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Please help out your Montana Brethren

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Copied from another forum but this is a worthwhile cause. Basically a few rich people have figured out how to keep waterfowlers from legally hunting near them. They put out feeders on public ground, so now those areas are considered to be baited and no one can hunt here. Huey Lewis, I'm sure you've heard of him, he's one of the rich boys pulling this crap.

 

Please read on:

 

Hi boys, we've got a problem going on that I know all of you are all too familiar with. It involves, Mitchell Slough, a stream in the Bitterroot Valley that is being controlled by landowners who are attempting to shut the public out of the public resource. There is a hearing set for Dec. 9th in Hamilton, MT regarding the issue. Several landowners are petitioning the state to shut down hunting on the slough. Hunting on the slough can be done safely and effectively, however, adjacent landowners (including Huey Lewis and Charles Schwab) are attempting to maintain their personal hunting preserves at the expense of public access to a public resource.

 

I drafted an online petition to start collecting signatures in support of public access of the slough. Please sign the petition if you support public access to this public resource and please pass this on to anyone you know who shares your feelings. This issue is bigger than just duck hunting on a small slough in the Bitterroot Valley; this issue is about the law-abiding public being shut-out from a public resource and it will be precedent setting and will have future repercussions.

 

Here is the link to the petition:

 

http://www.petitiononline.com/MTAccess/petition.html

 

You can head to the MT forum if you want to read more about the issue.

 

Thanks guys,

Ben

 

In the latest twist in the saga of Mitchell Slough, several Bitterroot Valley landowners have effectively closed the area to duck hunting by installing feeding stations along the waterway.

 

"I'm feeding ducks all over my place - many of us neighbors are," said Huey Lewis, rock musician and ranch owner along the Mitchell. "The reason is, the (Montana) Supreme Court decision has changed everything here, and now we have public access. And most of us believe the Mitchell is unsuitable for duck hunting."

 

Nevertheless, the move came as a surprise to Missoula duck hunter Ron Pence, who was wading up the slough between Victor and Stevensville on Tuesday and saw Lewis' feeders.

 

"It's attracted every duck in the area," Pence said. "Legally, if I know where a bait pile is, I can't hunt around there or I'll get cited. Now you'd have to do an aerial survey before you can ever hunt around there again."

 

Story found here from the Missoulian: http://tinyurl.com/yl6ygrk

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If you think it can't happen to you, read this:

 

I went down to mitchell slough @ bells X-ing today because I heard a nasty rumor that both sides of the slough are baited & I can confirm that it is true!

 

I walked up the slough on both sides for approx. 50 yds to physically observe the feeders in action & they are there, in fact there are more farther up the river on both sides. They have purchased nice big signs saying BAITED AREA NO DUCK HUNTING & posted them at the stream access points at the bridge so we can all see them. In doing this you would think that they have violated the law in feeding wildfowl & creating a baited area but apparently not.

 

After talking to MFWP warden captain in person @ Msla HQ it was explained to me that Mr. Lewis has used a loophole & applied for a USFW FEDERAL PERMIT to permanently feed the wildfowl effectively undercutting the MONTANA "10 day baited area" LAW. It was also explained, since FEDERAL LAW has now been adopted you cannot hunt anywhere in the area because if the birds know there's a feeder & they come to it, you position yourself anywhere in the flight path its considered hunting a baited area by FEDERAL LAW. I have pictures of the signs & the feeders I also have pictures of Deer eating off the feeders which is a violation of the state law, but all hes getting is an official warning letter to fence the feeders "which he will" & then its over.

 

Now comes the really scary part, because of this FEDERAL PERMIT

ANYONE that owns land w/a river or slough running through it can get this permit, put up a feeder & effectively shutdown the waterfowl hunting on the river area, just 1 feeder every 5 miles would do it.

 

WE CANT LET THIS HAPPEN BECAUSE OF A FEDERAL LOOPHOLE

WE THE PEOPLE OWN MITCHELL SLOUGH & THE RIGHT TO ACCESS

THE COURTS HAVE SPOKEN

 

 

 

Call your FWP office and complain, call your Congressman & Represenitives

Call everyone you know that hunts or fishes because that's next.

 

I am personally going to find a legislator who will propose a law, in effect making it illegal to bait wildfowl in an attempt to create a baited area to stop wildfowl hunting. There are many states that have this law in effect for this very reason, I guess its time to get our own law.

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I have been following this story in the Billings Gazette. The problem is not simple. There are reports of waterfowlers shooting into nearby houses and I think a few inconsiderate boobs have basically taken a duck hunting area off line. Another problem is that apparently the slough is man-made and not a natural waterway. Another preserve for waterfowl is OK with me - the ducks will leave the slough sooner or later. By the way, if ducks are being fed on the slough, nobody can hunt there even the land owners. So much for the private hunting preserve. If you believe in land owners rights, the right to not let any one hunt on your property is one of those rights. The basic problem in this story is the feeling that rich guys are buying up Montana and a lot of Montanans resent this. Personally, if a rich guy preserves a couple thousand acres for wildlife this is a good thing. Habitat preservation is why we still have ducks. Talk to Ducks Unlimited about this and see what they say.

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I'm glad someone did a little research :)

 

While Huey and Chuck are certainly loaded and exist on an elite level of waterfowlers, they are generally well liked in my area, as each hunt in the Sacramento Valley. Chuck has several clubs in the area, and I think Huey hunts with Chuck or has his own club.

 

Both donate time and money and hunts to support waterfowling, so I'll give them a pass and not sign the petition just yet :D

 

Is this loophole illegal? Are they breaking a law? If so, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

 

If they merely found a legal way to cure a problem, well, that's the American way, and I for one love America!

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Most laws are written to close loopholes and to prevent further abuses of common sense practices.

Right now, these guys are legal.

 

If it were my area, I'd have to see just how committed to buying new feeders every couple of days they are. :cool:

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If it were my area, I'd have to see just how committed to buying new feeders every couple of days they are. :cool:

 

And if you are serious about damaging personal property in an unlawful manner, I would sign a petition to see you prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law :)

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So basically you're saying "It's not in my backyard so I'm ok with it." Er... ok.

 

Isn't that the whole point? That it could very easily happen in areas that any one of us hunts that borders private ground?

 

Basically they did this because the courts ruled that they could not keep people out of the waterway as long as they accessed it below the high-water mark.

 

 

Is this one area a big deal in and of itself? Meaning, will the locals to that area suffer tremendously if they can't hunt waterfowl in that one spot? No.

 

Is it the fact that they could set a precedent for everywhere else that's a problem? Yes.

 

Should we care about what can affect us tomorrow if we ignore something today? Yes.

 

Saying it isn't a problem in your area in California, and that they're good buds or whatever, that's all well and good, but that sure seems to be turning a blind eye to it.

 

And no where did I or would I advocate destruction of private property. I wouldn't even advocate screaming and yelling at Huey, Dewey or Louie.

 

It does however make me ill to think that someone who enjoys waterfowling would pull this type of garbage and leave the rest of us open to this. I am all for private land owners rights, but as long as no one breaks the law by accessing those PUBLIC areas then who are they to try and keep them off PUBLIC ground.

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And if you are serious about damaging personal property in an unlawful manner, I would sign a petition to see you prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law :)

 

I don't think the law needs your signature on that one.

What they do need is proof of their case against me.

 

Private clubs and big money are ruining waterfowling and many other forms of hunting in this country.

I know you don't agree with that, but your opinion means as little to me as mine does to you. Of this I am certain. :p

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So basically you're saying "It's not in my backyard so I'm ok with it." Er... ok.

 

No. I meant what I wrote. Maybe not reading what people write is part of the problem :confused:

 

Let me repeat. If the conduct is unlawful, I'm against it. If the conduct is lawful, I will not sign a petition against it in this case :)

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I don't think the law needs your signature on that one.

What they do need is proof of their case against me.

 

Private clubs and big money are ruining waterfowling and many other forms of hunting in this country.

I know you don't agree with that, but your opinion means as little to me as mine does to you. Of this I am certain. :p

 

One trail cam takes care of that!

 

I disagree. Private clubs and private farmland are saving waterfowl in many areas. That they hold birds and prevent the general public from getting their easy whacks at them is irrelevent to the overall biological picture. Public refuges do the exact same thing, yet where is the outcry?

 

Our waterfowl association, CWA, is very active in working with private lands to create the best habitat possible. The public funds available are a drop in the bucket needed to really protect waterfowl, so the private sector must be relied upon for any significant progress to be made.

 

Out west, public land offers little to wildlife. Little food, little habitat, little protection. Private lands offer much better habitat. Access to private land to hunt is easy to find here, just bring your checkbook.

 

And I'm surprised that you are acting as shallow and transparent as you appear to be. I value everyone's opinion and will not automatically reject any opinion that is grounded in fact and/or logic. Sad to see that you do not follow the same basic premise :( I guess you and I really are very different....

 

The way I see it is this; Schwab protects thousands of acres of wetlands that could easily be turned back into crops. The ducks get fat and sassy on Schwab's land, and then sometimes, they fly right over to my blind where I get to shoot Chuck's ducks.

 

Simply put, the ducks live a better life and return to the breeding grounds in better shape because of the fat cats. For this, I thank them, I don't sign petitions to allow slob hunters to float around and shoot houses.....

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One trail cam takes care of that!

 

I disagree.

 

I know you do.

This is where I stopped reading.

We've been down this road before. No need in doing it again.

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Simply put, the ducks live a better life and return to the breeding grounds in better shape because of the fat cats. For this, I thank them, I don't sign petitions to allow slob hunters to float around and shoot houses...

 

I haven't seen this. Do you have an article somewhere that shows this occurred?

 

If the conduct is unlawful, I'm against it. If the conduct is lawful, I will not sign a petition against it in this case :)

 

Fair enough, though a legal loop-hole is sure sh!tty, especially when that same loop-hole can now be used everywhere else in the entire nation. I sincerely hope they find fault in what he's doing in order to prevent this from happening everywhere else.

 

I'm not opposed to logic or discussing things based upon fact, but saying that the area should be closed because of a slob hunter as you put it, seems extreme. How about they bust the one slob, if the one slob exists, and punish that person to the fullest extent of the law, rather than punishing law abiding hunters? What is irrational with that thought?

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

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I haven't seen this. Do you have an article somewhere that shows this occurred?

 

Fair enough, though a legal loop-hole is sure sh!tty, especially when that same loop-hole can now be used everywhere else in the entire nation. I sincerely hope they find fault in what he's doing in order to prevent this from happening everywhere else.

 

I'm not opposed to logic or discussing things based upon fact, but saying that the area should be closed because of a slob hunter as you put it, seems extreme. How about they bust the one slob, if the one slob exists, and punish that person to the fullest extent of the law, rather than punishing law abiding hunters? What is irrational with that thought?

 

Nothing at all.

 

Some interesting points - good reply :)

 

Don't need an article to see what I see every day - 1000's of private acres being tended perfectly for waterfowl - hunted lightly - well cared for - but I think this is pretty specific to my area so maybe not a great overall model for everyone.

 

From what I have read, it is not just a few slob hunters, it is a pretty regular problem that finally boiled over into the extreme measures taken by the landowners.

 

But, I will certainly agee with you in that it is far better to correct the acts of just a few than to take drastic measures that affect so many. If it can easily be corrected, why was it not done before it got out of hand?

 

Who sold the land to these evil men? Who built their houses? Where do these evil men shop? What happened to the commission earned by the sale of the land?

 

If MT didn't want these guys, why did they invite them in?

 

But, it's your state, and it looks like you have plenty of signatures to proceed, so I wish you luck!

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If it can easily be corrected, why was it not done before it got out of hand?

 

Again I would ask to see all of these instances where it got out of hand. I quoted actual hunters that had been there, but I've not seen the articles referencing slob hunters shooting private homes, as I would think that would have been quite news worthy. Or was that a line used by someone wanting people to stay away from their private ground which is bordered by a PUBLIC resource?

 

If MT didn't want these guys, why did they invite them in?

 

Montana invited them in? That might be true, I couldn't say as I don't know that for fact. I've not seen too many states that go out of their way to invite rich people in to buy up private ground. I could be wrong of course.

 

But, it's your state, and it looks like you have plenty of signatures to proceed, so I wish you luck!

 

It's not my state. I've never lived a day in Montana. In fact I've never even spent a night in that state. I've certainly been in it and passed through parts of it, but that's the extent of my citizenship for Big Sky Country. I just didn't think it made sense to not support law abiding waterfowl hunters when they needed it. Especially since I know some of them personally and know for a fact that they are not slob hunters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

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