Here's an thought-provoking story from the Minneapolis Star Tribune about the need for hunting mentors. I've written about this in my column recently, about how millennials may be key to R3 efforts and how outdoor education courses for women are important to fishing and hunting. And these piece from the New York Times explains how this younger generation's motivation to hunt may be slightly different from the past: Wade Truong and Rachel Owen are all about moving quality protein from field to table.
Griz hunt opponents challenge Wyo quota
Groups trying to stop Wyoming's planed grizzly bear hunts this fall say the state borrowed part of Montana's quota to increase possible females killed from one to two. Officials in both states dispute this.
Under the Wyo proposal, hunters could kill up to two female grizzlies, even though the state's allocation is just 1.45. Montana's female allocation is 0.9 females. The states have agreed to round up or down the allocations, so Wyoming should only have one female tag, as would Montana if it had set a hunt.
Wyoming's hunt also provides tags for up to 10 male bears. All grizzly hunting would cease, however, once two females tags are filled to prevent more females from being mistakenly killed.
US caribou almost gone
The last remaining caribou herd in the lower 48 has been declared effectively extinct, according to a story in the New York Times. Recent aerial surveys counted only three animals in the herd.
Woodland caribou once ranged into Montana as far south as Lolo Pass in the Bitterroot.
The small and dwindling herd that roamed into the United States used the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho and Washington near the Canadian border part of the year.
A University of Montana wildlife biologist blamed mismanagement in British Columbia for the vanishing herd.
“The functional loss of this herd is the legacy of decades of government mismanagement across caribou range,” said Mark Hebblewhite, a wildlife biologist at the University of Montana, in the story in the New York Times.
The animals require old growth forest to survive. During the winter the animals move up slope in areas of heavy snow. The caribou's large hooves allow it to stand on, rather than plunge into deep snow. This allows them to feed on Old Man's Beard, a lichen that grows in old growth trees.
The deep snow also protects the caribou from predators, which move down slope in winter.
CWD plan calls for increasing buck harvest
Montana FWP's new plan to combat Chronic Wasting Disease includes killing more bucks, the primary carriers of the disease. The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission will vote on the plan at its meeting Thursday in Helena.
A little hunting humor from The New Yorker.
Plowing begins on Going-to-the-Sun
Plowing has begun on Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, but don't expect Logan Pass to be passable anytime soon. The road normally opens in June, but heavy snow this season could delay that opening until later in the summer.
The Park announced that it had plowed to Two Medicine Camp Store on the Park's east side last week, where drifts measure 15- to 20-feet deep. Crews are working on Many Glacier Road on the east side of the park, and Camas Road on the west side of the park, as weather conditions allow. More snow is in the forecast.
Next week, west side crews expect to begin plowing the Going-to-the-Sun Road between Lake McDonald Lodge and Avalanche.
Glacier, like the rest of Montana, has been hammered by snow this winter and early spring. The Flattop Mountain SNOTEL station shows snow depths 125 percent of a 30-year average. According to data recorded at the Flattop SNOTEL station, this is the most significant snow year since 2011. The West Glacier Weather Station is showing approximately 127 percent of a 30-year average as of March 30, with this winter (in West Glacier) thus far being the eighth highest snowfall year since 1964.
The Road is usually open by early to mid-June, but didn't open until July 13 in 2011. That was the latest opening for the road since it's inaugural year, when it opened July 15.
Montana river basins hold snowpack well above average, and may increase as early spring storms continue to hit the state. The Flathead River Basin on Glacier's west side is at 142 percent of average as of April 5.
Montana snowpack holding steady in April
The percentages of average snowpack stored in Montana's river drainages held steady in early April at levels way above normal. Adding to the carnage, Montana is being hit by early spring storms right now, with more weather forecast next week. There are winter weather watches and advisories posted across the state for today and Friday.
If you are traveling, be careful. If you can, avoid it all together. Summer will arrive soon enough. It only seems as though it will be just a long weekend in early August.
The good news: all this snow if river storage for summer. Trout and whitewater guides will be the primary beneficiaries if cool temperatures prevail this spring. Farmers won't be too angry either.
Spring fishing season delayed?
Well, it is spring in Montana so the storm that blew through the state Sunday night and Monday morning really isn't out of the ordinary. Still, I'd hoped I'd shaken the last of this season's snow and ice off the boat tarp this weekend. I guess not.
Still, all this snow, or more importantly precipitation, bodes well for the summer fishing season. All that white stuff is simply a whitewater in storage. We'll appreciate it in August if it lasts. At least for now, the forecast is bullish for full-flowing summer rivers.
Montana bearish on griz hunting, for now
Montana will hold off on grizzly hunting, at least for now. That's a good decision, but as the bears recover, conflicts will become more frequent. We ought to prepare for the reaction when something bad happens. Bears aren't wolves and when the victim of an attack is human rather than livestock, the blowback will be fierce.
My latest column about the future of grizzly bears and the inevitable hunting season in Montana's future.
#MeToo takes down a powerful anti-hunting advocate
Change sometimes comes slowly, but when it finally arrives the transformation can be sudden and dramatic.
Such is the recent transformations of American culture powered by the #MeToo movement and the outing of sexual harassers, or worse. These are people, mostly men, who have been protected for decades. Hopefully, society will dismantle the unseemly protections that long shielded these abusers from accountability, forever.
What does this have to do with Montana hunters and anglers? Only this: one of the latest abusers forced out into the market square of accountability is Wayne Pacelle, the now former CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. The Humane Society of the United States, by the way, isn’t that local organization with a similar name that helps deal with the problem of homeless pets. The Humane Society of the United States is a different organization, and it is one of the most strident and well organized anti-hunting organizations in the country. Pacelle, who was CEO for more than a decade, made it so.
Needless to say, I won’t shed a tear about Pacelle’s passing from the Humane Society. But I am still seeking the appropriate approach for dealing with other shamed public figures — and their work — that I have admired. I learned the fundamentals of preparing Italian food watching Mario Batali’s “Molto Mario” cooking show. Kevin Spacey has long been one of my favorite actors, and “American Beauty,” in which Spacey ironically plays a middle-age man with an inappropriate attraction for a girl still in high school, is an amazing film that ultimately reaffirms the unshakable power of love and family.
Do I get to continue watching on reruns, if they ever reappear? Should I stop making Batali’s Southern Italian recipes that became a family staple when my daughters turned vegetarian and I needed non-meat culinary inspiration?
While were on the subject, I still own a Jeff Smith cookbook. I watched Smith’s “Frugal Gourmet” religiously back in the pre-Food Network days. However, he was rightly driven from his PBS television show after reports of his history sexual assaults became public.
Do I keep the book? Will I ever again watch “American Beauty?” Do I make lentil pasta when my daughters visit on college break?
The lentil pasta is a yes. On the others, it’s probably a “yes,” but I’m still working it out.
Editor's Note: (1-27-18) If you're not ready to abandon Batali's work, here's the lentil pasta recipe.