the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"
is foolish to regard proper game-laws as undemocratic, unrepublican.
On the contrary, they are essentially in the interests of the
people as a whole, because it is only through their enactment
and enforcement that the people as a whole can preserve the
game and prevent its becoming purely the property of the rich
who are able to create and maintain extensive private preserves.
The wealthy man can get hunting anyhow, but the man of small means
is dependent solely upon wise and well-executed game-laws for
his enjoyment of the sturdy pleasure of the chase."
Click for larger image
has been a busy last couple of weeks. Thanks to the incredible help
of the Montana hunting community (all those involved listed in the Contribution
Thanks at the bottom), EMWH now has an awesome Garmin Montana 650
GPS that takes geocoded photos (great for proof), an OnXMaps landownership
and topo chip and a helicopter flight into the Durfees northern
region to document that area. While I was up that way, another hunter
said that I should document the east side of the Anchor Ranch/Bullwhacker
where there is already a 2 track road most of the way, so I did.
I will be processing all of that documentation (including awesome
helicopter video from the donated video camera) in about a week,
after I get the FWP elk shoulder season BS online in the next few
days, but had to first address the FWP trying to gut Game Damage
Btw, still havent received the bulk of the FOIA placed on Nov. 13,
2014. Since my 3 recent requests for public information were deflected
or ignored, I had to place another BLM FOIA for the sign in sheets,
meeting minutes and public comments submitted on the Bullwhacker
Access project that BLM stated the other day in their office, they
One of the other western states BLM employees gave me the link to
the land exchange handbook and pointed out some key points, as well
as again stating the regs point out they cant exchange trespassed
land until it is resolved, another suggested that I file an Interested
Public Party request with our Montana BLM. They said the more people
involved in this public process, the better for oversight and accountability.
Please click the link to email with a message like the one below
State Director Jamie Connell, Associate State Director Kat Kitchell,
Central District Manager Stan Benes, and Missouri Breaks National
Monument Manager Mike Kania:
"Dear BLM State Director Jamie Connell, as a Montana conservation
hunter, I am writing to request to be included in any Bullwhacker
access and/or any Wilks land exchange proposal decision making process.
I ask to be kept informed on all Bullwhacker/Wilks specified public
land matters, including mailing lists (also email), so that I am
kept aware of future decisions and have the opportunity to comment
on proposed actions, with the rights of protest and appeal."
Please include your contact information with your signature.
* * *
Now to the heinous Game Damage
gutting that has a deadline coming up. FWP was
audited by Legislative Audit Services (published in May) and got
caught with their pants down concerning the Game Damage Program,
including a number of illegalities and non regulated processes.
The 56 page audit covered 2010-2014, 586 game damage complaints
in regions 2-5. So their answer to this situation is not to get
FWP on the straight and narrow following the regulations already
on the books, but to amend the legislation with "Cover My Ass"
amendments to make them legal, during an interim session, while
most people are on vacation and remove more of the public from
the process. The devil is in the details. As I see it, this doesn't
make the game damage process better, but simply legitimizes the
illegal or not regulated actions that FWP has been committing
until they got caught. And our sportsmen's dollars have been paying
Since it would take a whole newsletter just for that, I wrote
the bullet point highlights from the audit and the Game Damage
Proposed Amendment objections up on EMWH's WOMWE Blog -
FWP Game Damage Isn't Broken,
It's Not Properly Being Used by FWP.
Please take the
time to attend one of the 8 hearings in the various cities listed
on Aug. 11th & 12th. If you dont use your public process,
you are going to lose it with Game Damage!
information from Legislative services last week, I received this
access problem PDF form that you can download, print out and keep
with you for access issues. It has Montana state and federal agency
contact information on the backside.
Access Problem ID Form PDF with agency
contact list on the back.
Reducing the Wildland Fire Threat
to Homes: Where and how much? - Cohen
Park wildfire likely human-caused, investigators say
"Investigators believe the 3,170-acre Reynolds Creek fire in Glacier
National Park was human-caused.
National Park Service law enforcement officers are seeking the public’s
help with clues about how the fire was ignited.
Anyone who was hiking near the Reynolds Creek Campground on the
Gunsight Pass/St. Mary Falls trails between July 14 and July 21
is asked to call 1-888-653-0009 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fire was reported at 3:45 p.m. on July 21 about six miles east
of Logan Pass. It quickly spread from a few acres to more than 1,000
by that evening. It continues to burn actively and was 63 percent
contained on Wednesday evening. A Type 1 team of 670 firefighters
is assigned to the effort."
in the heart of Butte: A special report
"Below the center of Butte flows water tainted with poisons drawn
from a mass of mining and smelting waste that has been a pollution
problem for more than a century...
The polluted groundwater is flowing inexorably toward Silver Bow
Creek, and critics of the Environmental Protection Agency’s long-standing
decision to leave the tailings in the middle of the city as 'waste
in place' say it could eventually endanger the recently completed
cleanup of the lower part of the creek, which cost an estimated
Creek Rd. Now Open!
"Big Timber, Montana - On Wednesday, July 15, at 9:00 a.m. the gate
barring public access to the West Deer Creek area of the Custer-Gallatin
National Forest south of Big Timber swung open - thus restoring
road access to more than 16,000 acres of public lands. PLWA played
a key role in early efforts to keep public access to this area.
The gate is across a newly constructed bypass road named "West Deer
Creek Road" (Forest Road #421, known locally as the Cherry Creek
access). The new road provides a permanent public route on the Yellowstone
Ranger District by replacing part of the old, now-private Cherry
Bozeman man pleads guilty
to illegally killing moose, elk
"Andrew Shields, 25, pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony unlawful possession
of a game animal, three counts of misdemeanor unlawful possession
of a game animal and one misdemeanor charge of hunting without a
Gallatin County District Judge Holly Brown sentenced Shields to
six months in jail and five years with the Montana Department of
Corrections. Shields received credit for 106 days previously served
in jail. He was also ordered to pay $7,500 in restitution to Montana
Fish, Wildlife and Parks."
purchases ranch north of Conrad for $2.5 million
"The Montana Land Board approved the purchase of a 2,563-acre farm
and ranch northeast of Conrad Monday for $2.5 million that state
officials said would generate some $70,000 in annual revenue for
schools and provide new opportunities for bird hunters.
The property was purchased through the state’s Land Banking Program...
The property is accessible by the Bullhead and Trunk Butte roads,
which are county roads. The purchase also would secure public access
to 400 acres of trust land adjacent to the property."
Agreement to reopen road,
provide public access to Rocky Mountain Front
"Great Falls hunters, state and county officials, and a landowner
have reached an agreement that will provide walk-in hunting and
recreational access to approximately 50,000 acres of public land
along the Rocky Mountain Front west of Choteau. The agreement reopens
a public road that has been in dispute for decades.
The consent decree reached between Randy Knowles, a member of the
Russell Country Sportsmen’s Association, the state Department of
Natural Resources and Conservation, Teton County and owners of the
Salmond Ranch will establish a 30-foot easement along Teton County
BLM's Lewistown resource
advisory council to consider latest land exchange plan offered by
" 'I’ve just never seen a public agency proceed in this manner,'
said Ron Moody, a former Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission member
who has advocated against the exchange.
He said the process has become 'so trashed up with bad process'
that it ought to be shelved for a few years. He pointed to a similar
land exchange proposal between a landowner and the state of Montana
last year that was proposed and concluded in about a month. In that
case, the state found the lands were not of equal value and halted
For more information please see the BLM
breaking faith with the Public/Wilks Brothers land exchange draft
proposal rebuttal page
Hometown Hero: Borgreen’s
passion helps kids
"His involvement with youth programming doesn’t stop there. He’s
been a longtime member of the Russell Country Sportsmen group and
has advocated with members of the Montana Wildlife Federation and
the Montana Sportsmen Alliance to keep public land and stream access
open to the public.
A few years ago, the Russell Country group started a youth hunting
program. Borgreen said they take kids who wouldn’t otherwise have
the resources to do it on hunting trips. Borgreen said the group
isn’t just teaching kids about how to kill an animal. They teach
them about hunting ethically, respecting public and private land
partnerships and more."
No cause of death for 19 Fort Belknap
"Following the Fourth of July weekend, herd managers from the Fort
Belknap Indian Reservation discovered the bodies of 17 bison lying
in a pasture halfway between the communities of Fort Belknap Agency
and Hays. Two more bison died in the days that followed, bringing
the total number of dead animals to 19. No additional bison have
been reported to have died since that time.
The Fort Belknap tribes maintain a total bison herd of more than
500 animals, however, the dead bison in question are unique in that
they all came from a sub-group of 57 genetically pure bison originally
relocated from Yellowstone National Park in 2011. The sub-group
has remained quarantined from other bison and livestock since that
Sunday event to benefit East
"Five years ago, local residents, ranchers and business people formed
Friends of East Rosebud and began to talk to governmental agencies
and politicians about better uses for East Rosebud Creek. The area
is enjoyed by hikers, climbers, anglers, wildlife watchers, kayakers
and horseback riders, and contributes millions of dollars to the
local economy every year.
Friends of East Rosebud is supported by more than 90 percent of
all local landowners and ranchers and all subdivision associations
within 10 miles. Almost 2,000 local residents and visitors from
43 states signed the petition that led to the 'East Rosebud Wild
and Scenic Rivers Act.' "
Koch Brothers Believe National
Parks Should Be Privatized
"It appears that, in order to address this growing problem, the
Koch brothers are interested in privatizing the park systems. The
author and co-author of the Times op-ed piece both work for the
Property and Environment Research Center (PERC). PERC is an organization
interested in 'property rights and environmental organization' and
funded by none other than the Kochs."
More Logging Won’t Stop Wildfires
"In the case of the Rim Fire, our research found that protected
forest areas with no history of logging burned least intensely.
There was a similar pattern in other large fires in recent years.
Logging removes the mature, thick-barked, fire-resistant trees.
The small trees planted in their place and the debris left behind
by loggers act as kindling; in effect, the logged areas become combustible
tree plantations that are poor wildlife habitat...
Recognizing these findings, some 250 scientists sent a letter to
Congress in 2013 opposing a similar version of the current legislation.
They predicted, correctly, that the Rim Fire would actually benefit
many wildlife species and rejuvenate the forest ecosystem, provided
that the burned expanses were not then cleared by loggers."
Obama Permanently Protects
More Than One Million Acres Of Public Lands
"Early Friday, President Obama announced that he will designate
three new national monuments, permanently protecting more than one
million acres of public lands. He designated pristine wilderness
landscapes in Nevada as Basin and Range National Monument, scenic
mountains in California as Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument,
and a fossil-rich site in Texas as Waco Mammoth National Monument."
"I just wanted
to throw one more caveat to the access thing: In some ways I feel
that many recreationists are doing some of this to themselves. I
live on a private road that leads to public lands. There is no perfected
easement on our road and the 19 or so landowners who live on this
road leave it open just because. In the last few years there has
been talk of closing it to public access because of disrespectful
recreationists. Dirtbikes, trucks, and atvs drive off the road,
drive too fast, run over pets, almost run over people, etc, etc.
I am a huge proponent of public access and strictly a public lands
hunter but the current culture of society and the disrespect towards
public and private lands seem to be leading to a predictable outcomes.
There are certainly many instances of someone closing a road strictly
because they want their own private kingdom but sometimes I can
completely understand why people would want to exclude the public.
Not comparing complete apples to apples here but it is a related
Anyways just wanted to mention that because it seems that peoples
behavior related to loss of access is rarely mentioned." TS
"Thank you for keeping their feet o the fire!" RMc on BLM Breaking
"Thanks again Kat... U are amazing!" Greg
"As vice pres of the Great Falls Chapter of SCI we would also be
interested in contributing to the Bullwhacker Road in manpower and
"I wonder why they are taking so long. I think if it was the ordinary
JOE, things would be happening. But with the Money behind the Wilks,
they are running scared. A bunch of BS." T Moseman
like to thank the following contributors for helping to support
EMWH. Your gift is very much appreciated.
Davis for the Montana Access Project; Tom Pruitt; for the Durfee
Hills/Bullwhacker access documentation trip - Central Air Service
(for the price break on the helicopter trip into the Durfees),
2 anonymous hunters, PLWA, Ron Moody and Tim Crawford; for the
general documentation contribution of a Garmin
Montana 650 GPS (totally awesome - geotagged photos for proof!)
- Garmin (for giving us a conservation discount thanks to the
connection with Dale Spartas); Tim Crawford of Pheasant
Farms Photos and Dale Spartas of D.C.S Photo,
and due to a lost shipment problem with the Garmin not arriving
before the documentation trip, Bozeman
Sportsmens Warehouse for supplying the Garmin GPS with the
reshipment going to their store; for the OnXMaps Montana Hunt
chip for the GPS (thanks Mark Momberg for the referral), which
shows public/private boundaries and ownership, topo, roads, etc
- OnXMaps, a Montana
company based in Missoula.
If you would like to further this work and research,
please click to contribute