President’s Message March 2019

Published on 03/28/19

Dreams. Right now I’m dreaming of bare ground (or mud), maybe even green grass. After an easy December and January, Old Man Winter descended with a vengeance in February with snow and cold and it’s lingering into mid-March. Let’s hope the deer and elk saved enough fat reserves to make it through this latest nasty weather. The 1st day of Spring is only 11 days away!


It’s also time to start dreaming about hunting and fishing in the coming months. March 15 is the deadline for what’s commonly called “Bucks and Bulls”. There are some restricted hunting districts in Montana that can yield outsize mule deer and elk – if you’re lucky enough to draw a permit. Permits modify your general tag to let you take an animal that is not under general regulations. The odds of drawing are long, sometimes under 1%, but someone has to draw and you won’t strike it rich if you don’t apply. I had a Breaks bull tag several years ago, I’m hoping strikes twice because it was an outstanding hunt sighting multiple 6 point bulls. Be aware this year that some districts that offered B tag (antlerless) elk tags last year in Regions 1,2 3 and 6 have gone to antlerless elk permits and you have to apply by March 15. Unfortunately, the Big Game Regulations haven’t been printed yet due to some goof but are available online so check so you won’t be sorry. Next up will be moose, sheep, mountain goat and bison applications by May 1, then antelope, deer and elk B tags applications by June 1.

The other dreamers are young would-be hunters. After years of watching Mom and Dad, big brothers and sisters go hunting and maybe tagging along, now they’re eligible to hunt themselves. I attended a FWP Hunter Education Instructor workshop yesterday. Looking at the years of dedicated experience in the room, the future of hunting is in good hands. Hunting accidents in Montana dropped sharply when Hunter Education was made mandatory in 1957. Region 1 has 3 instructors who taught those first courses. Hunting garments with 400 square inches of hunter orange above the waist became mandatory in 1972 and caused another major drop in hunting accidents, particularly where hunters were mistaken for game. Flathead Wildlife, Inc. supports this important safety factor by partnering with Flathead Electric’s Roundup For Safety to ensure every Hunter Education graduate in Flathead County receives a hunter orange vest like the one pictured above. You’ll see lots of those vests in photos of young hunters in our fall “Preserve the Tradition” ads.

The other interesting statistic from the workshop is that Montana is bucking the nation-wide trend of dropping hunting license sales with increased participation. One of the prime factors is the increasing number of women hunting. So, dream of warmer days, some fishing, maybe some camping. But don’t get so lost in your daydreams that you forget to apply for next fall’s hunting licenses. And, by the way, it’s time to get all your 2019 licenses so you don’t get stalled on a last minute trip because of no license or you’re watching a warden walking towards you and you’re desperately trying to remember if you bought your new licenses. Here’s to turning dreams into memories.

Jim Vashro

The preceding statements are mine alone and don’t necessarily reflect the policies of Flathead Wildlife,Inc.