Monday, September 7, 2009

Montana Ignores The Popularity Of Muzzleloader Seasons

Depending on who's information one chooses to trust, there are now between 3 1/2- and 4-million muzzleloading hunters in the United States.

Likewise, every state in the country now offers a "special" muzzleloader season for those hunters - every state except one. And that state is Montana.

Sure, big game hunting is extremely popular in this state. And, if you live in this state and truly want to hunt with a muzzleloader - you can. But not during a season specifically for muzzle-loaded guns. In Montana, if you want to hunt with a muzzleloader, you'll have to do it during the 5 week general season - or other seasons set for hunting with a modern cartridge rifle, handgun, or shotgun. There simply is not a "Muzzleloader Only" big game season or hunt,

Montana Fish,Wildlife and Parks does absolutely nothing to promote hunting with a muzzleloader.

The incentive for hunting with a muzzleloader in other states has been seasons that have been established especially for the muzzleloading hunter. In fact, more and more states are now conducting several muzzleloader seasons each fall and winter - commonly an "early season" that takes place prior to the modern firearm seasons...and a "late season" which runs some time after the modern gun seasons have closed. Where states tend to offer just one muzzleloader season, it seems the majority are of the late variety - following the general firearms big game seasons.

Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission is not only cheating big game hunters in this state out of a special season that is extremely popular with hunters everywhere else in the country, this game commission is also cheating the Montana fish and game agency out of a very valuable management tool - and an opportunity to bring in additional revenue through muzzleloader hunting permit sales - just as it does for bowhunters. In this state, bowhunters get first crack at big game during an early 6 week archery season.

Montana muzzleloading hunters are forced to hunt side-by-side with center-fire toting big game hunters, packing super long range rifles in calibers like .300 Winchester Magnum or 7mm Remington Magnum. There is absolutely no incentive to hunt with a muzzleloader in this state. And consequently, few modern rifle big game hunters here know anyone who does hunt with a muzzleloader.

The state's whitetail populations are busting at the seams in some regions of the state, and need additional harvest. Several times, the NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING ASSOCIATION has suggested that the state schedule a late muzzleloader season just for whitetails - but it has fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps the state's Fish, Wildlife and Parks is afraid of a muzzleloader season because no one within the agency truly understands muzzleloading and muzzleloader hunting - and to conduct a season they might just have to learn a little more about it. One thing is for certain, if they did they would quickly realize how many hunters really would like to hunt with a muzzleloader - just as game departments in other states have already come to realize.

What are your thoughts?

Toby Bridges
NORTH AMERICAN
MUZZLELOADER HUNTING

10 comments:

  1. I have friends and relatives living in Montana, and I travel up that way to hunt with them. After talking with them and other Montana folks, I would say the Montana people are not telling their FW&P that they want a separate ML season.

    jim

    ReplyDelete
  2. There have been several attempts to get a season in the past...and they were always thwarted by the bowhunters...who have always fought the idea of a muzzleloader season. Even so, I have heard from many Montana hunters who would love to have a muzzle-only-hunt here, and will be working to organize a new push for a season. In most states, muzzleloader hunters make up about 20-percent of all big game hunters...here in Montana that percentage is probably more like 5 percent. Without a season, there is really no incentive for hunters to head out with a muzzleloader.

    Toby

    ReplyDelete
  3. I LIVE HERE IN MONTANA AND I HUNT WITH A MUZZLE LOADER,I WISH THERE WAS A SEASON FOR US MUZZLELOADERS,IF ANY ONE HAS INFORMATION ON HOW TO GET THE STATE OF MONTANA TO DO THIS,PLEASE E-MAIL ME AT geopraud@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. George,

    I live in the Missoula area, and I have been pushing Fish, Wildlife and Parks to gets us a muzzleloader season. And I have now heard from quite a few who would like such a season.

    I'll drop you an e-mail in the next day or so, and we'll start organizing some sefforts to gtit done. My e-mail is NAmlhunt@hpmuzzleloading.com

    Toby

    ReplyDelete
  5. Are there some areas near populated areas that could be designated for muzzleloading? I know we think of Big Sky Country but game in metropolitan and suburban areas need management like anywhere else if not more so. Why not approach the situation from that angle?

    See what you can do for some special areas.

    ReplyDelete
  6. MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks has a closed mind set when it comes to establishing a muzzleloader big game season of any sort. And, personally, I feel that it all boils down to their lack of knowledge about muzzleloading - and they don't want to be faced with educating themselves.

    But, you are right about game, especially deer, in metro areas. In some larger towns and cities, it needs managed. However, a "metro" area here is a bit different than, say, a metro area in Illinois...Iowa...Minnesota...or New Jersey. The largest city in Montana is Billings, at around 100,000. Missoula, where I live, has about 70,000 residents - and is the second largest city in the state. In most of the larger communities,the deer are within a mile or so of being back into the wilds.

    There tends to be a phobia here about allowing anyone to shoot a firearm of any type within "city limits".

    But, I have also thrown that option out to MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks in the past. Still, no muzzleloader season. And still I hear from Montana hunters who want one. Perhaps the game department in this state simply wants the sportsmen to know that the agency is in control and will decide what seasons we have or don't have. If that's the case...it's time for some change inside MT FWP.

    Toby Bridges

    ReplyDelete
  7. That is a shame because what can happen is that you have animal/people conflicts which could be solved with specialized hunting seasons and equipment.

    I sometimes suspect the recalcitrance of some game departments due to a philosophical climate that exists in them. Say for example the policy makers are all died in the wool rifle hunters who long for the good ole days. Well they may be reluctant to assign time out of the hunting season for a muzzleloading season.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think one of the biggest problems we now face is that too many of our wildlife managers aren't hunters at all...but rather hikers, bird watchers, off-road bicyclists, white-water rafters and kayakers, and the like. And I have no problem with those who love those things. Most hunters do many other things as well. But it is the "hook & bullet" sportsmen who buy licenses and permits, and fund all those other things as well. And managers who don't hunt simply don't care about those of us who do.

    Toby

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have gone for hunting in Texas so many time but i haven't been to Montana. By the way thanks for the post.
    Hog Hunting

    ReplyDelete
  10. I would not have a problem with a muzzle loader season that was limited. I saw a muzzle loader the other day that shoots 3100 ft per second and claims to shoot 500 yds. A high power that happens to load the bullet through the muzzle. That I am opposed to in a special season. It would be like using a crossbow in bow season.

    ReplyDelete