| March 17, 2022 12:00 AM
For Montana hunters, both resident and nonresident hunters, March is time to do some heavy duty planning for the 2022 fall hunting season. Many deer and elk special hunting permits must be applied for by April 1. That’s just two weeks from now. So, sit down with your hunting buddies and plan your hunts.
Unfortunately, for many of us old-time hunters, the 2022 hunting regulations are available only online. The printed or hard copy version of the hunting regulations that we have relied on for decades have yet to be printed. My contact with FWP folks earlier this week indicated it may be close to the end of the month before the printed or hard copy versions are available to the public. So, we old-timers, the bulk of Montana hunters, must endure the task of trying to wade through or navigating through the digital online application process.
Last year in a Flathead Outdoor column, I complimented FWP for improving the online hunting license application process. A year earlier, in 2020, I gave up on trying to get my licenses online. Just couldn’t complete the online process. Then, thanks to the wonderful help of the ladies at FWP headquarters on Meridian, they helped me get through the application process. In 2021, I somehow miraculously completed the online process by myself.
Later in 2021, a retired doctor friend of mine said that he had to disagree with one of my columns. I said, “which one?” He replied, the column which said FWP’s online license application process was more user friendly! He couldn’t make that process work for him. Now, if an intelligent guy like a doctor, with up to eight years of college can’t make it work, how likely is it that most of us less educated hunters can successfully navigate the online application process?
Last week I was at FWP headquarters a couple times. There were long lines of fishermen and hunters waiting for the ladies at the front desk to help them buy their licenses. So, this past weekend, I attempted to navigate my way through the online process to buy my 2022 fishing and hunting licenses. As usual, it was frustrating to say the least.
About 3/4 of the way through the process, I got hung up. The computer screen told me I had done something wrong, so it wouldn’t let me proceed. But the computer didn’t tell what was wrong! After hitting numerous buttons, I was sent back and had to re-enter some data again. This happened three times.
Finally, I did something different, don’t ask me what, but I was allowed to proceed to checkout or payment. I asked the computer program to have FWP mail my licenses rather than simply printing out the carcass tags on my computer’s plain paper. My hope is that FWP printed carcass tags will be printed on stronger waterproof paper. So, all I really have now, in my possession, is a receipt that indicates I purchased my fishing and hunting licenses. I anxiously await my actual licenses and tags in the mail.
A new option for your carcass tags is having your carcass tags sent to your cellphone. So, if a warden asks to see your carcass tag, I guess you just show him your cellphone. I don’t think you have to tape your cellphone to the antler or leg as you do with a paper tag. So much for the traditional old world of hunting intermixed with the not so marvelous digital world.
I SEE our governor made national newspapers again by shooting a mountain lion. Some of those papers made his hunt seem like something that was unethical or illegal. Everything he did was legal and ethical. Some of those stories seemed to paint a picture that shooting a lion out of a tree was unethical. Lion hunting is like most other hunting, it is the hunt or chase that makes hunting so challenging and fun. Pulling the trigger and making the actual kill is only a small part of the hunt.
Those that believe shooting a treed lion is not ethical, never think that killing a mature mountain lion saves the lives of dozens of deer, elk or other wild ungulates that lion would kill every year the cat is alive.
When Gov. Gianforte squeezed the trigger on that lion, the lion was almost instantly dead. A very clean and quick kill. There are many Online videos of wolves, lions and other large carnivores pulling down prey animals and tearing out large chunks of meat and guts, while the animal is still alive. That seems like a tough way to die.
Now don’t think for a minute that I blame wolves and mountain lions for killing in what we humans would term an inhumane way. What they do is entirely natural. That is just the way of nature. Death in the wild is seldom quick or painless for prey animals.
So as a Montana hunter and fisherman, I am proud to have a governor that hunts, fishes and traps. Well done, Governor!