Hound News

July 2002
      Our State Championship Field Trial has come and gone.

      I'm sure you noticed the High Point Dog of the Year award was given at the end of the State Championship this year. The reason for that is there will be no Fall Classic Field Trial this year. The membership voted to eliminate the night hunt, then the complete field trial. This was done because we cannot find a location to hold a good field trial and the turnout at Lewistown has been steadily dropping the past few years. Please help us locate a really nice place to hold the Fall Classic next year!

      Officers elected at the General Membership meeting held on June 1st at the State Championship are as follows:

President: Sanford Shrout, P O Box 837, Three Forks, MT 59752 (406) 285-6926
Vice President: Tony Knuchel, 1879 Camas Rd., Potomac, MT 59823 (406) 549-3043
Secretary/Treasurer: Mable Deane, P O Box 925, Three Forks, MT 59752 (406) 285-4474
Asst. Secretary: Tanya Baertsch, 485 Mill Road, Helena, MT 59602 (406) 458-6221
Masters of Hounds: Brad Schultz, Pray, MT and Jim Lechleitner, Missoula, MT
Correspondent: Mable Deane, Three Forks, MT
Board of Directors: Chairman, Jim Lechleitner, 2317 Wyoming, Missoula, MT 59801 (406) 542-0163
Board members: Terry Comstock, Scott Waletzko, Roland Deane, Tim Ravndal, Robert Hathaway, Chuck Theil.

      The Buffalo Hunt Raffle drawing will be held by the Board of Directors on August 17, 2002 as originally scheduled. Quite possibly there will be a Board of Directors meeting on that day to make decisions about where MSHA will be headed with the next legislature. If you want to purchase or can sell some raffle tickets for the drawing, please contact Jim Lechleitner at (406) 542-0163 or myself at (406) 285-4474.

      I attended the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission meeting on June 18th with Board Chairman Jim Lechleitner to hear the Final Mountain Lion Regulations and quotas. No changes were made to the tentative regulations and quotas and passed as proposed. The tentative Trapping regulations were up for setting at that same meeting and we got somewhat of a surprise that I asked the Commission why the regulation was being amended and did not get a good answer. Again, we are headed for losing a portion of our ability to chase Bobcats. I will quote here from a news release on the FWP Website. "Chase-only seasons for bobcat were adjusted to open Feb. 16-April 14 in trapping districts 1, 2, and 3 and open Mar. 2-April 14 in trapping districts 4, 5, 6, and 7. This adjustment was made so the chase only seasons start the day after the hunting and trapping seasons close. Bobcat quotas were also increased by 25 in district 4 and by 50 bobcats in district 5." Another thing that looks like it is a quiet change is - the prior regulation read "Chase-only season - All trapping districts are open each day from two hours before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset for the Chase-only season." The new Tentative Regulation reads: "Bobcat Chase-Only season is open each day one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset." MSHA fought to get the Commission to allow turnout the two hours before sunrise when night hunting of bobcats was removed several years ago. Bobcats cannot be harvested until legal hunting hours, but with the fleet footed bobcats, it certainly has been nice to be able to start the race one and a half hours earlier to get them in a tree.

      I continue to call the hotline all during Mountain Lion and Bobcat season and keep track of all the closure dates. Here is a little history of bobcat hunting closures for the past three years.

  1999-2000 2000-2001 2001-2002
Dist. 1 1/6/00 12/29/00 12/29/01
Dist. 2 1/20/00 no early 2/6/02
Dist. 3 1/20/00 1/18/01 1/7/02
Dist. 4 2/25/00 2/11/01 1/22/02
Dist. 5 2/10/00 1/21/01 1/6/02
Dist. 6 no early close no early close no early close
Dist. 7 no early close no early close no early close

      With the above information, and the "ADJUSTED" opening dates for chase-only, it means that the majority of the state will have NO chasing of bobcats from two weeks to two months after the quotas close the districts to hunting before chase will be allowed. We need to stand up and be counted with our comments to the FWP Commission on this matter. Again, we will be losing a portion of the ability to be in the field with our hounds. Hopefully all our Montana Houndsmen wrote or called the Commission with comments on this issue by the July 22 deadline. The meeting to set the final Trapping Regulations will be held shortly on August 8, 2002 in Great Falls. It will mean a longer trip for Sanford and I, but we will be there and hopefully others will join us to hear what the FWP Commission decides on this matter.

      Sanford has spoken to a couple of people in the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department, he has also written to all the Commissioners and called some of the houndsmen around the state to get comments sent to the Commission. Please give him your support while he works diligently for the houndsmen of Montana.

      One sad note for old time Montana Houndsmen, I know that everyone will recognize the names Glen Sallee and GR WCH GR CH 'PR' Sallee's General Red. Glen passed away last year, and now General Red died on June 7th. Scott and Sandy Sallee have hunted General Red with their hounds the past few years and video taped the hunts for Glen to see after his health got bad enough that he couldn't follow Red up the mountain. A great hound pair that will definitely be missed!