Hunting and Fishing News & Blog Articles

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Montana Wolf Season Halted by Courts

A district court judge in Helena has put a halt to the current regulations to a few districts in Montana as of Tuesday. The changes are follows:

According to a release from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the changes outlined in the temporary restraining order are as follows:

Reinstitutes wolf management units (WMU) 110, 313, and 316 as they existed in the 2020 wolf regulations. WMU 110 borders Glacier National Park and WMUs 313 and 316 are north of Yellowstone National ParkReinstitutes the quotas for WMU 110, 313, 316 as they existed in the 2020 wolf regulations, which are two wolves in WMU 110 and one wolf each in WMU 313 and 316. Currently, one wolf has been harvested in WMU 313 and no wolves have been harvested in WMU 316 and 110. Wolf hunting and trapping in WMU 313 is now closed.Restricts all hunters and trappers to harvesting five wolves total per person, per season.Prohibits the use of snares as a legal method of take for trapping wolves.

Montana FWP director Hank Worsech is prepared to defend that the department has proven they can manage wolves and the state has a stable population of wolves. The state’s management is based on facts and science and will make legal arguments on November 28th. 

Court order changes Montana wolf hunting season, effective immediately (kbzk.com)

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Brucellosis On The Rise???? Or Is It????

In a post covid world my gut says that it is a fair statement to say we are all a little more sensitive to any headline that has something to do with disease. In my circle of friends CWD and Brucellosis are the two wildlife related diseases that tend to get the most attention. Yes, EHD is a big one too, however that tends to be cyclical and the whitetails and antelope recover over time with solid management. 

Along that vein an elk in the Bighorn mountains of Wyoming has tested positive for Brucellosis. Brucellosis was first identified in this region in 2012 but has not  made an appearance since 2016. That is a significant amount of time not to have a positive test, however with this disease’s relationship with cattle it can produce fear fairly easily when positive tests do happen. 

On the bright side, in most areas elk tend to be in different portions of their range when cattle are on it, therefore limiting how much exposure cattle get from elk. I know, many of you are cueing up your pics of elk and cattle in the same areas to roast me on social media. But I submit to you this, elk on their winter ranges don’t typically end up in the same places that cattle are put to pasture for the winter. In the areas where it does happen there have been late season tags that are designed to mitigate interactions. In fact, I have a late season cow tag not far from where this bull tested positive. 

Bearing all this in mind, I would urge all of us as hunters to ask our respective management agencies to keep testing but not make knee jerk reactions that could take years to recover from. What say you? 

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Bow Hunting Deer DIY with Brian Barney

Bow hunt public land mule deer with Brian Barney on this episode of Beyond the Grid by Eastmans‘. This is a DIY hunt in the late season in Brian’s home state. Brian is the host of the Eastmans’ Elevated podcast where he shares hunting tips and strategies with a new episode each week. Listen anywhere podcasts are available.

The post Bow Hunting Deer DIY with Brian Barney appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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How to Use a Llama for Hunting or Backpacking

Using llamas for backpacking or hunting can help you go further and faster in the backcountry. @wyomingllamas owner Scott Woodruff and hunter Scott Reekers break down the basic step of how to use a llama for a backcountry adventure.

The post How to Use a Llama for Hunting or Backpacking appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Animals Rights Activists Are Up To It Again

Animal rights activist groups are at it again in Montana regarding wolf management.  Thankfully, the Sportsman’s Alliance (click here) is on top of it and making us all aware of what is happening.

“WildEarth Guardians and Project Coyote have filed suit in Montana state court to end wolf hunting and trapping under the framework established by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission.”

“In case after case, what we see is the animal-rights industry using wolves to raise money even though wolf populations are exceeding population targets in nearly all cases across their range,” said Todd Adkins, vice president of government affairs at the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Filing one frivolous lawsuit after another attacking hunters, trappers, and wildlife managers means big dollars for their radical agenda.”

The Sportsmen’s Alliance is currently reviewing options on how to best assist sportsmen with this latest attack on sound wildlife management in Montana.

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Arizona Limits NR OTC Tags

If you want to hunt archery deer in AZ next year, be sure to set your alarm for 12:00 AM MST on December 1st. Tags are only available online via the following website: http://otcarcherydeer.azgfd.gov/. This will be the first year that non-residents will be subject to a cap on the number of tags available to them.

In August of this year Arizona developed a new harvest threshold system for regulating over-the-counter archery deer harvest. Starting in 2023 non-residents will also have another change to cope with: a 10% cap on the number of over-the-counter permits available for non-resident purchase. Until now, there has been no limit on the number of archery deer tags sold for the state’s general units. However, due in part to a very successful media campaign by the department, there has been a sharp increase in demand for these tags. This increase in participation prompted the implementation of both these measures.

The total number of tags available to NR’s will be 10% of the 5-year average of annual total OTC tags sold. For 2023 that number is 2,890. This is only slightly fewer than the number of tags sold to NR’s in 2020 (the last year for which I have data), which was 3,093. In theory, this shouldn’t put much limitation on those who want to acquire tags. However, we have seen in other states, that when limits are put in place, the perception of scarcity sometimes leads to an increase in demand.

The post Arizona Limits NR OTC Tags appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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35K BLM Land Purchase On Hold

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon filed an appeal to challenge the Bureau of Land Management’s purchase of 35,000 acres south of Casper, Wyoming along the famed North Platte River. That appeal was granted and the sale has been red-lighted, for the time being. 

Public land advocates were not happy to hear about this challenge and subsequent halting of the addition of so much acreage which would be open for hunting, fishing and recreation. I was disappointed as well but figured there had to be more to the story than the purchase being halted because BLM failed to “adequately consider impacts on the recreational setting and fishery along the North Platte River,”.

“Gordon said in the press release. “My concern has always been that the process was not followed. This gives BLM the opportunity to address that concern, and I am pleased they have agreed to complete a public comment period, do further environmental analysis and consult with state agencies.”

Okay, but what about the purchase putting more than 35K acres into publicly accessible land? Well, I did some digging with a few folks in the know, who’ve asked to remain anonymous, and it seems this is only a formality, the sale should indeed move forward and put that acreage into public use. I will endeavor to keep you abreast of any future happenings on this but given the amount of calls and texts I received regarding this issue, I thought it prudent to update all of you with the information I uncovered. 

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Lions In Town: Bullet or Tranquilizer?

Full disclosure, this will be an op-ed, perhaps a bit of a rant even, but I can’t help it, so here we go! 

Recently a mountain lion was discovered chilling in a basement egress window well in a Cheyenne, Wyoming suburb. The homeowner reported the incident to Wyoming Game and Fish and game wardens were dispatched to deal with the predator. So far so good… 

Once on the scene the wardens attempted to coax the lion out of the window well with a ladder. This effort was met with resistance from the now upset lion, who apparently didn’t appreciate having her nap interrupted. Subsequently, the wardens were forced to tranquilize the lion, remove her through the home, not sure why they couldn’t lift her out of the window well, and relocate her into some nearby mountains. All’s well that ends well… or is it?

Here’s where my questions/opinions begin…

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Mule Deer Hunting in Montana

Guy Eastman is hunting mule deer in Montana with our 2018 hunt winner. Tag along with David Matthias and Rod Paschke of Sizzlin’ S Outfitters. You could win this hunt too! All of our subscribers to the EASTMANS’ HUNTING JOURNAL magazine are automatically entered in a drawing for this hunt each year.

The post Mule Deer Hunting in Montana appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Utah to Overhaul Elk Management Plan

The current elk management plan was approved in Utah in 2015. The plan was updated in 2020 and is set to expire at the end of 2022. Things have changed drastically in the demand for hunting licenses in the state of Utah since 2015. “The demand for elk hunting in Utah has continued to grow over the years,” DWR Big Game Coordinator Dax Mangus said. “In 2014, the over-the-counter any-bull elk permits sold out in 77 days, and the spike-only elk permits sold out in 84 days. 

In 2022, the any bull elk permits sold out in five hours and the spike elk permits sold out in only nine hours. We are proposing several strategies to respond to these dramatic increases in demand for general-season elk hunting opportunities, as well as find ways to address continued ‘point creep’ in the limited-entry system.” This plan will go into effect in 2023 and will hold in effect until 2032 with a mid-plan review in 2028. The changes are as follows:

GENERAL-SEASON HUNTING CHANGES
Adding six additional general-season hunting units to the any-bull elk hunt.Dividing the current general-season 13-day any legal weapon any bull hunt into two separate seven-day hunts.Issuing 15,000 general-season permits for the early season any-legal-weapon any bull hunt.Having no cap on permit numbers for the late season any-legal-weapon any bull hunt.Capping multi-season any-bull permits at 7,500.Expanding the general spike hunt to the Diamond Mountain unit.Continuing to issue 15,000 spike bull permits each year, with a cap of 4,500 available as multi-season permits.Creating an unlimited youth general-season elk permit that will be valid during all general seasons on both any bull and spike units.
LIMITED-ENTRY HUNTING CHANGES
Restructuring the harvest age objectives for traditional limited-entry units to include three age objectives: 6 ½ to 7 years old, 6 to 6 ½ years old and 5 ½ to 6 years old.Adding the mid-season any legal weapon hunt on most traditional limited-entry elk units.Adjusting the weapon splits for traditional limited-entry hunts to place more of the any-legal-weapon hunts in the mid-season hunt.Moving the season dates for the beginning of the hunt and end of the traditional limited-entry archery season to four days later than in past years.Adjusting the length of the early any-legal-weapon traditional limited-entry elk hunt to five days long.Maximizing hunting opportunities by maintaining the units/hunts managed for restricted-weapon hunts, September archery hunts and HAMS hunts (hunts that allow the use of handgun, archery, muzzleloader, and shotgun).Developing and recommending adaptive opportunity limited-entry hunts to seize unusual opportunities. Examples include December archery hunts on limited-entry units, additional restricted weapon or HAMS hunts on units with very high success rates and/or high bull-to-cow ratios, and limited-entry hunts on general-season units using unique timing or the migration of available bulls.

“The major theme for the elk plan committee — and the resulting proposed plan — has been to increase elk hunting opportunity, while maintaining quality, through increased challenge and creativity,” Mangus said. “We believe these proposed changes will help reach those goals. The recommended changes are all related and provide synergy to the overall management plan, with the general-season hunt changes providing additional opportunities and the limited-entry changes helping maintain the quality of the hunt.”

Some other new hunts being presented are general antlerless elk archery only hunts as well as more general elk hunts. Some new limited-entry elk hunts will also be proposed. These hunts will great effect trophy quality over the years as Utah seems to be moving towards an opportunity state much like its surrounding western states.

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Review: Savage Arms Impulse Mountain Hunter

This review features the brand new Savage Arms Impulse Mountain Hunter rifle. This rifle features a fast and easy straight pull action and boasts a PROOF carbon barrel. It’s built for long hikes and big mountains in the backcountry. @EastmansHuntingJournals Ike Eastman and Brandon Mason unbox their own Impulse Mountain Hunter rifles and break down the features.

The post Review: Savage Arms Impulse Mountain Hunter appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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60 Hunts in 20 Minutes!

Watch over sixty rifle and bow hunting kills in just twenty minutes! Elk, mule deer, moose, bighorn sheep, bear all in one action packed video.

The post 60 Hunts in 20 Minutes! appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Man Shoots Self Instead of Grizzly

In an attempt to avoid the second Wyoming grizzly bear mauling in one week, Lee Francis of Evanston, Wyoming drew and fired several rounds from his 10mm handgun as a grizzly closed in on him while he was hunting in the shadow of the Tetons. Francis succeeded in scaring off the charging grizz but shot himself through the lower leg in the process. 

Francis’ son called the incident in via satellite phone before loading him onto a horse and evacuating him to an area where the local search and rescue team could take over his care. Mr. Francis was life-flighted to the University of Utah hospital where, as far as we know, he remains. 

Our prayers our with Mr. Francis and his family as we ask for a speedy and complete recovery. That said, his accident serves as yet another stark reminder of the realities of hunting in grizzly country. 

Quite often the most dangerous elements of hunting in grizzly bear country are not the bears themselves. 

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Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Utah State University researcher Julie Young, who leads the USDA’s Predator Ecology and Behavior Project in Utah, is working on a fencing research project in the hopes of coming up with best practices for predator fencing to protect livestock from apex predators.

According to this report, Young’s goal is to create a toolkit that landowners, policymakers and the public can reference when creating fencing strategies. In turn, she hopes her research will support migration routes, carnivore management and local economic interests.

Keeping predators at bay to reduce conflicts with livestock producers would be a dream come true for many, if the project can actually work and has funding sources tied to it to cost-share on expensive fencing projects. 

In my past I was a fencing contractor and I can speak from firsthand experience that fences are extremely expensive and labor intensive to put up. What are your thoughts? Do you think this will actually work or is it just a pipe dream?

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Federal Government Supports Wyoming Big Game Migration

While there are alarming concerns over unnecessary human development in core winter range areas like I reported in this blog (click here), there are also wins to celebrate in the fight to protect key migration corridors for big game in Wyoming (click here).

The Wyoming governor, Mark Gordon, and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack signed a new Wyoming Wildlife Habitat memorandum of understanding. “This agreement will help create new and enhanced opportunities through USDA’s conservation programs to keep working lands working and give farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners new opportunities to conserve wildlife and migration corridors.”

“Private landowners have long provided key habitat for wildlife across Wyoming. Offering voluntary funding opportunities to landowners to maintain this valuable space for wildlife is a recognition of their role in conservation.” 

This is another important piece of the puzzle in staving off urbanization by giving landowners another option to keep land intact. 

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More Elk Racks Stolen

If you’re on social media you probably have seen posts the last couple weeks of elk heads being stolen out of the back of trucks at hotels and out of backyards while being boiled for a European mount. There are a lot of “dirtbags” out there and elk antlers, especially big bulls, are worth hundreds of dollars. 

Brown elk antler hit all time highs of $20 a pound in 2022 which makes a 340 bull worth about $400 if each antler weights 10 lbs and is sold for its raw weight. Antlers sold for display can fetch for even a higher price to the right person. When the economy is poor, theft seems to rise as people get sneaky and desperate. 

Make sure to always lock up your antlers and trophies at night and at least secure them indoors. This goes for deer and antelope heads as well. Even if you are in an area that has a low chance of a person taking your trophy it doesn’t mean the neighbor’s dog or the resident coyote won’t swoop in and grab your buck in the middle of the night, never to be seen again. Consider them just the same as a stack of Benjamins sitting out on your front porch. Don’t take the chance, always keep them locked up. 

Cowboystatedaily.com

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Feds To Ban Lead Ammunition

“So far, lead ammunition – as well as lead fishing tackle – is set to be banned by 2026 on several national wildlife refuges in the Eastern United States, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) spokeswoman Vanessa Kauffman said Wednesday…”

The push to ban all lead ammunition continues to gain momentum, especially at the federal level. What began with the banning of lead shotgun ammunition for migratory bird hunting in 1991 has evolved into a growing effort to ban all lead ammunition. Think about the precedent California set in 2007 when the state banned lead bullets for hunting and you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about. 

Arguments for the banning of lead ammunition stem from several supposed reasons such as lead poisoning in birds of prey, like eagles, that scavenge big game carcasses and ingest lead fragments from bullets. Another argument brings up health concerns for humans ingesting the same minute lead fragments in game meat. 

The question that I have is if these are legitimate arguments or thinly veiled attempts to limit hunters and big game hunting by an overwhelmingly anti-hunting bureaucracy? 

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Grizzly Mauls Pair Of College Wrestlers

Last Saturday, October 15th was a fateful day in the mountains of northwestern Wyoming for a pair of college wrestlers who decided to do some outdoor recreating south of Cody. Kendall Cummings and Brady Lowry were looking for shed antlers and enjoying the gorgeous fall weather with two other teammates when the afternoon took a turn for the worse. 

Lowry was the first to be attacked by an unseen grizzly that was concealed in heavy willows. He recounted that the bear was on him too quickly for bear spray to be deployed. As the bear mauled Lowry, Cummings entered the fray, attempting to push the bear away from his friend. Unfortunately, his brave actions only served to turn the bruin’s attention upon him and he was subsequently savaged as well. 

With help from their fellow wrestlers and a local hunter, the two young men made it off the mountain and were rushed to medical treatment in Cody and Billings where they each have undergone several surgeries but are recovering. 

This one hits home… Those young men wrestle for Northwest Community Community College right here in Powell, Wyoming, not but a few blocks from the office I sit in as I write this blog. Their mauling happened in an area I frequent as well, sometimes with my wife and children. Honestly, when the headlines for this started appearing yesterday and today my blood ran cold. 

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More Encroachment on Pivotal Wyoming Migration Corridors

If I’m being completely honest and not worrying about political correctness, the announcement of further developments and subdivisions in key big game migration corridors in Sublette County, Wyoming and the good ol’ boy actions of county commissioners in that county, make me disgusted.

According to a www.wyofile.com report, the county commissioner’s rulings in favor of property developments were “in defiance of their planning and zoning board’s recommendation”.

Wyoming, like much of middle America and the Rocky Mountain West, has seen droves of people moving to the state’s most scenic regions to get away from the craziness of big city life from the fallout of 2020 and 2021 in our country. Our landscape and persona are changing rapidly due to Californians (mostly) moving in and changing our way of life, and the way of migration corridors to our cherished wildlife including mule deer, pronghorn, elk, and even the sage grouse.

A 51 unit subdivision and now a 32,400 square foot trauma therapy center are on the approval list in well-documented big game migration corridors and core sage grouse habitat.

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Brown Bear Hunting – Kodiak Alaska


Go hunting for giant brown bears in Kodiak, Alaska. Join Pro Membership Sweepstakes hunt winner Chad LaChance for an incredible hunt packed with bear encounters. This giveaway was the biggest hunt drawing of 2018 worth over $30,000. Pro Membership Sweepstakes prides itself on working with the best outfitters and Larsen Bay Lodge did not disappoint on this bear hunt of a lifetime. Learn more at www.promembershipsweepstakes.com

The post Brown Bear Hunting – Kodiak Alaska appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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