Montana News

Support Closure of the USDA Agriculuture Research Sheep Experiment Station

Tom Vilsack, Secretary

US Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Ave, SW

Washington DC 20250

 Dear Secretary Vilsack,

Montana Backcountry Hunters and Anglers appreciate the opportunity to write in support the proposed closure of the USDA Agriculture Research Sheep Experiment Station based in Dubois Idaho.

bighornsheep

Our 350 Montana hunters and angler members strongly support well managed public land, as well as wildlife and wildlife habitat management.  We have personal experiences that demonstrate the conflicts with wildlife occurring as a result sheep experiment station grazing.  Our wildlife concerns encompass adverse effects on sage grouse, grizzly bear recovery, and huntable species including bighorn sheep, black bears, elk, moose and mule deer.

In Odell Creek we have personally observed overly dense stands of western coneflower, an indicator that range has deteriorated as a result of sheep grazing.  The open grasslands at the Station support moose and elk which are displaced as soon as sheep arrive in the drainage.   The grassland observed by our members has been inappropriately damaged from sheep grazing practices.   Black bears are killed when in proximity of sheep.  Cattle grazing also allowed at the Station takes grass otherwise available to wintering elk.

Montana BHA’s 2nd Annual Rendezvous Campout

Montana-CampoutLocation: Aspen Grove Campground (6 miles west of Lincoln, MT) on June 13, 204 – June 15, 2014.  

The Rendezvous Campout is a great opportunity to get together with other MT BHA members.  share hunting and fishing stories and learn new skills. It will also be a great weekend to learn about conservation, hunting and fishing issues in MT and learn about MT BHA’s accomplishments, goals and objectives.

Outside of just being able to relax in the woods with friends and family on Saturday (June 14th) we will have super fun day with events for all ages...

Raffle for Montana BHA

We need some Dough, Moolah, Smackers,  Bones, Scratch... Yep, no matter what you call it, MT BHA can only continue the fight for Montana's Backcountry and Sportsman as our funding allows, and there are a lot of new threats on the horizon.  

While all the labor at MT BHA is done by volunteers, expenses just add up, and we’re running out of funding.

To raise the much needed funds we have been given donation items by local businesses to auction off and give our members a chance to win terrific prizes:

1.      Custom Made Montana Backcounty Hunter & Anglers Helle Knife and Sheath

knifeThis is an awesome, one-of-a-kind knife that was handmade from and donated by our own MT BHA Treasurer, Chad Sivertsen, using Helle Knife Steel.

This knife uses a 3 ½ inch long Stainless Steel laminated Helle blade. Made in Norway since 1932 Helle knives and blades enjoy a reputation for ruggedness and maintaining a sharp edge. The blades are a three-layer sandwich with two outer layers that protect the harder center alloy of cutting edge steel. The handle on this blade is Myrtle wood and Cocobolo with Ebony accent stripes. The BHA logo on one side is inlaid with Malachite powder. Both the butt and guard are sheep horn. The sheath is pouch style wet formed leather.

Montana BHA's Annual Letter

Greetings Fellow Montana BHA Member!

It has been another great and busy year for the Montana Chapter of BHA. In an effort to keep all members informed of what we have been up to we want to share a list of some of our major activities in 2013 and early 2014.  Many of the projects are ongoing while new opportunities are developing  as we write this letter.

  • UAV’s/Drones: MT BHA lead the effort to install regulation preventing the use of UAV’s/Drones in Montana for any hunting or scouting activities. MT BHA worked directly with FWP Law Enforcement Division on the language of the final regulations adopted by Montana Fish and Game Commission action in February 2014.
  • Kootenai National Forest: Filed a formal objection with the Kootenai National Forest regarding their Forest Plan Revision that would allow motorized trails to be established in road-less areas of the Silver Butte-Fisher River.
  • Hi-Line, Miles City and Billings BLM Resource Management Plans Submitted comments on the Hi-Line, Miles City and Billings BLM Resource Management Plans covering 5.6 million acres. We requestedprotecting present wilderness characteristics, improved grazing management to protect riparian areas and woody draws, containment of off road vehicles, and provisions to protect wildlife habitat in oil and gas development.
  • Bison: Supported allowing Yellowstone area bison to utilize public lands north of Yellowstone Park

Montana BHA Shoots Down Drones

Moose monitored by droneOver a year ago MT BHA recognized that rapidly revolving and availability of unmanned aerial vehicle (drones) technology threatened fair chase hunting.  GPS and real time cameras, including infrared cameras can easily be attached.  Drones are more common and cheaper than ever.  They can be easily flown at night to scout for hunting the next day.  They can be used to move wildlife to aid hunting.  We have seen too often that delaying regulating technology leads to no action by agencies, and traditional hunting is further eroded. 

We had little time to spare as the following videos demonstrate the drone technology was soon-to-be flying over the horizon.

Moose youtube.

Geese youtube.

Hogs video.

 

So Montana BHA worked for the last year with FWP law enforcement on wording specific to UAVs or drones that was ironclad and clear. 

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Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands and waters.

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