Yellowstone National Park’s Bison Problem


Yellowstone National Park has more Bison than the ecosystem can support!

Rather than letting the bison starve to death, the Park officials have  developed some methods on reducing the number of bison.  One is to quarantine them for two years in order make sure they’re brucellosis free before shipping them to Native American reservations and allowing Montanan and Native American hunters to harvest a limited number of bison if and when they wonder out of the park.  But the animal rights activists have been causing chaos by cutting the quarantined fence and chasing the bison back in the park into the dark, so the hunters don’t have a chance to harvest them.  While the hunters are following the rules, the animal rights activists are breaking the law.

BOZEMAN — Three people who were arrested while protesting the slaughter of bison near Yellowstone National Park have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and are banned from the park for 5 years.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports 22-year-old Hannah Ponder, 25-year-old Cody Cyson and 36-year-old Thomas Brown appeared in U.S. District Court in Mammoth Hot Springs on Monday. The members of an advocacy group called Wild Buffalo Defense had been jailed since their arrest last Tuesday near the park’s Stephens Creek Capture Facility.

All three, pleaded guilty to entering a closed area of the park. Cyson and Brown also pleaded guilty to interfering with an agency function after chaining themselves to a squeeze chute. All were fined.

Ponder is from Donnelly, Idaho; Brown is from Hardwick, Vermont; and Cyson is from Minnetonka, Minnesota.


March is a Good Time to Start Improving your Shooting Skills.

Aim Small

Calling Shots is an essential shooting skill.  The goal is to know where the crosshairs are when the shot goes off. With practice a shooter can diagnose poor shoots before seeing the bullet’s impact on the target.  Calling shots also facilitates better trigger control, leading to more accurate shooting.

This dry -fire drill helps improve both shot calling and trigger control.  Pick up a small aiming point-somewhere you can’t comfortably keep your reticle centered.  As the crosshairs drift around the target, relax your breathing and squeeze the trigger.  Work to make the trigger break as the crosshairs are correctly aligned with the target.

This can be done from any shooting position, provided the aiming point presents enough of a challenge, but works especially well with kneeling, sitting and off-hand shots.

Good Luck & Good Shooting!

Calling in Weary March Song Dogs

Coyote hunting gets harder and harder the farther the season goes on.  By March most of the coyotes have been either educated by calls, already made a fatal mistake or are starting to den up and are more interested in mating then in distress calls.  Here are some tips on how to call in those weary late season coyotes, and extend your hunting season.

When I approach my set up I keep the wind in my face, wear camo, stay low to the ground being careful not silhouette myself against the skyline and be as quiet as I can. Starting by not slamming my pick-up door.  If a coyote hear, sees you or smells you (especially smells you!) he will not come in.  I try to stay on the high ground, so I can overlook a lot of territory, and I use some homemade decoys.

I start with a male howl, and then listen for a response for five minutes or so.  Then I hit my distress call for another five minutes or so.  If your go to rabbit distress call is not working, mix it up maybe try a deer fawn bleat.  Another thing that works well is birds calls especially woodpeckers, magpies and crows.  After another five minutes I will hit my female coyote call.  I am letting a territorial male coyote  know that there is not only wounded prey, but a female coyote there as well.  I hit my distress call again for another few minutes.  Then I start introducing barks, trying to immediate a fit over the prey.

Most coyote hunters will tell to only call for only 15 to 20 minutes, and if nothing comes in move on, but I will work my set ups for 45 minutes to an hour, as a weary coyote will take longer to coax in.  The best hunting times are right after sun up and right before sun down.  I like to walk into my first set up in the dark, so I am ready to start calling as soon as day breaks.  It may take all day just to get one coyote called in, so don’t be afraid to hunt until it’s dark.

                                       Tools of the Trade

Good Luck & Good Hunting



2017 My Best Year Hunting


2017 was quite possible my best year hunting.  The year started out slow last spring, when I couldn’t get permission to hunt turkeys at any of my previous honey holes.  So, I went turkey less last year.  Although, I do have a couple of good leads of places to go this spring.   I started a new job last January, so I didn’t have any vacation time available in 2017.  I really didn’t have any time to go chase bears last spring, I hope this changes this year.  Montana is a good place to live, but a hard place to make a living!

I actually saw a real live wolf about 50 yards away from me on an elk shoulder season hunt, I had a wolf permit, but it was two weeks before wolf season opened, so it was that wolf’s lucky day.

I got a nice 13” antelope buck the first day of antelope season, and a nice four-point muley buck the second day of deer / elk season last October.  Then I sprained my knee running on my treadmill (it’s a bitch getting old), which kind of put a damper on looking for a bull elk.

But thanks to the kindness of Montana FWP, and the luck of the draw I drew a late season cow elk tag, and a buffalo tag.  I filled both tags, and now have a freezer full of meat.

Last year there was 5000 applications submitted for buffalo in my area, and only 40 permits issued.  So, it was kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity.  The buffalo hunting season ran from November 15, 2017 to February 15, 2018.  The Montana FWP has a Bison hotline that you can call, check to see if any buffalo have migrated out of Yellowstone Park and legal to hunt.  I called every week, and every week there were no buffalo sightings to report.  Finally, on Thursday January 25th the line reported some Buffalo where close to crossing the line.  I and two of friends went early the Following Saturday morning, and I harvested my buffalo.  Last year Montanan and Native American hunters harvested 600 buffalo in the Gardiner area.  My buffalo was the tenth buffalo harvested thus far for the season. Some times it is better to be lucky than good.   I having the head mounted European style, and the meat is very tasty.



Ready to walk? Try chukar hunting to beat the winter blues!


BIGHORN BASIN, Wyo. — We hadn’t been out of the truck for five minutes when we saw the tiny birds skittering up through the sagebrush-covered hillside. Their bodies blended into the landscape, gray among a sea of brown and white.

If we’re being honest, in this stretch of rocks and cliffs, they walked almost as fast with their 4-inch long legs as we were stumbling over bushes. But we gained nonetheless.

“ThisWe were in a canyon somewhere in Wyoming. Where, exactly, I’m sworn to secrecy. It was one of the conditions of going.

My husband, Josh, and I had been chukar hunting before, but only a couple times with limited success. They can be hard birds to find and require hunting in rugged canyons.

By January, when winter has its frigid fingers clenched around the state, few people think about hunting. Most big game seasons are over, and the chance to hunt pheasants and fall turkeys has passed. Spring turkey hasn’t started yet. Duck and goose hunters are often the only ones braving the cold.

For hunters, it’s often a time of gun cleaning, ice fishing and hunkering down with dreams of crisp mornings when elk bugles rip through the air and mule deer bucks sneak through the woods. could get fast and furious,” said Casper hunter and wildlife biologist Justin Binfet.

But for the ambitious and energetic, Wyoming offers one more chance to wear yourself out carrying a shotgun. While this year isn’t a bumper chukar crop, they’re there, and worth chasing.

Chukars, like the more flamboyant pheasants and the similarly sized Hungarian partridge, aren’t native to Wyoming. Chukars evolved in Asia and the Middle East. They’re smaller than a football and tough as nails.

They eke out a living in steep canyon country of the Bighorn Basin and central Wyoming. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department doesn’t grow and release them, so they reproduce naturally.

Their populations fluctuate depending on snow depth. They starve if they can’t find bare ground in the winter, and their chicks don’t hatch if the spring is too wet and cold.

They feast on cheatgrass where it pokes through the ground on warm, south-facing slopes and other green shoots and leafy forbs.

Those south-facing slopes are where we found them in the aforementioned secret spot in a rocky, winding canyon on a windy day in mid-January. The covey we chased dropped down into gullies and popped back up yards away. We called to the dogs over 30 mph winds to simultaneously find the birds while not straying so far away they would scare the birds into the air before we were close enough to shoot.

Maybe they heard us whisper-shout to the dogs in a voice generally reserved for chiding children in crowded theaters, or maybe they got tired of running. Either way, the covey of birds exploded into flight and glided toward the depths of the canyon.

One second they were scampering away as we gained on them. The next, they were gone.

We paused for a second to catch our breath.

Chukar hunting, I realized that day, is similar to racing a marathon in snow-covered badlands while carrying a shotgun and wearing a regrettable number of layers. Each hunter is only allowed to shoot five chukars a day. I wasn’t too worried about reaching our limit.

Even when bird numbers are strong, the combination of their skittish disposition and bullet-like speed make them a tricky quarry.

But hunting is rarely about taking something home.

It’s about hours spent trudging through rugged plains that always seem to change. It’s about herds of pronghorn and impressive mule deer bucks. It’s about countless hawks and eagles suspended effortlessly in the relentless winds.

We ultimately found more coveys, and brought a couple birds home.

Even if the numbers aren’t strong, or the winds are, fight the impulse to nestle on that couch and dream of fall.

Chukar season lasts until the end of January in Wyoming. It’s worth a shot.

Good Luck & Good Hunting!


EagleMount Billings Montana Needs Volunteer Ski Instructors!

Eaglemount is a non-profit organization located in Billings, Montana that teaches disabled children and adults to ski at Red Lodge Mountain.

They are currently looking for volunteer ski instructors.  You need to be an strong intermediate to expert skier, be willing to learn and be a caring individual.   You can sign up for Session #1 that runs from January 15th to February 11th, Session 2 that runs from February 20th to March 18th, or both.  You can pick any day of the week to volunteer, but you must be available to attend a training at Red Lodge Mountain Saturday & Sunday January 6th & 7th.   You can also volunteer for golf, cycling, equestrian and swimming.

Log onto to for more information.


Hunt Geese and Ducks Over Cornfields and Irrigation Ditches On Private Land.

Located Only 20 Miles West Of Billings, Near The Yellowstone River.

Only One Party of 1 to 4 Hunters Allowed on the Property Per Day!  Only $50 Per Day plus $25 For Each Additional Hunter.

Call John at (406) 672-2423


Go to My Contact Page and Send Me an Email


How Far is too Far?

Long range shooting is the new rage, although it is great to challenge yourself to see how far out you can hit a target, is it ethical to do this while hunting a real animal just for bragging rights of shooting an elk at 1000 yards.  I am a big proponent of being proficient in shooting for hunters.  I believe that you do not just owe to yourself, but you owe to the animal that you are hunting.  I hunt for the challenge of the hunt not the kill, and I don’t enjoy seeing an animal suffer.

My goal ever summer in preparation for hunting season is to shoot 1000 arrows, 1000 shotgun shells and 1000 rifle shells.  Not to brag, but I am a decent shot although I still place boundaries on myself.  I set maximum range for my shots. I know that with bow if the animal is within 60 yards, and with a rifle if the animal within 300 yards that I can make an ethical shot harvesting the animal.  If the animal is farther out, I either try to maneuver for a better shot, or take a pass on shooting at that animal.  If I shoot and miss an animal I may feel disappointed, but if I wound an animal and it gets away I feel absolutely horrible.  Knowing that the animal will probably expire later that day suffering before it dies.  When shooting at long distances the variables that go into making the shot increase exponentially, thus your chance of not making a clean shot just wounding the animal.

In this era of social media, and the look at me generation, you must ask yourself if you are taking an unethical shot just so you can post a brag on Facebook.  The true skill in hunting is the stalk, and the ability to maneuver yourself close to the animal, not how far you can shoot!  I hope that after reading this article you decide to set limitations on yourself, and take the animal into consideration before taking a long- range shot.

Good Luck and Good Hunting!



RMEF grant to benefit Montana wolf management

RMEF grant to benefit Montana wolf management

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has awarded Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks a $50,000 grant to assist with wolf management.

Half of the grant funding will go toward wolf collaring and management actions for problem wolves. The other half will assist a joint effort by FWP and the University of Montana in developing what’s called the Patch Occupancy Model for estimating wolf populations.

POM incorporates data on territory and wolf pack sizes along with hunter observations and known wolf locations in an attempt to get a more accurate estimation of wolf populations. It is a cheaper undertaking than previous efforts since it incorporates data analysis rather than direct counting.

Wildlife advocates have complained the data is too unreliable and point to Montana’s 2016 wolf report showing a minimum of 477 wolves, which is down from 536 wolves counted in 2015, as proof of a falling wolf population.

“Though the minimum count is down, we’ve long held that these minimum counts are useful only in ensuring Montana’s wolf population stays above the federally mandated minimum threshold,” said Bob Inman, FWP carnivore and furbearer program chief, in a press release. “The minimum count is not a population count or an index or estimate of the total number of wolves.”

RMEF also provided grant funding to FWP in 2015 for development of the Patch Occupancy Model.

Reference: The Billings Gazette

How to Deskunk Your Bird Dog.

There is nothing like pheasant hunting with your bird dog on a cool crisp autumn day, but sooner or later you are bound to run into a skunk.  This has happened to me twice!  The smell is absolutely horrible, I had to fight to keep from throwing up.  Not to mention it makes your dog miserable.  Fortunately, there is a solution.

In the 1990s, Eastern Washington University chemistry professor Jeff Corkill mailed a clipping from a chemical trade publication in which a group of unheralded chemists gave the world one of the greatest gifts since penicillin — a cheap, effective treatment for a skunk-sprayed dog.

The de-skunking recipe: One quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap.

Mix ingredients as needed — not in advance — when a skunk renders your dog unfit for human cohabitation. Apply to the dog liberally, using a washcloth around the face to keep the solution out of its eyes.

Let it work a few minutes and rinse thoroughly. In my wealth of experience, the odor will be neutralized and the peroxide does not change the color of the dog’s coat.

Some people prefer to bathe the dog again with a pet shampoo for good measure.

A de-skunking kit for your vehicle and at home assures that these essentials will be available when you need them. Buy a rectangular Tupperware-type container just big enough to hold two-quart bottles of hydrogen peroxide, two plastic zipper bags with measured amounts of baking soda, a small plastic bottle with dish soap, a wash cloth, a small drying towel and a couple pairs of rubber or latex gloves.

Should your dog get sprayed, you can mix the ingredients in the plastic container and remove the odor in the field (if you have rinse water) without stinking up your rig.