schedule for February 3-4, 1999 in Helena.

     There are some concerns among houndsmen if either of the proposed tentative regulations are passed. One is that we could ultimately have permits statewide just as we now have the Fall Rifle Lion season statewide. Another concern is that if there is too much illegal activity, we could lose the chase season for training our hounds and the enjoyment of being in the woods with our dogs and protection of the Mountain Lion species.

     All paid members will be receiving a postcard in this mailing and we are requesting that you return the postcard with your vote as to how MSHA's formal response to the proposals should be. You can either mark one of the three boxes or list your comments on the card. The postcards are pre-stamped and addressed - therefore you have a NO cost opportunity to make your voice be heard in the official response that will be tabulated from the postcards I receive back! Please return your vote by January 1, 2000.

ON TO OTHER MATTERS

     It has been confirmed that we can hold our 2000 Spring Tune-up Field Trial on the Johnson property near Lozeau again this coming May 6 & 7, 2000. We would like to thank the Johnson's and Johnston's for their support and allowing us to share their beautiful country for another weekend of fun and enjoyment.

     We are in need of a new location for our State Championship Field Trial for June 3 & 4, 2000! PLEASE give me a call if you have any suggestions. We really need to get this location finalized by early March so that we don't have trouble with our official Field Trial dates from UKC.

Some bad news:

     We learned a week ago that Forrest Tolker, a MSHA member from Frenchtown has passed away. Forrest was a member in good standing and we certainly will miss him at our events. The family suggests memorials in Forrest's name to the Montana Heritage Defense Fund, c/o MSHA, 1091 Beef Trail Road, Butte, MT 59701 or P O Box 204, Three Forks, MT 59752.

GOOD NEWS!

     THE GUIDED MOUNTAIN LION HUNT RAFFLE IS READY FOR TICKET SALES!

     Check out the advertising in Full Cry; American Cooner; Coonhound Bloodlines; Fur, Fish, Game; Eastman's Hunting Journal; Eastman's Bowhunter Special; & RMEF Bugle. The ads will be in different magazines each month from January thru April. The drawing for the hunt will be at the State Championship Field Trial. The hunt will be the first week of December 2000.

The ad will also be appearing on our MSHA web site soon - www.montanahoundsmen.com .

SUPPORT THE MHDF (MONTANA HERITAGE DEFENSE FUND)
BUY TICKETS! GET OTHERS TO BUY TICKETS!


DON'T FORGET TO RETURN YOUR VOTE & DON'T FORGET TO ATTEND YOUR LOCAL FWP PUBLIC HEARING.


Your president, Rob Walker