Scouting Around
Montana — $$$ Raised by Auction of Sheep and Moose Licenses

The recent annual auctions of a bighorn sheep and a moose license to supplement Montana's bighorn sheep and moose management programs garnered $95,400.

Montana's 2000 bighorn sheep license auction at the annual convention of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS) in Reno, Nevada, brought $95,000 according to Fish, Wildlife & Park's Glenn Erickson, Wildlife Management Bureau Chief. FWP received $85,500 of the sale to bolster research efforts on bighorn sheep, and to supplement wildlife trapping and transplanting budgets. FNAWS retains 10 percent of the proceeds for administration and its own bighorn sheep management efforts.

The Skyline Sportsman's annual meeting in Butte hosted the Montana moose license auction. The license sold for $11,000. The Skyline Sportsman's Club retains 10 percent of the proceeds and the remainder will go toward enhancing Montana's moose management efforts.

Wyoming — Excellent Spring Turkey Season Ahead

Five good hatches in a row and favorable moisture and winters have vaulted Wyoming wild turkey populations to their highest levels in a number of years.

If hunters have nice weather, the 2000 spring turkey season could be one of the best Wyoming hunters have seen.

"We’ve almost doubled the number of licenses in every area," says Harry Harju, assistant Wildlife Division chief. "There are lots of gobblers out there. There are lots of ‘jakes’ (yearling gobblers) with last year’s good hatch, and there are lots of 2– and 3-year-olds, too."

Harju urges spring turkey hunters to be very concerned about safety. "Most hunters wouldn’t sneak up on a duck call, so don’t sneak up on a turkey call either," Harju said.

Harju reports there has never been a spring turkey hunting accident reported in Wyoming. He urges hunters to follow these precautions to keep that record intact:
• Don’t wear red, white or blue. A tom turkey’s head has similar colors. Not only will these colors put you in danger, but turkeys can easily detect them. In South Dakota several years ago, a hunter’s white socks were a target of an irresponsible turkey hunter.
• Never make a turkey sound to alert another hunter of your presence. Likewise don’t rattle the brush or wave. Movement may draw fire. Loudly yell to reveal your location and remain hidden.
• Don’t hide so well that you don’t have a clear field of vision.
• If you use decoys, place them so you won’t be in the line of fire of another hunter.

The G&F also alerts hunters not to be alarmed because the turkey has a white or yellow gelatinous mass around its crop. "We receive several calls about this each spring from puzzled hunters," Harju said. "It’s a natural phenomena to help the bird puff out for strutting, and the bird is perfectly healthy."

Arizona — Record High Elk Permits Recommended

A record high number of elk hunt-permit tags is being recommended
for this fall, but the recommended level of deer permits has reached another historic low.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is recommending that the Game and Fish Commission establish 24,760 elk hunt-permit tags at its April 15 meeting in Phoenix. The department is also recommending 45,850 deer permits, which would be a record low offering and a decrease of 970 permits from last year.

Game Branch Chief Tice Supplee explained that the unseasonably warm
weather during last year's elk hunts — especially during the archery hunts — resulted in elk being active mostly at night, which meant they were not readily available for harvest.

"Lower than expected harvest levels in combination with good winter survival due to mild weather are the two factors leading to the recommendation for record elk tag numbers again this year," Supplee said.

Another factor leading to increased permit levels this year is the permit-allocation formula that determines how permit levels are spread among general, muzzleloader and archery seasons. One part of the formula takes into account the harvest success for various weapon types. Because archery harvest success was down last year, archery permits had to be increased to properly allocate hunt opportunity.

The story has been different with deer. For much of the state, the key to deer reproduction and recruitment is having good precipitation in both winter and summer. Since 1995, the state has lacked one or the other almost every year. The low ebb in the deer population has also resulted in predation becoming a more significant factor.

"Most reductions are recommended for deer units in southeastern, central and northeastern Arizona. Permit increases are recommended for western Arizona, where climatic conditions have been more favorable for deer fawn survival the past few years. Since we just came out of another dry winter, things aren't expected to improve anytime shortly," Supplee said.

Oregon — Help from Spring Bear Hunters

Hunters enjoying a spring bear harvest can help the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife with a bear population census in southwest Oregon.

Last summer, ODFW researchers placed bait stations around the region that contained tetracycline capsules wrapped in bacon. Any bear that ate the bait will now have a fluorescent stain on its teeth that can be detected
under ultraviolet light. The tetracycline won't affect the quality of the meat, or cause staining in the teeth of anyone eating the meat.

"We had fairly good compliance from fall black bear hunters," said Dave Immell, ODFW wildlife biologist. "They used check stations around the region to turn in a pre-molar tooth and harvest data. We're now asking spring bear hunters for that same information, and have lined up vendors around southern Oregon to make it more convenient."

Hunters can turn in their information to any approved vendor. A list of vendors can be obtained from your local ODFW office.

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