Scouting Around
California — 2000 Antelope Harvest

Nearly 80 percent of the 214 hunters who obtained tags to hunt pronghorn antelope in California last year managed to kill one, the Department of Fish and Game reported.

Fish and Game said it issued 185 general season buck tags, eight archery buck tags, four junior either-sex tags and two fund-raising tags. A total of 15 Private Lands Wildlife Habitat Management and Enhancement Area tags was sold.

All but two of the general season buck tags were issued for northeastern California, where 147 of 183 hunters brought down a pronghorn buck. Three out of eight archery hunters also bagged a buck.

Three of four junior hunters drawn for hunts on the Ash Creek and Honey Lake wildlife areas killed animals, all of them bucks. One of two fund-raising tags resulted in a buck kill.

Both hunters who drew buck tags for the Carrizo Plains hunt in central California bagged an antelope. Fourteen of the 15 private lands hunters also bagged bucks.

Fish and Game said the 190 general rifle and archery season tags represented the lowest number issued in 44 seasons dating back to 1942. The DFG said northeastern pronghorn herds have been slow to recover from a devastating deep-snow winter that killed more than 3,000 of the 8,000 animals roaming the high plains habitat.

Montana — How High Will They Go for Sheep and Moose Tags?!?

Montana's 2001 bighorn sheep auction license was put on the block at the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep's (FNAWS) annual convention held in Reno, Nevada, and went for the highest bid of $100,000. The state's Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) received $90,000 of that amount to be used to secure key habitat and to bolster research efforts on bighorn sheep, as well as to conduct trapping and transplanting. FNAWS keeps 10 percent of the funds to administer its bighorn sheep grant program.

Montana's annual moose auction license was auctioned at the Montana Outfitters and Guides' annual meeting and sold for $15,000. Likewise, the money generated by the moose auction is being channeled back into expanding moose management efforts.

Montana — Purhasing Game Birds

Rules on the purchase and sale of game birds in the state were recently amended by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) to clarify that individuals who purchase live game birds must have the appropriate permit or license.

One of the following permits or licenses is required to purchase game birds: a permit to possess live game birds for noncommercial use; a permit to release ring-necked pheasants; a shooting preserve license; a zoo or menagerie permit; a permit to conduct a field trial; or a game bird farm license. To release game birds requires either a shooting preserve license or a permit to release.

"These rules protect the health and habitat of native birds by ensuring that no one randomly obtains and releases pen-reared game birds in the state," said Tim Feldner, FWP commercial wildlife permit manager. A permit is not required to possess non-game bird species such as emus, peacocks, and domestic ducks and geese.

In a related change, individuals who plan to conduct field trials with bird dogs using live game birds may now be able to obtain a permit for those activities directly from regional FWP offices.

Idaho — License Glitch

Fishing and hunting licenses were issued the old low-tech way with pen on paper when the licensing computer system went dark all over Idaho Saturday evening, March 10th.

At least license buyers could have a valid temporary license; lottery ticket buyers were out of luck. Holders of temporary licenses should receive a regular license in the mail within a month.

The company that provides the computer terminals and operates both the Idaho lottery and Fish and Game license sales, GTECH, had a major equipment failure at about 7:45 p.m. on that Saturday. Several fixes were attempted over the weekend, but the system remained down until late Monday, March 12. Regular licenses remained available during the outage at 1-800-554-8685 and through Fish and Game's Internet site at

Arziona — Radio Collaring Prescott Pronghorn

Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists began capturing and radio-collaring a portion of the 56 Willow Lake pronghorn near Prescott on Friday, March 16.

This action followed the unanimous recommendation made by the 12-member Willow Lake Pronghorn Workgroup last fall to monitor the herd using radio collars. Game and Fish biologists will attempt to capture individual pronghorn using an air-gun firing darts filled with an immobilizing drug. Biologists are firing the darts from temporary blinds placed in strategic areas where the pronghorn frequently travel. Pronghorn will be immobilized for a short time, fitted with radio-collars, and then released on-site.

"Radio collaring the Willow Lake pronghorn will allow us to better track their movements and survival," said Prescott Field Supervisor Eric Gardner.

The workgroup's recommendation calls for possibly relocating the pronghorn if the monitoring shows a lack of movement out of the area and a significant decrease in herd size. The monitoring data will also be useful in future management decisions involving pronghorn and development in other areas.

"We hope to capture and radio-collar as many as 10 pronghorn, but capturing animals one-at-a-time will be challenging," Gardner said. Game and Fish will continue to monitor the herd regardless of how many animals are collared. The 12-member Willow Lake Pronghorn Workgroup was formed in March of last year to develop recommendations about managing the Willow Lake herd, which has become surrounded by development. The citizen workgroup is comprised of individuals with a variety of backgrounds and interests regarding the Willow Lake pronghorn.

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