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The elk herd

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webfoot

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I have a cow tag that is good until the end of the month. This morning they are hanging out in an alfalfa field. Where they are is far enough from cover that I would have to be a Marine sniper to shoot one. For some reason they don't want to stand some place where I could easily sneak into range. I am not going to belly crawl out to shoot a cow elk in a hay field. Eventually they will be somewhere that makes for a good easy shot.
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Evans

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Are they drinking or sleeping somewhere else?
Around here they eat in the open and go back to there beds before daylight.
They normally bed at high elevations in thick timber and deep snow where its cold,miserable and nothing tyo eat or drink until night time. That or they bed where no hunting is allowed.
 

webfoot

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Are they drinking or sleeping somewhere else?
Around here they eat in the open and go back to there beds before daylight.
They normally bed at high elevations in thick timber and deep snow where its cold,miserable and nothing tyo eat or drink until night time. That or they bed where no hunting is allowed.
The river is down the hill off this bench and across the flats. If they don't get bothered they just stay out in the meadows in the valley. They will walk up into the sage brush hills on the sides of the valley. It is a long walk to any "thick timber" And deep snow........ we are praying for deep snow in the high country but don't have any yet. Hunting season is closed for the most part other than the few of us with long season cow tags.
 

deff

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We will be likely be seeing herds like that pretty soon. We allow public hunting and have 2 or 3 elk taken off the place in a typical year. We have had fair hunting but have not felt over-run by elk. Rich folks bought up land in a "L" shape about 2 miles to the east and 4 to the south of us. They locked the gates, shipped off all the cows, dug up the tillable land and seeded it to sainfoin to attract elk. They built a large hunting lodge and constructed an air strip. The FWP is considering changing our season to a long general season to try to reduce elk numbers. Our new neighbor will be providing refuge from hunting pressure. I fear that the concentrating the elk on their playground is asking for trouble. Soon we may be dealing with CWD, Tuberculosis, Brucellosis. To them it's just a playground, to me, it's my livelihood! Recently, I bought 160 acres of baked clay, scrub brush pastureland with no water. I wanted it because it linked up some pasture and hay fields on my place and my hauling road passed through there. A neighbor bought the portion of that place that was mostly hay fields. When I complained to my banker about paying almost as much for the rough land as my neighbor did for the good ground, the banker replied that my pasture was worth more just for the recreational value than the neighbor's hay ground?!?!? Sometime's a feller just trying to raise good beef to feed folks don't feel real appreciated!
 

Evans

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There are a lot of ranch owners that could not get a job on someone else's outfit.
What I mean is that in able to afford land they didn't make their money in agriculture.
In Alberta a lot of rich guys buy ranch land. First thing they do is post it. Won't even let you trail cows across it. They think they will have a private happy hunting grounds.
After a few years of no cows the grass mixes with the stemmy uneaten grass from past years and the game moves out.
More land closer's every year up here to hunting. Just puts more pressure on the places still open.
Paid access to private land happens. Some groups can hunt year round with no tags or regulations. Then the government doing everything they can for the wolves.
Public gun ranges non excitant for the most part. Government and the police doing everything they can to make gun ownership hard and expensive. Gosh I'm getting all discouraged here I netter start talking about something else
 

deff

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Several years ago, a place sold near me that was partially paid for by selling off a "Conservation Easement" to benefit wildlife. It can never have livestock on it but the hay ground may be cropped. The new owner was only interested in having his own personal hunting ground. The pastures are now covered in a dense mat of stemmy, dry grass. It's a huge fire hazard ! The owner can't understand why all the deer and elk prefer to stay across the fence on the neighbors' grazed land where there is some green regrowth each fall! We are contacted by numerous "sportsmen" wanting to lease the hunting on our place to be their own private honey hole! We are in the Montana Block Management Program where the State pays us to allow public hunting. The private offers that we have received were twice or three times the amount of money we get from the State. In fact, we have one neighbor that charges as much per day for an "access fee" as we receive a year! I start feeling like a dang fool for leaving money on the table, then I have a young dad stop and ask permission with his bright eyed son or daughter in tow. I just sigh and think ......well shucks !!!!
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Good for you Deff, I know the missed out monetary gain hurts but you never know who that kid you let hunt will grow up to be. Might be somebody important that will do great thing because you helped them down a good path.
 

Faster horses

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We gave up on Block Management after MT Fish and Game lied to us. You can opt out and still
control who hunts on your place. It's not either/or. Block management that our neighbors signed up for managed to get all the game killed and now...they are sorry. Along with all the other problems letting the public have the run of your place. I'm sure you can find someone to work with that will allow locals, kids, elderly to still hunt on your place.
 

deff

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We gave up on Block Management after MT Fish and Game lied to us. You can opt out and still
control who hunts on your place. It's not either/or. Block management that our neighbors signed up for managed to get all the game killed and now...they are sorry. Along with all the other problems letting the public have the run of your place. I'm sure you can find someone to work with that will allow locals, kids, elderly to still hunt on your place.
We have been in it for over 25 years now... and yes, there seems to be a big credibility gap between the promises and the reality of it all! By the end of every season, I am seriously contemplating getting out! We are poorly compensated for the constant phone calls, knocks on the door at all hours and the hassles that go along with accommodating the public! We do have large blocks of aspen and hawthorn brush that are virtually impossible to hunt out. Also we are "walk in only" which helps reduce the hunter impact some. The biggest problem is the ones who just come and run all over the place because "they know we allow hunting" ! With the latest trend of folks leasing the "hunting rights" to ranches, the hunting pressure has increased exponentially for everybody else. That pushes more and more people to lock their gates! I noticed that the deer population appeared to be down all over the area this year. Neighbors tend to blame us and our BMA for that! In reality, there's only a small portion of the land in this neighborhood that is ever hunted. With CWD being discovered closer all the time. I'm not so sure that large concentrations of deer are a good thing anyway!
 

webfoot

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I saw those elk another day out in the middle. Then last night I was coming home after dark. There was an elk calf in the ditch along the road and I could make out the rest of the herd 50 yards off the road. My tag is only good on the south side of the road which is where they were. So I headed down there at first light. They left sign where they crossed back over the road and headed up the north side.
There is one guy here who does the game dept program to get paid to let people hunt. His property is so inter mingled with BLM he is just better off letting people hunt and taking a little money. One who sells his hunting rights. The rest just allow friends and family to hunt. But there is literally over a million acres of public land in this county so lots of area for the general public to hunt. Our deer have been struggling. But I know the reason in 2016 there was a bad winter that killed off 60-70% of the deer. Combine that with the fact that Oregon outlawed hunting Mountain Lions with hounds about 25 years ago. The lion population has really exploded. That bad winter didn't hurt the cats any at all. Now the cat population is keeping the deer population from recovering from that bad winter.
 

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