Hound News

March 2001
Hello, Houndsmen:

     Spring is getting closer, mountain lion hunting is winding down, and the coons are coming out!  What better news than Field Trials are also coming?

     We have heard a tremendous number of comments about lion tracks being hard to find this season.  If you are not seeing as many tracks, please let us know what area and your concerns.  We need this information to go to the Commission with at Quota-setting time.  We can only be successful in helping to set accurate quotas if we are armed with factual information.

     Many of you have requested that we give monetary awards instead of trophies for some of the events.  We are considering monetary rewards for all Spring Tune-up events instead of trophies this year as a test.  Let's try this for one field trial and see how well it is received. The club needs to make enough money to pay for our activities and expenses, but we always like to see the participants and supporters get some rewards.

     One thing everyone should be thinking about is new officer elections.  Elections will be on June 2nd at White Sulphur Springs.  President Rob Walker will have served two consecutive terms and must be replaced.  We need a member to step up to the plate and take this important position.  It definitely takes some time and energy.  The President is responsible for setting up all the Field Trials; getting members to help with the work of putting on the field trials; working with the Board to see that we are represented at the Fish, Wildlife & Parks meetings; working with the Secretary to put out the newsletters; keeping the club trailer and maintaining all the equipment; and most importantly providing a reputable image of M.S.H.A. while promoting the organization and our values.  There are many more small chores that are too numerous to list here.

     The Vice President is the main assistant for the President, especially at the field trials.  The Secretary is a position that also works year around taking memberships, keeping the records, writing the newsletters, etc., as well as working long hours operating the office at each field trial.  Again, someone needs to step up to the plate and be willing to run for this position.  The Assistant Secretary is necessary for working the field trials to keep things moving.

     This year, Sandy Seaton Sallee has said that she is really resigning as Correspondent.  Again, this is a position that is year-around.  Each month an article must be written for magazines.  The correspondent is a definite contact for readers to get acquainted with MSHA and become members.  These articles take time to put together so that they are of interest to people who read about us nationwide.  The Masters of Hounds need to be members that are willing to step up at the field trials and assist the President by gathering judges for all the events, assist with laying track, hanging coon, and we must have one MOH at each event who is the Chairman of Judges and take the responsibility to be the one to take the heat when a difficult decision needs to be made if results are challenged.

     The Board of Directors will also be up for election.  These members need to be willing to attend FWP meetings, legislative hearings, put on the large raffles at the field trials, and be willing to attend at least four Board of Directors meetings each year.  These positions all hold responsibilities that if done well, the organization will prosper and everyone can enjoy.

       Rob would like to have those of you who are willing to volunteer to judge at the Spring Tune-up call him.  This way some of the duties can be arranged before arriving at the field trial.

     Jim and Diane Lechleitner have volunteered to operate a food tent at the Spring Tune-up. They will put together some items that are easy to provide and eat in a hurry in a rural setting – it may be hot, it may be cold, but they will do their best to make it work.  We thank them for their efforts.

     We have not had the opportunity to meet the new FWP Commissioners that were appointed on March 2, 2001.  Commissioners Darlyne Dascher and Tim Mulligan have another two years on their terms.  Governor Martz appointed Rich Lane [new chairman] from Missoula, John Lane from Cascade, and Dan Walker from Billings.  The new Director of FWP appointed in January is Jeff Hagener.  We need to get to know these people and let them know that we are willing to work with them on the biological management of the mountain lion to preserve the species as well as maintain the ability to hunt and chase.

     Speaking of FWP, if you are connected to the Internet, you need to check out a couple of areas.  On the FWP website, (http://www.fwp.state.mt.us), you can now access the mountain lion quotas and closures.  This page is full of information not only on closures, but the harvest is also broken down by sex.  If you want to know about your area, sign on and take a look.

       Another interesting new item is their Black Bear or Grizzly Bear? Bear ID program.  Click on the bears and you can take a test to see just how knowledgeable you are and if you pass all the tests, you can print out a certificate.  This may become important information if the FWP decides to implement testing before you can purchase a bear license.  They have also joined with seven other agencies and the Center for Wildlife Information in Missoula and produced a very nice brochure about Bear identification.

     The proposed 2001 Lion Hunting Season recommendations as we reported in the Winter 2000 newsletter were passed.  The commission did make changes to some of the wording as we had requested.  The changes were for hunting season to be changed to harvest where they referred to the season being closed upon reaching the quota.  We wanted to insure the ability to chase.

     MSHA is working in conjunction with FWP to produce an educational brochure on identification of Mountain Lion.  This brochure is meant to help identify lions by age and sex.  It will be a full-color brochure chock full of information if it gets done as we plan.  We need GOOD photographs for this brochure.  Rob and Mable are collecting the photos and then the photos will be picked for the brochure based on content, clarity, and reproduction ability.  We will NOT have the final say as to what photos get used.  The printer will make the final determination when the photos are scanned.  We want the brochure to have the best possible images.  This doesn't mean that a good photo will be left out; it just means we need lots of photos to get the best possible mix.  WE NEED YOU TO SEND US PHOTOS THAT YOU KNOW THE SEX OF THE LION –AND- IF THE LION WAS HARVESTED, THE APPROXIMATE AGE OF THE LION.  We are on a deadline for this information.  Please mail your photos to Mable Deane at the address on the outside of this newsletter.  We cannot guarantee the return of your photos, but will do our best if you request them back.  PLEASE HAVE YOUR PHOTOS TO MABLE BY APRIL 15, 2001.  We will not be able to extend this deadline.  If we are able to gather all the information and photos as per the schedule, this brochure is intended to be available in August, 2001, for distribution with Mountain Lion licenses at all Regional FWP offices.  The brochure is for educational purposes as well as a "field guide" for new lion hunters.  The cost of this brochure is being borne by MT FWP and MSHA.  We are working on a grant for the printing.  To print 10,000 copies, we need approximately $2,000.  We would like to print double that number so that MSHA can have a supply for distribution.

Don't forget the dates of the field trials:

  Spring Tune-up: Lozeau, MT     May 5 & 6, 2001

State Championship: WSS, MT     June 2 & 3, 2001

Fall Classic: Tentative: Lewistown, MT     August 18 & 19, 2001

     There will be two raffles at the field trials.  There will be the general raffle where we gather as many donated items as possible and sell as many tickets as possible.  We have lots of goodies, but always can use more!  The Spring Tune-up MHDF Raffle will be rifles.  Bud is working on getting a 22 caliber and a 22 mag. caliber so that we can have 2 chances of getting something nice.  The State Championship MHDF raffle will again have a larger caliber rifle.  Tickets for this will be available at the Spring Tune-up and the Board members will have tickets for sale. We also have a night light for the State Championship raffle.  Hopefully we will have many more goodies to win.  Support the Montana Heritage Defense Fund and buy raffle tickets!

     Time is getting short; if you have gathered any donations for the field trial raffles, please let Rob know.  Robert Hathaway of Unique Feeds (a dealer for Black Gold Pet Foods, Inc.) has donated three 20# bags to each of our field trial raffles.  He has also donated a 50# bag of dog food to each Field Trial High Point Dog winner and three 50# bags of dog food to the High Point Dog of the Year winner.  Thanks, Robert!

     The MSHA Web site will be undergoing an upgrade over the next month.  Our Webmaster has wanted to do some work to it and we will give her the go ahead to try and make it more informative and enjoyable.  We would like to add some of the pictures we receive from members for the brochure as well.  If you have any information you would like to see on the site or links added, contact Mable Deane.

     Rob and Michelle donated three days of their time to again host and man the MSHA booth at the MT Chapter Safari Club International Exposition in Billings on March 16th to 18th.  Rob visited with several houndsmen and many other interested people.  MSHA was able to give donated items from Tom Mansanarez  (a Framed Double Print) and Big Sky Carvers (a Cinnamon Teal Duck Decoy) to cover the cost of our booth.  These items were sold in the Silent Auction.  We must not forget the generosity of these people!

     Come to the field trials and enjoy the time out with the hounds and houndspeople.


     HB 142 has been our primary concern this session.  This bill was passed out of the House to the Senate where it has been extensively revised.  The Senate has passed the bill back to the House.  As of this writing, we do not know what will happen.  The Bill can be passed as written, amended by a joint House/Senate agreement, or be killed.  We believe that you should be able to read the complete bill and form your own opinion.  Therefore, we are printing it here with the text as approved by the Senate and passed back to the House of Representatives.  We will also provide means of contacting Legislators in both the House and Senate below.  If you feel strongly one way or the other, contact your Representative or a member of the Committee.  Remember that action can happen on this bill before you read this.  HB 142 sat in the House committee for two weeks after a hearing before being amended, and then within a week was in the Senate hearing, then it was a month before the Senate amendments were ready. In 5 days, the bill was passed back to the house with more amendments.

     Concerns by members are that the restrictions for basing changes on biologically sound management practices have been removed.  Montana has not had to face the loss of hunting yet, but other states have lost the ability to hunt mountain lion because biological reasoning or data was not used in managing them.  Montana does have a Mountain Lion EIS, but with too much emphasis being placed on the social issues, we may be facing big changes.

     HB 282 and SB 262 both are still in the works for eliminating the requirement to have your social security number on hunting and fishing licenses.

     Rob and Mable spent one afternoon in Helena gathering data from the Mountain Lion trophy reports.  Here is the short version of that data.

     On January 29, 2001, we reviewed 422 Mountain Lion Trophy Reports at the Helena Offices of the Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks.  As of January 26, 2001, the statewide Mountain Lion Quota Hotline reported a total of 490 mountain lion harvests.  Therefore, the percentage of the harvest that was reviewed equals 86%.