Scouting Around
Nevada — Hunters Reminded to Avoid Hunting in Burned Areas

Wildland fires in Nevada the last two years have burned over 2.2 million acres — much of it critical wildlife habitat — and Division of Wildlife reminds hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts to avoid these areas while out in the field this fall and winter.

"We are concerned about activities within and around the burn areas that are in close association to any wildlife that may remain," said Dave Rice, chief conservation educator for NDOW. "Wildlife that remain in areas that burned this year may still be disoriented and may still be trying to adjust to whatever habitat is left, possibly making them more vulnerable to human activity than in adjacent unburned areas."

He went on to say that historically, fires tend to burn in a patchwork pattern. There will be "patches" of unburned vegetation left in the burned areas, and the wildlife left in these areas will seek out and possibly concentrate in these small patches of sagebrush, aspen, or other vegetation that is left.

"We would recommend that people try to leave these animals alone and not increase the impacts on them by chasing them with four-wheelers, motorcycles, or other motorized vehicles," Rice said. "I believe that most people would consider it unethical to pursue or intensively hunt animals in the little patches of vegetation that have not burned. It's just not a sporting proposition."

Wildlife managers point out that another reason for not using off-road vehicles in the burned areas is the potential damage to the land itself. Vehicle traffic can accelerate erosion once the areas start receiving seasonal rains. The off-road activity will leave trails and tracks throughout the area, further intensifying the erosion cycle.

Several governmental agencies, including NDOW, will continue major reseeding efforts this year to rehabilitate many of the burned areas. "These areas will be rehabilitated not only for wildlife habitat, but also for livestock, soil cover and erosion purposes," Rice added.

Wyoming — Northwest Hunters, Carry Bear Spray

A rash of early season grizzly bear/hunter conflicts has the Wyoming Game and Fish Department pleading with northwest Wyoming big game hunters to carry bear repellent spray and use caution afield. Lower elevation grizzly bear activity is heightened this year due to a reduced crop of white bark pine nuts, the bear's preferred autumn food. The 2000 drought has also drawn some grizzlies to river valleys to forage around the more succulent vegetation.

Mark Bruscino, the G&F's grizzly bear resolution officer, advises hunters and hikers in grizzly country to only carry bear spray which is Environmental Protection Agency registered. In addition to spray, which must be immediately accessible, he recommends hunting in pairs while being keenly aware of grizzly bear sign.

After downing a big game animal, the G&F suggests moving the carcass at least 200 yards away from the gut pile if the entire animal is not being immediately packed out. The carcass should be placed in a location clearly visible from a far distance when returning. If a bear has claimed the carcass, leave it and contact the G&F.

Some sporting good stores report customers still requesting bear spray with the former standard of at least 12 percent active ingredient. That requirement has changed recently to 1-2 percent Oleoresin of Capsicum. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee recommends the canister should also:
• weigh at least 225 grams or 7.9 ounces;
• spray a shotgun-cloud pattern; and,
• have a minimum range of 25 feet.

Montana — Hunters Must Stop

Hunters should remember that state law requires them to stop at all game checking stations on their routes of travel to and from hunting areas. Failure to stop at a checking station when personnel are on duty constitutes a misdemeanor punishable by a fine.

While in the field, hunters can expect to encounter two basic types of checking stations – law enforcement stations and biological stations.

For the most part, officers at law enforcement stations will check to make sure that any animals taken are properly tagged and that all other laws and regulations governing the taking of that animal were observed.

Officials at biological checking stations are established to gather information needed to manage the state's wildlife resources. When hunters stop at biological checking stations, they may be asked a variety of questions including how many deer or elk or antelope they saw and in which drainages or general locations their hunting took place.

This fall, thousands of hunters will assist FWP in managing game animal populations and future hunting opportunities by stopping at game checking stations. These stations provide an excellent example of the progress that has been achieved in managing the state's wildlife resource through cooperation between hunters and those who manage that resource.

Montana — Off-Road Driving Prohibited on State Lands

Motor vehicle use on accessible state lands is confined to county, state and federal roads, or to other roads designated open. In all cases, off-road use is prohibited. This restriction applies regardless of whether the state land is posted.

Some recreationists mistakenly believe that a "designated" road is any established road or trail. Actually, a very limited number of roads are designated "open." Maps showing designated roads are posted at DNRC, federal Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service offices. In addition, informational brochures on state lands' use restrictions are available from these offices and all FWP offices.

Those desiring further information should contact their nearest DNRC office or phone (406) 444-2074.

Idaho — Successful Hunters Asked to Report

Successful elk and deer hunters are now the only ones who need to send a harvest report to Fish and Game. This is a change from the last two hunting seasons when all deer and elk hunters were required to file harvest reports. Reports are to be filed within 10 days of taking an animal. No report is required of those who do not kill an animal.

Reports may be sent to Harvest Report Processing, PO Box 70007, Boise, ID, 83707 or faxed to 1-900-773-4263. A small line fee will be charged for faxing. Reports may also be dropped off at Fish and Game offices.

Arizona — Spring Hunt Applicant Grace Period Extented

Spring hunt applicants are being afforded an extended grace period — if you submit your spring hunt application by October 13, you will be given an opportunity to correct any mistake on the application, advised Arizona Game and Fish Department officials.

The grace period was to end October 6. During the grace period, Game and Fish personnel will call (three attempts) and give applicants an opportunity to correct mistakes on their application. The spring hunt application deadline is 7 p.m. on October 17. Information Branch Chief Joe Janisch explained that anytime the department institutes changes, such as tag or license fee increases, the amount of application rejections typically increase.

"This year, we have a tag fee increase and there is a license fee increase for 2001. We wanted to give people an extra window to get it right and not suffer the frustration of having an application rejected," said Information Branch Chief Joe Janisch.

Applicants are also being encouraged to bring their completed applications to the nearest Game and Fish office for perusal. Applicants can also stop by the Department's Wildlife Building at the Arizona State Fairgrounds from October 12 through the 17, and have Game and Fish personnel check their applications.

"Everyone thinks 'Not me, I don't make mistakes.' Unfortunately, it is easy to make a mistake. What we are trying to do is make it as easy as possible for those mistakes to be caught in time," Janisch said. Some of the items to double check on your application include the following:
• Signing the application;
• Using the current hunt numbers (not the unit numbers);
• Putting in the correct dollar amount;
• Checking the correct box on whether you are a resident or nonresident.

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