Newsletter 3 2-17-2004
Lion and bobcat season just got wrapped up so I thought I'd drop you a line and get you up to date and let you know what's coming.
Seems like there was just a week or two of deer season left when I sent the last update, so I'll pick up there. I shot a decent 4x4 and my last hunter shot a better 4x4. So for the rifle hunt we had 100% success on deer this year. I still have plenty of openings, both archery and rifle, for the coming fall.
We took 3 lion hunters to Montana for the first week of December. We got 2 lions in the first 3 days and then it started raining. We never were able to connect on that last lion but I think it was due more to the poor weather than a lack of lions. This was the first year I've guided in Montana that success wasn't 100%. I took 4 lion hunters here in Idaho and they took a total of 2 lions and 3 bobcats. We hunted hard and generally had pretty good conditions but just had a very tough time locating lion tracks. I'm very disappointed in the 50% success rate and it's prompted me to make a few changes. I recently detailed the changes on the lion hunting page of my website and if you're interested you can read about it there, but basically I'm switching to a daily rate plus trophy fee system in Idaho. The emphasis will be on running the dogs and having a good time and if we get a lion that will be a great bonus. There are lots of bobcats here so we should get the opportunity to run the dogs nearly every day. The pressure of selling a high-dollar lion hunt and then not being able to locate a track in 10 days was too much for me so hopefully this will be a better arrangement for everyone. I'm planning to do more lion hunting in Montana where they manage for a higher population. I'm in negotiations with an outfitter in the Swan (where I grew up and where my parents still live) to purchase his lion hunting business. I will get a Montana Outfitting license and begin taking 2 or 3 lion hunters a year there. I still have hunts available for next winter for either Montana or Idaho but there are quite a few interested people so if you want a hunt I'd recommend booking as soon as possible.
On a lighter note, my oldest boy, Jake, just turned 10 and after our last hunter departed we still had a few days of bobcat season left so I took him cat hunting for the first time. The first bobcat ran into a hole in the rocks so we couldn't get it, but we found another track and after a one hour run the dogs treed it about 1/4 mile above the road. We hiked in and Jake made a great shot with his old .22 rifle. Jake was one cold, whipped pup by the time we got back to the truck. I said, "So Jake, tomorrow is the last day of bobcat season, are you going with me?" He said, "No, I think one bobcat is enough." Ha-ha
Next up is bear hunting in May and I still have openings for baited or spot and stalk hunts. We had a great hunt last spring and this year should be just as good. Drop me a line if you'd be interested in one of those.
If you're interested in applying for a moose tag up here the application period is April, which is coming up fast. I'm keeping a list of people that want to apply and in April I'll contact those people with a reminder and information on what units to apply for. If you'd like me to put you on the list just let me know. If you want to book a deer hunt and apply for a moose tag, I'll gladly switch your hunt from deer to moose if you draw a tag. That way you can at least count on some kind of hunt and you'll know that the $128.50 you have to spend on a hunting license just to apply for the moose tag won't be wasted.
This summer I intend to start a hunting and outdoor skills school. I'm tentatively planning to offer 2 1-week sessions, and a person could choose to attend one, the other or both sessions. The first week will focus on outdoor skills, e.g. map reading, compass and gps use, orienteering, etc. Its goal will be to equip a person with the skills to venture out into new territory with confidence that they can safely navigate to where they want to go and competently handle the situations that an outdoorsman often finds himself in. The second week of the school will be all about big game hunting techniques and the basic biology of the primary big game animals. It's obviously designed to make a person a more successful and knowledgeable hunter. Both weeks will involve some time indoors and some time in the field. I'd sure appreciate hearing from anyone that might be interested in something like this. Your input can help me design a good course that has the information you're looking for.
Thanks for reading and if this has prompted any questions just let me know. If you'd prefer not to receive any future newsletters just let me know that too and I'll get it taken care of. I've got film being developed now with the last few hunts on it and will be adding those pictures to the photo gallery section of the website soon so please check it out if you're interested.