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Full text of "Quarterly report"

s 

639.9 

F2Q 

APR- J UN 1948 




I 




Fish and Gome Commission 




o/Lct?C64A 



LOVC&L&TT^ 



QUARTERLY REPORT 





April - June - 19U8 

Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid Projects 



Montana Stale Library 



3 0864 1006 2651 7 



NO U ^ 

L rr OF 







MONTANA 



FISH AND GAME DEPARTMENT 



WILDLIFE RESTORATION DIVISION 



fib 



No..„J/JL„ 

LIBRARY 

GLAGIEO I 




APRIL - JUNE - 19U8 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

Montana State Library 



http://archive.org/details/quarterlyreport01mont 



INDEX 



Page 

L/XVXSXOn I GrSOnX10_Lo oooo*oeoa«o««e«o«O0Ooo»o# -L 

J.. n"GlTO O.UC L> lOri oooooo66«oeo«9*oeooooooo0O«** J) 

1-R Surveys and Investigations - Western Montana 

Kootenai Unit; 

Lincoln County Game Survey, 19U7-19U3. . U 

Swan-Blackfoot Units 

Big Blackfoot-Clearwater Winter Survey, 19U7-19U8 56 

Garnet Range-Rock Creek Big Game Survey, 19U7-19U8 89 

Absaroka Unit; 

Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd Cooperative Count. • • 117 

Big Belt-Boulder Unit; 

Jim Ball Basin Elk Range Investigations. • 121 

Clark Fork Units 

Inspection of the Cherry Creek Game Preserve . 125 

Deerlodge Units 
. Special Elk Season Investigation. ...... ........ 127 

Wise River- Big Hole Moose Report 133 

Flathe ad-Sun River Units 

Early Spring Inspection of South Fork of Flathead . ll±0 

Aerial Reconnaissance of Mountain Goats and Elk 160 

Sun River Guides and Packers Association Meeting 165 

Gallatin Units 

Land Lease Investigation (B. A. Black Property) 169 

Madison-Ruby Unit: 

Willow Creek Antelope Investigation. ...... 173 

Antelope Census in Beaverhead and Madison Counties 176 

Ruby River Deer Investigations 185 

Blackball Creek Elk Investigation . 193 

Big Game Winter Survey, 19kl-19hQ 203 

1-R Surveys and Investigations - Eastern Montana 

Beartooth Units 

Aerial Inspection of Beartooth Mountains ... 250 

(Continued) 



INDEX (Continued) 

Page 

Blaine Units 

Antelope Damage Inspection. • . 253 

Carter Unit; 

Carter County Antelope Study, Summer 19U7 . . . . • 2^6 

Antelope Trapping Operations Inspection . . . . 308 

Choteau Units 

Highwood Mountains Inspection. ... 310 

Missouri Breaks Units 

Aerial Inspection of Fort Peck Game Range „ 3lU 

Garfield County Rancher-Sportsmen Meeting ...... 321 

Notes on Bighorn Sheep Pasture Inspection 32U 

Yellowstone Units 

Rancher Interviews on Sweetgrass County Antelope Season • . . . 326 

1-R Surveys and Investigations - Game Birds 

State-wide % 

Survival Studies on Game Farm Raised Pheasants,' 329 

Experimental Plantings of Saf flower and Multiflora Rose ... . 3UU 

1-R Surveys and Investigations - Statistics 

State-wides 

Cumulative Record of Big Game Data 3U.6 

6-D Posting Game Preserves - Final Report 369 

17-D-3 Game Range Development Through Salt Distribution 379 

21-R-2 Magpie Control Investigation 339 

Magpie Trapping in the Twin Bridges and Sheridan Areas 393 

22-D Mountain Sheep Pasture (Missouri 3reaks Unit)-Final Report. . . • 396 

2l;-M Water Facilities 

Wildlife Habitat Development Aerial Inspection. hP$ 

26-M Aerial Salt Distribution - Bitterroot Unit U09 

Letter of transmittal and signatures •• Ul3 



ii 



bJ'WMAL PARK 
B6 H°n, Montana K 



WILDLIFE RESTORATION DIVISION PERSONNEL 

rCO DGi'l/ J? o wOOllGjr o oooooooooooooooo ooooooo oJJllcCvOr 

Wo Ken Thompson. <» . . . . . . . <> . . . . . . . . . a Assistant Director 

Faye Mo Couey .......<,. ........... Big Game Biologist 

Wnio Ro Bergeson ........ ........ .o oGarae Bird Biologist 

Hector Jo LaCasse. ......... ....... Draftsman -Photographer 

Dorothy Nopper. . . , . . . . . . . . . <» . . . . . .Secretary-Bookkeeper 

Midge Mongrain ...................co. o Claims Clerk 

Margaret Dixon. ...........os....... Junior Bookkeeper 

Ann Johnson o ......................do Stenographer 

Don Browio . . . . . ■ . . . . . . . . ■ . o Assistant Big Game Biologist 

Merle Jo Rognrudo . ■ . . . . . . . o . . . oAssistant Big Game Biologist 

Robert Jo Greene« » . • . . . . . . . . . » Assistant Game Bird Biologist 

Edward Blaskovich. D . . . o . . = a . » Assistant Draftsman-Photographer 
Stewart Brandborg. ........o...... (Summer Season) Fieldman 

Lawrence Brown. a....................... oFieldman 

Robert Casebeer» o...o...oo.o.o......o Range Fieldman 

Kenneth Davis B ....... ............. . .Field Assistant 

Wynn Freemano ...... . . . . . ........ . Waterfowl Biologist 

V © H>o LjcL3.De oooooooooooooooooeoooooo O U HI Tt McLncLgSr 

George Goers. ............ .o (Summer Season) Field Assistant 

L»o Ho HarKnesso .o...o...o..o.....ooo o junior Foreman 

Fred L. Hartkorn. ....... ........ ........ oFieldman 

Richard Lo Hodder. ................... o Range Fieldman 

wirio r o ftocno .o.ooo.o..oaa....o.o..o Junior roreman 



Frank Lancaster. 00.000. ...... ........ Senior Foreman 

Dave Lane. •••.. .••....».. .(Summer Season) Field Assistant 

Franklin D. Lawrence o o o o o . » . . . . » . o . .Assistant Shop Foreman 

Edward E. Ludtke. . . . ........ .... o . . o . oField Assistant 

William Maloit. ............. (Summer Season) Field Assistant 

James McLucas. ......... ....... .Field Assistant 

S. A. Mongrain. .................... Warehouse Foreman 

Dl U.C G .'JG 3JL oooooooooooooooooooooooeooo* Dd 3.11 3-^ G A 

Robert Neal. ..................... Assistant Fieldman 

J3.CK UTflfBoSo •« o o o o o • o 00000000 000000 owGriXOl* r O reman 

Kenneth Riersgard. ooooooooooooo.oooooo.e© Fieldman 
ue J/0J.CL oaxmas © « o o o ■ o -■ o o o o ■■ -, o o -> © « o • « riGiQ as sx Sv3xiT' 
Jack Eo SchmautZo oooooooooooooooooooo ©Unit Biologist 
rtex o« oinarX' ••«»«o««fl 0*00^0.00 ••o«*«« «on.op ro reman 
George Sturtz. ..... » ........... . Junior Field Assistant 

K. V. Watt. .............. (Summer Season) Student Assistant 

Donald Williams. ......... . ......... . Field Assistant 

Wesley Woodgerd. ............. Student Assistant 

Ade Zajanc. ...........„... = .. .Assistant Unit Biologist 

Howard Campbell. ........... o o ..... o . . .State Trapper 



INTRODUCTION 



This quarterly report covers the period from April 1st to June 
30th, 19U3o It is composed primarily of completed reports on the winter 
big game investigations which have extended through the fall, winter and 
early spring periods 

Also included are final reports on Aerial Salting, 17-D-3; Posting 
6-Dj and the Mountain Sheep Pasture, 22-D; for the fiscal year 19U8. 

Miscellaneous partially completed projects, and minor investiga- 
tions are inserted to make complete the activity records received to date 
in the office. 

This quarterly is not intended to be composed of polished 
scientific treatises, but rather working records of projects conducted 
by this division* In some cases where material is of sufficient value, 
data will be edited and submitted for technical publication.. 



July 15, 19UB 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (Western Montana) 
DATE July 1$ 5 1?U8 



KOOTENAI UNIT 

LINCOLN COUNTY GAME STUDY 
19U7-19U8 



June 1, 19U8 



Submitted by; 
Ade Zajanc, Fieldman 
Wildlife Restoration Division 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



Page 



o* 



De scrip tpion of County© ©ooooooooooooooooooooo 7 

aIXjCjDO S© OX O XcLlClj' O O O OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO© ( 

OO V6ro^6 OOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO J 

WO JLX Or©GlC a "T X Sil©r iVi/Gci • ooooooo ooooooo, 'ooooooo 7 

1/6 SCrXpX»10n o o o o o o oooooooooooooooooooo / 

OO V CI cLR*© OOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOO -Lv_> 

Tabulation of strip count ss 

U Dp ©A J* ISJlGr ooeoooooooooooooooooooooo ^-^ 

XiOWG]/ jT XSilGi o o o © ooooooooooooooooooooo -J-i-4- 

Jj i/OW S© SP© C X6 S 111 \i SS OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO © O x.p 

Tobacco Valley-Fortine Area, . <> . • . » . . . . . o . . . • . . o 20 

USSCFip LlOllc ooooooooo ooooooooooooooooo £\J 

UOVcraKO o o oooooooooooooooooooooooooo — X 

Tabulation of strip counts? 

l/6v* o oooooooooo oooooooooo oooooooO *~ .• 

JiiO U OC oeooooooooo oooooooooo oooooooo w LL 

DZvWSb Sp©OX©S In US© o ooooooooooooooooooooo b ( 

Li&bGWcLy* ^ ©nn xng s Ar©£L ooooooooooooooooooooooo ^o 

1/6 SvFXp UXOI1 o oooooooooooooooooooooooooo C U 

UU VcrdtG oo 0000-000000*000000000000000 ^- y 

Tabulation of strip count ss 

UU.lXJ.6 CL66X0 oooooo oooooooooooooooooooo ^X» 

fl ill vG'^XccLX X Q.€©Xo o oooooooo oo ooooooooooeo ^) < — 

ijX^IlOrn Srl6©P oooo ooooooooooeo ooooooooo J J) 

DrUW S© Sp©CX© S 111 U.S6 oooooeooooooooooooo ooo .•M- 

mJ U UV jx X "cLo OOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO *• ^ 

JJcoCI lpblOll oooeooooooooooooooooooeo oo S^^ 

\jOV6lClg6fl OOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOO OOOOOOOO «20 

Tabulation of strip counts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . „ . . . a UO 

ijrO W S© 5p6CX 6S in IIS© ooeooooooooeoooooooooo U-X 

llinitG^uSll QS©r S6X 1*3, "OXO Soooooooooooo©ooooooo U-U- 

MUX© Q©©X 3©X 1*0.1/10 5© oo oooooooooooooooooooo i\Z> 

Trends as shown by past game studies o...... ......<><, U6 

li UXl U6j7 n.3.j7V © ST/ oooooooooooo oooooooooooooo LJ.O 

IN d U iXT CX .L IUj S6 Sooooooooooooooooo ooooooooo t-l / 

Recommendations for managements 

U OlJ-l^dl/lUIio ooooooo oooooooooo oo ooooooo iXO 

Management of habitats 

JaXwln^ pXaJlSo ooooooooooooooooooooooooo ,^U 

iX" OC "LLXil^ o ooooooooooooooooooooooooooo V X 

Cooperation with private land-owners ....... ......o 51 

Tabulations? 

VteaXiner XniOrmaXiXOn eo«oooooso.o...aoo..oas ,?<- 

ikounoance ox gameo ooooooo.o.oooooooooo.oo jj 

"White-tail deer seen on strip. .... . . . ... . . .... « . 5U 

Mule deer seen on strip. ....<»......... ...... 55 

(Continued) 



TABLE OF CONTENTS - (Continued) 

Page 

Maps? 

Wolf Creek-Fisher winter range. . . . <> » <> . o <» ■ o » « . „ <> • 16 

bl>rip "OT'XpS 3X1 G. S3J_b pXcUlS© ooooooooooooeoooooo Xj 

Tobacco Valley-Fortine winter range ..«»•. <>.,>oo..«« 2£ 

Strip trips and salt plans,, „ „ « <> ■> « <> <> . <> o <> o <> . . » 8 26 

Gateway-Jennings winter range . o . . <> . . » » <,».<, . . . . • 35 

OX*jrXp X TXp S 3X1 Q S 3— LT.- p X3H S ooooooo • o e a ooooo«ooo j>Q 

ijX^iiorn onGGp r3.n£*G© o © o DO0*«««ee**«»»o«««4 >/ 

I J DOV^ aP6cL VrJ_n wG- 2/3X1^6 ©oooeooooooeooooooooe *+^ 

O T/jrXp XTIP S 3X1 Q o3.X L' P X3X1 S o o o o o ooeoooooo o o a r> o o *-t^ 



LINCOLN COUNTY BIG GAME STUDY 
19U7-19U3 



The study unit comprises the -whole area of Lincoln County in the 
northwest corner of the state of Montana,, The County is primarily drained 
by the Kootenai River and its tributaries^ the Fisher,, Yaak and Tobacco 
Riverso Elevations vary from an average of 2 5 500 feet along the Kootenai 
to around 8 S 000 feet in the Cabinet Range ■> The dominant feature of the 
unit is the forest which consists of 2 a 30U 5 000 acres or 96% of the area 
Eleven thousand acres or e 6% are barren and brush Q and ?6 S 000 acres or 
3«U5 are cultivated,, pasture^ grass and townsite Lumbering contributes 
70% of the annual income and the railroad and mines contribute the balance. 
The vegetative cover and other environmental factors of almost the entire 
area are suited for the production of deer and the principal industry 
which is lumbering should have no detrimental influence e 

PURPOSE 

The purpose of the survey was to assemble information on the follow- 
ing subjects? 

1» Present condition of the various ranges* 

2. Extent of the winter range 

3» Distribution of game animalso 

U. Present population of game animal s 

5© Sex ratio So 

6. Percent of young or probable annual increase,, 

COVERAGE 



The survey was conducted by Ade Zajanc and John Hennessy begin- 
ning October S$ 19h7 with headquarters in Libby« Field headquarters were 
the various Ranger Stations throughout the Kootenai National Foresto 
Methods of travel were by automobile and on footo During the period 
from October $ s 19hl to March 1$ 9 19U8<, !^2U7 miles were traveled by auto 
and 728 miles were covered on footo Snow depth this winter did not 
necessitate the use of skis or snow shoe s„ 

Tentative plans were to spend a week in each unit of the County 
during the fall and early winter to become familiar with the range s 3 then 
re-cover the areas during the heaviest concentration periods and return 
for a spring check on game conditions,. The fall reconnaissance was com- 
pleted and a thorough winter coverage of the Wolf Creek-Fisher Drainage, 
Tobacco Valley-Fortine Area, Gateway -Jennings and Libby areas was made,, 
leaving the Troy and Yaak areas uncovered,, The findings for the units 
surveyed are found in the following separate reports. 



8 



SUB-UNIT NQo 1 
WOLF CREEK-FISHER RIVER DRAINAGE 

This unit is composed of the areas drained by Wolf Creek and the 
Fisher River,, The elevation runs from 2 ? £00 feet in the valleys to 6 S 000 
feet 5 with the exception of the portion included in the Cabinet Range, 
which is slightly over 7 5 000 feeto Nearly the entire area is considered 
Forest land,, with the exception of a few widely scattered farms,, and is 
used as summer range by deer« 

Thirty-four thousand acres can be classified as winter range and 
are composed of four different typess 

1« Open yellow pine on the south and west exposureso 

2o Stream bottom type« 

3» Open grassy hillside s„ 

ko Douglas fir $ lodgepole,, larch jungles on the north and east 
slopes which are not used very extensively e 

This winter range is in a depleted condition at the present time 
due to over-utilization in prior years «, The winters of 19Ul~U2 and 
19U6-> I4.7 were very severe and caused unusual concentrations,, Also* 
during the war years populations were probably higher than at present due 
to lighter hunting pressures,, It has been established that the existence 
of the Wolf Creek Game Preserve had an adverse effect on this winter 
range In many cases 5 not only the key species such as serviceberry 5 
chokecherry 5 mountain maple and Ceanothus s but emergency species such as 
buffalo berry have been browsed to the point of killing „ 

The foregoing seems to apply especially to the slopes, while the 
browse found in the stream bottom land is in good condition and it is 



believed that this -winter the deer are deriving most of their subsistence 
from these areas, due to the fact that the light snowfall allows them free 
access to the stream bottoms* 

It should be emphasized that the damage has been done in previous 
years and that the present mild winter with its accompanying lack of 
heavy concentrations should tend to alleviate the present condition,. 
Another pertinent fact is that logging operations are being carried on in 
parts of this range and are scheduled to continue for a number of years 
This should have a beneficial effect on the range by stimulating the 
growth of browse species through soil disturbance and other factors in 
conjunction with removal of timber. These logging operations should pro- 
vide a rich field for the investigation and observation of the effects of 
logging on a deer range <> 

COVERAGE 

Because of the mild winter and lack of concentrations a slight 
deviation was made in the regular strip counting procedure* The first 
step was to determine the uppermost limits of the winter range. Then 
strips were made usually contouring the hillside through the center of the 
winter range established,, Instead of using a pre-determined width, the 
strip width was determined by the visibility^ that is_« by the average 
distance at which deer could be seen,, These distances were established 
by estimation and occasionally checked by actual measurement . Thus, by 
calculating the number of acres under observation and tabulating the number 
of deer seen the deer per acre figure was derived. 

In computing the winter range it was decided to divide the area 
into two parts. One portion includes that part of the Fisher Drainage 

10 



east of Highway #2 and the Wolf Creek Drainage o The other part consists 
of the winter range adjacent to Highwaj #2 extending to the Flathead 
County line. This was done because it was apparent that concentrations 
were heavier in the lower Fisher than in the other parts of the range 

The Wapiti Mountain area consisting of approximately l s 280 acres 
was also computed separately because recent logging operations there had 
attracted an unusual number of deer 5 forming a more or less isolated con~ 
centration area» 

In the lower Fisher-Wolf Creek section^ 2^020 acres were covered 
by strips and U82 deer were seen* which amounts to 8 2lj. deer per acre» 
The winter range is estimated to be roughly 16 S 000 acres© This figure 
was obtained by marking the known winter range boundaries on a map and 
calculating the acreage within these boundaries e This gives a total 
population of 3<>840 white-tail deter for the lower Fisher area© 

Using the same method for the other portion of the Fisher Range,, 
we find 16c, 800 acres of winter range© Coverages here show 78 deer on 
5kh acres or „lU deer per acre s giving a population of 2 5 352 white-tail 
deer© 

The Wapiti Mountain area of 1^280 acres shows 72 deer for 109 
acres or 66 deer per acre,, a total of 818 white-tail deer for the area© 

Adding these figures up we find a total of 7 5 010 white-tail deer 
for the entire area© 

Since only a negligible number of mule deer were seen 5 no computa- 
tions were made regarding them» However s there seem to be a few places 
where mule deer are found in appreciable numbers © principally the East 
Fisher Drainage,, Kenelty Mountain area, and the higher elevations of the 



11 



lower Fisher-Wolf Creek area n It is felt that there are approximately 
200 mule deer in the East Fisher Drainage and an additional U00 in the 
rest of the area. There is a possibility that many of the mule deer 
migrate into the Dunn and Canyon Creek Drainages and on down toward the 
Kootenai River to winter,. 

During the survey only one band of 29 elk was seen* although in- 
formation gathered from reliable sources and signs seen indicate the 
existence of several other bands in the locality,, There are probably not 
more than l£0 in the area, 

Moose in this district are rare enough to be considered somewhat 
of a curiosity,. Only one moose and two tracks were seen during the 
survey • Consequently all other information was gathered from farmers and 
local residents. From these contacts it is estimated that there are about 
25 moose in the unit. Moose range is not shown on the accompanying map^, 
but would include any of the stream bottom type found in the Fisher area. 



12 



TABULATION OF STRIP COUNTS FOR 
THE UPPER FISHER AREA 



Trip gStrip Widths Miles 2 Acres gVfhite-tailsMulegElkgCoyO" 

s In Yards t Covered? Coveredg Deer sDeers g tes 



Raven R. S. Area g 200 g $ t 36k § k6 g h 

o 900 o 

a Sao o 

Elk Hill g 100 g 1.5 g 514 § 5 § 

o a tt » o 

o a « a © 

Slimmer Creek g 100 g 3.5 g 126 g 27 s 
Total 







s 10 

• 




3 O 

s 5UU g 



O 6 


78 


0> a 


S U g 


9 

a 

JL 






Wapiti Mountain g l£o g 2 g 109 § 72 g 

o • • ■ O 9 

a • o o o 

Copper Creek g s s § gi£ 

o 000 a 

O O ft o o 

Brulee Creek g g § g g36 



13 



TABULATION OF STRIP COUNTS FOR 



THE LOWER FISHER AREA 





o 

a 




a 
i 




a 
a 




a 

a 




a 

a 




a 

a 


a 
a 


Trap 


g Strip Widths 


Miles 


■ 
a 


Acres 


s White-tails Mules Elkg Coyo- 




5 

■ 
• 


In Yards 


sCoverec 


i? Covered? 

a o 

o a 


Deer 


:Dee 

a 
a 


rs 

a 
a 


g tes 

a 

a 


Alder to Cody Creek 


■ 

D 

o 

o 


200 


a 
a 

a 

o 


3 


a 

a 

B 


218 


o 
a 

a 

a 

■ 


78 


■ 

a 

o 
a 

o 


1 


a 
a 

o 
o 

o 


a 

3 

a 
a 

a 


Cody Cr. to chute 


• 

a 

a 

o 


200 


B 

o 
8 

o 


2 


a 

§ 


Ui5 


a 

a 

a 

a 


H* 


a 

a 
a 


3 


a 

a 
o 


a 
a> 


Chute to Ariana Cr« 


• 

a 

o 


200 


o 

o 
B 


3*6 



O 

a 


261 


B 

• 

a 


1*7 


a 

a 

a 


9 


a a 

s29 g 2 


Ariana to 6 Mio Post 


o 

o 
B 


200 


a 

o 

B 


l*.l* 


a 

D 

o 


319 


a 

o 
a 


1*6 


a 

o 

S 




o 
a 



a 


o 

g 3 


River Bottom 


o 

a 

a 


100 


a 

a 
B 


3 


a 

O 
a 


161* 


a 

a 
a 


39 


a 

a 
o 




a 

a 
o 


• 

a 
a 


Guard Sta, to River 


• 

o 

o 


100 


a 

a 
B 


1-5 


a 

o 

a 


55 


a 

o 

o 


21* 


o 

o 
a 




a 

a 

a 


a 

1*8 


Guard Sta„to Snell C 


o 
og 


200 


a 

a 

a 


5o8 


• 


1*21 


a 

o 
a 


61* 


s 

a 
a 




a 

g 


a 

g 1 


Smoke Creek 


o 

a 

• 


150 


a 

O 
o 


5 


o 

a 

a 


273 


a 

a 

a 


21* 


a 

a 

a 




a 

8 


a 

g 




: 




a 
a 




a 

a 




a 
a 




a 
a 




a 
a 


g 


Squaw Creek 


D 
a 


i3o 


a 
a 


3 


o 

a 


161* 



o 


36 


a 
a 






3 8 




g 




a 
a 




a 
a 




a 

a 




a 
a 




a 
a 


a 

a 




g 




a 
a 




a 
a 




o 
a 




a 
a 




a 
a 


a 
a 


Total 


g 




o 
a 


31o3 


a 

a 


2020 


a 
a 


1*82 


gl3 


a 

a 


g 6 




a 

s 




a 

a 




B 

a 




a 
• 




a 
a 




a 
a 


a 
a 



♦Moose 
°Tracks 



H* 



PRINCIPAL BROWSE SPECIES IN USE 

lo Amelanchier alnifolia „ » <. . » . <, e o Serviceberry 

2* Prunus demissa „ . » <> » . « o „ « e . Chokecherry 

3o Acer glabrum „ o » » » „ « « » o o « Mountain maple 

Uo Ceanothus velutinus B » » „ „ <> . » . « „ Snow bush 

5> e Arctostaphylos uva-ursio » „ o <> <> „ o Kinnikinnick 

6 Odostemon acquifolium » » <> o o o « » « Oregon grape 

7« Cornus stolonifera » o . <> ° <> » o „ o Dog wood 

8 Philadelphus lewisii „ « <> » » , ° <> o „ Mock orange 

9« Alnus tenuifolia, » » o » <> » „ » <> „ » Alder 

10 o Betula fontinaliso <> » » » ■> o <><,<, „ Birch 

akJL O DoXH Sp O OOOOO OOOOO OOO O o tfVXX-LQW 

12 o Symphoricarpos albus » « = . . » s <> o Snowberry 

13o Lepargyrea canadensis, » » » <, . . <, <. o Buffaloberry 

llu Ribes spooooooo „ <> ° <> » „ » o e Gooseberry 

-L.^ © XtO Sd. bp 00000000 000 000000 xtO 06 



15 



FISHER^TOLF CKEEK AREA 




WINTER RANGE 

Elk Herds — — ■ 
White-tail Deer 
Mule Deer 



16 



FISHER-WOLF GREEK AREA 




Strip Trips 

• Salt Plants 



17 




Buffalo Berry on Snell Creek showing 
over-browsing in previous years. 




Old "deer line" on Douglas Fir reproduction on 
Snell Creek in Wolf Creek-Fisher Area* 



18 





fcfc 







"^ 



Typioal open grassy hillside type of winter 
range on Cody Creek in Wolf Creek-Fisher 
Area. Deer are White-tail. 




Old oropping of Ceanothua on Snell Creek 
in Wolf Creek-Fisher Area. 



19 



SUB-UNIT NOo 2 
TOBACCO VALLEY-FORTINE AREA 

This area is composed of the Tobacco River Drainage,, the Pinkham 
Creek Drainage and a small area drained by Sunday Creek e It differs 
somewhat from other parts of Lincoln County in that the topography con- 
sists of low s rolling hills in the valley are as 9 bordered by rugged 
mountains on the northeast and high timbered mountains in the Pinkham 
country. The Tobacco Valley is quite extensively farmed and the parts 
not under cultivation are mostly logged-off and covered with coniferous 
reproduction,. The whole district can be classed as summer deer range 

Thirty-five thousand, two hundred acres are estimated to be 
white-tail winter range and 32^614.0 acres for mule deer„ Elevations run 
from three to five thousand feeto The ranges overlap to the extent that 
20 5 l|.80 acres are common to both species For all practical purposes there 
are lii.c,720 acres exclusively white-tail range and 12 s l60 acres exclusively 
mule deer. Types of range found areg 

1. Stream bottom type Q 

2» Open grassy knolls e 

3» Conifer reproduction (larch 9 fire, lodgepole) 

The winter range shows much evidence of over-utilization in past 
years 5 the key specie s $ such as s chokecherry<, serviceberry^ mountain maple 
and Ceanothus being badly over-browsed Buffaloberry is very plentiful 
and is not being utilized to any great extent this year,*, but has been in 
the pasto Very little conifer damage has been noted this year<> Haystack 
damage has been minimized by proper fencing^, but primary farm damage is to 
the first crop of alfalfa and can be attributed mainly to mule deer s 



20 



according to report s 

f 

COVERAGE 

Census methods used were the same as for the Wolf Creek-Fisher 
area Two thousand., six hundred and thirty acres were covered and I63 
or 0O62 white-tail deer per acre were found. Mule deer numbered 207 or 
„079 deer per acre.. Using 35?200 acres of white-tail range, we find a 
population of 2,182 white-tail deer„ Thirty-two thousand, six hundred 
and forty acres gives a population of 2,578 mule deer. In the exclusive 
white-tail range there are 16„12 acres per deer, and in the exclusive 
mule deer range there are 12 » 6 acres per deer. In the over-lapping range 
there are 7<>09 acres per deer This amounts to approximately 90 deer per 
square mile in the over-lapping area, which includes most of the places 
where farm damage occurs. From this standpoint, this is perhaps the most 
critical section in Lincoln County and should be watched with a great 
deal of interest. 

Hunters have reported seeing elk during hunting season on Edna 
and Sutton Creeks, but the only evidence of them on this survey was found 
on DeRozier Creek, where a band of about a dozen is believed to range. 
It is possible that these animals migrated down from Canada. Elk are 
relatively insignificant in this unit which is perhaps a good thing, con- 
sidering the number of farms in the Tobacco Valley. 

The Pinkham, Sutton, Edna and Sunday Creek Drainages are considered 
to be the primary moose range in the unit. On the trips throughout the 
moose range, 2^213 acres were covered and one moose was seen. It was 
estimated that there are 160,000 acres of moose range; therefore, using 
these figures, we get an estimated population of 72 moose in this area. 



21 



Due to the mild winter s the moose were found to range over the 
ridges as well as the bottom-land and apparently travel extensively,, Very 
few deer were found throughout the moose range Browse being utilized 
by moose consisted mainly of dog wood,, willow,, maple and cottonwood. There 
was no evidence of over-use,, It is believed that moose are frequently 
seen during the summertime 5 due to the accessibility of their habitat 
through Forest Service and logging roads and also their tendency to 
travel,, thus creating the impression that there are more moose than actual- 
ly exist. 

It is the opinion among interested observers of the Pinkham moose 
herd that it is gradually spreading out. This is substantiated by the 
fact that moose have been seen throughout the County with increasing 
frequency in the past few years* It may be that the Pinkham herd is a 
nucleus which produces moose for surrounding areas. If this be the case 5 
the herd should probably be left undisturbed for the pre sent o 



22 



TABULATION OF STRIP COUNTS IN THE 
TOBACCO-FORTINE AREA 



Trip s Strip Widths Miles s Acres gWhite-tailg Mule 

s In Yards gCoveredgCoveredg Deer g Deer 



Grave Cr.(Pres. Border)? 150 g l c 25 g 68 g 17 § 3 

o o • a O 

o » » • 9 

Grave Cr„(3 Mi„ Post) g 200 g 3.5 g 25U g g 37 

o o o o o> 

» o o> o a 

Grave Cr» (3 Mi. Post) g l£0 g U. g 218 s 10 g 2 

O O O 9 O 

O O « O O 

Grave Cr„(SecolO & 11) g 300 g Uo * U36 g 33 s 66 

O O • O O 

a • 9 m • 

Grave Cr»(Seco 3 & U) s 200 g 3. g 218 g 12 g 3 

a » o o o 

o m • o e 

Baldy Mountain s 150 g 3. : I6I4. g 5 s 13 

8000 o 

o t> © o 

Weydemeyer's s 300 g 2. g 218 g 9 s 70 

SO • o o 

O ■ CI o 

Glen Lake Road g l£0 g 2. g 109 g 3 s 

s g g g g 

DeRozier Creek g l£0 g 3„ g 16U g « 7 



Meadow Creek 


g 


200 


g ho 


2 290 


g 


33 


g 






s 




g 


g 


I 




g 




Trego-Martin Lake 


g 


150 


S 60 


g 327 






32 


t 


6 


Trego-Dudley Slough 













150 




g 3o 

g 


b 16U 

& 

A 











9 


s 
g 

p 




Total 


g 
g 






I 38.75 


o> 

g2630 


A 

I 

A- 


163 





207 




• 






■ 


g 


A 

a 






5 





23 



TABULATION OF COVERAGES IN MOOSE RANGE 



Trip 



: Strip Widths Miles 
: In Yards s Covered 



Acres s Moose Seen 
Covered s 



Meadow Creek 
Trego-Dudley Slough 
Pinkham Creek 
Lower Pinkham 
Sutton Divide Road 
Edna Creek 



200 


o 

o 


u 




290 


o 

a 




150 


©■ 
« 


3 


• 

a 

o 


16U 


s 

o 

e 




200 


O 

a 
a 


8 


s 

o 
o 


580 


o 

o 
o 


Tracks 


200 


o 

a 
o 


6 


a 

o 

a 


k& 


o 

o 

© 


Track s 


200 


a 
© 


8 


a 

o 

o 


580 


o 
o 

B 


1 


150 


o 
o 


3 


a 

o 


16k 




Tracks 



Total 



32 



2213 



2U 



&PUHCELL 

R.29W 



TOBACCO VALLEI-FORTTNE AREA 

&COLTOM 



R.25W. 



R.24W. 




// 



TOBACCO VALIEY-FORTINE AREA 



asw. 



K.24W. 



\8ARO . n 




jv Strip Trips 
<; Salt Plants 



■■ 



* 



Ji 



4 



&*>U*CELL 

R-29W 



TOBACCO VALIEY-FORTINE AREA 

R.26W. 



p.asw. 



R.24W. 




Strip Trips 
<; Salt Plants 



26 



PRINCIPAL BROWSE SPECIES IN USE 



1» Amelanchier alnifolia<> „ «, . „ . » <> . « Serviceberry 
2e Prunus demissa „ » o « « a o e <> <= <> » Chokecherry 
3« Acer glabrum<> oooooo <> « «. <> o o © <> Mountain maple 
Ho Ceanothus velutinus » e • e <> <> o <> o <> <> «, Snowbush 
5o Arctostaphylos uva~ursi« <, . o <> o <. o <, . • Kinnikinnick 
6» Odostemon acquifolium, e <, o « = <> 6 o <, o o Oregon grape 
7o Lepargyrea canadensis <, « «. <> «. o « » « <. o Nannyberry 
80 Philadelphus lewisii O eoo 00 o oo o Mock orange 
9« Cornus stolonifera 8 „ « <> <> » » o „ <> <> <> « Dog wood 
10 o Alnus tenuifolia, „ <> 6 <> «, <> <> <> » „ o <> « Alder 
llo Betula fontinaliso oooo.oooooooo Red birch 

x,c o iD , £L-LXJC Sp oooooo 000000000000 ViX-LJ»OW 

13o SymphoricarpoSo „ <, „ <> „ o „ ° <> » „ o Common snowberry 

-L..t-4-o xvXD6 S Sp 00000000 eooooooooo wi*j!*r 3uw 
-LJ? a ItO So Sp 0000000 00000000 oeoo iXO SG 



27 



SUB-UNIT NO, 



GATEWAY-JENNINGS AREA 



This area consists of the territory immediately adjacent to the 
Kootenai River from the Big Bend at Jennings to the Canadian Border. 
Elevations run from 2^,000 to 6 5 000 feet. There are scattered farms along 
the Kootenai -with the larger parb of the area being forest lando Some 
parts of the unit,, particularly the country between Tenmile Creek and 
Stonehill*, are quite rugged and consist mostly of benches intersperced 
with rock cliffs. It is here that the Ural=Tweed Bighorn Sheep herd is 
found in this type of terrain© 

Within this sub=»unit there are approximately 3U 5 000 acres of mule 
deer winter range and an equal amount of white=tail winter range o The 
two ranges coincide for the most parte Elevation of the winter range runs 
from 2 5 f>00 feet to about U s 000 feeto The principal range types are thes 

lo Open yellow pine of the southwest exposures,, 

2. The growths along the stream bottoms » 

3. The open grassy hillsides. 

ko The Douglas fir 5 lodgepole 5 larch 5 association of the northeast 
slopes. 

Range conditions in this area are somewhat better than in most 
parts of Lincoln County. There is some over-browsing in the Zeigler 
Mountain area Ceanothus seems to be the primary food of the mule deer 
and is quite abundant throughout the range o In addition to the principal 
browse species some bitterbrush is found This is most abundant on the 
Young Creek range. 

Logging is being carried on at present around Warland section and 



28 



will eventually extend into the Rexford di strict „ 

COVERAGE 

The same census methods were used in this sub-unit as in the other 
areas covered,. One thousand and ninety acres were covered in the Wiite- 
tail range 9 and Ul or O 037 white-tail deer per acre were observed,. Thirty* 
four thousand acres were estimated to be winter range,, From these figures 
1^258 white-tail deer were estimated to be in this sub-unit „ 

In the mule deer range 5 3*796 acres were covered and 225 animals 
were seen Based on the over-use of o 0?9 deer per acre 5 the population 
was estimated at 2 S 006 animals „ The total population of both species 
for the district is 3$26k deer or 61 deer per square mile of winter 
range n This amounts to 10o5 acres per deer„ 

The predominance of mule deer is probably attributable to the type 
of terrain which is typical of this sub-unito Such high and rugged 
habitat usually supports more mule deer than white-tailo It is also 
possible that mule deer migrate from their summer range in the Wolf 
Creek 3 Fairview and Twin Meadows di strict „ 

No elk were observed during the survey 9 although a few tracks were 
seen last fall on Alexander and Jackson Creek s Q A few elk are scattered 
throughout the Purcell Range,, and also on the Dunn ? Canyon and Cripple 
Horse Drainages, The latter may possibly be migrants from the Fairview 
di strict „ 

No moose or moose tracks were seen during the survey,, Contacts 
with local residents indicate that moose occasionally travel through the 
area. There are probably a few residing in the Five and Tenmile sections 
which are adjacent to the Pinkham district,, The Pinkham district is known 



29 



to support a number of moose 

URAL-TWEED BIGHORN SHEEP HERD 

The range of this sheep herd^ according to a study made in 19kl 
by Bo W Brink extends from Fivemile Creek to Be art rap Mountain on the 
eastside of the Kootenai River c Their winter range consists of approximate- 
ly 23s 680 acres D The major part of this range is within the mule deer 
winter range „ The topography is characterized by benches, rocky cliff s ? 
and steep slopes that are sparsely covered with yellow pine and Douglas 
fir Mr Brink's report contains a comprehensive description of this 
sheep range o 

Three thousand and sixty-nine acres were covered by strips through 
the sheep range and 22 sheep were observed,, This averages o 0071 sheep 
per acre From this per acre factor^, it was estimated that a total pop- 
ulation of 168 bighorns occupied this range o An additional 23 sheep were 
observed with binoculars from Highway #37 by looking across the Kootenai 
River onto the sheep range*. Eighteen sheep., nine rarns^, six ewes and three 
lambs* of the kh observed were classifiedo Fifteen others were identified 
as mixed ewes and lambs, and 11 were unclassified,, 

The large number of predators in the area may have adverse effects 
on the sheep population Coyotes are particularly abundant along the 
railroadj where they are apparently attracted by the deer that are killed 
by trainso Several instances of coyotes killing lambs have been reported 
by local residents Q A comparatively large number of bobcat tracks were 
seen on the sheep range o One mountain lion track was also seen in the 
region „ The large number of golden and bald eagles that are seen along 
the Kootenai River may also be preying on the sheep herds o 

30 



TABULATION OF STRIP COUNTS FOR MULE DEER COVERAGE 



IN THE GATEWAY-JENNINGS AREA 



























a 
a 




a 

a 




o 

a 




o 

a 




a 
a 




Trip 


g Strip Widths 


Miles 


9 

a 


Acres 


a 
o 


Mule 


a 
a 


Coyotes 




g In 

* 
• 


Yards 


s Coveredg Covered? 

m • as 
a a a 


Deer 


a 
• 

a 
a 




Ellsworth Mountain 


a 
• 

a 
i 

a 
• 


200 


g 

a 
a 

o 

3 


7 


a 

9 

a 
a 

a 

a 


508 


a 
a 

a 
a 

o 
o 


5 


• 
a 

a 
« 

a 

a 


1* 


Ellsworth Mountain 


S 

■ 
i 


300 


a 

5 


6 


s 

o 

a 


65U 


■ 

a 

a 


8 


a 

o 

o 




Allen Gulch 


a 

g 


300 


5 

o 

o 


7 


a 

a 
9 


763 


s 

a 
a 


85 


a 

a 

a 


u 


Tenraile Creek 


o 

s 


300 


• 

a 
a 


6„5 


a> 

a 
o 


708 


a 

o 
a 


67 


a 

g 


1 


McGuire Creek 


a 


300 


a 

a 

5 


b 


8 

a 
a 


U36 


a 

a 
a 


15 


a 

D 





Zeigler Mountain 


a 

■ 
■ 

8 


300 


a 

o 
a 

o 
a 


6 


a 

9 
O 

g 


65U 


• 

a 
t 

o 

• 


3U 


a 

a 
a 

g 




West Kootenai 


m 
• 

g 

s 


100 


o 



8 

: 


2 


a 
a 

o 
© 

a 

• 


73 


a 

o 

8 

a 
a 


11 


a 

a 

g 
g 




Total 


g 




o 

I 


38o5 


o 
a 


3796 


a 
a 


225 


a- 


5 




a 




A 




o 
a 




o 
a 




a 

a 





♦Lion Track 



31 



TABULATION OF STRIP COUNTS FOR WHITE-TAIL DEER 
COVERAGE IN GATEWAY-JENNINGS AREA 



Trip s Strip Widths Miles s Acres gWhite^tail; Coyotes 

s In Yards s Covered! Covered? Deer §. 



Blue sky Creek % 200 g 2 % 

So o 

a o 

Warland Creek % 150 g k g 

8o a a 

o • a 

Zeigler Mountain g 300 g 6 g 65U g 19 

o » o o 

e • o a 

West Kootenai Road g 100 g 2 g 73 s U 

§ooo 

O O ft 

o o o o 

a © a a 

Total g ' g 1U g 1090 g 1*1 



11+5 § 


13 


218 g 


5 



32 



TABULATION OF STRIP COUNTS FOR COVERAGE OF THE 



URAL-TWEED BIGHORN SHEEP HERD 



Trip 



: Strip Widths Miles s Acres s Bighorn : Coyotes 
; In Yards s Covered s Covered? Sheep s 



Ellsworth Mountain 



Ellsworth Mountain 



Allen Gulch 



Tenmile Creek 



McGuire Creek 



Totals 



a 

o 


200 


a 
a 


7 


o 
o 


508 


o 
o 


10 


a 
a 


H 


? 


300 


s 

o 

a 


6 


a 

o 

o 


65U 


• 

a 
a 


1 


a 

o 

a 




a 

a 
a 


300 


E 

o 

a 


7 


a 

a 

a 


763 


a 

o 

a 




• 


h 


Eft 

• 




o 
o 




o 

• 




s 




8 




S 


300 


a 

a 


6.5 


a 

a 


708 


a 
o 




* 


1 


s 




% 




o 

a 




a 

a 




a. 
a> 




• 

• 


300 


% 


li 


a 

a 


U36 


a 

a 


11 


s 




o 

• 




a 
a 




a 
a 




a 

a 




1 




s 




: 




• 
a 




a 
a 




s 




s 

8 




a 

a 

a 
• 


30o5' 


o 
a 

O 

a 


3069 


a 

a 

a 
a 


22 


o 

o 

a 

a 


5 



♦Lion Track, 



33 



PRINCIPAL BROWSE SPECIES IN USE 



lo Amelanchier alnifolia o » » » <. o o <> Serviceberry 

2o Primus demissa « = o » » » » » » <, o « Chokecherry 

3o Acer glabrum o » « o » o » o <» o o <. » o e Mountain maple 

he Ceanothus velutinus ooooooooooooo Snow bush 

5>« Arctostaphylos uva-ursi o » » » « » » o . Kinnikinnick 

6« Berber is acquifoliunio ooo eo80 ooooo Oregon grape 

7o Cornus stolonifera ooooooooooooo Dog wood 

8» Philadelphus lewisiio « « « <■ = a » « » B „ o Mock orange 

9« Alnus t>enuifolia oooooooooeoooo Alder 

10 o Purshia tridentata, . » • » « e . » o » o Bitterbrush 

llo Betula fontinalis oooooocooooooo Red birch 

Xt, o D a i.XX Sp ooooooooooooooooooo « 11 -juOW 

13 o Symphoricarpos albus oooeoooooooo Common Snowberry 

lUo Lepargyrea canadensis „ » « o » » » « » Buffaloberry 

15 « Ribes spooooooooooooooooeoo Gooseberry 

xo e xio sd sp ooo«o 00000000000000 rto s© 



3U 



R.29W 



f 'Y"f**\^T L ^T 



URAL-TWEED SHEEP RANGE 

I R.26W. / 



R.24W. 




(After B.Wo Brink, 19UD 
J Summer Range HD 
Winter Range 



GATEWAY-JENNINGS AREA 



RMW. 




\ba*6 , 






GATEWAY-JENNINGS AREA. 

R.26W. 



: y^M* i 







s?3 



ledMt-fi 






Til 







rr 



Thirsty Mtrv 



^JSPT 






"*. 



i.ffi 
rasa 



It - vT ^'""P 

_jrtrep'V- r I', , 

™ ' <\ ~HelmerI 



.4 +i 




:Ck~5f f 

Inch 






I v v . !>L8wrence M+;n 




^?m 



:- \< 



n 




R.2 6W. / R.25W. 



>•' 



R.24W. 



w 



-/I 









TSSL Li- Q JC 





_QV.l 



V.rdir>iO Hiir- ! 



:k, 



6 kTG 



•+oB-Mtn£R- 



=^K 





'■nkna 









\ 



St-einerso'n '\71vitn 
J •T""N.' l ',«J"i 



tea; 



a 




*£¥\1<P 



"°r 






TooyJ 



iiof 



r 



Cripple H^t ^NtnT 



■J -*fc 



^ 



r* 




ItfHjnn P( 



RichifrdsW Frf* ^S 



,$<«- -*"^ Wananc 



s^fe^ 



Mgun^J 



^?S 





Wf ^ V>->< i/ 




4 



Mount#_ 



_^ 



' 



( V 



hli 



%n 



;\^' 



H* 



■^*n*r 



nd Ph 



as 



^- 



*1§£ES 





y? 






/ 



Stryter 




■h i J« A 




TV 5 Fox Mfry , r V/^J " 



^ 



Strip Trips 



V/^ Salt Plants 

Ulll ' 



37 



SUB-UNIT NOo k 
LIBBY AREA 

Sub-unit No„ k includes the Kootenai Drainage from Jennings to 
Kootenai Falls* With the exception of the town site of Libby and the 
scattered farms,, most of this area consists of cut~over forest lands 
Elevations range from about 2^000 to 6c,000 feet except in the Cabinet 
Mountains southwest of Libby which runs up to 8 ? 700 feet e 

White=tail winter range consists of about 2U 5 320 acres and mule 
deer range about 19<,8UO acres,. These ranges over-lap in many place s„ 
Elevations range from 2^000 to U 5 500 feeto Cover types found ares 

lo Open yellow pine* 

2o Stream bottoms,, 

3. Open grassy hillsides 

U. Douglas fir a larch, lodgepole type of the north slope s 9 

5>« Conifer reproduction 

Range conditions in this area are better than in any of the other 
sections covered,. This might be attributed to the relatively small herd 
of deer which occupy the range,, Accessibility and proximity to Libby 
probably account for the smaller population,, 

In addition to the regular key species^, bitterbrush is found on 
the northside of the Kootenai from Rainy Creek to the Big Bend on the hills 
known locally as the Horse Range,, This section provides winter sustenance 
for the majority of the deer in the Libby Unit 



COVERAGE 



The same method was used for this census of l 5 85l acres of range 



38 



in this unit as was used in other units,, Fifty white-tail (.027 per 
acre) and 63 mule deer ( o 03U per acre) were counted within the area 
cove redo By applying these values to 2Uc,320 acres of white-tail range,, 
it is estimated that there are approximately 656 white-tail deer in 
the sub— unito On 19j81|0 acres of mule deer range; there is an 
estimated population of 67U animals., with a total population of 1,330 
deer of both species within the unito The area encompassed by both 
ranges includes about 68 square miles which amounts to 19 0$ deer per 
square mile or 1 deer per 32 08 acres of winter range c 

The only evidence of elk found during the survey in the Libby 
section was on Coyote Creek and Elliot Draw where tracks were seen» These 
may be the same animals that range in the Tepee, Squaw and Harris Creek 
sections of the Fisher Drainage,, Reports indicate that a few elk are 
scattered throughout the unito South of the Kootenai the principal elk 
range is in the Horse Mountain area and parts of the McMillan Range,, 
North of the Kootenai they are dispersed throughout the entire area 

During the survey no moose were seen It is known* however, 
that moose inhabit the area around Loon Lake in the Pipe Creek section, 
and the area south of the Kootenai that lies between Flower Point and 
Little Hoodoo Mountamo There are also some moose around Howard Lake in 
the Libby Creek area 



39 



TABULATION OF STRIP COUNTS IN 
THE LIBBY AREA 



Trip s Strip Widths Miles 2 Acres s White =tail s Mule 
s In Yards s Covered? Covered? Deer s Deer 



Coyote Creek g 150 g 8 g U36 g 1 g U 

o 00a o 

o 000 o 

Swede Mountain g 200 g 6 3 U35 § U g lU 

a 000 o 

o 000 o 

Canoe Gulch g 200 g 5 s 363 § 11 1 29 

o o o a o 

© OOO o 

Kennedy Gulch g U00 g 2 g 290 g 22 g 7 

o © a o o 

O OOO o 

Sheldon Mountain g 200 2 3 8 218 g 7 § 9 

o o o o o 

O OOO 

Schrieber Lake g 150 g 2 g 109 1 5 % 

O O^O o 

O OOO o 

O OOO* o 

Total g g 26 g 1851 g £0 g 63 



Uo 



PRINCIPAL BROWSE SPECIES IN USE 



lo Amelanchier alnifolia „ o <, <. . » ° <> » Serviceberry 

2«, Prunus demissa, „ <, <, <» . „ « » o o „ « Chokecherry 

3# Acer glabrum, „ » . » <, ° „ « » <> Mountain maple 

Uo Ceanothus velutinus <,„,<> <.«<,<, <> • Snow bush 

£ Arctostaphylos uva-ursi « c <, » o <. Kinnikinnick 

60 Purshia tridentata. » « o o . » <> „ ■ Bitterbrush 

7« Odostemon acquifolium » <> •» „ , » Oregon grape 

80 Cornus stolonifera. «, . « » . o » o Dog -wood 

9» Philadelphus lewisiio „ « 6 o » . <> . . Mock orange 

10 o Alnus tenuifolia, „ <» «, o <» <> „ . « Alder 

11 o Betula fontinalis . , . , „ . * „ . „ . Red birch 

1l o D cL-LlX Sp 0000000000000 o o o W 1 -L_LOW 

13. Symphoricarpos albus . . . « . o «, <, Snowberry 

1U. Lepargyrea canadensis . „ . <> » . . „ „ Nannyberry 
1^ « Ribes sp„o oo OB800 .<,.c o Gooseberry 

■LOf 1X0 Sa Sp ft « o«»oooooooo««A XXO SG 



Ul 



LIBBY AREA WINTER RANGE 




White-tail Deer 
Mule Deer 



U2 



LIBBY AEEA 




Strip Trips — ^ 
Salt Plants ~ 



U3 



SUMMARY OF LINCOLN C OUNTY MANAGEMENT UNIT 

I9k7-I9k$ 



A\s previously explained, this unit has been divided into management 
sub-units,, These sub-units have been selected from topographical and 
biological criteria,, 

In each case certain divisions make the big game herds a unit and 
each has slightly different management problems o For this reason and for 
convenience in study s each sub-unit is reported separately,, 

The following is a summary of data for all units with recommendations 
for game management,, 

WHITE-TAIL SEX RATIOS 

TABULATION OF WHITE-TAIL DEER SEEN DURING SURVEY ON AND OFF STRIP 



Unit g Buck g Doe g Fawn s Unclassified ; Total 

a- a £) o 

q a a a a 

a ft* a o 

» o o a 

Wolf Creek-Fisher g 23 § 118 § 10 6 g 736 g 983 

a o » a a 

o o a o o 

Tobacco-Fortine g 7 g 10 g 13 § 128 g 158 

a a a a o 

o o o a o 

Gateway-Jennings g 9 8 16 g 15 g 27 g 67 

a a a c> a 

Libby g 5 g lU g 16 g U2 77 

a a o a o 

a o o o o 

a a a a o 

Totals g UU g 158 g 150 • 933 % 1285 

a a a a a 

o a • a » 

A digest of the above table shows a ratio of one white-tail buck 

to 3«6 doeso Although this is a good buck-doe ratio s it doesn't show 
a true picture of the buck population,, Because of mild winter conditions, 



uu 



the bucks had shed their antlers before any appreciable concentrations 
were found. Thus the only positive means of identifying bucks was by 
observing their antler scars which resulted in the placing of a lot of 
bucks in the unclassified group „ Under these circumstances,, it is felt 
that the true buck ratio would be even higher o From the limited number 
of deer seen up to the period when antler~shedding began 5 a ratio of 
one buck to 2»3 does was foundo This is probably closer to the true 
ratio , but the number of deer seen during that period was too small to 
base any statistics on» 

It will be noted that the above table shows a ratio of ,9k fauns 
per doe 

It might be noted that a comparison to the l°Ul-^2 study shows an 
increase of .75 does per buck,, and a .Ul decrease of fawns per doe. 

MUTE DEER SEI RATIOS 

TABULATION OF MULE DEER SEEN DURING SURVEY 





o 




B 
O 








o 








Unit 


■ 

2 


Buck 


o 

B 

g 


Doe 


Of 

-» 

o 

o 


Fawn 


sUnclassified; 

o o 


Total 


Wolf Creek-Fisher 


-> 

O 
ft 


3 


o 

o 

B 
■ 


10 


o 
ft 

a 
o 


k 


O 

ft 


66 


ft 

1 


83 


Tobacco-Fortine 


o 

s 
8 


6 


I 

8 
8 


11 


i 

• 


1$ 


o 
o 

ft 

• 
• 


198 


g 
8 
8 


230 


Gat eway- Je nnin g s 




36 


O 

I 


73 


o 

o 


67 


8 


166 


S 


3U2 


Libby 


3 

1 

8 
1 


8 


• 

■ 
1 

s 

• 
1 


1U 


I 

A 



o 
a 

o 

a 


13 


• 

8 

ft 

ft 

1 


25 


P 

8 
1 

8 


60 


Totals 


• 


53 


1 

ft 
• 


108 


■ 

• 
ft 


99 


1 

• 
• 


U55 


1 

ft 

ft 


715 



The above table shows a ratio of one buck to two does B This 
probably shows a better picture of the buck -doe ratio than in the case 



U5 



of the white-tails^, since the mule deer retain their antlers longer than 
the white-tails do 

The table also shows «,°1 fawns per doe Q 

Reference to the 19Ul~l+2 study shows a ratio increase of „71 does 
per buck,, while the doe-fawn ratio remains practically the same 

TRENDS AS SHOW BY PAST GAME STUDIES 
The only comparison showing trends in deer population can be made 
in the Wolf Creek-Fisher Area 8 Information dating back to the study by 
West and Bealey in 193h-—19"3. ( i> showed a population of Is.^919 white-tail 
deer for this area Q In a study made by Bergeson in 19h2.$ & population 
of £ 5 £00 white-tail deer was shown The 19U7-19U8 study indicates a 
population of 7 5 010 deer 8 These figures show an increase of 11$ from 
1935 to 191+2 and a 27$ increase from 19U2 to 19U8 The overall increase 
from 1935 to 19U8 is 79$ o In the report by Bealey and West 5 the range 
was considered properly stocked for a normal winter 5 and it was believed 
that a large loss would have occurred under unfavorable winter conditions* 
In Bergeson' s 19l|2 report the range is considered badly over-utilizedo 
The same condition was found to exist in the 19U7-19U8 study,, Thus an 
apparent population increase of 27$ from 19 k2 to 19U8 on a range which was 
considered badly over-utilized in 19U2 indicates a definite need for 
intensive work on the whole subject of deer food habits, ranges<, and range 
utilization. 

HUNTER HARVEST 
Data obtained through hunter contacts during the 19U7 hunting season 
indicate that 32$ of the hunters in Lincoln County were residents of said 



U6 



County » It is known that 2j>062 hunting licenses were sold in Lincoln 
County, and from this it is ascertained that the total number of hunters 
in the county was 6<,mi0<, Data also indicated a hunter success of ]$%« 
disclosing a kill of 966 bucks<> These same data (see ,8 Lincoln County 
Deer Kill for 19U7 Hunting Season**) showed 70$ of the bucks or 676 to 
be white-tail and 2>0% or 289 were mule deer. It is suggested that a 
further check can be made when the license stub data is compiled. It 
should be remembered that these figures refer to the legal kill only* 
While there is no way to make an estimate of the illegal kill,, it is felt 
that it is considerably higher than the legal kill« 

A coverage of approximately two thirds of the county indicated a 
population of about 17^000 deer of both species for the area covered. 
This shows a legal hunter utilization of $ 1% of the herd. If the rest 
of the county were taken into consideration^, the percentage would be 
even lower,. This again indicates the need for an intensive investigation 
of the deer situation, 

NATURAL LOSSES 

Natural losses appeared to be negligible this winter During the 
entire survey the carcasses of nine deer were found, three of which were 
probable coyote kills,, Conditions of the snow were favorable to the 
deer and the predator kill is thought to be slight,, There seems to be a 
considerable number of coyotes throughout the area B During the survey 
a total of thirty-three were seen. 

Disease appears to be an unimportant factor in natural losses,, In 
the few post-mortems made, the only parasites noted were footwormso These 
appeared to be more prevalent in the mule deer„ 



hi 



No information is available on highway and railroad losses at 



this time,, but will be included later 



f s 



o 



PROBLEMS AND PROBLEM AREAS 
Refer to reports on individual units of the survey, 

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MANAGEMENT 



UTILIZATION 

It is felt that no recommendation can be made regarding the 
number to be removede It is known that there are two problem areasj, 
but as previously pointed out 5 the census shows an increase in popula- 
tion although observations have shown and still indicate over=browsingo 
Furthermore^ the carrying capacity of the range is not known at this 
time and only by a thorough range study can the capacity and consequent 
proper harvest be determined* 

There are three methods which might be considered in dealing with 
the over-populated areas*. One of these is the trapping and transplanting 
of deer from concentration areas to areas which are under-utilized. 
There are various sections which are potentially winter range but do 
not suffer the heavy pressure that the problem areas do„ One of these 
areas is the south end of the McMillan Range » Just why more deer do not 
winter in this area is not known, but it is thought that the migratory 
trend for the Fisher Drainage is down the main valley,, thus by-passing 
the west slopes of the McMillan Range© Another winter range which shows 
less utilization is the Quartz Creek-Sheldon Mountain Area This work 



U8 



would necessarily be done while the concentration period existed and the 
snow tended to discourage the deer from wandering off their newly acquired 
range B It seems reasonable to assume that if starving deer are transplant- 
ed in a section which provides adequate forage their tendency would be to 
remain in that vicinity o Whether or not this would lead to the development 
of an ancestral wintering ground is a matter of conjecture^, but the 
suggestion is offered primarily as a means of alleviating the conditions 
which would accompany a particularly severe winter, and if practical would 
serve its purpose as sucho 

Another method which hasn't been given much consideration in the 
past is the reseeding or replanting of the primary browse species or the 
introduction of new species such as bitterbrush for instance*, which grows 
profusely in sections along the Kootenai River* but is not found at all in 
the Wolf Creek or Grave Creek Areas The development of techniques 
relative to this work would probably require considerable research and 
experimentation,, and might be included in a range study,, 

The last and simplest method would be the removal of a pre- 
determined number of antlerless deer from the concentration areas G This 
would probably be more effective if accomplished after the regular 
hunting season „ From the general reaction of the sportsmen in the Eureka 
district who experienced a short doe season in 19U6, it is felt that the 
issuance of a pre -determined number of special antlerless licenses either 
by drawing or on a first-come -first-served basis would meet with far 
greater approval than a wide-open antlerless season. 

Considering the fact that there is potential winter range not being 
fully utilized, if a re-distribution of deer were possible* it would seem 



h9 



to be more satisfactory than a reduction of the herd 

The continuance of the buck law appears to be favored by the 
majority of sportsmen in Lincoln County Among the dissenters^, the chief 
argument seems to be that there are too many dry does due to the lack of 
bucks 5 but sex ratio findings do not support that theory e 

On the basis of this survey and contacts,, it seems desirable to 
continue the complete protection of elk and moose since there is no 
appreciable competition for range between them and the deer herd 

It is considered beneficial to make an administrative closure of 
the area bounded on the south and east by Libby Creek ? on the north by the 
Kootenai River and on the west by the crest of the Cabinet Range & This 
area has a rather sparse deer population^, part of which winters on the 
McMillan Range which is capable of wintering more deer than at pre sent 
Due to the proximity of this area to Libby and the number of accessible 
roadsj, a strict law enforcement campaign would probably be necessary to 
prevent excessive law violation,, This closure should be set up not with 
the idea of permanence^ but as the inauguration of a program of rotating 
closures,. The maximum time of its existence would probably not exceed three 
years<> 

MANAGEMENT OF HABITAT 



SALTING PLANS 

Salting plan maps accompany the reports on the various units „ At 
the present time salt is transported and planted by Forest Service pack- 
trains in the fall when the lookouts are being packed down e Thus s the 



$0 



distribution of salt is limited to the areas along the trails to lookouts 
being usedo Lack of facilities prevents the making of special trips for 
the sole purpose of planting salt in many of the spots designated in the 
salt plan c Correction of this would probably have to be worked out by 
the State o Salt utilization would have to be checked at each plant and 
the replenishment correlated with the amount consumed,. On the basis of 
an average of 75 pounds per plant <, approximately 8 c, 500 pounds of salt 
would be needed for the present plan 8 

RESEEDING 
As previously pointed out 5 some worthwhile work might be done in 
regard to the replanting of browse species and the introduction of new 
species such as bitterbrush on the over-browsed areas. An interesting 
study could be made in conjunction with the logging operations being 
carried on throughout the Kootenai Forest at the present time 

COOPERATION WITH PRIVATE LAND-OWNERS 
The greatest percentage of the land in Lincoln County is owned by 
the Forest Service and the J Neils Lumber Company,, with the exception of 
the Grave Creek Area* where some of the winter deer range is found on 
land owned by ranchers. No cooperative agreements exist with any private 
land— owner So 



51 



TABULATIONS 



YfEATHER INFORMATION RECEIVED FROM LIBBY RANGER STATION 



Month gAverage Snow Depth ^Minimum Temperature sTotal Precipitation 
s In Inches § For Month s In Inches 



October 
November 
December 
January- 
February 
March 



None 

10 

2„5 
7.2 

8a 

2.8 



30 


degrees 


12 


It 


12 


H 


10 


H 


15 


H 


I* 


It 



U e 89 
1.18 

1.71 
2.UU 
2.86 
1.& 



52 



ABUNDANCE OF BIG GAME 9 FUR BEARERS, 
PREDATORS, AND GAME BIRDS 



Species 



A* 



P# 



C* 



s* 



R* 





o 
o 


a 

m 


• 
• 




a 

■ 




a 

o 




BIG GALEs 


a 

• 


a 
• 


a> 
• 




8 




8 




white-tail deer 


8 


8 x 


• a 




a 
a 




a 
a 




mule deer 


o 
• 


a 

5 


a 
• 


X 


a 
a 




o> 
a 




elk 


a 
• 


a 
o 


a 

a 




a 
a 


X 


a 
• 




moose 


a 
o 


a 
• 


a 
a 




a 
a 


X 


a 

a 






o 
a 


a 
a 


a 

a 




8 




a 
a 




FUR BEARERSs 


a 


8 


a 

a 




O 

o 




a 

a 




beaver 


s 


a 
m 


a 

a 


X 


a 
• 




a 
a 




muskrat 


• 


a 
a 


a 

i 




a 

o 


X 


a 

a 




weasel 


a 
o 


8 


a 

9 




o 

5 


X 


o 
a 




marten 


s 


: 


a 
a 




a 

o 


X 


a 
a 




mink 


a 
• 


o 

5 


8 




a 

a 


X 


a 
• 




fisher 


a 
i 


a 
o 


a 
a 




a 

a 




a 
a 


X 


otter 


8 


a 

o 


a 
a 




a 
a 




a 

a 


X 




a 

a 


8 


8 




8 




a 
a 




PREDATORS? 


a 
• 


a 
a 


a 

a 




8 




a 




coyote 


8 


8 X 


» a 




a 
a 




8 




mountain lion 


e 
• 


8 


8 




8 


X 


8 




bobcat 


O 
S 


8 


a 
a 


X 


a 
a 




8 




lynx 


a 

• 


: 


a 
a 




a 
a 


X 


a 

a 






s 


a 
a 


3 




8 




8 




GAME BIRDS s 


s 


8 


a 
• 




8 




a 
a 




blue grouse 


8 


8 


8 




a 
■ 


X 


s 




ruffed grouse 


o 

m 


8 


8 


X 


a 
I 




8 




Franklins grouse 


a 
• 


8 


8 




3 




8 


X 




• 


m 
B 


a 
B 




a 
o 




8 





#A -Abundant 
P-Plentiful 
C-Common 
S-Scarce 
R-Rare 



S3 



WHITE-TAIL DEER SEEN ON STRIP 











o 

















Range Unit 


sApproXe Acreag 


eg- 


Noo 


s Additional? 


Total 






a 

o 

• 


Winter Range 


o 
o 

o 
ft 


Counted 






ft 
ft 


Estimate 


a 










Wolf Creek-Fisher 


a 
a 

• 
■ 

© 

o 


3U S 080 


a 



a 
e 

a 
a 


632 


ft 












6,378 


a 
& 









7,010 




Tobacco-Fort ine 


o 

o 
a 


35,200 


a 

a 

o 


163 






2,019 









2,182 




Gateway- Jenn ing s 




o 

o 


3^,000 


■ 

o 
o 


111 








1,217 


» 



o 


1,258 




Libby 


a 

a 
o 

3 


2^,320 


8 

a 
5 

o> 

a 


£o 




t 

ft 




606 








656 




Totals 


O 

o 

a 
o 

o 

B 


127,600 


a 
o 

a 
ft 

o 

o 

a 


886 


a 

ft 






ft 

» 

a 


10,220 




a 




ft 


a 




11,106 





su 



MULE DEER SEEN ON STRIP 



Range Unit 


o o 

o o 

sApproXo Acreages 
? Winter Range : 

a a 

• o 


Noo 
Counted 


a o 
o a 

g Additional! 
s Estimate % 

o a 

• o 


Total 


Wolf Creek-Fisher 


a 
o 

• 
• 

a 
a 


Unknown 


a 
a 

a 
O 

a 

o 


98 


a 
a 

a 
a 

a 

a 


502 


a 
a 

• 
a 

a 
a 


600 


Tobacco-Fortine 


• 
a 

D 


32,61*0 


o 

a 

5 


207 


a 

a 
a 


2,371 


a 

a 
I 


2,578 


Gateway- Jenning s 


« 

o 

o 


3U,000 


a 

a 
a 


225 


a 

a 

o 


1,781 


a 

a 
a 


2 c 006 


Libby 


o 

8 

§ 


19,81*0 


o 

a 
a 

a 

* 


63 


a 

8 


611 


a 

a 
a 

1 


67U 


Totals 


S 

a 

• 

s 

• 
• 


86,1*30 


a 
1 

a 
• 

a 
a 

: 


593 


a 
a 

? 

a 
a 

• 
a 


5,265 


a 
a 

a 

a 

S 

a 
a 


5,858 



June 1, 191*8 



Submitted bys 
Ade Zajanc, Fieldman 
Wildlife Restoration Division 



55 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (V/e stern Montana) 
DATE July 1$, 19U8 



SWAN-BIACKFOOT UNIT 

BIG BIACKFOOT-CIEARWATER BIG GAME WINTER SURVEY 

19U7-19U8 




May 6, 19U8 



Submitted by? 

Frank Gummer, Fieldman 
R, H. Evers s Fieldman 
Wildlife Restoration Division 



56 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

X LI I/lJU UU LlOn o ooo0o*«oo 000000000000000000 Qw 

ACKT10WXGQjr,GTn.Gn*U S o •••••••««ooee 000000000000 OU 

I SrSOliriS-j-. o ooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooO OU 

a I iy S ~L C 3. J- rG3.UU.rGS» 0000000000000000000000000 0,^. 

licinCL M U S6 HjCOriOTIQ^ o • o • • e e e o o o o o 00000000*0000 OX 

liiS uOI*lCcLL L/gIX'GL o e e o o e ©c«ooooo*ooec«oooooo O^ 

Use By Domestic Livestock o*«4oo»o««oe««e 6I| 

iiU.riO lu^ 116 5 SU. i © #000000000000000 oooooooooo -^i-' 

Weather Conditions • • •••••••••• 00000000 6> 

oensus j.ecnmc^\ies •coo 00*000000000000000000 00 

Tables 

Sex Ratio and Percent of Young o ..... o o • 67 

White-tail Deer Census, 19U7-19h8 .........o...... 68 

Mule Deer Census, 19U7-19U8 • ••..... ......o.... 69 

iL-Lh. UenSUS, i.7 U ■ — -LyU 1 -' • » • » o.ooo.oooo.oooe.o. ' U 

Sub-Unit No. 1 

Gold Creeks Sheep Flats to Prairie Creek ...oo. ...... 72 

Sub-Unit No. 2 

Hj-Lk oreeK — Lear ureeK. ..«...o.«.eo..o«oo««o ( j 

Sub-Unit No. 3 

Clearwater-Sperry Grade ............... ...... 75 

Sub-Unit No. U 

Salmon Lake Hills, Owl Creek, Fish Lake and Drew Creek. ..... 76 

Sub-Unit No. $ 

Cottonwood Creek-Boyd Ranch. ............. ..... 77 

Sub-Unit No, 6 

Monture-KcCabe Creek. 79 

Sub-Unit No. 7 

Dick Creek -Warren Creek -Ovando Mountain 80 

(Continued) 



Table of Contents (Continued) 



£*££ 



Sub-Unit No. 8 

Coopers Lake -Mar kham Mountain. . . . » ■ 81 

Sub-Unit No. 9 

Lincoln Canyon. ..... 82 

Sub-Unit No. 10 

Monture Hill-Blackfoot River Breaks 8U 

Sub-Unit No. 11 

Pearson Creek-Chamberlain Creek 8£ 

Sub-Unit No. 12 

Sheep Mount ain-McNamara Landing-Greenough Divide ......... 86 

Conclusions • 87 

Recommendations. • 88 



Map 

Game Range and Units • •••>••••••••••••••••••• 59 



5 



<D 



o 

o 

52 

o 

a 

CD 



0) 



s 

(2 

0) 

i 

C5 




59 



BIG BIACKFOOT-CLEARWATER BIG GAME WINTER SURVEY 

19U7-19U8 



INTRODUCTION 

To facilitate the management program set up by the Montana Fish 
and Game Department, a series of big game management units have been 
established. It is planned to make detailed studies vdthin these areas 
at approximately five year intervals. 

One of these units, Swan-Blackfoot Unit, was first studied by the 
Wildlife Restoration Division during the winter of 19l*2-19U3« At that tine 
estimates were made, winter game range mapped, and general recommendations 
prepared. Due to changing conditions within the area, increased hunting 
pressure, and complaints by ranchers, it was felt necessary to study this 
unit during the winter of 19U7-19U8. A two-man crew was assigned to this 
unit, 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

Crew members wish to express their appreciation for the use of 
Forest Service facilities and for the excellent cooperation given by 
Rangers Lukens, Bowers, Godfrey, and York. 

Also the use of private cabins belonging to Fred Thibadean and the 
Karkanan Brothers, which were especially helpful. 

PERSONNEL 

Frank Gummer and R. H. Evers worked in this area intermittently 
from December 1, 19U7 to April 3, 19U3. A total of 112 man-days were 



60 



spent in covering a major portion of the critical -winter range . 

The use of a jeep greatly facilitated ground coverage, as indicated 
in the following tabulation: 



Means of Travel ; 


: Nov. : 


t Dec. : 


! Jan, 


a 
a 

* 


Feb. 


Car i 


t 160 ! 


\ 609 i 


1 626 


• 

• 
■ 

■ 

i 


686 


Snow shoe and foot i 




: 107 ! 


f 62 


• 

o 

o 

• 


61 



: March 



826 
52 



April 



232 



12 



PHYSICAL FEATURES 

This unit comprises approximately 2,06U square miles. Of this 
area, only about 195 square miles or 9ok% are available during the critical 
winter period. The study area starts at Bonner and extends up the valley 
about 70 miles. This valley floor varies in width from a quarter-mile to 
15 miles. The elevation at Bonner is approximately 3j0C0 feet and at 
Lincoln 5*000 feet. This unit varies from broad sage and grass bottom- 
lands to very rugged terrain at the stream headwaters. The timber on the 
south slopes are primarily of the yellow pine-Douglas fir types. The 
browse associated with this type is mountain maple, serviceberry, 
chokecherry, willow, and ceanothus. On the north slopes, Douglas fir is 
dominant j dog wood, alder, willow, quaking aspen, and mountain maple are 
common browse species. 

LAND-USE ECONOMY 

The economy of the area centers around the logging industry. Ap- 
proximately 225 men are supported directly from lumbering interests and 
about 100 men work in the smaller mills which run only part-time. 






61 



Several bands of sheep coming from adjacent valleys graze a portion 
of this winter range in summer and several large cattle ranches occupy 
range that would normally be winter range for deer and elk, This competi- 
tion creates the chief problem in this unit. 

Dude ranches which are mostly combination livestock and recreation 
units,, form an important part of the economy of the area Big game offers 
attraction and income to lU known dude ranchers and commercial packers o 
Shown below is a list of the dude ranches and commercial packers known to 
have operated in the past summer. 



Name of Dude Ranch or 
Commercial Guide 



Operating From or at 



Tamarack Resort 
Wapiti Lodge 
Allen Morse 
Double Arrow Ranch 
E-L Ranch 
Lee Cahoon 
Copenhaver Brothers 
Claude Reinochle 
James B„ Murphy 
F. E. Prochnow 
John Baird 
Plummer Ranch 
Edward Geary 
Coles R„ McNally 



© 

© 
© 

o 


See ley Lake 
Seeley Lake 


© 
a 


Seeley Lake 


s 

£ 


Seeley Lake 


© 

o 
a 


Greenough 


S 

» 

• 


Greenough 


©- 

o 

o 


Ovando 




Ovando 


s 

• 

© 


Ovando 


o 

a 
5 


Ovando 


* 

s 


Ovando 


s 


Ovando 




o 


Ovando 


s 


Ovando 



62 



HISTORICAL DATA 

Much of the game history of the Big Blackfoot has been lost, 
however, some references indicate early day presence of species now 
extincto 

In 1892, Arthur L. Stone, in his book "Following Old Trails" , des- 
cribed coming down the Blackfoot and finding a bighorn ram near Blue side 
This area is about three miles above Bonner. 

Two skulls of bighorn rams were discovered near McNa.ni a ra landing 
in 1937 during excavation for bridge abutments,, 

Buffalo skulls have been found on Kleinschmidt flat east of Ovando 
and two were found at the junction of the Dry Fork and the North Fork 
near the present site of the North Fork Ranger Station. 

Comparative data on big game populations is available for only two 
years. These are included in the tabulations below and indicate actual 
counts for the area in 19U2-U3 as compared to 19U7-U8. 

White-tail Deer 



Year 



Actual Count s Estimate 



Total g Carrying Capacity 



19U2-19U3 
19U7-19U8 



1,12U 
1,3U8 



1,U10 
9U6 



2,53U 


■ 

-> 
9 


2,150 


2 S 29U 


■ 


2,11*0 



Actual count increases 22U white-tail. 



Mule Deer 



Year 


I 

o 

■ 


Actual Count 


■ 

o 

I 

» 

6 


Estimate 


a 

6 

• 
■ 

ft 


Total 




sC 

2 


arrying Capaci' 


19U2-19U3 
19U7-19U8 


o 

• 

1 

I 

9 
• 

I 


298 
1,161 


1 

■ 
• 

t 


U60 
670 


■ 

1 
1 
SC 
1 


758 

1,831 


I 
i 

» 
• 

■ 
I 

: 


700 
2,132 



63 



Actual count increase? 863 mule deer< 

Elk 



Year g Actual Count s Estimate 1 Total ; Carrying Capacity 

o a © a 

o o • o 

19U2-19U3 a 21U s Ul5 i 629 I 800 

» OP OP o 

19U7-19U8 s 356 s kl9 s 835 s l s 065 



Actual count increases II4.2 elk 8 

These figures indicate an increase of all species,, however,, the 
great difference in the number of mule deer during the two studies is not 
indicative of a phenomenal increase,, since good mule deer habitat was 
covered in 19H7~U8 that was missed during the earlier study,, 

USE BY DOMESTIC LIVESTOCK 

In 1930 the Forest Service permitted 18 bands of sheep to graze in 
this area during the summer periodo During recent years no sheep have been 
allowed on the Forest. This was done to protect watershed drainage from 
over~grazingo 

At one ranch where game had caused complaints of haystack damage , 
hay has been baled and stored in a large shed„ This resulted in the game 
moving to adjacent range as no haystacks were available 

Another example of changing elk range from private land was found 
on Elk Creeko Considerable use of haystacks by elk had occurred and elk- 
proof haystack fences were constructed three years ago» Now, although 
elk are found on the adjacent browse winter range, £or& are found on the 
meadow So 



6U 



HUNTING PRESSURE 

Because of its nearness to Missoula, a large population center,, 
this region has been subjected to a constantly increasing hunting pressure,, 
Local interest and demand make this unit one of vital importance Normally 
the hunter take is largest following heavy snows and often more game is 
killed the last week than during the previous three weeks» 

Management practices in the Blackfoot district have since 1933 
restricted deer harvesting to antlered bucks and permitted hunting of 
either sex of elk from October l£th to November l£th„ However*, it has 
been necessary on two occasions to conduct special hunts on the Boyd ranch 
to alleviate complaint of elk dam age 

The first such season was in 1933 when the area was opened to the 
hunting of either sex It is estimated that over 100 elk were killed*, 

In 19U8 a special hunt was conducted by use of special permits,. 
Thirty permits were issued for hunting from December 22nd to January 31st<> 
This hunt was not popular with local sportsmen, many receiving permits 
refused to use them and less than 19 elk were taken,. It is doubtful if 
any good was accomplished by this hunto 

WEATHER CONDITIONS 

The winter of 19U7-19U3 was not a period of deep snow, however, it 
was a winter that made foraging difficult for game,, Snow fell early, 
crusted in December and remained in this condition during most of the winter. 
Elk were found in areas of almost four feet of snow,, however, the normal 
winter range was characterized by a much lower snow depth „ In the game 
wintering area, the average snow depth was 10s 2$ inches on the south slopes, 
17s 5 inches on the level and 30s 1$ inches on the north slopes. Shown 



65 



below is the average monthly snow depths and the winter average 



1 1 1 III 


8 


a 
o 




o 
o 




a 
o 


1 " 


o 

ai 


Area 


sDecembers 

o o 


January 




o 

o 


February 


a 

a 

o 

a 


March 


g Average 

o 
a 


South Slopes 


o 

a 

s 13 


o- 
o> 


13 


a 


9 


o-- 


6 


o 

o 

i; 10s 25 inches 


North Slopes 


s 25 


5 


30 




32 


a 
o 


36 


a 

§ 30s 75 inches 


Level 


s 18 


a> 


20 


o 
o 




15 


o 

s 


17 


s 

§ l?s5 inches 




8 






o 




a 




o 

o 



CENSUS TE CHNIQUES 

Census methods used in the survey depended upon extensive coverage 
of all wintering areas» Travel was designed to cut through the representa=* 
tive range and to count as much game as possible o Fresh tracks were used 
in addition to the actual count to determine estimate s Each crew member 
estimated the carrying capacity of the area covered that day with relation 
to the existing population and potential,. 

During the first part of the winter some time was spent in each unit 
getting sex ratio data* After shedding of antlers started*, the main emphasis 
was placed on getting total population estimates,. 

The Swan-Blackfoot Unit has been divided into 12 units for con- 
venience in study and reporting. These units are outlined on the map at 
the beginning of this reporto 

Following is a tabular summary of the Swan-Blackfoot Unit. 



66 



Sex Ratio and Percent of Young 



Species 



Male s Females Young 



Total s Sex Ratio s Percent of 

t s Young 



White-tail 


: 35 8 


151 2 


150 s 


336 


Mule deer 


o » 

s 78 s 


29U s 


355 s 


727 


Elk 


O O 

z 18 i 
: i 

o • 

o • 


5U « 

s 

o 

o> 


U6 8 

s 
s 


118 



lsli.3 

Is3c7 
Is 3 



hh.S 

U8. 

38. 



67 



WHITE-TAIL DEER CENSUS 19U7-19U8 
SWAN-BLACKFOOT UNIT 



Area 



Actual s 
Count % 



Estimate g Total 



Carrying 
Capacity 



No. 1 Sheep Flats to Prairie 
Creek 5 Sunflower Mtn«, 

Noo 2 Elk Creek-Bear Creek 

Noo 3 



575 



22U 



599 



Clearwater. 
Grade 



Sperry 



No. h Salmon Lake Hills, Owl 
Creek, Fish Lake & Brew 
Creek 

No 5 Cottonwood Creek s Boyd- 



2U2 



376 



58 



20U 



300 



580 



Bandy Ranch 



No. 6 
No. 7 

No. 8 

No. 9 
No. 10 

No .11 

No. 12 



Uoo 



300 



Uoo 



Monture=McCabe Creek 







31 






Qh 






115 





200 


Dick & Warren Creek s 5 
Qvando Mountain 


a 


0* 


18 




125 


* 



o» 



1U3 






n, 


200 


Coopers Lake, Markham 
Mountain 








©■ 


117 


s 




>> 




33 



(ft 



150 


» 
O 

a 




150 


Lincoln Canyon 


CP 




92 


8 


100 


» 




192 






200 


Monture Hill, Blackfoot 
River Breaks 





17 




m 

s 


8 


s 








25 





W 


Pearson Creek-Chamber- 
lain Creek 


8 
S 

a 


26 


8 
8 


60 


s 









86 


8 

O 
O 




100 


Sheep Mountain, McNamarag 
Landing 9 Greenough g 


5U 


S 

> 


50 


8 





101* 




8 

B 


150 




R 




3 




8 




8 




Totals 


O 


l,3U8 


s 




9U6 


8 

<> 

9 


2,29U 


8 

O 

O 


2,1U0 



68 



MULE DEER CENSUS 19U7-19U8 
SWAN-ELACKFOOT UNIT 







a 

o 




a 
a 




a 

a 




a 
a 






Area 


a 
a 


Actual 


a 
o 


Estimate 


a 

a 


Total 


a 
a 


Carrying 






o 

o 

a 
a 


Count 


o 

a 

a 
a 




a 
a 

a 
a 




a 

a 

a 
a 


Capacity 


No. 


1 Sheep Flats to Prairie 


B 
i 

a 






a 
o 




a 
a 

a- 
a 




a 
a 

% 






Creek , Sunflower Mtn. 


o 
I 


198 


a 


235 


o 




U33 


o 

a 


500 


No. 


2 Elk Creek -Bear Creek 


o 

a 

o 

8 


U7 


a 

o 

o» 
a- 


23 


o 

a 

o 


70 


a 

8 


200 


No. 


3 Clearwater* Sperry 






s 




8 




a 

a 






Grade 


o 

9 


1U7 


a 




53 


a 
o 


200 


a 
a 


200 


No. 


k Salmon Lake Hills, Owl 


i 

o 

a 




a 

8 




8 
S 




o 

a 

a 






Creek, Fish Lake & Drew 


a 

a 




a 

O 




S 




8 






Creek 


a 

o 

o 


285 


o 
© 


65 


a 

a 

8 


350 


a 



s 


300 


No. 


5 Cottonwood Creek, Boyd- 



o 




a 

a 




8 




8 






Bandy Ranch 


a 
a 


— 


a 

a 


— 


2 


.«..._> 


8 


— 


No. 


6 Monture-McCabe Creek 


a 

o> 
■ 

8 


__ 


a 

a 
a 

s 


... 


a 

a 
a 

a 

a 


__> 


S 
8 


— 


No. 


7 Dick & Warren Creeks, 


O 

o 




a 

a 




■ 
o 




8 






Ovando Mountain 


1 


36 


a 
a 


LU 


| 
a 


50 


8 


125 


No. 


8 Coopers Lake, Markham 


a 

o 
a 




8 
8 




a 

8 




8 

8 






Mountain 


s 


73 


O 

o 


39 


1 


112 


8 


112 


No. 


9 Lincoln Canyon 


s 
i 


1 


a 

a 
a 

2 


— 


8 
8 

S 


1 


8 

m 
m 


— 


No. 


10 Monture Hill.* Blackfoot 


a 
o 




S 




S 




8. 






River Breaks 


BE 

■ 
a> 


228 


2 
8 


72 


8 
S 


300 


t 

8 


300 


No. 


11 Pearson Creek,, Chamber- 


a 
a 




8 




o» 

a 




8 






lain Creek 


r 
l 


96 


a 
a 

s 


kh 


a 
a 


mo 


2 
8 


1U5 


No. 


12 Sheep Mountain, McNamara 


a 




8. 




1 




8 






Landing. Greenough 


8 

t 
1 


50 


8 

a 

1 


125 


a 
I 

8 
8 


175 


8 
8 
8 


250 




Totals 


1 

■ 
a 


1,161 


a 
• 

a 


670 


8 

S 


1,831 


I 
| 


2,132 



69 



ELK CENSUS 19U7-19U3 
SWAN-BLACKFOOT UNIT 



Area 



s Actual s 


Estimate 






Total 


• 
• 


Carrying 


s Count 2 

« ft 

a « 




» 











a 


Capacity 


S 8 




§ 











ft- ft 














S 63 8 


U8 







111 






175 


ft O 

s 36 g 


6U 








100 









125 



No* 1 Sheep Flats to Prairie 
Creek 9 Sunflower Mtn 

No, 2 Elk Creek 5 Bear Creek 

No. 3 Clearwater^ Sperry 
Grade 

No. k Salmon Lake Hills,, Owl 
Creek,, Fish Lake & Drew 
Creek 

No. 5 Cottonwood Creek , Boyd- 
Bandy Ranch 

No. 6 Monture-McCabe Creek 

No. 7 Dick & Warren Creek s s 
Ovando Mountain 

No. 8 Coopers Lake s Markham 
Mountain 

Noo 9 Lincoln Canyon 

No. 10 Monture Hill, Blackfoot 
River Breaks 

No .11 Pearson Creek s Chamber- 
lain Creek 

No. 12 Sheep Mountain 5 McNamara 



Totals 



2 



g 



73 



.8 



12 



65 



15' 



138 



25 



165 



76 






21* 






100 










100 


^ 





g 

m 

ft 


120 


ft 

g 

ft 

0- 


175 




li- 
ft 

» 




200 


1U 


ft 
ft 

% 

i 


83 




o 





ft 

ft 


97 


<> 

(> 


ft 


100 


9 



ft 


21* 


ft 



33 


ft 



5o 



8 




t 











s 




ft 
ft- 


— 


a 
a 


— 





— 


s 


— 


<> 
ft 




g 









? 




ft 


ft 


27 


ft 


7 







3U 


<> 

» 

g 


75 


s 

8 


,=_. 


s 

<> 

<> 


25 


<» 


o 
ft 


25 


o 

g 


50 


s 




O 




»> 




g 




g 




■1 
ft 








• 


g 





356 



h79 



835 



1,06$ 



70 




y*w 




White-tail Deer on Salmon Lake hills. 
Note heavily Browsed Service berry. 




Typical Winter Range in Blackfoot- 
Clearwater Unit. Salmon Lake Area 



71 



SUB-UNIT NO. 1 
GOLD CREEK g SHEEP FLATS TO PRAIRIE CREEK 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION 

This area all lies north of the Big Blackfoot River and east of 
Gold Creek including Belmont, Blanchards, Lost Horse and Prairie Creeks 
Sub-unit No. 1 is primarily -white-tail range, but has a few mule deer and 
elk. A heavy concentration of deer was found on the lower south slopes of 
Sunflower Mountain and in the flats along the Blackfoot River known as 
Sheep FlatSo Some deer were found all along, but the next local concentra- 
tion was found at Blanchard and another at the mouth of Prairie Creek. 

Predators were numerous in this sub-unit. It is known that one 
cougar and five coyotes were killed there this winter. The chief forage 
for this unit consists of the following? grass, willow, ceanothus, 
mountain maple, alder, juniper, serviceberry, dog wood, and chokecherry. 

Deer migration started on November 5th following a heavy snow and 
one week later most of them had moved to their winter range. The elk 
started to migrate at the same time, but by a lesser degree. Hunting 
pressure no doubt had its effect on migration too. Within the area there 
are ten ranches and sheep come in from out of state for summer grazing on 
this winter game range. 

About one/ sixth of this unit has been logged. No logging is being 
carried on at present, but logging roads have been built into some of the 
un-cut portions. It is believed operations will start again soon. 

Access into this sub-unit is difficult, but in spite of the fact 
about 300 men, mostly local sportsmen take 25 elk, 75 white-tail and 25 
mule deer annually. Predator kill of deer this winter was estimated at 

72 



1|0. The browse shows very heavy use in past years. It is believed that 
in more severe winters most of the deer will be found in the three areas 
of concentration. 

RECOMMENDATIONS 

It is recommended that deer season be restricted to bucks only as a 
satisfactory sex ratio exists, and that elk of either sex be taken during 
the regular season » Removal of domestic stock in the Sheep Flats area is 
recommended as present indications show it not capable of this dual use. 

BIG GAME POPULATION TABULATION 





a 

i 




o 




o 
o 




» 
i 




Species 


o 

■ 


Actual 


o 
o 


Estimate 


• 
■ 


Total 


Q 
■ 


Carrying 




9 
t 

O 

a 


Count 


o 
o 

• 
• 




• 

• 

» 
a 




© 
I 

» 

o 


Capacity 


White-tail Deer 


o 

c 


375 


■ 
o 

a 
o 


22U 


o 

» 

D 
■ 


599 


■ 
i 

■ 
o 


Uoo 


Mule Deer 


• 
• 


198 


• 

o 

I 


235 


• 
• 


U33 


I 

o 

1 


5oo 


Elk 


s 
§ 
g 


63 


I 

■ 
• 

• 


U8 


1 

o 

I 

o 

• 


111 


V 
o 

m 


175 



SUB-UNIT NO. 2 
ELK CREEK - BEAR CREEK 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION 

Elk Creek, Ashby, Arkansas and Bear Creek make up this unit. Elk 
Creek enters the Blackfoot Valley floor one mile east of the Greenough 
Post Office. No heavy concentrations of game were found in this sub-unit 
and dominant species were elk and mule deer. On the southwest slopes, 
primary game food species are grass and ceanothus. 



7j 



A major portion of this winter range was logged in the 1920" s and 
forest fire went over most of it in 1929 o The browse in the bottoms con- 
sist of the following? dog wood 5 willowc, mountain maple^ alder^, serviceberry 
and chokecherry 

On November 5th and 6th mule deer were seen migrating to Little Fish 
Creek and lower Elk Creek «, On November lUth and 15th elk were killed on 
Little Fish Creek and none were seen down that low before that date<> On 
Ashby and Arkansas Creek about 1$ elk and 30 deer were taken by legal 
hunting o 

There are two large ranches adjacent to this area. In the winter of 
I9I4.2-U3 this was a problem area as ranchers complained of elk trespass* Elk 
proof hay corrals have been in place at the outlying stacks for three 
years and apparently have been effective «, Elk were found near by,, but 
none came on the meadows this winter,. Access into the more primitive portions 
of this area is most difficult and the hunter-take during the first part 
of the season was negligible and light during the latter parto 

No change in hunting season is recommended,, Winter range in this 
area will handle twice or three times the game we found there „ 

Big Game Population Tabulation 

o 00 ft 

o So a 

Total s Carrying 
g C apacity 



Species 


Or 
• 


Actual 


ft 
O 


Estimate 1 








i 


Count 


O 
ft 

ft 

ft 


ft 
• 











a 


White-tail Deer 




ODOD 





CKKX> a 













O 

ft 


Mule Deer 


z 


kl 






23 8 




s 





ft 



ft 


Elk 





36 






6k z 



70 g 200 
100 g 125 



7U 



SUB-UNIT NOo 3 
CLEARWATER-SPERRY GRADE 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION 

This area starts at the junction of the Big Blackfoot and Clearwater 
Rivers,, It takes in the River bottom from here to the mouth of Cottonwood 
Creek, the southwest slopes of Speny Grade and the low rolling hills 
north of the Cahoon Ranch. White-tail deer were found over the entire 
wintering area, but not so many were found on the higher southwest slopes 
of Sperry Grade,, Mule deer and elk were only found on the southwest 
slope of Sperry Grade • 

The chief forage in this unit is ceanothus ? grass* serviceberry, 
chokecherry, juniper and fir needles,, The Douglas fir and juniper show a 
distinct deer line in certain districts,. The deer started concentrating in 
this area about November 7th„ 

This sub-unit is very accessible and quite heavily hunted. About 
l£0 hunters took UO deer here, the heaviest take was in the latter part of 
the season,. This is a small area and will not support more game especially 
in the more severe winters,, 

Big Game Population Tabulation 



Species 2 Actual £ Estimate s Total s Carrying 

: Count s s s Capacity 

09a o 

• n • • 

S9 9> 9 

■ 9> 9 

White-tail Deer z 2kZ g 58 s 300 t 300 

i I t 1 

Mule Deer i Ihl 8 $3 s 200 1 200 

9> > 9 9 

Elk r 3 t 32 t 2$ 25 



7* 



SUB-UNIT NOo h 
SALMON LAKE HILLS 3 OWL CREEK s FISH LAKE AND DREW CREEK 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION 

This is the most critical wintering area in the Swan-Blackfoot Unit, 
Along Salmon Lake to the north and to the east in the lower slopes are 
found white-tail deer while in the higher elevations mule deer and elk are 
common,, In Drew Creek elk occur while in the Fish Lake area mule deer and 
elk wintered in near proximity,, Along Owl Creek only white-tail deer 
were found at lower levels^ but a few elk wintered near the top of the 
drainage,, No deer were found from the headwaters of the Clearwater to a 
point one mile north of Salmon Lake after the first of December,, 

By the first week in April 5 as higher country opens up,, the deer 
leave the critical winter range All indicators on this range point to 
extreme over=*itilization. Grass is practically absents mullein stalk 
have been stripped and the dominant vegetation consists of low palata- 
bility foodsj such as Oregon grape s and kinnikinnick. 

Soil erosion has been noted and the grass is almost gone^ in places 
only the roots remain. 

LIVESTOCK USAGE 

This very critical white-tail wintering grounds is grazed all 
summer by sheep s from a ranch near Deer Lodge „ Some locally owned cattle 
and horses also summer on the unit and 12 head of horses wintered with the 
deer„ 

About 2/3 of this area has been logged in recent years,, Because the 
soil is so porous and the cover thin s this area tends to dry-out early and 

76 



annual growth is not great. 

Access into the area is easy,, about UOO hunters take 90 deer and 
10 elk annually. It is estimated that 70 deer are killed each -winter in 
this area by predators,, cars and poachers,, Very few were taken by poachers 
this winter* 

No change in hunting season is re commended „ 
Big Game Population Tabulation 



Species 





Actual 


• 


Estimate 


? 


Total 


a 
a 


Carrying 


o 

a 


Count 


* 

a 
■ 




D 
O 

• 
o 




a 

9 

a 

• 


Capacity 


o 
a 

s 


376 


» 

■ 


20U 


a 
■ 

a 

• 


580 


a 
o 

a 

a 


Uoo 


t 




B 
o 




a 

• 








a 

a 


285 




65 


o 
o 


350 


9 

* 


300 


s 


73 


■ 

a 

a 
■ 


65 


a 

■ 

a 

i 


138 


2 

O 

■ 


165 


8 




a 

o 




a 
o 




B 
I 





White -tail Deer 
Mule deer 
Elk 



SUB-UNIT NO. 5 
COTTONWOOD CREEK-BOYD RANCH 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION 

Cottonwood Creek and its tributaries on the east and the east slope 
of Boyds Hill make up this sub-unity which is perhaps the key to elk manage- 
ment in the entire Swan-Blackfoot district, 

Boyds Hill forms a peninsula upon which elk from the Cottonwood 
winter » As the country surrounding the hill is hayland a problem is created 
by elk use of haystacks. 

About three-fifths of the unit is cut-over lando Fir thickets and 
brushy swamps untouched by loggers still remain, affording excellent cover. 



77 



Willow^ dog wood,, chokecherry 5 quaking aspen, alder., hawthorn and grasses 
form the primary vegetative cover,. 

Nine ranches are located in this sub-unit and two of these are 
large o The Boyd Ranch had over 70 large haystacks last year and these 
stacks have attracted elkj, causing rancher complaint and a special season,. 
Browse in the area is good and could support the elk wintering there if 
it were usedo 

An attempt to control elk on the Boyd Ranch was made in December,, 
Thirty permits were issued., with the hope that additional hunting would 
chase the elk out of the area e Only 19 permits were filled and the 
objectives were not realized*. 

RECOMMENDATIONS 



It is believed that a cooperative project could be established 
which would aid in maintaining elk in the area with a •minimum of disturbance 
This recommendation^, which is discussed in more detail at the end of this 
report^, consists of land acquisition,, fencing of certain haystacks and 
managed hunting „ 

Big Game Population Tabulation 



Species 



i Actual 
s Count 



Estimate s Total 



Carrying 
Capacity 



White-tail Deer 
Mule Deer 
Elk 



76 



2U 



100 



100 



78 



SUB-UNIT NOo 6 
MONTUIgLMcCABE CHEEK 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION 

This area includes Monture Creek north of the Ranger Station,, and 
the area south and west of the Ranger Station to the headwaters of the 
tributaries of Cottonwood Creek and includes area on the north side of 
McCabe Creeko Monture s Dunham and LicCabe Creeks have very dense cover in 
the flats below the Ranger Station,, Douglas fir covers a major part of 
this wintering area White-tail deer were found throughout the brushy 
bottomse Some elk were found here too 5 others wintered up McCabe Creek 
in 20 inches of snow and 8 elk wintered up Monture Creek on a west slope in 
four feet of snow These elk have spent the winter in a very small area^, 
cleaning up one patch of browse before breaking a trail to the next,, 

Plenty of good forage can be found at lower levels The chief 
browse species for this unit ares serviceberry Q willow^ chokecherry r dog 
wood 5 ceanothus and grass* 

A small portion of this unit has been logged and more will be 
logged soon„ 

A migration of deer into the lower country was noted starting 
November 5th Elk came down about the same time* but hunting pressure 
forced them backo A large number of mule deer summer in the higher country 
in this area* but winter in sub-unit No. 10 on Monture Hillo It is during 
the migration through sub-unit No« 6 that the most deer are taken,, 

About 300 hunters take UO elk and $0 deer annually during the 
regular hunting season. 

No change of season is recommendedc 

79 



Big Game Population Tabulation 





o 






o 
o 


a 
a 




o 




Species 




Actual 


s Estimate 


o 

o 


Total 


9 

9 


Carrying 




o 



o 
m 


Count 


8 


o 

o 

o 




O 


Capacity 


White-tail Deer 


o 
on 

o 


31 


a 

g 8U 


o 

o 


115 


o 


200 


Mule Deer 


o 

D 


-* 


g ->«=■ 


o 

o 


«= 


o 


_i_ii i 


Elk 


o 
o 


55 


g 120 


o 

o 


175 




o 
1 


200 










o 

a, 




a 





SUB-UNIT N0„ 7 
DICK CREEK-WARREN CREEK-QVANDO MOUNTAIN 

GENERAL DESCHIFTION 

This area includes the lower edge of Ovando Mountain from the south 
side of McCabe Creek to the north fork of the Blackfoot River taking in 
Upper Dick Creek*, Warren Creek and Spring Creeko Most of the Ovando 
Mountain wintering area is an old burn The remainder of the area is flat 
country with low 5 rolling hills having a cover of Douglas fir and pine 
Many brushy swamps are also foundo 

Nine ranches are within the area Most of them have fenced the elk 
out of their hay corrals« Two of them still complain of slight damage*, but 
have some of their stacks elk proof 

The forage in this sub-unit consists of the followingg mountain 
maple^ chokecherry s serviceberry a hawthorn,, willow,, dog wood and grass 

The white~tail winter throughout the brushy bottoms the mule deer 
winter in the rolling sagebrush hills next to the Dry Gulch road Elk 
usually range along Ovando Mountain^, but a few stay down adjacent to the 
rancheSo 

80 



JLccess into the unit is easy One hundred and fifty hunters take 
15 elk and 30 deer annually,, The bucks stay in dense thickets^, otherwise,, 
the kill would be much greater No change of season is recommended,, 

Big Game Population Tabulation 



Species s Actual % Estimate g Total g Carrying 

I Count s s s Capacity 



White-tail Deer g 18 s 125 s U*3 § 200 

2 g % s 

Mule Deer % 36 g Ik % $0 g 125 

© o> © o 

Elk s Ik 9 83 § 97 8 100 

> (* o t> 

o m o o 

This unit as a whole could support lobs more game* but along the 
edge of Ovando Mountain where the elk winter, a heavy browse use was noted, 

SUB-UNIT NOc 8 
COOPERS IAKE-MARKKAM MOUNTAIN 



General Description 

This country takes a Mineral Hill, Markham Mountain and a narrow 
strip on the ridge to the north and the Coopers Lake area The south 
slopes of Mineral and Markharn have sparsely scattered timber and browse^ 
the ground cover being mostly cheatgrass The remainder of the area is 
of the Douglas fir type with a few patches of yellow pine„ A concentration 
of deer was found on the south slopes of Markham Mountain and Mineral 
Hillo This area is grazed by domestic stock in summer „ A few deer were 
found on the west slope of the ridge north of the Markham area None 
were found near Coopers Lake except the remains of five killed by Cougars. 



81 



Three cougars were taken in the Coopers Lake vicinity the day- 
following field investigations o 

Elk were found north and east of Coopers Lake and a few well back 
on Markhanu The chief winter forage consists of the followingg green 
cheatgrass s small patches of bunchgrass^ ceanothus^ mountain maple s 
serviceberry s chokecherry and juniper The juniper shows a very distinct 
deer line. The north portion of this unit has a far better browse • It 
is suitable for elk 5 but has too much snow for winter deer rangeo 

Hunter kill is light 

There are six ranches adjacent to the area 5 one of these ranchers 
has complained of elk damageo He had only two stacks<> 

No change in hunting season is recommendedo It is recommended that 
the Fish and Game acquire the Markham Mountain area and restrict livestock 



grazing, 



Big Game Population Tabulation 





a 

9 




a 
8 




a 




a 




Species 


a 
a 


Actual 


a 

a 


Estimate 


a 


Total 


o 

■ 


Carrying 





a 
a 

a 

a 


Count 


o 

a 
a 

o 




o 

o 

o 
o 




■ 

a 
a 


Capacity 


White-tail Deer 


a 
a 

o 
a 

a 


117 


o 

a 

a- 
o. 

o 

o 


33 


a 
o 

8 

a- 
a 


150 


a 
o 

a 
o 

or 


150 


Mule Deer 


a 

o 


73 


o 


39 


g 


112 


a 

a 


112 


Elk 


a 

a 
o 


9 


a 


2k 


e 

a 

o 


33 


a 

a 


50 




a 

S 




? 




a 

5 




a 
o 





SUB-UNIT NOo 9 
LINCOLN CANYON 



GENERAL DESCRIPTION 



82 



This area covers a narrow strip along the River from Markham 
Mountain to Lincoln „ Deer s although not yarded, were found limited to 
this narrow area which is about 12 miles long and will average one-quarter 
of a mile in width „ About one third of the deer were found between the 
road and the river in the dog wood and willow patches,. The rest were above 
the road where juniper is the key browse,. Other forage is as follows? 
chokecherry, serviceberry, nannyberry 5 mountain maple ^ honeysuckle and 
grass<> Juniper and fir show a decided deer line« 

Three ranches are within the area,, Domestic stock graze here in 
summer and 20 horses grazed on this range all winter The deer in this 
area summer in Upper Arrastra Creek, Lincoln Gulch and Beaver Creek » 

About l£0 hunters take U0 deer annually in this area Access into 
the area after the snow comes is very difficult „ No plows are used and 
some of the hills are very steep It is believed that by acquiring land 
around the Markham Hill area, it would relieve the wintering pressure here 
as the areas are closely associated,. 

Big Game Population Tabulation 





o- 




o 




o 

m 








Species 


I 


Actual 


« 


Estimate 




Total 


■ 


Carrying 




o 


Count 


1 

• 
« 




• 

• 

• 




■ 

> 
• 


Capacity 




s 




t 




? 




8 




White-tail Deer 


t 
I 


92 


1 


100 




192 


8 

B 
• 


200 


Mule Deer 


■ 


1 


8 


— 


1 
1 


1 


8 
I 


— 


Elk 


8 


— 


% 


7 


1 


7 


8 


— 




r 




: 




1 




8 





83 



SUB-UNIT NOo 10 
MONTURE HILL-BLA-CK FOOT RIVER BREAKS 

This takes in the country along the River from the mouth of Monture 
Creek to the mouth of Frazier Creek*, and all of the Monture Hillo The area 
is primarily mule deer winter range and is entirely on private property.. 
The main forage is hunchgrass^ with small amounts of juniper s willow^, dog 
wood,, quaking aspen 5 serviceberry and chokecherry These deer are com= 
peting with about 200 head of horses on this range s but have done so for 
years* The range does not appear to be over<=grazed No domestic stock 
summer here* These deer summer in the high hills north of Monture Ranger 
Station and are usually off winter range by Aprilo Some go into Chamberlain 
Creek o 

Very few deer are harvested on this unit because they are found on 
the unit only during the winter*, but a number of them are taken when 
passing through sub-unit No c 6* 

No change in hunting season is recommended. 
Big Game Population Tabulation 



Species t Actual g Estimate s Total g Carrying 

g Count s s s Capacity 



White-tail Deer 
Mule Deer 
Elk 



17 


o 
a 

o 




8 


a 
• 

a 

a 


Z$ 8 


hP 


228 


© 

o 

9 


72 


g 

o 

9 


© 

300 s 


300 



8U 



SUB-UNIT NO. 11 
PEABSON CREEK-CHAMBERLAIN CREE K 

GENERAL DESC RIPTION 

Included in this area are the Pearson* Chamberlain and Bear Creek 
drainages and Blacktail Mountain, also the adjacent area south of the 
Blackfoot River Mule deer were found on the southwest slopes of Granite 
Mountain which was being logged^ on the south slope of Blacktail Mountain 
and a few which the lumberjacks fed all winter at Camp Number Eight The 
elk in the area were found at the head of the West Fork of Chamberlain 
Creeko The white-tail were found along the Big Blackfoot on the south 
side Of the band of deer being fed hay all winter,, the fawns looked poor,, 
their coats were patchy and as a whole didn't look as good as those not 
fedo 

The forage in the area consists of the following? dog wood,, willow,, 
serviceberry,, chokecherry 5 alder^ ceanothus, mountain maple^ bunchgrass 
and the moss on the trees felledo This game herd nearly all migrates from 
the high country on the north side of the Garnet Range<, About 175 hunters 
took 10 elk and 20 deer here last fall Access into the unit is much 
easier at present than it has been as trucks are hauling the logs 3ecause 
of the snow depth and due to the fact that there is very little south 
slope 5 it is felt that the area in more severe winters couldn't support many 
more deer 9 but could handle twice or three times the amount of elk that are 
now there as they could cope with the snow better 

No changes in season is recommended. 



85 



Big Game Population Tabulation 







1 


o 




a 

D 




o 
o 




Species 


o 

a 


Actual 


o 


Estimate 


a 

» 


Total 


a 

a 


Carrying 




• 
« 


Count 


a 
a 

a 
a 




o 



a 
o 




a 

a 

a 

a 


Capacity 


White-tail Deer 


a 

a 

8 


26 


o 

o 

O 
a 


60 


o 
a 

o 
3 


86 


Q 

O 

a 


100 


Mule Deer 


o 

o 

o 

o 
a- 


96 


o 




o 

o 


kk 


o 

o 
o 

a 


lUo 


o 




» 


iii5 


Elk 




27 




o 


7 


o 


3U 


o 

o 


75 




o 

o 


, 


o 




a 




a 

o 





SUB-UNIT NOo 12 
SHEEP MOUNTAIN-McNAMARA IANDING-GREBNOUGH DIVIDE 

This area runs from Sheep Mountain to the Highway and from Bonner 
to McNamara Landing and the hills north of the Highway from the Greenough 
Divide to McNamara Landingo White-tail were found along the River from 
Johnson Gulch to Gold Creek with mule deer and elk higher up« Only mule 
deer were found from McNamara Landing to the Greenough Divide north of 
Potomac The forage for the unit consists of the following? bunchgrass 5 
ceanothuSj, willow^ alder 5 quaking aspen 5 hawthorn,, mountain maple s choke- 
cherry s serviceberry and dog wood 

There are a number of ranches adjacent to this area Most of this 
sub-unit is grazed in summer by domestic livestock and horses were on it 
until the last of March when it became necessary to get them in and feed 
them. Deer were doing nicelyo One hundred hunters take 25 deer and 5 elk 
annually 8 

No change in hunting season is recommended,, 



86 



Big Game Population Tabulation 



Species 



White-tail Deer 
Mule Deer 
Elk 



Actual 
Count 



Estimate 



Total 



Carrying 
Capacity 



5u 

5o 



5o 


D 


10U 8 


150 


125 


O 

o 


175 i 


250 


25 


3 

o 


25 g 


50 



CONCLUSIONS 

The Swan-Blackfoot Big Game Unit is an important area to western 
Montarja hunters Although big game populations, particularly elk are not 
large, a substantial amount of hunting is provided the sportsmen of Missoula 
County and adjacent areas. 

Estimates of hunter demand have been prepared by contacting local 
residents in each area and while these are not accurate trends are 
indicated,. It is estimated that about 1800 hunter days are spent in this 
Unito The hunter-harvest of white-tail amounts to about 15% of the total 
population^ 10% of the mule deer are taken annually and 1756 of the elk. 
This would indicate that hunters are actually taking the annual increase of 
white-tail deer and elk and that these two species are remaining about 
static. Mule deer should show an increase with only 10$ of the herd 
harvested. Population estimates substantiate these figures,, 

An examination of land ownership in the area indicates clearly the 
key problem relative to the maintenance of big game in the Swan -Blackf oot 
Unit. While over 2,000 square miles of this unit are available as summer 



87 



range only 10$ can be used by game during the critical winter period« Of 
the 10$ winter range about 8% is on private land a Much of this land is 
over-grazed by domestic stock prior to the winter use by game e 

Sex ratios of all species have been found satisfactory and the 
percent of young animals also indicate a satisfactory herd balance 

RgCOlflfflMDATIQNS 

It is apparent that the key to maintaining an optimum of big game 
in the Swan-Blackfoot Unit depends upon managing these animals in such 
a way that good winter range is provided and encroachment on livestock 
interests is reduced,, 

This can be done by working with all interested groups and individuals 
in this area and the following suggested management plans 

lo Urge formation of a Swan-Blackfoot Conservation Committee „ 

2« Through the committee acquire certain marginal landa and develop 
these to the maximum for big game winteringo 

3o In cooperation with certain key ranches and with direct contribu- 
tions from these ranches and local sportsmen*, construct elk proof fences on 
outlying haystacks<, work out an agreement with the rancher to feed from 
certain stacks first<, combine stack-yards and do everything possible to 
reduce the availability of hay to game 

lu Encourage use of winter game range by closure to hunting for a 
few years and by extended season on adjacent ranch land. 



Submitted bys 
Frank Gummej 
R« Ho Eversc 
May 6 S 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



Frank Gummer<, Fieldman 
R H. Evers<> Fieldman 



88 



STATE Montana 



FROJECT 1-R (Western Montana) 
DATE July 1$, 19U8 



SWAN-BIACKFOOT UNIT 

GARNET RANGE-ROCK CREEK BIG GAME WINTER SURVEY 

19U7 - 19U8 



Montana Fish and Game Department 
Wildlife Restoration Division 



Submitted by: 
Frank Gummer, Fieldman 
R. H. Evers, Fieldman 
May £, 19 U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



89 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

Introduction 93 

Personnel. • 93 

Physical Features • • 9h 

Census Technique and Observational Methods. ■••*••••••«•• 96 

Unit Summary of Big Game in Rock Creek and Garnet Range ....... 96 

Big Game Population Tabulation 

White-tail Deer 97 

Mule Deer 97 

Elk 98 

Moose 98 

Mountain Sheep. . 98 

Sub-Unit No. 1 (Lower Rock Creek -Harvey-Tyler and Schwartz) 

General Description . • 100 

Land-Use Economy. 100 

Cattle Owned and Grazed on Forest Land 102 

Outside Cattle Grazed on Forest Land. • 103 

Wildlife Observations 103 

Hunting Pressure • • 10k 

Deer Sex Ratio. 105 

Big Game Population Tabulation. • . 106 

Recommendations ....... 106 

Summary for Lower Rock Creek 106 

Sub-Unit No. 2 (Upper Rock Creek) 

General Description 107 

Historical Data. •• 108 

Game Movements 109 

Economy of Unit • 110 

Big Game Population Tabulation. • • 110 

Recommendations Ill 

Sub-Unit No. 3 (Garnet Range) 

General Description 1U 

Land-Use Economy. 112 

Historical Data 112 

Wildlife Observations 113 

Big Game Population Tabulation. 113 

Summary of Sex Ratio and Percent of Young ............. llU 

Recommendation • 115 

Conclusions. . 115 

(continued) 

90 



TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued) 

Page 

AtSCornrriGncis.bion. s © ooooo«0oo*oeo«o»oooo«eooo jljj^ 

Map 

Showing Units and Game Range • • • a • '• • • « •••••••• ■ 92 

Picture 

MU-L6 1/66 3/ JjU.CK o o o o o o o e • ©«ooo»«©o»o©ooo© // 



91 



Garnet Range-Rock Creek Winter Game Survey 




£2 White-tail Deer 

am Moose 

« Elk 

C3» Mule Deer 



92 



GARNET RANGE-ROCK CREEK BIG GAME WINTER SURVEY 

19U7 - 19U8 



INTRODUCTION 

As part of the overall big game management program prepared by the 
Montana Fish and Game Department, management units have been designated 
throughout the big game ranges of the State* As time and personnel have 
permitted, these units have been studied in detail and management plans 
prepared to assure optimum conditions for wildlife 

The Garnet Range-Rock Creek units have not been covered in their 
entirety prior to 19U7-U8 for various reasons,, Deer range on the south 
slopes of the Garnet Range is almost entirely on private land and game in 
Rock Creek, although varied, has never been found in sufficient number to 
constitute a wildlife problem,, U» So Forest Service game studies have been 
made on Forest lands within the units and reference is made to these in 
this report* 

Because of changing conditions within this area, terrific increase 
in hunting pressure, damage complaints by ranchers in some sections and 
the general program of completing surveys in all units, it was found 
desirable to study big game in this district during 19U7-19U8o Accordingly, 
a two-man crew was assigned to the area* 

FERSONNEL 

Frank Gummer and R, H, Evers started work in the unit on November 
2\\ s 19U7 and returned from the last field trip April 6, 19U8„ During this 

period, 78 man-days were spent in the field covering the major part of the 

• 

93 



winter range The use of a jeep greatly helped in covering country -where 
roads are generally not open to motor travel in winter and saved many 
time-consuming miles of snow shoe travelo 

O O O ft Q ft ft 

o a o * o • a 

Means of Travel s Nov„ s Dec s Jan„ s Feb„ s Mar Q : April g Total 

o o • » a a a 

at o m » • o o 

ft o ft o» o t> a 

Car a 7k 8 578 g 562 s 300 • U37 s 87 s 2,038 

ft ft ft ft ft » ft 

o o « a a ft a 

Snowshoe-Foot s 23 J U9 s- 118 ? 22 s 7U s 26 j 312 

ft- O » ft ft> ft ft 

ft- a ft ft ft ft o , 

PHYSICAL FEATURES 

This unit comprises approximately 566 square miles However, only 
about 96 square miles are usable by game during the critical winter period. 
This is approximately six percent. 

The topography of the Rock Creek section ranges from rolling foot- 
hills, sagebrush and grasslands, large willow bottoms in the Upper Rock 
Creek country to a narrow, rocky canyon at the mouth where Rock Creek 
empties into the Clark Fork of the Columbia,, 

Rock Creek heads on the Continental Divide and runs in a northerly 
direction to its junction with Clark Fork near Clinton,, Montana, a distance 
of approximately 70 miles. Its principal tributaries are the four big 
forks at its headj which are, East Fork, Middle Fork, Ross Fork and West 
Forko The larger creeks flowing in from the west aret Stony, Wyman, 
Welcome and Gilbert Creeks, From the east ares Willow, Hogback, Butte 
Cabin, Ranch, Brewster and Spring Creeks, 

The major timber type on the south slope is yellow pine and the majo 
browse on these open slopes are mountain maple, serviceberry, mountain 
balm, juniper and chokecherry. On the north slope fir-larch type 



predominates and the browse is alder., dog wood ? tall huckleberry and 

willoWo 

The economy of the area is centered around cattle raising and is 
limited by the amount of summer range available and the hay that can be 
put up for winter use Probably recreation is one of the most important 
values to be considered in this drainage . 

Elk and moose have damaged some hay in the past winter in Rock 
Creeko There is an abundance of winter range and good browse in this 
area suitable for this game 5 but they have become accustomed to foraging 
in hay corrals at night during the severe part of the winter o These 
ranches where the damage has occurred are in the desirable locations 
where game would normally congregate at this time of year. 

There are no white-tail deer in the Upper Rock Creek drainage 
The grassy «, south slopes cut with timbered draws and timbered browse 
covered north slopes are ideal mule deer range Mule deer are no pro- 
blem in this area and except for limited areas <, no sign of over <= grazing 
is evidento There is very little indication of browsing in fir and 
juniper and these species show no "deer-line" „ 

The winter of 19U7-U8 may be considered an average winter on game. 
Snow depths averaged 3.2 inches on south slopes, six inches on level, and 
13o6 on north facing slopes. Crusted and icy conditions^ which started 
about November 5 th., made foraging difficult during most of the winter . 
Snow had disappeared over most of the winter range in April. Temperatures 
during the first week in March dropped to 22° below zero at Schmidt's 
Ranch on Rock Creek 5 this was the coldest period of this season. 

Garnet Range division of this unit starts at Bonner., Montana,, and 



95 



runs in an easterly direction to DrummoncL, Montana,, a distance of about 
UO mileso The altitude varies from approximately 3^100 feet at Bonner* 
Montana,, to 6„930 on Mount Baldy in the Bearmouth arsa c 

This area parallels Highway #10 and the Clark Fork of the Columbia 
River, the entire length There are fair roads leading into the mountains 
on the main creeks and most of the area is easily accessible to hunters,, 
The terrain ranges from steep rocky slopes near Bonner to rolling sagebrush 
hills in the Drummond area e 

The main drainages running into the Clark Fork River from Bonner 
to Drummond areg Turah Creek, Kendall Creek, Donovan Creeks Wallace 
Creek,, Cramer Creek,, Little Bear Creek, Bear Creek, Murkey Gulch and 
Rattler Gulch „ 

CENSUS TECHNIQUE AND OBSERVATIONAL METHODS 

Census methods used in this survey depends upon extensive coverage 
of all -wintering areas Travel was designed to cut through the representa- 
tive range and to count as much game as possible „ Fresh tracks were 
used as indication of additional game and estimates were determined from 
this information During the early part of the year? efforts were con- 
centrated on getting data on sex ratics After shedding of antlers by 
white-tail deer was started on the 17th of December emphasis was placed on 
getting total population data, 

UNIT SUMM AR Y OF BIG GAME IN ROCK CREEK A N D GARNET RANGE 

Rock Creek -Garnet Range unit has been divided into three sub-units 
for convenience in study and reporting „ These are shown on the map at the 
beginning of this report. The tabulation on the fcllowinc page shows a 
summary of the three sub-units,, 

96 



The estimates here are very conservative and were made each day 
for the area covered that day B The carrying capacity of range was 
arrived at by observation each day and the condition of available range 
near-by that was not put to use» 



BIG GALE POPULATION TABULATION 



White-tail Deers 



Area 



Lower Rock Creek 
Upper Rock Creek 
Garnet Range 

Totals 



Actual t 
Count g 



Estimate 



33 



228 



261 



161 



Total 



19k 



Carrying 
Capacity 



300 



183 


8 


Uii 


a 

5 


500 




S 




s 






o 

a 




fi 




3kk 


o 
o 


605 


o 




800 



Mule Deer° 



Area 


o- 

1 

• 
a 

a 

a 

c* 
a 


Actual 
Count 


a 

a 

a 
a 

8 

a 
a 


Estimate 


o 



o 

o 

m 
a 

o 


Total 


a 
o 

a 
o 

o 
o 


Carrying 
Capacity 


Lower Rock Creek 


g 


2U* 


S 

o 
a- 


U30 


a 

a 

o 
a* 


6UU 


o 

o 

a 
a 


800 


Upper Rock Creek 


5 

a 

• 


331 


o 

S 


lk9 


a 

a 

6 


U80 




a 


1,200 


Garnet Range 
Totals 


s 

Or 

& 

t 
* 

a 

o> 

a 


697 
1,2U2 


a 

a 

i 

s 

a 
O 

S 

i 


k30 
1,009 


a 

m 
m 

t> 
a- 

a 

a 


o 

s 


1,127 
2,251 


o 

8 

S 
8 
8 


i 5 5oo 
3,5oo 



97 



Elk? 



Area 



8 8 ? 

Actual s Estimate s Total s Carrying 
Count i s g Capacity 



Lower Rock Creek 
Upper Rock Creek 
Garnet Range 



2 


a 

5 


13 


0> 


15 


a 

o 


25 


k 


8 

a 
o 


10 


8 

8 


8U 


% 

a 
B 


150 




o 



a 

E 


36 


9 


36 


o 
o 

o 


i5o 



Totals 



76 



59 



135 



325 



Mooses 



Area 


a 

a 

a 

• 

• 


Actual 
Count 


a 
a 

o 



Ok 


Estimate 


e 

a 
a 

■ 

a 


Total 


aj 

p 

a 
o 

■ 
a 


Carrying 
Capacity 


Lower Rock Creek 


a 
a> 


9 


a 

r 


13 


a 

o 
o 


22 


■ 
a 

» 
a- 


25 


Upper Rock Creek 


a 

a> 


22 


a- 
a> 


32 


a 


5U 


s 
1 


100 


Garnet Range 


S 
s 

a> 
a» 


— 


B 

a 



a» 
a 


— 


s 

a> 

o 

o> 


— 


g 


C9ua> 



Totals 



31 



U5 






76 



125 



Sheep; 



Area 



Actual 2 Estimate 
Count s 



Total 



Carrying 
Capacity 



Lower Rock Creek 
Upper Rock Creek 
Garnet Range 

Totals 



s 
8 

8 



15 



15 



s — 



s 




8 


1 


— 


8 


8 




8 


I 


17 


8 


g 




8 


B 


— 


$ 


8 




8 


ft 




8 


8 


1 


1 


s 




8 



150 



150 



Only one mountain goat was actually counted and it was seen in the 
Upper Rock Creek area. 




e 

05 • 
•H U 
CD 
U 0) 
CD P 
CD 

T> H 
•H 

e w 

CD »H 

°> cd 
-p ,c 

•H -P 



a) 

■p 

-p 
c 

-a 



■p 



«H 

o 



•s 

CD 

o 

E 



CO 

e 

•H CO 
U CD 

cd a 

CX-rj 
CO -P 

+3 o 

«H 
CD 
X -P 

-p 3 
o 

«H A 

o «« 
• c 

O CD 

m 
u c 

CD O 



a 



CD O 



99 



SUB-UNIT NO. 1 
LOWER ROCK CREEK-HARVEY-TYLER AND SCHWARTZ 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION 

Included in this area is Tyler Creek,, Harvey Creek and Schwartz 
Creek and from the mouth of Rock Creek south to the Forest boundary,, All 
of this area lies south of the Clark Fork River and drains into this 
River o 

The area is primarily mule deer range with a small number of 
white-tail deer 5 elk s moose and mountain sheep „ The elk are natives of 
the adjoining Bitterroot Valley and range along the Divide between Rock 
Creek and the Bitterroot* Most of these elk return to the Bitterroot 
in the late fall when the snow gets deep in the high country,. 

The deer winter range is on the south slopes along Rock Creek 
and in small areas on the tributaries that have a south expo sure Chief 
wintering forage consist of native grasses and small browse,. Service- 
berry 5 ceanothus, mountain maple, fir and juniper are dominant low cover 
species. Mule deer in this area spent a great deal of time in open 
grassy slopes where there was very little browse and were eating grass 
and grass-like plants. 

White-tail deer were often found in the creek bottoms and hay- 
fields during the night and on timbered slopes during the day 

LAND USE ECONOMY 

Within this area 1$ ranches are found. There is one mining company 
operating at this time employing about six men and one logging outfit 
working in Schwartz Creek employing about six men„ 



100 



*$$■'** 



&u^l!tf*. •*' 



vsa. 



There are approximately 1,600 acres of hay land in this sub-unit 
and 1 5 300 head of cattle range here during the summer months,, Approximate- 
ly one-half of these cattle are brought in from adjoining valleys. A 
small part of this summer range is the same range that the deer use 
during the winter. 

Prior to 1919 this sub-unit had been heavily over- grazed by cattle 
and sheep and parts of the range were very much damaged. Since that time, 
cattle have been reduced from approximately l4 5 000 head to the present 
1,3^0 head and sheep reduced from 6,000 head to no sheep at the present 
time. The range has made a good showing and is gradually coming back. 
There is very little conflict between cattle and game on this range as 
there is unlimited summer range for game and cattle are unable during 
the summer to use much of the game winter range on account of steepness 
and lack of water. 

Game use only a small percent of cattle summer range during the 
winter as at this time snow is much too deep in the higher range. 



101 



CATTLE OWNED AND GRAZED IN LOWER ROCK CREEK ON FOREST LAND 

IN 19U7 

» a O 

Oft O 

Name s Horses g Cattle s Acreage 

■ a o 

• « » 

• O ft- 

Louis Corra g — g £0 g 90 

• o o 

Carl Welsh g __ s 10 g 60 

g s g 

Ray Handley g 5 i 20 g 120 

t s t 

C. Hamm g 2 g hi s 370 

a o o 

ft 6 

Mrs. Andrews g — • g 10 g k0 

s s g 

Wm» Byrnes g — ■ s 10 g Ui 

g ? g 

James Finlen : 12 g h$ % 320 

l S 8 

Swartz Brothers s — g 36 g 160 

a* • o 

ft ft O 

Chris Hannen g — g 50 g 17£ 

o a* o- 

Fred Spannuth c — . s 20 § U60 

g ? g 

J, M. Gurnnane s 10 g U5 % hPO 

z g g 

Palmer Romness g — - g l£ g 60 

ft o 6 

Mo S« Dexter g — g 6 g U0 

o o» » 

ft. o o> 

Harold Wyman g — . g 2f>0 g 360 

o» » o 

ftv o 5 

Albert Schmidt g 3 1 15 g 90 

o o 

Totals s 32 g 629 s 2,789 



102 



OUTSIDE CATTLE GRAZED ON FOREST LANDS IN LOWER ROCK CREEK 

IN 19U7 



Name 



Cattle 



Do o ley Brothers 
Jo A. Conn 
Mrso Walter Hogan 
Hans Kofed 



200 

UO 

100 

280 



Totals 



620 



There is one guest camp operated by Lloyd Luke at the mouth of 
Ranch Creek who has six cabins for rent and H. Norton, a rancher, has two 
cabins in this vicinity. These places are used mostly by fishermen. 

There are two summer homes one mile up Brewster Creek and several 
more in this vicinity are being built at present. These places are on 
private ground. 

There is one ranch on Gilbert Creek owned by James Finlen of 
Butte, Montana,, This ranch is a combination cattle ranch and summer home. 
They run about 33> head of cattle on the Forest during the summer and 
during the hunting season a good number of hunters make this place their 
headquarters, At the present time it is believed that this place is not 
a commercial outfit, but may develop into a combination dude and cattle 
ranch in the near future. 

WILDLIFE OBSERVATIONS 

There is some migration of white-tail deer near the mouth of Rock 
Creek to the Garnet Range during the early winter and fall. The deer 



103 



that slimmer in the high country along Sandstone Ridge and Bitterroot 
Divide migrate to the lower level along Hock Creek and winter on the 
grassy south slopes. 

During the winter 13 predator kills were found along the road and 
in the adjacent creek bottoms,, As the breaks of Rock Creek are very 
steep, 70 to 1% slope, deer being run by coyotes lose footing in this 
steep ice-covered ground and roll into the roado Coyotes apparently 
make use of the topography in killing deer Coyote tracks were numerous 
in all the winter range and cougar sign was seen in Upper Rock Creek , 
One old lion was killed in Tyler Creek during the last part of April by 
a hunter from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

HUNTING FRESSURE 

Access to this sub-unit is easy. Rock Creek road leaving Highway 
#10, 5 miles east of Clinton, Montana, leads into this unito 

The Forest Service has nine improved camp grounds in the Rock 
Creek drainage where hunters may camp and the area is served by a 
graded road its entire lengtho Numerous side roads and trails make the 
hunting area accessible by car, horses and foot travel during the open 
season » 

During the hunting season of 1938 the Forest Service kept records 
at two checking stations on Rock Creek, one at the mouth of the Creek 
and one at Stony Creek near the upper end of this unit. 

This record shows 35>3 hunters taking out 61 mule deer and 7 white- 
tail bucks. Approximately one hunter out of five was successful. 

It is believed that this is about an average year' s take in the 
Lower Rock Creek sub-unit. It is likely there is a slightly larger kill 



10U 



here as local residents were not included in this record,, 

A big kill is usual in this area during the latter part of the 
season „ In 19U6 and in 19U8 heavy snow came in the first week of 
November, forcing the deer down into lower levels. Many deer were 
killed in the road and on the lower slopes adjacent,, 

In the early part of the season many hunters are very disappointed 
because game is so scarce, and complaints of too many does are common 
However, most of these hunters do not get back far enough in a day's 
foot travel to get into the game country. The past early fall bucks 
were found to be rummaging in the high ridges at about 6^000 and 6„500 
feet altitude and. these ridges are from five to seven miles back from 
the roadso 

DEER SEX RATIO 

This study shows that there is one buck for each 3«3 does in this 
area among the mule deer and one buck to one doe* in white-tail deer. 

The following table gives the actual count and estimate of game 
in Lower Rock Creek, 



# It is felt that this ratio on white-tail deer is not a true 
picture as an actual count of only £9 head was made in the sub-unit 
and of these only 10 head were identified. It is suggested that sex 
ratio data for Garnet Range be used as white-tail deer migrate back and 
forth between these two areas. 



105 



Big Game Population Tabulation 



Species 



Actual 


Q 

i 


E£ 


stimate 


a 
o 


Total 


Count 


a 

• 
e 






• 
• 






K 






o 




59 


a 




161 


o 


220 


29h 


o 
o 




U30 


o 






72J4 


2 


• 

o 

• 




13 


B 

a 

a 
o 


15 


9 






13 


OJ 


22 



White-tail Deer 
Mule Deer 
Elk 
Moose 



RECOMMENDATIONS: 

It is recommended that deer hunting be restricted to bucks only in 
this area as the sex ratio is still well within the bounds of a good 
breeding ratio. 

It is felt that with an average kill of about 70 deer and an average 
percent of young of 39.6 this herd will maintain itself and show an increase 
each year under the present hunting conditions. 

Summary for Lower Rock Creek 

© o tt OJ o 

1 o i o . a o 

Species s Male s Female s Young r Total sSex Ratio s Percent of 
s s g s s s Young 



Elk 


0* 



2 


i 


— — 


Mule Deer 


1 






9 


1 


30 


White -tail Deer 





5 



• 

0* 

A 


5 


Moose 




• 

* 
• 


h 


■ 


3 



28 ? 67? 1- 3.3 ; Ul.7 
6 8 16 s *1 - 1.0 g 37.5 
1 s 8 ? 1 - 0.7 s 1.3 



*Data insufficient for accurate sex ratio, sex ratio in adjacent 
unit Is 3.6 is probably more nearly correct. 



106 



SUB-UNIT NOo 2 
UPPER ROCK CREEK 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION 

Starting at the Continental Divide, this sub-unit consists of 
drainages forming the headwaters of Rock Creek e The East Fork, Middle 
Fork, Ross Fork, West Fork, Willow Creek and Stony Creek are primary 
drainages that flow through the unit 

The area is primarily mule deer range with a small number of elk,, 
moose and sheep. 

The mule deer winter on the south slopes of Stony Creek, Willow 
Creek, West Fork and main Rock Creek from Big Horn Creek to Willow Creek 
Elk range along main Rock Creek on the west side from Stony Creek to the 
mouth of West Forko 

Chief winter forage consist of native grasses 5 mountain maple, 
serviceberry, alder, dog wood and willow. 

Some damage complaints against elk occur in Upper Rock Creek e 
There is a great abundance of mule deer and elk range here with a 
normal snowfall of 12 to 30 inches, these species should be able to forage 
successful in this area. The south slopes were at least partly bare most 
of the past winter. About 12 inches of snow on the level and an average of 
30 inches in the heads of the creeks. 

The moose winter along the creek bottoms and up the side drainages 
almost to the divide. Tracks indicated that they had been working down 
the creeks from the high country since the snow first came in November, 
There is a great abundance of browse in the bottoms. Willow, dog wood, 
quaking aspen and even alder are mo3t used by moose. The largest number 



107 



of moose seen together were two„ Most animals seen were alone,, 

HISTORICAL DATA 

There is evidence of a great many sheep in the whole sub-unit in 
early days There are men still living on the upper Greek who remember as 
many as £0 to 75 mountain sheep in the range where 1$ were found at this 
time As late as 1917 mountain sheep were numerous as far down the 
creek as Little Hogback,, Numerous mountain sheep skulls have been found 
in this area in the last three years Sheep skulls have been nailed up 
years ago on old log buildings in Gilbert Creek and Spring Greek near the 
mouth of Rock Creek indicating that bighorns once used this area 

Buffalo once ranged in the Upper Rock Creek area and there is 
evidence that they had been down the creek as far as Little Hogback where 
the canyon starts to narrow down c Many skulls and bones have been picked 
up on the flats at the mouth of big and Little Hogback Creeks It is 
thought that these buffalo were snowed in here and winter killedo 

Mountain sheep range on the east side of Rock Creek from Sheep 
Gulch to the mouth of Willow Greeko This is primarily southwest slope 
and very steep for about loOGO feet and then levels off into gentle 
grassy slopes with native grasses and small browse » There is very little 
browse available on these slopes except sagebrush, juniper and fir„ It 
was determined that grass was the primary food being eaten by this band 
of sheep at the time of observation,, Sheep were found to stay in the 
steep ground between the creek and the grassy slopes They spent a great 
deal of time lying down and when grazing were constantly digging at their 
heads and front quarters with their hind feet indicating external 
parasite So 



108 



Mountain sheep range from Sheep Gulch to the mouth of Willow 
Creek during the winter and information secured from local residents 
indicate they range back on Sandstone Ridge to the head of Hogback Creek 
during the summer «, 

Up to about 30 years ago these sheep ranged down Rock Creek as far 
as Little Hogback Creek 9 but there was no sign of sheep the past winter 
below Anderson's Ranch near the mouth of Sheep Gulch, 

Mule deer were using practically the same range in this area,. 

Elk were found wintering on the west side of Rock Creek from Stony 
Creek to the Gillis Ranch near the mouth of Willow Creeko An extended 
bull elk season was held in this area last year in an effort to reduce 
rancher complaint of damage „ This special hunt did not act as effectively 
as originally hoped» Some use of haystacks occurred as late as April 
5th 5 and several bulls shed their horns in the hay corrals during the 
last week of March » 

Moose gave some trouble in the West Fork of Rock Creek in the area 
around Sapphire mines<> Most of the trouble here was caused by about 12 
moose Fencing with camouflage wire was tried but was unsuccessful,, 
This area is an ideal moose winter range with large creek bottoms of 
willow^ alder and dog wood browse,, Snow depth in these bottoms averaged 
16,8 inches in the last half of February,, With no more snow than this, 
moose have no difficulty getting around 

GAME MOVEMENTS I 

Deer and elk migrate from the Bitterroot Divide and Sandstone Ridge 
summer range during the early part of November and were still on the winter 
range on April 6th, As the snow goes off they follow the snow-line back 



109 



as the new grass and browse comes out 

Mule deer and elk are seldom seen in this wintering area during 
the summer months and deer are very scarce during the early part of the 
hunting season. 



ECONOMY OF UNIT 

The industry of the area centers around ranching and cattle raising,, 
There are no figures available on the number of cattle grazed or the amount 
of hayland cultivated,, As far as is known there are no combination dude 
ranches and cattle ranches 

This area is very accessible from Philipsburg^ Montana,, by a good 
graded and graveled road as far as Gillis Bridge o From here on the road 
is in fair condition during the hunting season. There is a fair road up 
Stony Creek about six miles and several trails leading up to the high 
country from this road 

It is estimated that 25>0 hunters take out 4O deer and 25 elk in this 
area annually. 

The following table gives the actual count and estimates for this 
sub-unit o 

Big Game Population Tabulation 



Species 



Actual Count 



Estimate 



Total 



White-tail Deer 
Mule Deer 
Elk 
Moose 
Mountain sheep 



331 


o 


11+9 


• 


U80 


7H 


8 

o 

i 


10 


5 

c» 

m 


8U 


22 




32 


m 
o 


51 


15 


S 

Of 

o 


2 


c 

o 
I 


17 



110 



RECOMMENDATIONS 



1. It is recommended that hunting season dates be October 15 th to 
November l£th and bucks only should be taken. 

2. The season should remain closed on moose except by special permit. 

3. Elk of either sex should be taken during the regular hunting season. 
It is believed that either sex hunting might remove some of the elk 
that have been habitual haystack feeders. 

U. Ranchers should be encouraged to construct elk proof fences. 



Sex ratio data for mountain sheep are not available for this unit as 
unsatisfactory counts were made prior to shedding of antlers. 

The goat seen was alone. He had drifted into the area near the mouth 
of Willow Creek about December 2£th and had been seen by a local resident 
there almost every day for a period of over three months. He spent most of 
the time on a steep cliff facing the valley in plain sight from Oillis Ranch. 
Investigation proved that there were no more goats in the vicinity. 

GARNET RANGE 
SUB-UNIT NO. 3 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION 

Garnet Range runs in an east-^west direction from Drummond to Bonner, 
Montana, a distance of about UO miles and parallel to the Clark Fork River. 
The survey was made along the south slopes on critical wintering areas. 
All of this sub-unit lies north of the Clark Fork River and to the Divide 
between the Big Blackfoot and Clark Fork. The major creeks flowing into 



111 



the Clark Fork from the Garnet Range are; Bear Creek, Little Bear Creek, 
Cramer Creek, Wallace Creek, Donovan Creek, Kendall Creek and Turah Creek » 
The timber type on south slopes is yellow pine, fir and main browse 
is serviceberry, chokecherry, maple, mountain balm and dog wood in creek 
bottomso There is a great amount of grassland with sagebrush, juniper 
browse and sharp draws with small fir browse o Timber types on north slopes 
are fir-larch Browse on north slopes is alder, maple and dog wood 
These slopes get very little use during the winter on account of deep 
snoWo The south exposed slopes were partly bare during most of the winter 
and the valley bottoms averaged six inches of crusted^ icy snow in the 
wintering grounds. 

LAND-USE ECONOMY 

There are small dairy ranches and general farming along the Clark 
Fork adjacent to the Garnet Range and a number of ranches run cattle in 
the mountains of this area during the summer However, there are no 
figures available on cattle for this part of the unit. 

There is some conflict here between cattle and game«> 

HISTORICAL DATA 

It is generally believed that deer have made a gradual increase in 
this unit during the last fifty years. Deer problems from over- stocking 
have occurred only in the last eight or ten years. 

One resident, who has lived in this area for sixty years, claims that 
in the early 1900' s game was very scarce and it required very diligent hunting 
to bag a deer of either sex. At present deer can be jumped within an hour's 
time almost any place in the unit. 



112 



WILDLIFE OBSERVATIONS 

In the areas between Clinton and Ravenna, deer are concentrated in 
a narrow strip along the Highway and on the lower slopes of the mountains 
in bunches of 25 to 50 head or more,, Many of these deer are killed each 
year on the Highway and Railroado 

It is known that six deer were killed during the past year and it is 
supposed that there were a great number more that were not seen. 

White-tail deer and mule deer both use this area, but they range 
separately ■ The mule deer are usually up higher and are seen along the 
Highway less frequently. 

As the snow goes off they move back into the higher country where the 
summer range is unlimited and give no trouble during this period. One 
ranch reports use of haystacks by deer 

Big Game Population Tabulation 



Species s Actual s Estimate s Total 
s Count : s 



Carrying 
C ap acity 



White -tail Deer 
Mule Deer 
Elk 



228 


• 


133 


3 lill 


m 


5oo 


697 


l 


U30 


% 1,127 


m 
I 


i,5oo 


—- • 


■ 

o 


36 


t 36 


B 

B 


150 



No elk were seen in this area, but tracks were found in every 
drainage where the survey reached the Divide into the Blackfoot valley. 

The -white-tail deer range between Clinton and Beavertail Hill is 
over-stocked and deer in this area are forced to use the fields and river 
bottoms to sustain themselves. 

From Beavertail Hill to 3ear Creek mule deer are found exclusively. 



113 



This is excellent mule deer winter range, but is over-stocked in spots. 
Grass and browse occur in abundance » In Little Bear Creek and Bear Creek 
there is no sign of a "deer line" on juniper and fir and the range is in 
good shape. 

During past years this range was used heavily by sheep but no sheep 
have been in here for at least three years giving the range a chance to 
come back* 

Mule deer in this area were in good shape and mature deer looked 
strong and smooth,. Fawns were a little rough during the spring, 

A white-tail doe was killed on the Highway near Bonita March 16th, 
This doe was in very good shape and had two well developed foetuses, A 
mule deer doe was killed by the Railroad April 7th, This deer was in good 
shape and also had two foetusesi In the latter case spots were apparent. 

Summary of Sex Ratio and Percent of Young 

I t % t i g. 

Species t Male g Female t Young s Total g Sex Ratios Percent of 
: s g g g g Young 

8 g I 8 8 8 

5 5 ©■ & 5 & 

Mule Deer %. 1*0 s 7k t 86 s 200 g 1-1,8 g U3 

t s e s s ; 

White -tail Deer s 17 e 62 s 6k s lii3 g 1-3.6 g kk 

i S 8 I 8_ % 

It is estimated that 2^0 hunters take about $0 mule deer, 2$ white- 
tail deer and l£ elk in this area annually. The game range back near the 
Divide usually until late in the season and as the area affords excellent 
cover no big kill is made except on the first day. After being shot at 
they scatter out in the high country where hunters find it all but 
impossible to get to and return the same day. The migration ordinarily 
does not start until the heavy snows come late in the hunting season ■ This 



Uil 



year the white-tail deer were found to have concentrated on the winter 
range by December 20th , but at this time and until as late as January 19th 
mule deer were found in the back country at about 5*000 feet altitude 

RECOMMENDATION 

No change is recommended in hunting seasons. Buck deer to be 
■oaken only. 

CONCLUSIONS 

As this was the first intensive study made in this unit it is 
impossible to make comparative estimates of game numbers to determine the 
population trend 

Mule deer, estimated to number 2^2i?0 ? are the most common big game 
specie So White-tail are next at about 600 and elk are relatively scarce 
numbering only 135>o 

Moose are becoming quite common in certain portions of the unit. 
The occurrence of one mountain goat is considered an odity and mountain 
sheep are probably barely remaining static. 

The three primary species of big game have a satisfactory sex ratio 
and as indicated by the percentage of young animals,, the herds have a good 
potential of increase. 

RE COMMENDATIONS 

There are no indications that a change from the "buck law" is 
desirable in this unite Easy accessibility and nearness to centers of 
heavy population make it necessary to provide extra protection to the 
breeding herd of deer. 

Salt placement on high ridges may be desirable particularly on the 



115 



Garnet Range© This region not being on National Forest land has not 
been salted previously. 

It is doubtful if a large herd of elk could be maintained in the 
unit without rancher complaint 5 it is therefore recommended 5 that the 
hunting season remain as in l°U7o 

Moose population is fair and will probably support a limited hunt 
on mature bulls. Ten permits should be issued for 1°U8 and a careful 
aerial survey made in 19U8-19U9 during the winter to determine the number 
of moose in upper Rock Creek* 

This area is also suggested as a moose trapping site 5 particularly 
on the ranches where moose damage has occurred,, 

It is doubtful if much can be done to increase the small band of 
mountain sheep, but a 10-80 station on the upper grassy portion of the 
range might reduce predation c A big game closed area on the sheep range 
might serve as additional protection. A yearly re-check of these mountain 
sheep should be made. 



Submitted by? 

Frank Gummer, Fieldman 
Ro H. Evers, Fieldman 
May 5, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



116 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (Western Montana) 
DATE July l£, 19U8 



ABSAROKA UNIT 
NORTHERN YELLOWSTONE ELK HERD COOPERATIVE COUNT 

DATE ? 

February 17-20, 19U8 

PERSONNEL ; 

National Park Service, Forest Service, State Fish and Game Department, 
Absaroka Conservation Committee and local sportsmen and ranchers* 

PURPOSE S 

It was desired to get as accurate a count on this elk herd as possible 
in order to better determine the proper number to be harvested this coming 
year These dates were chosen by the Park Service men because elk dis- 
tribution and weather conditions seemed to indicate this to be the most 
opportune time. 

PROCEDURE ; 

A meeting of all participants was held on the evening of February 
16th, at Mammoth to determine methods of coverage and responsibility of 
counterso It was decided that the Park Service personnel would cover the 
area within the Park boundaries and Forest Service men that area outside of 



117 



the Park* State men and others participated with both Agencies,, One dude 
rancher and one wildlife student from the State College at Bozeman helped 
on the count. 

The areas were divided into small, logical units and one man 
assigned to count each unit. Particular care was exercised to avoid 
duplication by recording numbers and direction of trend of all groups 
counted. Some men used skis, some snowshoes, some horses, but most of the 
lower areas could be covered afoot. 

It was hoped to spend some flying time and catch some of the outly- 
ing areas that may have been missed by the crews, but extremely bad flying 
conditions prevented this. 

The lower range outside the Park was covered in one day. The 
second day was quite stormy, so the men in the upper range in the Park had 
poor counting conditions. 

FINDINGS s 

The following table lists the elk seen by drainages in the area 
outside the Park. Only total figures for the Park area are available. 



Area 



Number 



Deckard Flat 


: 73 




Bear Creek 


• i $3 




Travertine 


z 9U5 




Trail Creek 


: 279 




Bassett Creek 


:" kk$ 




Corwin Sprin • 


: 213 


(Continued) 



118 



(Continued) 

Area : Number 

Cedar Creek s 197 

Slip and Slide Creek : 69 

Aldridge z 39 

v 
*- 

Cinnabar Mountain : 6$ 

Mol Heron Creek t 20 

Cinnabar Basin ; 28 

9 

Yankee Jim (West Side) s 

* 

Total for Outside Area s 2,U32 

Total Park Area j 5,383 

Total r 7,815 

9 

— — — — ,'-b —— ,'t.ii, -— i. ., , ■■■Li. j^ 1 ■ j._e- > —:—.- ■■-, ' ir: — M ■■ r.'j" : ■■■■ a — '- — — I — 1 1 ■ I ■ ■- — B— I— r " 

Other big game counted outside the Park are UU2 mule deer, 113 
antelope and 12 mountain sheep. 

It is thought that this represents a reasonably accurate count of 
the Northern Yellowstone elk herd. Conditions were excellent for counting 
the first day and crews had little difficulty in seeing the elk early in 
the morningo 

Winter range conditions were rather severe, but just prior to this 
census warm winds bared up many slopes and settled the snow. This may have 
caused some of the elk to be missed as they were beginning to seek higher 
pockets and timber thickets,, This should not be a large factor because very 
deep snow conditions prevail a short distance up the mountains from the elk 
range. 



119 



Elk seen were in fine condition and very few dead were seen» They 
were probably wintering lower in the canyon than in former years, but the 
bulk of those outside the Park were in the Travertine area 



Submitted by? 

Faye M» Couey, Big Game leader 
May k, 19U3 Wildlife Restoration Division 






120 






STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (Western Montana) 
DATE July 1$ 5 19U8 



BIG BELT - BOULDER UNIT 
JIM BALL BASIN ELK SUMMER RANGE INVESTIGATIONS 

DATE; 

July 29-30, 19U7 

PERSONNEL; 

Paul Roberts, A. D. Moir, Robert Jansson of the U. S. Forest 
Service; Robert Cooney, Faye Couey, of the State Fish and Game 
Department; Paul Hart, "Bat" Smith, Mr. Bowers, Mr. Lynn, 
ranchers, and Forest permittees in the area, 

PURPOSE ; 

It was desired to check on the degree of use of this range by elk 
in summer. Several ranchers have registered some concern over fences 
being broken by elk and some have wondered how many elk can range here 
without competition with live stock 

PROCEDURE ; 

The above personnel met at the head of Trout Creek. Travel was then 
via saddle horse through Snedaker Basin, to Paul Hart's camp on Rock 
Creek, down Bowman Gulch, under Hogback Mountain to Smith ranch where Mr. 



121 



Smith was interviewed,. The group then went on to Conway Ranger Station 
and stayed there over night,, 

The second day Jim Ball Basin was covered where considerable heavily 
used cattle range and some fine sheep range were inspected,. Return was 
then back to Conway Station and then down White Tail Creek to the starting 
point* 

FINDINGS: 



Numerous groups of cattle were observed in Snedaker Basin where the 
range appears to be fully stocked. This is mostly Brown, Iynn and Hart 
cattle with a few belonging to Rankin. 

These ranchers are not opposed to present numbers of elk here. 
Hart would like to see the open area extended to include this Basin which 
might discourage some of the elk from concentrating on this range and get 
a wider distribution,, Saw two bull elk near his camp e 

Under Hogback Mountain on Smith's range several quite heavily used 
areas were observed, particularly along water,, Mr. Smith was seen and he 
was quite incensed about elk here during the summer. He says 1$ to 20 
cross his new pasture daily and they usually take the top wire with them 
when going over a fence. Although offering no corrective suggestions, he 
says that an early season will do no good because with the first snow 
which sometimes comes in September, the elk leave and there is no hunting 
this higho His attitude indicates he may be looking for some compensation 
for elk damage. 

The trip through Jim Ball Basin showed varying degrees of stock 
use on the range. Most of the privately owned or leased lands here have 
been heavily over-used The soil is rather loose and will not withstand 



122 



continued heavy use. The Forest range is in good shape here* An ex- 
ceptional range recovery was observed on one piece of Forest land that a 
few years ago was in very poor condition^, but which has come back 
phenomenally with protection,, 

The Elk Ridge sheep range appears in good shape,. Elk are commonly 
reported seen in this area although none were seen on this trip 8 

Best estimates indicate that 100 to 1^0 elk range in the north 
end of the Big Belt Mountains and the area herein covered occupies part 
of their summer range e Probably the main concentrations are in Upper 
Hound Creeks Upper Elkhorn a Beaver and Rock Creeks« A rather small 
percentage of these elk range in the Jim Ball Basin area 

CONCLUSIONS g 

Lo Elk are not numerous in the area investigated. Two bulls and 

occasional tracks were seen There is little competition with 

livestock. 
2, Livestock range is stocked to capacity on Forest lands and 

some private lands indicate over- stocking, 
3o Ranchers Hart and Smith are objecting to elk numbers on this 

range s Hart not very strongly 5 but Smith quite vociferously 

particularly because of broken fences caused by the l£ to 20 

elk reported to be in Jim Ball Basin proper, 

RECOMMENDATIONS; 

1<, No action is recommended following this investigation as it is 
felt that the numbers of elk present in this summer range is 
well below the carrying capacity. 



123 



No management practice could be suggested that would alleviate the 
local complaints which are not serious at presents 



May 10, 19U8 



Submitted bys 

Faye M» Couey 5 Big Game Leader 
Wildlife Restoration Division 






12U 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (We stern Montana) 
DATE July 1$, 19hQ 



CLARK FORK UNIT 

INSPECTION OF THE CHERRY CREEK GAME PRESERVE 

DATE ? 

April 23, 19U8 

The inspection trip was planned and arrangements for interested 
groups to be present were made by A. Ho Cheney,, Deputy Game Warden of 
Thompson Falls, when several sportsmen of the Local Rod and Gun Club 
suggested the Preserve be opened for elk hunting,, Apparently the motive 
behind this proposal was to have a hunting ground for elk near Thompson 
Falls, 

Making the inspection trip weres A. H. Cheneyj, Louis Rodenthall, 
U. So Forest Service! Jack Doyle , Bob Saint , Neal Eplin, Sport smenj Ade 
Zajanc and Merle Rognrud, Wildlife Restoration Division,, 

Travel up Cherry and Dry Creeks was made with a four wheel drive 
Army surplus Dodge weapons carrier, A two wheel driven vehicle could not 
negotiate the mountain roads at this season of the year. In the planning 
for more extensive work in Western Montana, transportation should include 
at least one Jeep permanently stationed in Missoula, and either a Jeep 



125 



or power wagon for use by the winter study crews 

Twenty six elk, 30 mule deer and seven white-tail deer were seen on 
the Game Preserve. One bull elk winter kill and two deer kills were found 
on Dry Creek* 

The 19U7-U8 winter with a low snowfall was reflected by light to 
moderate use of the range from deer and elk» Apparently game was quite well 
distributed during the winter , so over-browsing was not noted and probably 
did not occur on any large section of the Preserve 

The group making the inspection was impressed by the amount of 
available browse and agreed the Preserve was still serving its purpose 
and should remain closed to hunting unless over-utilization by big game 
would be found by subsequent yearly inspections* It is believed elk 
are increasing and moving to ranges adjacent to the Preserve ■ 

A severe winter may result in heavy browse utilization by deer, 
but the numbers of elk wintering on the Preserve are not well known • 

Salting in the Preserve and along the boundaries is planned by 
cooperation of the Rod and Gun Club and the U. S, Forest Service vhich 
may give a shorter period of game use of the winter range Previously 
salt had been placed at winter range elevations, but it is hoped local 
aerial distribution will be more effective, Mr, Cheney is carrying out 
the salting plan. 

Submitted bys 

Merle Rognrud, Assistant Big Game Leader 
May 10, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



126 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT L-R (Western Montana) 
DATE July 1$. 19U8 



DEERLODGE UNIT 

SPECIAL ELK SEASON INVESTIGATION AT 
Ce Lo Boyer Ranch Beaverhead County 

DATE g 

Winter of 19hl~hQ 

PERSONNEL g 

Richard Lo Hodder 5 Fieldman*, Wildlife Restoration Division 
Eldon Jo Baker 5 Field Assistant,, Wildlife Restoration Division 
Charles R Price s Deputy Game Warden 
John Judge^ Local Resident 

PURPOSES 

The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a 
special elk season on the C« L Boyer Ranch in Grasshopper Valley,, Beaver- 
head County,, This season was initiated as a management practice intended 
to alleviate damage to private property by elk wintering in this area» 

DESCRIPTION OF TERRA INg 

The country in which this special elk season was opened is found 
within the Deerlodge Big Game Management Area in Sub-unit No« 7» The 



127 



area is located on the west side of Grasshopper Creek opposite Polaris 
The size of the area is approximately fifteen square miles, bounded on 
the south by the Jackson Road from Tash's corner to the Boyer Lane 5 on 
the west and north by the Boyer lane and the Forest boundary,, and on the 
east by the Elkhorn Road„ 

The area opened to hunting was wholly on private land 5 the majority 
of which is used for growing both wild and cultivated hay The area from 
■which the elk come to feed on this private land is Forest Service land 
adjacent and contiguous to the Boyer Ranch* It is composed of timbered 
hills with lanes of aspen trees extending down the creek bottoms onto 
private land,, 

HISTORY OF ELK IN ARFAg 

Elk in this area are native elk,, that is. they have not been 
planted here or anywhere in the vicinity Their migration into the area 
has been a gradual one„ Twenty-five years ago it was a very exceptional 
occasion to see an elk in these parts Evidently the first elk seen 
were merely passing through the country,, for elk have been an oddity in 
this area until the last few years« It is thought locally that these elk 
may have originated from around Odell Creek and the Clay Banks country of 
Wise River o Lately, within the past few years, elk have increased rapidly,, 
Mr John Judge of Polaris estimates that there is now a total of about 50 
head of elk in the vicinity,, 

Within the last two years, elk have been seen on the east side of 
the Elkhorn Road Kr<, Judge reports that two years ago three bulls wintered 
on the north side of Billings Creek and White Creek in the school section. 
Last year one bull wintered on the point of hills behind Polaris Three 



123 



bull elk were seen by this Big Game crew on Dyce Creek last December 2Uth 
further down the valley. On February 20th of this year, elk tracks were 
seen again close to this same place, this time on Scudder Creek north of 
Mill Point o Calf tracks were also seen suggesting that this estimated 
six or seven head were composed of cows and calves and not bulls. On 
April l£th, four bulls were seen on Tash"s hayfields These four were 
last seen entering Harrison Canyon south of the Jackson Road on the 
opposite side of the valley from the Scudder Creek area, Mr, Frank Nay 
reports that from ten to twelve head of elk have been seen occasionally 
in the hills behind his ranch in Buffalo Creek, This area is located 
further south toward Bannack* 

PROCEDURE g 

Mr, Boyer was contacted early in the fall because complaints of elk 
damage were evident during the preceding season. At this time,, there had 
been no damage, or threat of damage this season because the elk were still 
high in the hills, 

Mr, John Judge of Polaris, whose home is situated just across the 
narrow valley from this troublesome spot, was contacted. He has a keen 
interest in these elk, and has made a habit of watching this area, noting 
the numbers- of elk that come down into the haystacks in the late evening and 
return to the timber in the early morning, Mr, Judge has kept a faithful 
record of numbers of elk that he has seen on the Boyer Ranch from December 
2Uth to April Uth, the last date that elk came down to the stacks this 
spring. This day by day record is included in this report for reference. 

Elk began coming into the Boyer fields early in December after a heavy 
snowstorm. An insistant complaint from Mr, Boyer was received by the 

129 



Department of Fish and Game,, and so on Sunday,, January llth^ 19U8* a 
drawing was held for special licenses,, The season thus opened was for 
the taking of 25 bull elk within the afore mentioned boundary,. This 
drawing was held at Polaris and was supervised by Deputy Game Warden Charles 
Ro Price,, Coincident-ally^ Mr Boyer" s name was the first name drawn from 
the candy jar by Mrs*, John Judge This special season was of thirty-five 
days duration 5 ending on February l£th» 



FINDINGS? 

This special season was effective in that practically no elk came 

down onto private land from January 11th;, to February l5th„ As far as can 

be determined^ only one elk was killed in this area 

Daily Record of Elk Seen at Haystacks 
On Co Lo Boyer Ranch 





O- 

o 




o 




o • 

O 




• 




o 






• 3 

• 3 




o 

o 




a 
o 




Month 


a 
u 


Day 


o 
o 


No. of 


8.8 


Month 


• 
o 


Day 


• 


No. of 


• •> 
ft •> 


Month 


a 
© 


Day 


ft 
ft 


No. of 






o 




gElk Seems 




• 






% Elk Seens § 




© 
ft 




sElk Seen 




t 




a 

6 








o 
o 




o 
o 




ft ft 

o o 




o 
o 




o 
o 






9> 

ft. 




O 





o o 

o o 








B 
ft 




O ft 

ft ft 




a 

• 




o 




Deco 




2U 


o 


< 


o a 

• 


Jan. 




10 


S 


7 




Mar* 




10 


B 


10 




©• 


26 


o 

9 


7 


88 






11 


9 

9 


12 


88 




o> 


11 


9 

o» 


11 




g 


27 


O 

6 


7 


8 8 


Febo 


o> 


17 


o» 
fi 


8 


£S 




o 


12 


9 
o* 


10 






29 


o» 


h 


9 O 




OJ 


18 




6 


28 






19 


9 
9 


11 




o 
o 


30 


o 

o 


7 


88 




B 


19 


©- 


9 


©• » 
©■ -i 






21 


o 

o 


11 


Jan. 


o 
o 


2 


o 

o 


7 


O O 




Or 


20 


9 
o- 


10 






o 

Of 


25 


Or 

o> 


6 




t 


3 


o 

i 


5 


a © 

t> 




B 


21 


or 

o* 


11 


T9 
B o> 




o» 


26 


9 
9 


11 




8 


h 


a 


7 


o- © 




m 

9 


2U 


aj 


8 


9 o> 

Op O 




9 


27 


S 


6 




9 


$ 


8 


7 


o •» 




9 
9 


25 


• 


66 


<■» o 




©> 
o> 


28 


9 
■ 


10 




9 
O 


6 


2 


12 


S8 


Mar c 


9 


2 


9- 


Ui 


ft) © 


Apr. 


9 


1 


9 
9 


5 




o 
o 


7 


0> 

I 


12 


S8 




9 


3 


9 
9 


5 


9 




3 


2 


1 


7 




c 


8 


o 


12 


Or © 

ft 




9> 


5 




6 


* -- 

n v> 




8 


h 


1 


6 




■ 
• 


9 




7 


:t 




Or 
Ot 


9 


8 


10 






S 




1 






t 




s 




■ i 




9 
o> 








9-ft> 

9>» 




2 




3 








Special Season - January 11th to February 15th. 



On the morning of February 17 c, 19U8., one day after the close of the 
special season^ eight elk appeared in the fields. Elk continued to enter 



130 



private land and to damage haystacks until April Uth, 19H8<> At this time, 
warmer weather had melted sufficient snow in the hills to the north and west 
of the hunting area so that the elk could find feed and so moved elsewhere 

At no time during the winter were more than twelve elk seen in any 
one day„ When elk entered the area, they usually followed down one of the 
aspen stringers along a creek and then cut across the fences to the stacks 
of hay, Mr» Judge observed that these 'elk never returned to the Forest by 
the route that they used to enter the area It was also observed that 
different routes into the area were used on successive days, the elk never 
•choosing to retrace their course of the preceding day* Although some cows 
and calves had been observed on this private land, it was only the bulls 
that did any damage to haystacks, 

RECOMMENDATIONS g 

The Beaverhead Sportsmen" s Association of Dillon has made the 
recommendation that an extended season following the regular elk season be 
held for the taking of 2$ bulls in the same area as was the special season 
this year. The Club recommends that this extended season be continued until 
April 1st, 

Mr Boyer's personal recommendation is similar to the suggestion 
above except that an extended season for 2$ bull elk ending on March l£th 
would be long enough to discourage the troublesome elk 

The recommendation of this Big Game crew is to have an extended 
season following the regular season in this area, the boundary of which 
will be the same as during this last season Instead of a 2$ bull limits 
it is proposed that a 1$ bull limit be set during the coming year as 
there has, to date, been only twelve offenders seen at the stacks,, Also, 

131 



this particular country is so difficult to hunt that it is very improbable 
that this number will be taken,, It is also recommended that the length 
of the season be extended to March 15>th This extension of the season 
should so discourage the elk from coming down that they probably will not 
do so after this date 



May 8 5 19U8 



Submitted byg 

Richard Le Hodder^ Fieldman 
Wildlife Restoration Division 



132 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (Western i„> ntana) 
DATE July 15, 191+ 3 



DEERLODG E UNIT 
WISE RIVER-BIG HOLE MOOSE REPORT 

DATE: 

July 31st to August 29th, ±9kl 

PERSONNEL; 

Bob Heal, Field Assistant, Wildlife Restoration Division 

J. 3. Gaab, Ficldman, Wildlilfe Restoration Division 

Stanley Mongrain, Wildlife Restoration Division, spent a week with 

Bob Meal from August iUth to August 20th, substituting for J. E. 

G i b -' d left the Beaverhead Forest to attend the Upper Gallatin 

Conservation meeting and ride. 

PURPOSE: 

This survey was made to determine the number of moose ( Aloes 
americana S hirasi ) in the Big Hole-Wise River unit in relation to 
carrying capacity of the moose habitai". a thin the unit. 

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: 

The participants of this survey party greatly appreciate the 
cooperation given them by officials of the Beaverhead National Forest* 



133 



The observers were grateful for the use of Forest Service facilities and 
for cooperation in planning methods of travel and routes to be taken, 

LOCATION OF THE AREA (Beaverhead County) ; ■ 

The area surveyed included the drainage of the Big Hole River from 
its headwaters as far down and including the Wise River drainage on the 
south side and to the Deep Creek road on the north side, also the drainage 
of Grasshopper Creek as far down as Buffalo Creek drainage on the west 
side and the Dyce Creek drainage on the east side. 

PROCEDURE ; 

The area surveyed was traversed by pack and saddle horses, A 
three-quarter ton truck pulling a two horse trailer was used to move 
the horses and camp equipment from one major drainage to another. The 

* 

routes of travel are shown on a map on page 1380 

FINDINGS ; 

1. Sixty-five moose were accounted for during this survey. Thirty- 
five moose were reported by Walter Melchure, the Grasshopper Cattle 
Association rider. Mr. llelchure observed these moose in the spring when 
packing salt on the Association range. The same area was covered during 
this survey and little moose sign was observed. 

2. The willow browse in the Wise River area shows considerable 
use. 

3. The area covered during this survey has considerable typical 
moose habitat, that is, wide swampy willow creek bottoms that are 
bordered by lodgepole and spruce timber. Uuch of this habitat in the 
3ig Hole area shows very little use, either past or present. 



13U 



h» The distribution of moose at this time of year is very 
detrimental when trying to make a census, or to estimate the moose pop- 
ulation. 

5. Mountain goat sign was observed at the head of Elkhorn Creek and 
in the vicinity of Alder Peak both on the Wise River drainage. Two 
mountain goats were observed at the head of Little Lake Creek, however, 
numerous sign observed along the Divide between Little Lake Creek and 

Big Swamp Creek led the observers to believe that there are possibly about 
ten mountain goats at least in that area. One goat was observed at the 
head of Berry Creek. 

One mountain goat was seen near Pintlar Pass and one possibly 
winter killed goat carcass was observed near Pintlar Pass. Visibility 
was poor due to snow and rain when in this area© 

6, The following drainages are where elk sign was observed? 

Rabbia Creek - (Mr. Lyon, cattle-herder, counted forty-four 

elk on this creek in the spring He 
believes that these elk winter in Warm 
Springs Creek.) 

Upper Lacy Greek - Little sign. 

Sheep Creek - Little sign. 

Beaver Meadows on Shoestring Creek - Little sign 

Selway Creek - Little sign. 

Berry Creek - Little sign. 

Big Swamp Creek - Sign of about five head. 

Pintlar Creek - Abundant sign. 

Fool Hen Ridge - Little sign. 



135 



Fish Trap Creek - Sign of several. 

Trail Creek - A pilot reported ninety elk wintering on 
this drainage last year. 

It was reported by William Schultz, Deputy Game Warden, that elk that 
summer along the Continental Divide from the Pintlar Peaks to the head of 
Trail Creek drift into the East Fork of the Bitterroot River to winter o 

7. The mule deer sign observed was mostly on the northeast end of 
the area surveyed. That is, along the lower portions of the Big Hole and 
Wise Rivers, The area on both sides of the Big Hole River as far up as the 
towns of Jackson and Wisdom has a lesser population of deer due probably 
to extreme snow depths during the winter month s„ 

8. The amount of black bear sign observed throughout the area 
leads the observers to believe that their population is low in comparison 
with other big game hunting areas. 

CONCLUSIONS ; 

lo The observers feel that the number of moose seen and the amount 
of moose sign observed during this survey is not a very representative 
amount from which to draw any very logical conclusion s 

2© It is only probable that the Wise River- Big Hole Unit has a 
population of 300 moose 

3« The Wise River area shows a greater amount of past use by moose 
than do any of the Big Hole River drainages above Wise River, with a 
possible exception of Warm Springs Creek. 

Uo The amount of moose habitat in the Big Hole River drainages 
above Wise River that shows only a minimum amount of forage use leads the 









136 



observers to believe that the moose population is below carrying capacity e 

5>o The forage use in the Wise River area is an indicator that the 
carrying capacity has been reached in past years From an interview with 
Al Muchmore, Wise River Forest Ranger, it was concluded that some moose 
from the Wise River drainage have migrated out of the area into adjacent 
areas which contain typical moose habitatj such as 5 Jerry Creek and 
Quartz Hillo The increasing number of moose in the Grasshopper Creek 
area in more recent years may be explained by a drift from the Wise 
River area 8 

6 The Grasshopper Creek area contains considerable moose habitat 5 
but because of private land ownership, the increasing moose population 
must be controlled to avoid extensive haystack damage* 

RECOMMENDATIONS ; 

To acquire an accurate moose census in the Big Hole-Wise River 
unit, a survey conducted during the months of June or from September 
15 th to October l£th would probably be more successful than any other 
time during the year. 

NOTE ; 

If and when we can contact the last year's license holders as to 
their success, a supplement should be made We have seventeen out of 30 
to date» 



Submitted byg 

J, Eo Gaab, Fieldman 
April 26, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



137 



Beaverhead County Open Season on Moose 




Routes of Travel by Survey Party 



Units No. 1 and No. 2 



133 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (Western Montana) 
DATE July 1$, 19U3 



DEERLODGE UNIT 



SUPPLEMENT TO WISE RIVER-BIG HOLE 19U7 MOOSE REPORT 
BLOODY DICK CREEK AREA 



On August 11th, 19k7 9 Bob Neal, Field Assistant and J. E. Gaab, 
Fieldman, Wildlife Restoration Division, visited the Jack Brenner ranch 
on Trail Creek, a Horse Prairie Creek tributary in the Bloody Dick 
Creek area, Sub-Unit No 2 

Previous damage reports from this ranch have led to an open 
season on ten mature bull moose . In discussing the moose problems with 
Mr. Brenner, he reports that the moose haven't done as much damage as 
in past years. He states that perhaps his livestock have become 
accustomed to them and that the moose have learned to respect fences,, 
He also believes that within that area, the moose have trebled in popula- 
tion in recent years. Discovering many pairs of twin calves in that area, 
the local people believe that a cow moose has a single calf the first 
year she conceives and twins each successive year. 

Submitted by: 

J. E. Gaab, Fieldman 
April 26, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



139 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (Western Montana) 
DATE July 1$, 19U8 



FLATHEAD-SUN RIVER UNIT 

EARLY SPRING INSPECTION 
SOUTH FORK OF THE FLATHEAD RIVER 

DATE : 

March 5-13, 19U8 

PERSONNEL ; 

Russell Cloninger, U. So Forest Service 

Merle Rognrud, Assistant Big Game Leader, Wildlife Restoration 

Division 

PURPOSE S 

The annual early spring inspection of big game winter range along 
the South Fork of the Flathead River is made for recording trends in 
numbers of elk, sex ratio and composition of the elk herd. General 
observations are made on utilization of forage and the range condition, 
game movement and concentration areas, physical condition of the elk, 
predator numbers and activity,, Snow measurements are made at regular 
stations, winter killed elk are noted and other miscellaneous informa- 
tion collected. 

PROCEDURE: 



1U0 



Inspection of the wintering South Fork elk herd was made in coopera- 
tion with the U. S. Forest Service a 

A preliminary aerial reconnaissance, was made March $th over the 
South Fork and Middle Fork Rivers and the Sun River drainage . (See map 
for flight route o) Personnel making the four-hour flight were: 
Russell Cloninger, U. S. Forest Service; Lowell Adams, Fish and Wildlife 
Service; Ken Thompson and Merle Rognrud, Wildlife Restoration Division; 
Bob Johnson, pilot, of the Johnson Flying Service. 

After landing at Basin Greek with the ski equipped plane, the 
ground inspection was made on skis along the East River Trail to Spotted 
Bear Ranger Station • (See map for ground route,,) The ground crew 
traveled from Spotted Bear Ranger Station to Coram Ranger Station with a 
jeep snowmobile, 

FINDINGS ; 

Aerial Reconnaissance - The preliminary flight proved valuable 
for locating the elk herd groups and winter range boundaries shown by 
tracks and elk seen. Although an accurate record of the sex ana age of 
elk could not be made in most instances from the plane, these data were 
recorded when identification was positive. A paucity of calves was noted 
during the flight » 

Following is a summary of game seen on the three major drainages. 
A tabulation by locality is given on page llik for the South Fork area. 






Ihl 



Game Seen By Aerial Reconnaissance 
March 5* 19U8 



Drainage 



Elk 



Coyote 



Bull % Cow i Calf s Unci, #8 Totals Moose: Deer 2 (Predators) 



South Fork 
Middle Fork 
Sun River 

Totals 



U3 
k 



2$ t 

m 

m 

3 r 



279 
9h 
29 



hi 



28 : 10 5 1+02 



35U 
10k 

29 

U87 



1 

3 



It 



19 8 

g 

a 

o 

s 

■ 

19 8 



8 





#The unclassified elk were mostly cows as antlered elk were recorded,, 

The elk were not found wintering above the Big Slide on Big Salmon 
Creek, above the Forks of White River, above the mouth of Babcock Creek 
or on Danaher Creek more than three miles above the mouth of Limestone 
Creeko 

Elk were found concentrated (up to "]$) on Twin Creeks,, Youngs 
Creek, Basin Creek and at Danaher, in the South Fork drainage s„ Middle 
Fork elk were found using Winter and Cox Creeks and Lunch Creek areas in 
bands of 2£-50 animals «, Most elk were seen wintering in scattered small 
groups along the creek and river bottoms,, 

Ground Inspection - During the inspection six days were clear and 
two days were cloudy with snow flurries. At Big Prairie the lowest winter 
temperature was -35°F on March 10th„ Prior to that date the low had been 
-30°F Notable was the apparent greater frequency of wind in the South 
Fork when compared to past winters ■ 

Snow Conditions - The snow was crusted and drifted in the open 



1U2 



areas o Bare spots were appearing on the south exposures above Basin 

Creek, at Big Prairie, Woodfir Creek and Horse Ridge.. Measurements for the 

mentioned localities are given below<> 

South Fork of Flathead River 
Snow Depth in Inches, March, 19U8 



Area 




: Snow : 
s Depth i 


: : Area 


o 
a 

o 
1 

o 

• 

© 

I 


Snow 
Depth 


Danaher 




t 30" i 


it "White River Flat 


■ 

■ 

• 


2U» 


Rapid 




: 38" i 


it Salmon Forks 


1 

1 


2U" 


Head Ayres Creek 


• Uo» i 


: j Black Bear 


S 

i 


36" 


Basin Creek 




t 

s 28" i 


tr Meadow Creek 


p 

■ 
• 


28" 


Camp Creek 




s 30" 


n Spotted Bear R„So 


■ 
•- 


28" 


Cayuse Creek 




s 26" i 


: : Trout Lake 


• 

■ 
m 


60" 


Big Prairie R 


»D e 


s 20" 




■ 

Q 

• 





Average snow depth was 30" for the South Fork River in March, 19U8, 



Elks 



Game Seen - 



A table showing the elk seen by sex and age classes is given below. 



1U3 



South Fork of Flathead River 

Early Spring Inspection Summary of Elk Seen 
March 6-13, 19U8 



Locality 



Bull : Cow s Calf 



Unci, 



Total 



Danaher 

Rapid Creek 

Basin Creek 

Big Prairie 

White River 

Salmon Forks 

Black Bear 

Meadow Creek 

Spotted Bear-Dry Parks 

Riverside 

Totals 



1 



2 


• 



m 


9 




• 







8 

ft* 
» 




m 




2 




I 


1 




a 










ft" 
* 




• 


1 


t 




ft 
• 




e 





• 




s 




s 


1 




a 


27 




i 


5 


8 




• 





s 





• 


h 


• 




22 







1 


8 









ft 1 




ft 
ft 


7 


s 


lit 


s 


u 


O 

* 




• 






• 




O 
ft 








11 




• 


1 


ft 

• 




•■ 
• ' 






ft 




m 


2 






2 




• 




a 



258 



35 s 10 



ft 



11 


s 





• 


3 


ft 



• 


7 




a* 




8 


33 


ft 

• 
• 


27 


8 




8 


25 


% 




O 

ft 


12 


8 




8 


h 


» 



« 


258 




ft 
ft 


U7 



19 



122 



22 



26U 



1427 



The herd composition computed from the above classified elk is 
given by percentage below 8 

Herd Composition, March,, 19U3 



Bull 



Cow 



Calf 



Total 



Number Identified 



Percent 



19 
13 



122 



7U 



22 


• 


163 


13 








100 



The elk herd composition in the South Fork drainage for previous 
years is as follows. 



1W* 



Herd Composition 





m 









ft 

• 










9 
m 

• 
• 


Bulls 


• 
• 


Cow 




a 

• 
• 


Calf 




Total 


19U1-U2 Winter Study 


ft- 

ft* 

• 




* 

• 
• 




ft 
* 

ft 

■ 




* 
• 


ft 




Number Identified 


: 


325 


a 



711 


O 


336 






1,372 


Percent 




2k 


• 
ft 


52 




2U 






100 


19 U6 Spring Inspection 






• 
ft* 

m 




s 

• 
• 











Number Identified 




87 


p 
■ 


233 






1U2 


ft 


U62 


Percent 




20 





50 


ft 
ft 


30 


• 
• 


100 


19U7 Mid-Winter Inspection 


t 

• 
i 




• 
I 




s 


ft 




• 




Number Identified 



• 


137 



• 


617 


ft 



135 






889 


Percent 


* 


15 


ft- 






70 



• 

m 

»■ 


15 





• 


100 



Graphic representation of the trend in herd composition is given 
on page l5H° Data for the years 19U3 to 19U5 are not available, but the 
decrease in calves since 19U6 is apparent,. The reduction recorded in 
19U7 is partially explained by the record 19U6 hunter kill which was 
10$ calves. Although the cows and bulls were harvested in approximately 
equal numbers during 19U6, it is suggested that the kill of cows may 
have been heavier on the older, breeding animals „ This could account for 
a continued lesser 19U7 calf crop surviving in 19U3. Furthermore, 
although the 19U6-U7 winter losses were not severe, cows and calves were 
most frequently found dead. 

Hunter take of calves in 19U7 was approximately five percent, as 
compared to 10% in 19U6 Calves were probably not as numerous during the 
19U7 hunting season as in 19U6. When the herd is represented on a 
percentage basis and the calves and bulls are lessened the cows then are 
more numerous. 

Sex ratio for 19U8 was 1 bull t 5d cows. Comparative ratios for 
years 19U2 to 19U8 are listed below. (In all computations bulls include 



11*5 



spikes and cows include females more than one year old») 
19U2 19U3 19M 19U£ 19U6 19U7 19U8 
1:2 — — — 1:2,6 lsii.5 1:5.1 

Data are not available to determine whether the change in sex 
ratio is due to hunting. Prior to i Q U7 the area has had an either sex 
season o Information is needed on kill by age classes. 

The trend in elk numbers has been downward in the South Fork 
drainage. This has been reported by all observers and is borne out in 
the recorded data. Notable was the lesser number of tracks seen for March 9 
19 U8 in the usual locations when compared to 19U6, Presented below is a 
table indicating numbers of elk seen in March, 19U8 by plane and by 
ground counts^ by a weighted combination of the two and estimated 
numbers for each locality. 



1U6 



South Fork of The Flathead 



Elk Count March, 19U8 



Locality 



r Plane s Ground t Combined g Estimated 



Danaher 

Basin Creek (Camp, Ayres, 
Rapid, Foolhen) 

Youngs Creek 

Big Prairie (Cayase, 
Gordon Creek) 

White River (Holbrooke Big 
Salmon, Woodfir, Phil 
Creek) 

Salmon Forks (Little Salmon, 
Damnation, Helen Creek) 

Black Bear (Hodag, Black 
Bear, Hid Creek) 

Meadow Creek (Harrison, 
Bunker Creek) 

Spotted Bear (Twin Creek, 
Spotted Bear River) 

Riverside 



130 



28 



11 



r 



33 



130 



61 



175 



81 ; 


10 s 


85 





125 


39 s 


0- 

s 


39 





75 



125 



5 




* 


5U 




• 


59 


■ 
» 


150 





m 

ft- 
ft* 

m 

m 


5 






a 
• 


5 


•> 


a* 


» 
0. 


75 





i 


• 

e 


13 




■ 

*• 
• 


13 


ft> 
» 








100 


10 


• 



2 


• 


* 


12 


B 

*> 
1 




75 




• 





E 

1 




1 

r 




60 




a 

t 


258 


m 
0* 

•> 

• 


253 




e 

0* 
ft 


350 





O 

ft 


U7 


» 


U7 


2 


75 



Totals 



353 



U33 



709 



1,325 



A comparison of elk counts on the winter range for years since 19U6 
is given below. 



1U7 



South Fork of the Flathead 
Elk Counts 19U6-19U8 





Locality 


a 

s 19U6 
s Spring 

» 
m 


o 

5 

a 

a 

■ 

ft 


19U7 






B 

i 

o 

• 


19U8 




Mid-winter s 

o 

6 


Sp 


ring 


• 

ft 

ft 


Spring 


Ab 
Be 


ove Spotted Bear 
low Spotted Bear 


S 

o 

o 

■ 
o 


6U0 
1U2 


o 



o 

a 

■ 


a 

5oU 5 

ftj 

2#j. 1 




U66 
32U 


ft 

o 

■ 

o 

B 

a 


UoU 

305 



Totals a 782 s 758 s 790 g 709 

o > » o 

ft ft- B> fl 

A trend of decreasing numbers is to be noted from the counts 
above Spotted Bear Below Spotted Bear the counts are believed to 
indicate the effect of the Hungry Horse Closure,, Elk increasing on the 
Closure are wintering in the Dry Parks - Twin Creek area below Spotted 
Bear, The latter elk winter concentration is over-=utilizing the range 
and should be investigated to determine whether opening the closure to 
hunting would give a satisfactory reduction in this elk use 

Winter game studies in 19U1— U2 estimated the winter range carrying 
capacity for the South Fork area at 1 5 808 animals e Although the 19U8 
estimate for the wintering South Fork herd is possibly conservative at 
1,325 elkj it is quite probable the herd has been reduced to near the 
range carrying capacity* It is believed more elk use the South Fork in 
the summer and fall^ but winter in adjacent drainage s 

Peer s 

Six mule deer and four white-tail deer were seen near Spotted Bear 
Ranger Station Two white-tail deer and ten mule deer were seen by plane 
near Spotted Bear Ranger Station and seven mule deer seen on Gorge Creek 



1U8 



Moose? 

One moose was seen by plane on lower Youngs Creek cliffs 

Prgd atorsg 

10 coyotes - Danaher 
h coyotes - Big Prairie 
. coyotes - Spotted Bear 

Total 16 coyotes seen 

1 lion track - Danaher 

1 lion track - Flat-iron Mountain 

1 lion track - Pine Creek 

Total 3 lion tracks seen 

Coyote tracks were common along the travel route,, Danaher,, Big 
Prairie,, Salmon Forks., Spotted Bear are areas where coyotes are most 
numerous,, 

Weasel tracks were occasionally seen,, 

Fur Bearers ? 

Beaver were noted working from Big Prairie to the headwaters of the 
South Fork River c 

One marten track seen at Rapid Creek „ 

Game Bird s; 

Four ruffed grouse were seen above Big Prairie, 

Miscellaneous ^ 

Several golden eagles were seen along the river and one bald eagle 
at Dry Parks,, Raven ? magpies were occasional!;- seen,, Stellar a jay* Canada 
jay and the mountain chickadee also seen B 

Game Movement and Concentration Areas: 






The band of 75 elk found on Danaher Flats moved to the west 
foothills after a one-day storm e At Basin Creek the elk concentration 
had been moving between Ayres Creek and the river bottom^, also up Foolhen 
Creek and Camp Creek to a lesser degree Elk on Youngs Creek were moving 
along the bottom as far up as Babcock Creek Big Prairie Flats had few 
tracks and scattered elk were found along the lower eastern hills and on 
Cayuse Creek ■ Elk were scattered along White River Butte and Limestone 
Creeko Two small bands of elk were seen moving across White River 
Flats and elk were more numerous about the mouth of Woodfir Creeko Phil 
Creek Hill showed few elk trailso Elk were scattered the remaining 
distance down river to Spotted Bear Approximately 70 unduplicated elk 
tracks were counted between Meadow Creek and Spotted Bear for a checko 
Elk were heavily concentrated in the Twin Creeks area below Spotted 
Bear and a band of It 7 was seen at Riverside o 

Range Condition and Forage Utilizations 

At Danaher the slopes of Ursus hill had been used lightly by elk 
as were Big Prairie Flats and White River 

Heavy utilization of browse was noted at Basin Creek and Twin 
Creeks by elk concentration s„ Phil Creek hill and Hodag Creek did not 
have the utilization by elk bands as in former winters 

The range should generally improve excepting Danaher,, Basin Creek 
and Twin Creeks if the present numbers of elk are approximately maintained 
or further reduced in the mentioned areas 

Game Condition and Winter Kills % 



Elk observed at close range appeared to have a smooth coat of hair. 



150 



thrift y s active s and not noticeably thin„ This condition indirectly 
reflects a more ample winter food supply,, One calf appeared to be poor 
and not thrifty at Rapid Creek 

One female elk calf was found dead at the mouth of Camp Creek 
apparently caused by malnutrition e When autopsied the following con- 
ditions were founds 

1 Externally the calf appeared thin with a smooth coat s but 
prominent mane 

2© Marrow of the bones a bright pinko 

3» Paunch full of browse,, the small intestine empty and one tape- 



worm, one bot larvae found in the section next to the stomach 



v 



o 



Uo Liver appeared normal and free of fluke s 
5o Lungs were inflamed with bright red color (lower lung of 
position the calf was found) was deeper color and tissues were filled 
with bioodo 

6, Heart appeared normal ,, was filled with bioodo 
7« Kidneys appeared normal, but without a fat covering and 
bladder almost empty „ 

8,, Bot larvae found in the phyarnx,, 

9« No appreciable amount of fat was found by the internal examina- 
tion on any of the mesentaries or other usual places e 

D iscussion and Summary ; 

Several trends are notable when results of the annual spring 
inspections are comparedo Smaller numbers of elk are wintering above 
Spotted Bear, The surviving calf in March, 19U3, crop was lesser than 
19U6 and 19U7. The bull-cow sex ratio has changed from Is 2 in 19U2 to 



151 



Is $„1 in 19U8o 

Apparently the South Fork elk population is approaching the carry- 
ing capacity of the winter range. The only severe over-utilization of 
forage now occurs in the area between Spotted Bear and Dry Parks., Danaher s 
Basin Greek and Youngs Creek are still receiving heavy utilization by 
smaller elk concentrations,, Elsewhere along the drainage the scattered 
pattern of elk probably results in more nearly a proper utilization of 
the available forage if actual measurements were made* Because elk are 
naturally gregarious it is probable local heavy utilization of forage 
during some winters cannot be prevented by continued reduction in numbers* 

Since a further reduction of elk is desirable in some localities^, 
the present hunting season will probably accomplish that much* Hunting 
success will be less in areas where elk are scarce, so to some extent,, 
the desired adjustment may be made An early bull season will tend to 
keep the later kill on cows and calves down unless an early fall storm 
would concentrate and cause the elk to move lower in elevation within easy 
reach of the hunters In the latter case the hunting season should be 
closed when the kill approximates that of 19U7<> 

Because the surviving calf crop recorded in March of 19U7 and 
19U8 is probably not large enough to maintain the herd 5 particular 
attention should be paid to the elk kill in 19U8 and the herd composition 
of March 19 h9 in order that the changes taking place be understood and any 
desirable management adjustments can be made 

RECOMMENDATIONS ; 

1. A May or early June recheck of the South Fork would be desirable 
to determine final winter losses, a supplementary green grass count and 



152 



possibly obtain information on calving e 

2 The Hungry Horse checking station be operated during the entire 
open elk season ■ Also a more adequate check be made on the elk kill in 
the upper South Fork drainage by a roving crew or/ and periodical checking 
points of entry c Here a breakdown by age (mature bull,, spike, old or 
young cow and calf) would be desirable o 

3o Preliminary fall measurements of forage growth be made in 
strategic areas to determine utilization by elk during the winter of 

19U8-U9o I 

lu A mid-winter aerial reconnaissance be made of the South Fork 

for locating any herd concentrations and obtain a count 8 

5o The annual aerial-ground inspection be made in March 19h9 along 

the same routes^ but with a more thorough aerial coverage of Spotted 

Bear River and the Twin Creek-Dry Parks area, 

6 Investigation be made to determine the desirability of 

maintaining or removing the Hungry Horse Closure because the Twin Creeks 

are reportedly in the closure during the summer and fall e 

Submitted bys 

Merle Rognrud, Assistant Big Game Leader 
May 10, I9I48 Wildlife Restoration Division 



153 



Composition of the South Fork elk herd computed from classified elk seen 
on winter game surveys during the period 19U2-19U8. 



100 
9$ 
90 
85 
80 

75 
70 

65 
60 

5o 

U5 

Uo 

35 
30 

25 
20 

15 

10 













■ 
























_L 












/ 

/ 












/ 

/ 












/ 












/ 

/ 












/ 

/ 


































• 




















































. — 


— ~ - 


-___ 
















^^\\ 









































0$ 
19U1-U2 



19U3 



19UU 



19U5 19U6 

LEGEND 

Bull 

Cow 

Calf 



19U7 



19U8 



15U 



FLIGHT ROUTE OF AERIAL RECONNAISSANCE 
March $ t 191*8 




Flight Route 
Landing Field 






r 



I 



GROUND ROUTE OF SOUTH FORK INSPECTION 
March 5-13, 19U8 




MiMMT^l 



U. S. Forest Service 
Stations used by 
ground crew 




■■■■■■^^■^■■■■i^^Hi 



Skis were used for travel on the South Fork Inspection Trip. 




Basin Creek Cabin 
This station located along the travel route was used two nighte 
by the ground crew. 



157 







Aerial View of Big Salmon Lake in the South Fork Country 
Swan Range is in the background. 







' - 



£^4c& i 1 ih-<< 



< £ 



This group of 104 elk seen from the plane In 1347 at Danaher 

illustrates the value of a preliminary aerial reconnaissance 

for locating elk. In 1348 a smaller group of 75 animals 

were seen in this locality. 



158 




At Big Prairie this Douglas fir reproduction had been heavily 
utilized by elk during former winters. 




imii 




This willow browse, available to elk at Basin Creek, had not 
been used during the winter of 1348. 



i59 



STATE Montana 






PROJECT 1-R (Western Montana) 
DATE July 1$, 19U8 



FLATHEAD-SUN RIVER UNIT 



MOUNTAIN GOATS AND ELK MIGRATION 
AERIAL RECONNAISSANCE OF THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE 



DATE : 

May 17, 19U3 

PERSONNEL ; 

Stewart Brandborg, Fieldman, Wildlife Restoration Division 
Merle Rognrud, Assistant Big Game Leader, Wildlife Restoration 

Division 
Paul Choquette, Pilot 

PURPOSE; 

The flight was planned to locate mountain goats on Red Buttes s to 
determine whether goats were using adjacent areas and to determine the 
stage to which the spring season had advanced as indicated by snow factors 
which in turn would determine the necessary equipment and direct the 
approach to this area for the mountain goat study to be made during the 
next weeks,, 

Mountain passes which have been used by elk in migration were to 
be checked for possible traffic to date c 



160 



PROCEDURE : 

A twin engine Cessna airplane piloted by Paul Choquette was used 
from the Helena airport to make this reconnaissance • The approximately 
200-mile round trip required 2 hours and fifteen minutes of flying 
timeo The route of flight is indicated on the map included with this 
report,, 

FINDINGS : 

The crew left the Helena airport at 6:15 AoMo flying to Ford 
Creek where the following observations were begun,, 

Elk were found to be scattered along the open slopes of the South 
Fork and West Fork of Sun River,, At Pretty Prairie 16 elk were counted 
on the low hills northwest of the landing strip o Snow was melted to 6,£00 
feet in elevation at Pretty Prairie B 

Twenty-two bighorn sheep were counted on the southwest slope at 
the West Fork licks» The sheep appeared white and were easily counted 
from the plane. 

Twelve elk were also seen at the West Fork licks Eight elk were 
seen on the open slopes of Reef Creek » No snow remained along the West 
Fork Creek bottom several miles above Indian Pointo 

Red Buttes were reached at 7s OU A„Mo The east facing cliffs and 
south slopes of Red Buttes were bare,, although snow remained below the 
cliffs and along Indian Creek below the south slopes,, The west and northern 
slopes of Red Buttes were completely covered with snow excepting a strip 
of bare ground along the crest of the west facing ridges which apparently 
had been cleared by wind during the winter. Hermit Lake was still frozen 
and snow covered,, 

161 



One clockwise circle was made past the cliffs and bare south slopes 
of Red Buttes starting at 7sOU AoMo Approximately two and a half minutes 
were used for the swing at 85 miles per hour and 7 S 300 feet in elevation 
Three mountain goats were seen on the south slopes and two on the cliffs 8 

Tracks in the snow a short distance north of Molly Creek Pass 
indicated a small band of elk had crossed the Continental Divide at this 
point. Apparently the snow was drifted and packed enough to support 
the elk with little breaking through the under crust. 

The west facing slopes of White River were trackless and snow 
coveredo The Chinese Wall cliffs were bare but the crest had a 10 foot 
to 15 foot snowdrift and the ledges which are used by goats in the 
summer were all filled with drifted snow 

Larch Hill Pass and the headwaters of Rock Creek were snow covered 
without bare spots<> Elk had not crossed Larch Hill Pass 

Hart Basin and Lick Creek Pass were snow covered and without 
tracks to indicate elk migration 

The cliffs of Three Sisters Peaks were bare of snow and one goat 
was seen in two circles past the cliffs at approximately 7s 30 AoMo 

Goat Ridge, at its juncture with Three Sisters Peaks had bare 
places along the bench top up to several acres in size,. Tracks of goat 
were seen in this locality,, 

Two circles were again made around Red Buttes at 7s 39 AoM e 
Twelve goats were counted on the cliffs and south slopes of Red Buttes. 
The last circle was made high over the top of the Buttes where it was 
found the ridge tops had been windswept and were bare of snow c 

In the flight south past the cliffs of Ahorn Creek and Junction 



162 



Mountain a set of probable goat tracks were seen s but the ledges were all 
snowed in and no use by goats were foundo 

SUMMARY? 

The inspected section of the Continental Divide was heavily 
blanketed with snow* The cliffs of Red Buttes and Three Sisters with the 
adjoining windswept ridges were bare of snow and used by goatso 

Twelve goats were counted on Red Buttes 

Elk migration has not occurred across the Continental Divide to 
this date<> The several tracks seen at Molly Creek Pass were not sufficient 
to indicate any appreciable elk migration between the Flathead and Sun 
River drainage s„ 



Submitted bys 
Merle Rognrud 
Assistant Big Game Leader 
May 20, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



163 



AERIAL ROUTE MOUNTAIN GOAT AND ELK 
MIGRATION - May 17, 19U8 




Route Aerial 
Reconnaissance 
May 17, 19U8 



16U 






\ i 






STATE Montana 



PRO JECT 1-R (Western Montana) 
DATE July l$ s 19U8 



FIATHEAD-SUN EIVER UNIT 

SUN RIVER GUIDES AND PACKERS ASSOCIATION MEETING 

DATE ; 

April 17, 19U8 

The spring meeting of the Sun River Guides and Packers Association 
was held Saturday afternoon , April 17, 19U8, at the Forest Service 
Ranger Station in Choteau. 

• The meeting was attended by approximately I4O members and visitors. 
The U. S. Forest Service was represented by Mr„ Leftwich, Mr, Fallman, 
Jack Hinman and Doug Morrison 9 The Fish and Game Department by Merle 
Rognrud. 

Following is a summary of the meeting discussions and recommenda- 
tions • 

Mrs, Gleason, Secretary , reported on minutes of the last meeting, 
Mrs, Allan, President, reported on Montana Wildlife Federation meeting 
and the March meeting of the Fish and Game Commission,, 

Emphasized throughout the meeting was the need for organization 
and expression of problems, recommendations, etc. by the group. Re- 
cognition and consideration by the Fish and Game Commission and the Forest 
Service would be in proportion to the size and strength of the organization. 
That it is easier for State and Federal Agencies to work with a group 

165 



organization. Individual problems should be worked out and evaluated 
within the organization before recommendations representing the sentiment 
of the organization are made for presentation to a Government Agency o 

The recreational use of the Lewis and Clark National Forest by 
121j000 people in 19U7 was reported*, Approximately 29^,065 were hunters 
and 19.? 000 fishermen 5 the balance miscellaneous activities,, 

Concern was expressed over the possible closing of the early 
South Fork of the Flathead elk season by the Commission The South Fork 
area is usually not accessible to Sun River guides after October lst 
The organization recommended the hunting season be open as during 19U7o 

The group wanted to emphasize the small numbers of elk killed 
during the early 19U7 elk season as followss Allan 8, Wilkerson 3 S 
Hatcher o Burdareau 1 ? Gale 10, Gleason 7, Baker 8 S Klicks 3j totaling 
UO bullSo The real significance was to the guides in being able to 
take hunting parties into the Wilderness Area during a slack month 
(September) between summer and fall business peaks n 

The $100,00 non-resident hunting license was discussed. The 
group attributed loss of business to the law when all species of big 
game cannot be offered and hunters are frequently not successful,. The 
license also does not permit a hunting party to fish while in the back 
country,, 

A committee is to work on drafting an alternative gun license 
and extra cumulative big game fee for each species to replace the $100 o 
non-resident license next legislature The organization felt some non- 
resident license patterned after the gun license and separate species 
fee would be more satisfactory,, The details of amount of fee to be 



166 



charged for each species could be worked out„ 

Discussion of the proposed new guides license law followed with a 
committee to work on the law for presentation to the next legislature,. 
The law would require a better standard of guide service to guests and 
eliminate some " fly«by-night w guide s„ All guides would be designated 
Deputy Game Wardens,, The changed law is also being supported by the Dude 
Ranchers Association., 

A motion passed for inquiry to the State Attorney General for 
clarification of who must have guides license in a hunting party,, The 
section appeared controversial as the law at present reads© 

Checking station legislation was discus sedo Stations would not 
only record game kill but also serve to check guides for license and 
prevent re-use of game tags,, Not aH 19ii7 tags clipped and hence were 
not entirely satisfactory,, The problem exists at Glacier Park as reported 
by Mr„ Lucky and Mr„ Mendenhallo 

Recognized in discussion was the growing need for checking stations^, 
especially in heavily hunted areas where a limited kill will be necessary,, 

A change in the U„ So Forest Service policy regarding Wilderness 
Areas heavily used for recreation was stated by Mr„ Leftwicho 

A Wilderness Area can have campsite improvement with simple 
fireplace^ latrines and garbage pits,, Also screened corrals and fences 
can be constructed to control local use of pasture by livestock in a 
Wilderness Area B 

Control of campsites along the North Fork of the Sun River with 
responsibility of the guides for cleanup and sanitation of their base 
camps is planned by the U„ So Forest Service,, This will be accomplished 
by designating campsites to be used by guides with a deposit for guarantee 

167 



of cleanup under a modified special use system,. Guides would be pro- 
tected from trespass on their allotted campsite area D Improved camp 
grounds will also be designated for use by the general publico 

The guides and packers also expressed desire for opening the area 
from the Bars to Grouse Creek to use by campers and livestock o Argument 
in favor of this move was that the elk "firing line" would be eliminated* 
The Uo So Forest Service plans to investigate this possibility,, 

Mention was made for legislation to outlaw use of Garand rifle 
and 30-06 Army jacketed bullets which usually only wound game This 
indicates sentiment is growing for legislation to regulate caliber of 
firearms used on big game as some other states have at presento 

There has been expression of opposition to mountain goat trapping 
on Deep Creek by the Choteau Rod and Gun Club B Probably a factual 
discussion by parties concerned would be desirable as the opposition 
appears to be from mis-information 

A mention of elk calf tagging was made that there appeared to be 
some question of the desirability of continuing the program,. Results of 
the program have not been publicized and the organization would be 
receptive to a report of work done and results obtained thus far with an 
explanation of how calf tagging information can and is being used» 



Submitted byg 
Merle Rognrud 
Assistant Big Game Leader 
May 18, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



168 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (Western Montana) 
DATE July 1$, 19U8 



GALLATIN UNIT 



LAND LEASE INVESTIGATION FOR WINTER ELK RANGE ON 
Bo A e BUCK PROPERTY 



DATE; 

May 9th and 20th s 19U8 

PERSONNELS 

Bo A- Blacky Rancher ^ Gallatin Gateway 

Jo Co Urquhart,, Forest Supervisor,, Gallatin National Forest 
Lo Co Clark 5 Deputy Game Warden^ Bozeman 
Robert Fo Cooney,, Director,, Wildlife Restoration Division 
Faye Mo Couey,, Big Game Leader Wildlife Restoration Division 
Fred Bo Williams,, Chairman,, Upper Gallatin Conservation 

Committee 

PURPOSES 

It has been proposed,, following the severe winter this year on 
the Gallatin elk range and the accompanying damage by elk to private 
property in the vicinity of Gallatin Gateway,, that the State Fish and 
Game Department acquire or lease lands in the vicinity of this damage 
to supply forage for these elk and possibly eliminate the conflict » 



169 



This investigation -was to determine the possibilities and practicability 
of such a venture o 

PROCEDURE ; 

The above personnel were contacted and the area on the ground 
inspected on the above dates e 

FINDINGS : 

It was learned that Mr„ Black owns, controls, or has special 
grazing rights on 12,870 acres in the area occupied by this elk herd 
during the past winter « This constitutes most of the area used by the 
elko This sum includes,, 2,U30 acres of deeded land, 36O acres of 
Bureau of Land Management holdings, U,960 acres of Northern Pacific 
leased lands, and 5*120 acres of National Forest lands upon which Mr e 
Black holds a grazing preference 

This land lies on the north-draining slope southeast of Gallatin 
Gateway and extends from Bear Creek westward to Sheep Rock in the lower 
canyon B It lies above the canal and includes around U00 acres of 
cultivated land. Some of this is now planted to winter wheato 

There used to be sheep here, but for the past several years, 
use has been by cattle « Sheep used a portion of this range last 
year,. 

During the past winter from 75 to 200 elk have used this area 
and inflicted considerable damage to haystacks and fences lying below 
the canalo Rain in November caused severe crusts on snow and forced 
elk down much earlier than usual,, A special elk season using permits 
was declared late in the winter, but was not very effective y largely 



170 



because it was opened after the elk had been forced down by these 
exceptional conditions and established themselves c Attempts to herd 
them at that late date proved futile <> Similar conditions only to a 
lesser degree existed on lower Spanish Creek 3 which is just west of the 
area in question*. On May 20 9 72 elk were seen grazing in thi3 area e 
Some of the local sportsmen in Bozeman have suggested leasing 
this land by the State and Mr e Black is agreeable as he is not 
participating actively in ranching at this time<> He is willing to give 
the State Fish and Game Department first chance as there are numerous 
stockmen clamoring for a chance to lease ito 

CONCLUSIONS: 

It was decided that the State should not lease these lands this 
year for the following reasons? 

lo The area is not suitable winter range for elk because it lies 
in a snow belt and the forage is not available to elk when they need it c 

2<> Encouragement of elk to winter in this lower country is a 
mistake because there is no chance to control them and keep them away 
from the intensively farmed haylandso The size of the herd that could 
be maintained here would be so small that the expense of building elk 
proof fences could not be justified,, 

3o It is felt that the only way to control the drift of these 
elk is by hunting pressure which will either force them back up 
country or so reduce their numbers that damage will be minimized 

RECOMMENDATIONS; 

lo The lands in question should not be leased by the State Fish and 
Game Department o 

171 



2o Hunting should be regulated such that there is an extended 
season following the regular season that Trill keep the elk back in the 
Squaw Creek drainage and also that will reduce the number that winter in 
Spanish Creek, 

A tentative suggestion is following the regular season on either 
sex in the Gallatin., an extended season on bulls be continued until 
February 23 s 19U9o This area should include the Spanish Creek drainage 
and should be described in the eastside of the Gallatin as that area 
draining to the northward and located between Little Bear Creek and Sheep 
Rock on the Gallatin River, and bounded on the south by the divide 
between Squaw Creek and the Bear,, Wilson, Yankee and Jack Creek 
drainages. 



Submitted byg 

Faye Mo Couey 5 Big Game Leader 
June 5s 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



172 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-E (Western Montana) 
DATE July l$ s 19U8 



MADISON-.RU BY UNIT 



WILLOW CHEEK ANTELOPE INVESTIGATION 



DATE? 

May 20 s 19kQ 

PERSONNEL S 

Ranchers living in the area 

Lynch Flying Service 

Faye M, Couey ? Big Game Leader., Wildlife Restoration Division 

PURPOSE ; 

This investigation was made to determine approximate antelope 
numbers and to obtain sentiment of land-owners toward an antelope season< 

PROCEDURE ; 

A flight of one hour and 1$ minutes was made over this antelope 
range in a Cessna-lUO plane » 

Several ranchers in the area were interviewed regarding antelope 
numbers and their reaction toward a season there 

FINDINGS ; 

This investigation was prompted by the request of local sportsmen 
for a season on antelope o A tentative season was set based on this 



173 



request^ of reports of 200 to 2^0 antelope in the area and because there 
was one complaint of damage by antelope in this area last winter (Omer 
Sailer) « 

Since that time there have been several objections from ranchers 
in the area who don't want to have a season there,, Their objections 
are not that their stock will be interfered with by hunters, but that 
there are insufficient numbers to justify a hunt and they don't want 
them molestedo 

The bulk of the area set up for hunting which is that part west 
of the Madison River , north of the Jefferson, east of U» So Highway #1 
and north of the Norris-Bozeman road, belongs to about four large 
rancher So They have said they will post their lands if the season is 
opened and that will leave practically no open area in which to hunto 

In flying over this area only 1? antelope were seen and these 
mostly in the vicinity of Willow Creek reservoir They were scattered 
as the does are just in the process of having young. This doesn't 
represent a complete count of this small area,, but all the antelope 
must be within these boundaries and if there were 200 or more it is 
felt more would have been seen 

Last winter a herd of 8U was seen near the town of Willow 
Creek on a rancher's hay field e Reports by others during the winter 
may have been duplications of this group and thus the exaggerated pop- 
ulation numbers. 

Ranchers contacted were Jess Francis, foreman of the Climbing 
Arrow south of Three Forks, Mr, Buttleman of Willow Creek, Earl 
Davis of Willow Creek and W„ A. Denecke of Bozeman , and Mr„ Kilgore 



17U 



of Harrison These ranchers do not believe there are over 100 antelope 
in this area at any time and they would like to see them increase „ 
Such sentiment from people who own the land in which the antelope range 
should be considered,, 

CONCLUSIONS ; 

It is felt that the antelope population numbers are lower than 
have been previously estimated for this area» 

The antelope damage that occurred last winter did not recur and 
cannot be used as an excuse for a reduction in antelope numbers,, 

The attitude of the rancher-land-owners of this antelope range 
indicates that they do not favor a hunting season there and several 
have voiced serious objection to a season,, 

RECOMMENDATIONS! 

It is recommended that the proposed season on antelope in the 
Madison-Gallatin County area be reconsidered and not put into effect 
this year. 

A careful count of the antelope in this and adjoining areas should 
be made this fall when the optimum census conditions occur «, 



Submitted bys 

Faye Mo Couey 3 Big Game Leader 
June 16, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



175 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (Western Montana) 
DATE July l£ 9 19kQ 

MADISON-RUBY UNIT 

ANTELOPE INVESTIGATIONS 
CENSUS IN BEAVERHEAD AND MADISON COUNTIES 

DATE ? 

Winter of 19U7-U8 

PERSONNEL S 

Richard L„ Hodder ? Fieldman 3 Wildlife Restoration Division 
Eldon J« Baker,, Field Assistant,, Wildlife Restoration Division 
John Fox,,. Pilot 

PURPOSE ; 

The purpose of this investigation was to make a count of the 
antelope in the area open to antelope hunting in the southwestern part 
of Montana^, and to make a check on those antelope recently planted in 
the vicinity of this area by the Wildlife Restoration Division of the 
Department of Fish and Game This information may lead to more 
effective management plans and means of protection for newly planted 
herds in this area^ and to a change of the hunting regulations in the 
area open to hunting,, as far as sex and numbers to be taken is con- 
cernedo 



176 



DESCRIPTION AND LOCATION OF TERRAIN ; 

The description of the area open to antelope hunting in Beaverhead 
and Madison Counties is as follows; Beginning at Twin Bridges following 
the road to Dillon^ thence following Highway No 91 to Monida thence 
following the Red Rock Lakes Road to the road which runs northward 
between the Snow-Crest and Gravelly Mountains,, thence following this 
road down the Ruby River to Twin Bridges,, the point of beginningo This 
area is open for the taking of one hundred buck antelope „ 

The areas included in these investigations were Sweetwater Basin, 
Rochester Basin ,, Frying Pan Basin, Grasshopper Creek,, Blacktail Creek 5 
Sage Creek ? and Horse Prairie 

All of these areas are typical antelope ranges in that they 
are composed of low rolling hills covered with a mixture of sagebrush 
and grass types,. The sage types are usually found at the lower elevations 
and the grass types on the higher hills and knobs There is considerable 
variance in elevation in all of these areas providing range suitable for 
both winter and summer feeding • 

PROCEDURE ; 

Each of the areas mentioned were investigated first from the 
ground by truck or horseback and on foot, and later from the air 
excepting the Horse Prairie section which was not observed from the air c 
Local residents and sheepmen in the field were contacted in each area 
in order to help locate probable areas and the usual haunts where 
antelope might be foundo These contacts were well worthwhile, for each 
of these areas contains considerable country in which the antelope may 
■> the chances of finding many of them from the ground are 



177 



somewhat remote „ For the same reason^, the probability of counting all 
of them from the air is also unlikely At most 5 the figures included 
here are indications of the antelope populations and are not intended 
to be conclusive o 

FINDINGS; 

Rochester Basin? 

Many trips were made into this Basing but it was not until 
February lltth that any antelope were seen* On this date one lone doe 
was seen in the Nez Perce side of Rochester Basin close to the Melrose- 
Twin Bridges Roado 

On March kth 9 a plane was hired at Twin Bridges by this big game 
crew for the purpose of counting elk in the Highland Mountains and for 
counting antelope in the adjacent Rochester Basin o Although 5 the Basin 
was well covered during this flight s no antelope were seem 

On April "}rd s eleven head of antelope were seen in the Nez 
Perce Hills in approximately the same place as the lone doe was seen 
previously,, 

while riding with Jack Siedensticker^ a local rancher <, he pointed 
out where antelope are frequently seen in the hills above his ranch in 
the fallo Last year he counted some 35 head in the breaks of these hills 
toward the Beaverhead River He had no idea as to where they were at this 
time 

Lester Schultz 5 a rancher and pilot of Sheridan, reports that he 
saw 90 head of antelope on McCartney Mountain in the extreme southern 
end of Rochester Basin on February 1st; also 15-20 more on Stone Creek 



178 



•were seen the same day These were seen from the air while he was flying 
over the area n 

Nick DeLeon of Melrose reports having seen 100 head of antelope 
between U, So Highway §9± and the Nez Perce Hills of Rochester Basin,, 
These antelope were seen on April 22nd c 

Sweetwater Basin g 

On April 1st,, 19U8* a plane was hired from Butte^, and was piloted 
by John Fox It was intended to cover all of the antelope country 
around Dillon to get an over-all picture of antelope numbers in this 
section,, 

Sweetwater Basin was the first area flown,. For a time no antelope 
could be seen anywhere,, but after several passes over the area where 
antelope were seen on the preceding day s they came out of the sagebrush in 
the creek bottoms into view e Five hundred and ten antelope were seen 
from the air in this Basin 

On the previous day more than three hundred antelope were seen 
here from the ground,, Usually the groups of antelope found were composed 
of around sixty head making an accurate count difficult as they ran in 
a bunch past the pickup,. 

Sheepmen contacted in this area say that the antelope in the 
Basin often times range as far over to the east as the bare hills between 
the Ruby River and Cream, Ledford, and Robb Creekso However, on 
investigation ^ no antelope were seen in this area,, 

Across the Sweetwater Hills west of the Basin on Carter Creek^ 
a herd of antelope was reported by student flyers from the Dillon 
Airport „ Upon investigation in this area, it was found that eighty-seven 



179 



head had wintered close to a spring on the Dodd Ranch Mr<> Dodd says 
that the antelope are at his spring most every morningo He has 
counted eighty-seven in the bunchy but he estimates that there are about 
105> in the group 

Blackta il Creeks 

Flights over this area were made on February 6th and on April 
lst No antelope were seen on either flight 

Mr e Herbert Uace s rancher and pilot on Blacktail Creek s has 
flown over the area often and he reports seeing antelope in this area 
frequently throughout the winter He has counted at least kh in his 
wire pasture - an enclosure containing an area of twenty-two square 
miles,, This enclosure is evidently a favorite haunt of this herd during 
the winter,, Mr» Mace estimates that a good fifty head winters in the 
Blacktail drainage,, 

Frying Pan Basin g 

Antelope were planted in this area in 19U7 and again in l°l|8o 
A total of 127 antelope have been planted here to date e 

Considerable time was spent in attempting to get a satisfactory 
aerial check in this area because it is known locally that some 
antelope poaching has been going on this past winter in the vicinity 
of Argenta,, However^, no antelope were seen from the air Q 

Immediately after the flighty a ground check was made and forty- 
seven antelope were found between Long John Gulch and the Railroad 
track south of Birch Creek The railroad engineer reports seeing these 
antelope often when making his run between Dillon and Butteo He reports 



180 



U8 in this group and that they are very tame e 

Subsequent investigations in this area show that there are at least 
72 antelope in the Frying Pan Basin herdo 

Grasshopper Creeks 

Seventy-five antelope were planted in this area in 19U7« Fifty- 
six additional antelope were planted in 19U8« 

No results were obtained from the flight in this section „ No 
antelope have been seen by this crew either from the ground or from the 
air during any trips into the area This country is extremely rough and 
inaccessible in many places, and it is difficult to get information on 
the antelope in the area because of its inaccessibility,, 

However, Mr„ Shaffner, a rancher on the lower Grasshopper reports 
having seen about 10-12 antelope close to his ranch throughout the winter,. 
This is the only report received of antelope seen in the Grasshopper,, 

Sage Creek ; 

This area was well populated with antelope some thirty-five years 
agOe It was a favorite hunting spot for the old-timers because so many 
antelope wintered in this area, many of them migrating to Centennial Valley 
to summer,. These herds have now been decimated to but a very small part 
of their original numbers,, Mr„ Ernest Orr of the old P„ and 0„ Ranch 
relates that most of these antelope were starved out of winter feed by 
the excessive use of the winter range by domestic sheep,, 

During the aerial survey on April 1st, 131 antelope were counted 
in the area between Little Sage Creek and the North Fork of Big Sage 
Creek„ This is perhaps the most heavily populated section in this extensive 
antelope range,, 

181 






Several ground checks were made in this area e The largest number 
of antelope seen in any one day was 106 o These antelope were in small 
bunches of from 10-20 and were well scattered,, 

Antelope have been reported seen this winter from U S° Highway 
91 on the slopes of hills behind Armstead all the way to Dell and beyondo 
These antelope are usually in small bunches and well scattered just as 
those seen in Sage Creek 

Mr., Co Ro Price , Deputy Game Warden , estimates that there are 
probably 250 antelope in the Sage Creek herd 5 about twice as many as were 
counted from the air„ 

Horse Prairie s 

The Horse Prairie antelope herd migrated into the country ? pre- 
sumably from IdahOo about four or five years ago e This is a small herd,, 
but it is reported by Mr„ Charles Brenner that they are increasing rapidly. 
Ground checks in this area have been frequent,, but no antelope have been 
seen in this area by the Big Game crew D Mr Brenner says that 31? can 
be seen on the west side of the Horse Prairie Road usually opposite Red 
Point* Wintering conditions are severe in this area for antelope 6 Last 
spring several carcasses of winter killed antelope were found by Gus 
Mulky 5 the association rider in that area 

Water loos 

This small herd was planted in 19U6 near the town of Waterloo in 
sub-unit No 1 of the Madison-Ruby Unito Two truckloads of antelope 
trapped in the locality of Toston were unloaded in this area In all, 
a total of 22 antelope were planted in the vicinity of Waterloo 



182 



This area was flown by this field crew on March iith in a plane 
from Twin Bridges,, No antelope were located from the air 

The largest group of antelope reported seen in this planted area 
was 13 observed from the air during a flight by Deputy Game Warden Carl 
Daniel on May 21st„ Heretofore he had reported seeing a group of five 
or six several times close to the sawmill near the road at Twin Bridges, 



By combining the numbers of antelope seen by this Big Game crew 
within the area open to hunting - 3>10 in Sweetwater Basin and 131 in 
Sage Creek - a total of 6Ul were seen in the area this winter,, By 
adding the most reliable reports of antelope seen in this open area 
this winters the total is increased to 770 o The estimated total in 
the open area is about 1^000 head maximum,, 

RECOMMENDATIONS ; 

It was the opinion of this crew that until some census figure 
was accepted, the buck law was most applicable to these herds in the 
open area, for protection of the does is necessary to build up a large 
herdo This view has now changed because of the number of antelope 
found in the area, and because of the percentage of accidentally killed 
does during a buck season was not previously realized,, Having estimated 
the antelope in the open area to be as many as 1^000 head, it is 
recommended that instead of continuing the buck law in this area, a 
season on both sex be initiated for the taking of 100 antelope. 

It is further recommended that a more complete investigation be 
made of the newly planted antelope herds as to both natural survival and 



183 



adaptation to the new habitats and to poaching by individuals^ especially 
in the Grasshopper Creek area and in Frying Pan Basin around Argenta Q 



Submitted byg 

Richard Lo Hodder^ Fieldman 
May 9 9 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



18U 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (Western Montana) 
DATE July 1$, 19U8 



MADISON-RUBY UNIT 

RUBY RIVER DEER CENSUS AND INVESTIGATION 

DATEs 

February 9-12, 19U8 

PERSONNELS 

Richard L. Hodder, Fieldman, Wildlife Restoration Division 
Eldon Jo Baker, Field Assistant, Wildlife Restoration Division 
William Schowey, Forest Ranger 
Ronald Schultz^ Assistant Forest Ranger 

PURPOSE S 

The purpose of this project was to gather information and data on 
the numbers and trends of the deer population in the upper Ruby River 
concentration area This information when applied to the problems 
created by this deer herd should help forecast the rate of development 
of this herd, and should show the effects and results of past management 
practices o In the same manner, it should indicate and suggest measures 
necessary for more feasible management in the future, for the problems 
of holding this deer herd in proper sexual balance, of reducing the herd 
to the optimum number for which there is adequate winter range o thereby 
eliminating much of the destruction of private property, are major 



185 



problems indeedo 

DESCRIPTION OF TERRAIN AND CONDITIONS 3 

The country referred to in this report is locat-ed in the Madison- 
Ruby Big Game Management Area in Sub-unit 3o It borders on both sides 
of the Ruby River from the Cottonwood Camp on the south to the Greenhorn 
Creek drainage on the north and a distance varying between one and three 
miles in an easterly and westerly direction,, depending on the topography 
of the hills bordering the river The country within these boundaries 
is composed of rough broken hills extending back into the Gravelly 
Mountains to the east and into the north end of the Snowcrest Mountains 
on the westo The hills are steep^, usually timbered on the northern 
exposures and covered generally with a mountain mahogany vegetative 
type on western exposed sides e Considerable open grass areas,, many of 
which extend up over the tops of these hills s are found on the southern 
exposed faces o 

At the time of this census, there was anow in the area, but 
because of typically high winds and relatively fair weather, most of the 
open areas were comparatively bare,* even on higher slopes* This snow 
condition caused the deer to be fairly well distributed, more so than 
would be expected at this time of year« Large concentrations of deer 
which were in the area both before and after the census were not apparent 
at this tirae e However v by persistent searching, considerable numbers 
were found in several drainage s„ 

Until recently, this herd has not created any pressing problem,. 
Deer numbers have increased steadily m this area for a number of years 
under the protection of both ranchers and sport smem but now damage is 



186 



being done to both private property of local ranchers and to the vegetation 
on the winter range 

It is thought by many people s including Deputy Game Warden Kohls 
of Ennis and Ranger Schowey of Sheridan,, that many of these deer are 
driven into this area to -winter by the hunting of does on the Madison 
side of the Gravelly Mountains,, This extended season following the 
regular season drives the deer high into the mountains where feed is 
usually well covered by snow at this time of year» In just a short 
distance out of this hunting area over these low mountains^ deer can 
find a haven in the upper Ruby Valley* This influx might explain the 
sudden increase of deer in the last few years in this area which was 
already reaching its optimum population,, 

PROCEDURES 

Ranger William Schowey of Sheridan was contacted early in the 
season o He explained the method and technique used by the Forest 
Service in this area last year^ the date of last year's county and the 
area covered during last year's censuso It was decided that it would 
be feasible to use the same method and the same area as was used before 
so that a true comparison could be made between the data obtained last 
year and that obtained this season Q The census was conducted on 
approximately the 3ame dates as during the previous yearo 

The area to be studied was divided into five units, each of 

which could be methodically covered by a team of two men during the 

course of one day ? yet be naturally bounded so that deer overflow 

from one unit to the adjacent one would be as small as possible,, 

These units are delimited on the accompanying map and are numbered 

1 through 5 for ease in identification,, Unit #1 is located on the east 

187 



side of the Ruby River on the extreme sonthern end of the area surveyed,, 
This unit starts at the Cottonwood Camp and extends down the r±ver„ It 
is bounded on the north by Warm Springs Greek and the South Fork of 
Warm Springs Creeko Unit #2 is bounded by Warm Springs Creek and the 
South Fork of Warm Springs Creek on the south and it extends down the 
river to the Canyon Camp Unit #3 is bounded on the south by Canyon Camp 
ground and terminates on the northern side of Greenhorn Creek drainage o 
Unit #U is located on the west side of the Ruby River opposite Unit #1 
It also is bounded on the south by the Cottonwood Camp and it extends 
in a narrow strip down the river to the Canyon Gamp Unit #5 begins 
at the Canyon Camp ground and ends on the ridge between Cream Creek and 
Ledford Creek, This unit is composed largely of the Cream Creek 
drainage In aggregate, these units outline an area of approximately 
sixty square mileso 

Each of these units was covered on foot by two men working to- 
gether,. Non-adjacent units were worked simultaneously so that any over- 
flow from one drainage would not be recounted in another by the other 
crewo In most cases, one member of a crew covered the country in the 
creek bottoms while his crew partner worked the higher country „ The 
crewman at the higher level would then be in a better position to see 
deer on both sides and the bottom of the open drainage s„ The number of the 
unit, the name of the drainage, the time and the number of deer in each 
group seen were recorded so that a check could be made for those deer 
that might have been counted twice , once by each crewman, and so be 
considered when totaling the figures,, Classification of the deer seen 
was not attenpted as it was during the preceding census, because at 



108 



this time of year distinguishing does from bucks is questionable except 
at close range o 

FINDINGS g 

A total of 2<,10U deer were counted in the area designated*, The 
total of the census conducted one year previously was l 5 72Uo This total 
was composed of the following sub-totals 

o i or a 

o- o o 

Area g 19U8 Count g 19h7 Count s Difference 

& « or 
o 5 » 

Or O Or 

Unit #1 g 100 g 61 § f 39 

2 2 ° 

Unit #2 g 38U § ii.67 s - 83 

o O* 0* 

Unit #3 1 1 5 206 s 788 g fl|l8 

Of O 0> 

Unit #U I 118 » U3 * f 75 

Unit #$ I 296 - 365 s 69 

O- Or 0>' 

<V O o 

at o o 

at aV o 

Total g 2ol0U 8 1,72k 8 *380 



RECOMMENDATIONS g 

Conclusions reached from this study and from observations of the 
vegetation on the winter range indicate that this deer herd has increased 
beyond the optimum number for the area usable as winter range and the 
herd is still increasingo The 19U8 census shows an increase of 380 
head of deer seen over that of the previous year G 

Since coyote populations have been materially reduced throughout 
both the winter and summer range of this deer herd within the last few 
months^, it is reasonable to assume that the fawn crop will be higher in 
the future than in the past and that the death loss due to predators will 



189 



also be reduced,, These facts lead one to anticipate a more rapid rate of 
increase of deer in this concentration area than heretofore unless the 
present number of breeding stock is reduced. Therefore,, it is recommended 
here that a season on both sex be set for the coming hunting season for 
the taking of three hundred does A kill of three hundred does^ plus the 
expected number of bucks will lessen the number of deer in this herd and 
reduce the increasing tendency of the herd to further outgrow its 
available winter range o This season should be set simultaneously with and 
in a similar manner as the season on the Madison side of the Gravelly 
Mountains so that hunting pressure will be equalized on both sides of the 
range throughout the season,, 

It is also recommended that a checking station be operated by a 
competent and reliable man throughout the entire hunting season in order 
to obtain accurate information on the number, age 5 and sex of deer 
removed which will be essential data for the proper management of this 
herd in the future,. It is further recommended that information on the 
weighty antler measurements, and other data be obtained at this station 
for research use by the Wildlife Restoration Division of the Fish and 
Game Department,, This information is obtainable only from checking 
stations during the hunting season,, This work should be instigated in 
order to promote progressive studies in various phases of deer manage- 
ment „ 

The upper Ruby Valley deer concentration area is unique in that 
its topographic features, vegetation typical weather condition; and 
deer population, make it as conducive to intensive continuous deer 
studies as any area encountered in this part of the State,. It is 



190 






suggested that this area be investigated in the near future for the 
purpose of setting up long-time experiments and investigations in deer 
management upon "which decisions,, regulations^ and management practices 
of more elusive herds may be basedo 



Submitted bys 

Richard L« Hodder s Fieldman 
April 1$ y 19hS Wildlife Restoration Division 



191 




192 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1~R (Western Montana) 
DATE July 1$, ±9kQ 



MADISON-RUBY UNIT 

BLACKTAIL CREEK ELK INVESTIGATIONS 
AERIAL ELK CENSUS 

DATE; 

February 6 S 19U8 

PERSONNEL S 

Richard Lo Hodder 5 Fieldman 5 Wildlife Restoration Division 
Eldon Jo Bakery Field Assistant,, Wildlife Restoration Division 
Herbert Co Mace., Rancher and Pilot 

PURPOSE ; 

The purpose of this project was to gain sufficient accurate in- 
formation on the number of elk wintering in the Blacktail drainage so 
that some management plans could be initiated,, This herd has grown 
from both native elk and from planted elk 9 and until recently it has 
created no problem In fact s it's existance as a large herd was known 
to very few,, Most estimates of the size of this herd varied from 2!?0 
to 650 elk« These estimates were probably based on the history of the 
plant by the Beaverhead Sportsmen's Association of Dillon some ten years 
ago, 



193 



According to information received from Pete Westergard of Dillon 
about the planting of elk by the Association, there was a total of 113 elk 
shipped by truck from Yellowstone Park. Eighty-seven arrived at the 
mouth of Sheep Canyon, the point of release j one truck was "lost" and 
was unloaded near Lima* Of the 8? elk arriving on the Blacktail, there 
were $ fatalities in transit leaving 82 • Among the 82, there were 13 
bulls in the shipment, which left a breeding stock of 69* providing they 
were all capable of reproducingo This is extremely unlikelyj however, 
for the 69 probably contained some old unproductive cows and cows not 
yet of breeding age By using this figure of 69 head* compounding it 
over a period of ten years at a yearly rate of increase^ the normal being 
close to twenty per cent^ indicates that the progeny of this planting 
plus the elk planted might now total about U30 elko 

It was agreed upon at the time of planting that no elk season 
would be opened in this area until ten years had elapsed from the time 
of planting. Now that this time limit has passed^ there is a general 
movement by many people in this community to have some kind of an elk 
season in the Blacktailo This movement began last year at which time it 
was agreed upon by the Beaverhead Sportsmen's Association to request a 
season for the taking of %0 branch-^antlered bulls,. This request was 
received by the Game Department^ but too late for act.ion to be taken. 

Before a season should be opened on any elk herd p a preliminary 
study should be made and a system or plan of management instigated, 
otherwise, it is likely that the herd will soon be decimated,, On the 
other hand, it may increase beyond its natural bounds, over-grazing the 
winter feed available., It is the purpose of this paper to present 



19U 



data obtained in this first step of building a management plan - a census 
to gather reliable data on the numbers of elk using the Blacktail 
drainage as a winter range « 

DESCRIPTION OF TERRAIN AND CONDITIONS g 

The Blacktail Creek drainage in which this census was conducted is 
located entirely within the Madison-Ruby Big Game Management Area in 
sub-unit #3 e This drainage is bounded by the Blacktail Mountain Range on 
the southwest s and by the southern end of the Sweetwater Hills on the 
northeast o The source of the Blacktail Creek is located high in the 
Snowcrest Mountains to the southeast with the Creek flowing in a 
northwesterly direction emptying into the Beaverhead River at Dillono 

The valley bottom is used largely for growing both wild and 
cultivated hay for feeding cattle and sheep on the large s but relatively 
few ranches in the valley The Sweetwater Hills forming the northeast 
side of the valley are rough broken hills on the lower end with mountain 
mahogany s sage 3 and grass growing up to the lower timber line The higher 
end of the Sweetwater Hills is a sloping plateau broken by occasional 
washes and deep gullies The vegetative type here is sage 5 usually with 
considerable e:xpanses of open grass at the higher elevations e 

The Blacktail Mountains on the opposite side of the valley are 
covered on the top and on the sloping sides with a grass and sage type 
of vegetation,, In the steep rocky central section of the range, the 
sides of the mountains are timbered down to the alluvial fans formed 
on the valley floor,, Steep canyons and gorges are common in this section, 
but on both ends of this range there are several roads leading to the 
grassy 5 rolling tops of these mountains to join the maze of sheep camp 

195 



roads that come into the area from the Sage Creek side., 

Blacktail Creek heads in the rugged Snowcrest Mountains which 
separate the Blacktail and the Ruby River- drainages. These mountains 
are high and do not have any roads passing through them There are, 
however,, several roads that run ccmsider*le distances up the East Fork 
of Blacktail Creekc, up the Middle Fork of Blacktail^ and up the West Fork 
to the Antoine Ranger Station and over the Clover Divide into the 
Centennial Valleyo A road also runs from the Blacktail over the Sweet- 
water Divide into Sweetwater Basin\» 

This census was conducted on a bright sunny day, February 6th, 
following a snowstorm the previous night „ Conditions were excellent == 
air was smooth with little wind or turbulence. Most of the elk were out 
where they could be seen easily 

PROCEDURE S 

Considerable time was spent throughout the winter observing the 
location of the larger groups of elk in the lower Blacktailo These 
numbers and locations were recorded along with information collected from 
local ranchers about the larger groups of elk located further up the 
valley in inaccessible areas*, This gave the crewmen a definite idea 
as to where to look for elk during the proposed census flight , A 
successful attempt was made to engage a pilot familiar with the valley 
and with the elk wintering areas in this drainage, for considerable time 
could be saved and at the same time many more elk could be found with a 
pilot who knew the country,, 

On February 6, 19U8, Mr, Herbert. Mace, a rancher on the Blacktail, 
and a competent pilot and owner of a Stinson Station Wagon airplanec, 

196 



agreed to fly the big game crew over the entire drainage to count elk in 
that area» Mr Mace is very familiar -with this country for he flies over 
it considerably,. He has also made several personal counts of these elk^, 
once with Deputy Game Warden Price „ 

The flight began from the Mace home ranch e The first area flown 
was the lower end of the Blacktail Range with the upper Blacktail fol= 
lowing e Then the areas between the Forks' of Blacktail Creek were flowrij, 
and finally the area along the Sweetwater Divide including that high 
country at the head of Rock Creek 5 Robb Greeks and Ledford Creeko Small 
groups of elk which were easily distinguished were tallied directly from 
the air» Those larger groups on which a £ast accurate count was impossible 
were photographed from the plane© Later a these pictures were projected 
and enlarged^ and the elk carefully counted* By the combination of these 
two methods^, the census figure was reached,, 

FINDINGS ; 

A total of 993 elk were counted irr the area delimited on the 
accompanying map One crew member counted IdOOU elk while the other saw 
a total of 993« Because of this difference^, the more conservative 
number of 993 is used e 

Distribution of elk ranged through the entire Blacktail Range to 
Prices Canyon,, Large groups were seen in the hills between the Middle 
Fork and the West Fork of Blacktail Creeks and more between the Middle 
Fork and the East Fork,, Elk were also counted in the hills at the head 
of Rock Creek and Ledford Creek* 

Many more elk were seen wintering above the Blacktail Range than 
in the range proper* Since the elk planted in this area are considered 



197 



resident elk and are there all year ? it is indicated by large herds 
outside that the progeny of the Beaverhead plant is a minor part of 
the elk wintering in the Blacktail drainage e These other groups of elk 
evidently summer in the mountainous country at the head of Blacktail 
Creek around the Notch and Antoine Peako They may migrate through the 
Snowcrest Mountains^ cross the Ruby River into the Gravellieso Some 
of them summer over near the Clover Divide by Centennial Valley „ There 
is a suspected migration across the highway below Lima where forty head 
were seen crossing the road near the beacon light from the Red Con- 
glomerate Mountains o 

It was attempted to count all elk in the Blacktail drainage 
during this flight ,, however j, it is known that there are substantial 
numbers of elk wintering in areas adjacent to the Blacktail which were 
not included in this count o For instance,, there is a group of elk that 
have been close to the two dark buttes to the east of Lima throughout 
the wintero These elk have been seen regularly by the Government trapper 
in that area. Bill Schmucko There are approximately 93 elk in this group,, 

RECOMMENDATIO NS; 

It is recommended that studies on this herd be continued through- 
out the coming spring and summer,, A careful reconnaissance and range 
inspection should be made of the areas where the major parts of this elk 
herd have concentrated through the winter,, These areas are indicated on 
the accompanying map» The analysis of range condition in these generally 
selected sites should indicate whether this herd has already reached its 
optimum number for the feed available in these selected feeding areas 
It is recommended that numbers be limited largely to the carrying capacity 



198 



of the winter areas chosen by the elk themselves*. It is the opinion of 
this game crew that regulating numbers of elk by the carrying capacity of 
the winter range that could be used by elk in an area is an error which 
will surely lead to difficulties.. If this herd is allowed to increase to 
the capacity of the winter range available s those few selected spots 
will be so abused that damage will be evident » 

A careful study of the range conditions by representatives of the 
Forest Service^ of the Beaverhead Sportsmen's Association^, the Fish and 
Game Department^ and other interested agencies^, as well as those ranchers 
upon whose land this herd winters^, will bring about the formation of a 
workable management plan 8 This limitation of elk numbers determined by 
all groups concerned may be brought about which will produce a game crop 
to be harvested annually,, and at the same time provide adequate feed and 
ground cover to protect other interests,, 

Because there have been reports of damage to private property by 
elk this year for the first time*, it is indicated that this herd might 
already have reached beyond its optimum development unless artificial 
means of management are brought into use„ It is felt that these meansf 
such as 5 herding and feeding,, are undesirableo If an overabundance of 
elk is allowed to develop in this area g sooner or later it will be 
necessary to reduce the number to what the range which the elk care to 
use will support,, or the elk will migrate to new feeding areas to suit 
their choosing,, The problem is already familiar to most all agencies 
managing big game,, 

It is recommended that a limited license season be open for the 
taking of l£o branch-antlered bulls during a special season following the 



199 



coming regular elk season this fall This late season will allow most 
livestock to be removed from the range before the season begins A kill 
of 150 bull elk is suggested because the annual increase of the elk 
counted during this census should be approximately 200 heado Because 
there has been no hunting season initiated in this area to date, there 
is a large percentage of bulls in the herd,, some of which could be 
removed without materially affecting the annual estimated increase o 
If it is found by future range studies that this herd has developed an 
optimum population,, the take during the next few years should be so 
regulated as to provide the desired number,. 

It is suggested that an aerial census be conducted each year for 
several years^, at least, as a part of the studies of this herd so that a 
more substantial and reliable picture of this group of elk can be 
developed,. 

The boundary of the hunting area for the proposed season is 
recommended as follows? Starting from Dillon ? follow the Blacktail 
Road to the Ruby River, thence up the Ruby River to Long Creeko thence 
down Long Creek to the Red Rock River Road c thence down the Red Rock River 
Road to Lima, thence down U„ S„ Highway #91 to Dillon,, This suggested 
boundary necessarily includes much territory in which there are no elk 
but it is a permanent tangible line around the area,, 

For the most part this country in question is extremely 
accessible as there are roads from all sides leading into lt„ It is 
almost entirely open country,, There is little of it that cannot be 
covered by Jeep„ A general open season might make it possible for elk 
in the lower Blacktail to be cut off from their natural escape route and 



200 



GUceV^/RV OF 



be slaughteredo If this were to happen^, it would naturally defeat the 
purpose of the season entirely. 

With unlimited hunters in the area s and if the escape route of the 
elk were not blocked^, the harassed elk would have no choice but to head 
for the upper Ruby country where they would be outside of the hunting 
area e 

Practically all of the hunting area in question is owned or 
leased by a small number of ranchers c Unlimited sportsmen in the area 
would possibly create hunter damage in excess of elk damage s for to 
date 5 elk damage has been light As these ranchers are businessmen*, it 
is only logical to assume that if damage to their property will be less 
by not having hunters in the area 5 they will post their holdings to 
NO HUNTING,, If this were to be the case s the purpose of the hunting 
season would be lost completely,. 

It is also recommended that a tagging program be initiated so 
that definite information can be obtained about the migration routes of 
these elk to their respective summer ranges It is suspected that this 
migration pattern will be somewhat complicated,, Ear tagging would 
definitely help in acquiring this essential information,, 



Submitted bys 

Richard Lo Hodder^ Fieldman 
April 17 s 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



201 



Madison-Ruby Big Game Winter Survey 




Proposed Boundary of Hunting Area 
Elk Winter Range 



202 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (Western Montana) 
DATE July l$ a IgUg 



MADISON-RUBY UNIT 



BIG GAME WINTER SURVEY 



19U7-19U8 



Submitted by? 

Richard L. Hodder, Fieldman 
June 8, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



203 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



Page 

J~N i ItUUUU XjLUiM © 000000000 ooooooooooooooooeo fcUO 

Explanation of a Management Unit. •. ....... 206 

Description of Madison-Ruby Management Unit • • • ■ « 206 

HtOCEDUHE ••»«ao< ••••>• •••*•• ..e.oooooo cO / 

I HUm Bi OJL UD-LIjO o oaeooooo.o.eoo.oo.oo.oooooo CXJy 

HjJLxy ooo.oooooooooo.oo.o... o.ooooooo CAJj 

Blacktail Creek Game Studies, ••«••••••■••••.«« 209 

Tobacco Root Elk Herd. ••••...*•••• .......o 222 

Ruby River Elk Herd • ••••••••• 22lj. 

Ufci 6Po « o • • « •««•*«« ooooooooooooooooeo <-tO 

Ruby River Deer Herd. «••• • *••»«*•« 226 

iknX^eXOpe o«o«o0*«o«»O0O«eoo«oo«oooeooo w^ ( 

Sweetwater Basin Antelope ••••••••••••••••••• 239 

Blacktail Creek Antelope. .«••*••• 2I4O 

sage ureeK Anx>eJLope. ... ....••••e.e.e.eeee <^ix<~. 

ii?ax>er-Loo Anuexope. •.......•••......a.... c,l\.c 

MO O Se 000.00.00. .•• 00000. ooo.oo.oooe C.LX.IX 

OUnLfiuAltXo 0OO00.0OOO..OO ....ooooo.oo.oo £,l\1\ 

DjLaCK tiflll Xj-LK n€rU. ..«*.... ooooooeeoeooooe £.^4-U- 

Tobacco Root Elk Herd . . . o 00. 2h$ 

Ruby River Elk Herd ....... „ 2ia6 

Ruby River Deer Herd .•«.••••••«. 2I46 

ATlbGXOpe e ooo«oooo*oe*oooooeo*oooooooo fe*4- I 

Sweetwater Basin Antelope, ...... .....»••....• 2I4.8 

Blacktail Creek Antelope. ••••••••••••••••••«• 2l±8 

Sage Creek Antelope ...» 2l;8 

Waterloo Antelope. 2ix8 

Moose. 0.0.. 2U9 

(Continued) 



20U 



TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued) 



Picture - U. S. Forest Service Sno-cat used during moose studies 
in Ruby River Country. 



a e o o 



oooooooo O O O O O » 



Pictures - Aerial view of elk in Blacktail drainage during census 
flight of February 6° and Aerial view of Blacktail Creek elk 
taken on April 1, 19U8, ..... 



6 e o o c »OCCOOOOOOO 



Map - Elk Winter Range, Proposed boundary of hunting area 
Map - Ruby River Deer Units. 



0*000 0000 



o o o • o o 



Pictures - One of the many coyotes killed by 1080 poison in this 
Ruby River Area; and This old deer carcass is typical of the 
fatalities in this area in that it has not been touched through- 
out the winter except by magpies and an occasional eagle. 



e o o o 



Pictures - Antelope as seen from pickup in Sweetwater Basin; and 
Antelope viewed from air during aerial census. . . . 



Page 
210 

217 
218 

233 



o o o o • • o 



236 
21*1 



205 



MADISON-RUBY MANAGEMENT UNIT 

BIG GAME WINTER SURVEY 
19U7-19U8 



INTRODUCTION 

Explanation of A Management Unit 

In order to facilitate the study and practice of effective 
game management, the State has been divided into logical Big Game 
Management Units,, These management units were designed to encompass 
whole herds,, if possible s of the various big game specie s« The natural 
boundaries of these management areas 5 then, are primarily limited to 
mountain ranges and major river s 

These large management units are again divided into minor 
sub-"units 5 each of which is identified by a number within the major unite 
These sub-units facilitate the locating of projects, game damage to 
private property,, etc*, 

Description of Madison-Ruby Management Unit 

Location - The Madison-Ruby Game Management Unit is located in 
southwestern Montana and is delimited by the Continental Divide on the 
south, by the Beaverhead and Red Rock Rivers on the west, the Jefferson 
River on the north, and the Madison River on the easto The area included 
within these boundaries is approximately U 5 200 square mileso The most 
important game areas in this extensive territory are found in the drainages 
of Blacktail Creek, the Ruby River, and Sweetwater Creek* 



206 



Topography - The topography of this area is largely mountainous 
with the Red Conglomerate Mountains,, part of the Continental Divide, 
forming the southern boundary of the area» The unit also includes the 
Blacktail Range, the Snowcrest Mountains, the Gravelly Range, the Tobacco 
Root Mountains and the Sweetwater Hills* Valleys between these mountains 
are composed principally of dry, rolling bottomlands, much of which is 
excellent antelope range 8 

Vegetation - Vegetation in the area is variable,, The timber 
types in the mountainous areas are primarily Douglas fir, with con- 
siderable lodgepole pine at the lower elevation s„ Principal browse 
species are sagebrush, rabbit brush, mountain mahogany, willow and some 
juniper,, Needlegrassj, bluebunch wheatgrass and fescue make up the 
dominant grass cover,, The grass types naturally include a wide variety 
of both palatable and unpalatable forbs„ 

Climate - Climatic conditions in the various sub-units of the 
management area are variable, even at comparable elevation s„ For 
instance, the Blacktail drainage during a typical winter is relatively 
free of heavy snows to considerable elevations whereas the Ruby River 
drainage on the opposite side of the Snowcrest Mountains receives con- 
siderable snowfall during the usual winter to relatively low elevations, 
Climatological data pertaining to this unit and its sub-units are 
obtainable from the U. So Forest Service records and from the Weather 
Bureau of the U. S. Department of Commerce « 

PROCEDURE 

This Madison-Ruby Big Game Management Unit was one of three 

207 



similar units to be investigated during the winter months of 19U7-19U8 
by this creWo Up to this time,, these three units in southwestern 
Montana have received little attention as management units in their 
entirety 5 and so it was left largely to the discretion of the crew as 
to what game problems demanded intensive study and concentration o It 
was projected that these studies include a comprehensive check or 
inventory of the various big game species and the relative abundance of 
each so that more intensive studies may be planned where needed and so 
that more effective management practices could be instigated,. 

Two men s Richard L<> Hodder and Eldon Baker ? were assigned to 
the areas mentioned above as the Beaverhead Big Game Crew„ Field work 
began on November 12 5 19U7 5 and continued through the winter until 
May 1$ 9 19U8o The early part of the winter was spent largely in familiar - 
izing the crew with the country and with the game problems most evident© 
The local Game Warden ^ the U. So Forest Service and the Beaverhead 
Sportsmen's Association all were contacted frequently,. Their ideas and 
opinions were found extremely valuable in setting up a plan for the 
winter program,. In following through with this plan 5 this game crew 
traveled approximately 9 S $00 miles by car and considerable distance by 
snowshoes 5 walking and by snowsled and snowcato 

During these travels^, all factual data pertaining to game 
animals and to the condition of the game ranges were recorded in an 
effort to obtain sufficient first-hand information on which to build a 
management plan© 



208 



GAME STUDIES 

ELK 

BLACKTAIL CREEK GAME STUDIES 
Sub-Unit #3 

Description of Area 

The Blacktail Creek drainage is located entirely within the 
Madison-Ruby Big Game Management Unit in Sub-unit #3o This drainage 
is bounded by the Blacktail Mountain Range on the southwest, and by the 
southern end of the Sweetwater Hills on the northeasts The source of 
Blacktail Creek is located high in the Snowcrest Mountains to the 
southeast with the Creek flowing in a northwesterly direction emptying 
into the Beaverhead River at Dillon 

The valley bottom is used largely for growing both wild and 
cultivated hay for feeding cattle and sheep on the large, but relatively 
few, ranches in the valley The Sweetwater Hills forming the northeast 
side of the valley are rough broken hills on the lower end with mountain 
mahogany, sage and grass growing up to the lower timber-line « The 
higher end of the Sweetwater Hills is a sloping plateau, broken by 
occasional washes and deep gullies. The vegetative type here is sage, 
usually with considerable expanses of open grass at the higher elevations« 

The Blacktail Mountains on the opposite side of the valley are 
covered on the top and on the sloping sides with grass and sage<> In 
the steep, rocky central sections of the range ; the sides of the 
mountains are timbered down to the alluvial fans formed on the valley 
floor,, Steep canyons and gorges characterize this section, but on both 

209 




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ends of this range there are several roads leading to the grassy,, 
rolling tops of these mountains to join the maze of sheep roads that 
come into the area from the Sage Creek side 

Blacktail Creek heads in the rugged Snowcrest Mountains which 
separate the Blacktail and the Ruby River drainages*, These mountains 
are high and do not have any roads passing through them There are,, 
however^ several roads that run considerable distances up the East 
Fork of Blacktail Creek § up the Middle Fork of Blacktail^ and up the 
West Fork to the Antoine Ranger Station and over the Clover Divide into 
Centennial Valley o A road also runs over the Sweetwater Divide into 
Sweetwater Basin „ 

History of Game in Area 

The Poindexter and Orr Livestock Company was perhaps the first 
outfit to run cattle in southwestern Montana,, These operations began 
sometime before 1870 and centered in the Blacktail drainage near Dillon 
In 18?6 S this outfit pushed cattle over the Clover Divide from the 
Blacktail into the valley of Red Rock River „ Because this movement was 
in the centennial year s 100 years after the Declaration of Independence 9 
the valley was named Centennial Valley o 

Mr Ernest Orr of the old P„ & o Ranch was contacted for his 
views and recollections of game and game conditions in the area in early 
timeso Mr» Sam Freeman^ a rancher in the Sheep Canyon area of the 
Blacktail since 1880 5 was also contacted,. These impressions were com- 
bined to paint a vivid picture of an area abundant with game,, 

Buffalo were not uncommon in the area before settlement of the 
white man 5 as is evidenced by the many old buffalo skulls that have been 



211 



found in the area* Mr Orr related that the buffalo were herded out of 
the area or killed by the Plains Indians who tried to starve the Indians 
of this region during their many wars*, Elk also were common in the Black- 
tail Range in very early days Mr» Freeman tells of piles of bleached 
elkhorns up Sheep Canyon These elkhorns were collected and piled by 
the Indians near their campso These elkhorns are still in this area and 
remains of the Indian Camps are evident nearby,, 

During the Lewis and Clark Expedition^ in the early 1800' a s the 
explorers found little game in this locality according to their journal,, 
Two deer were killed in the vicinity,, but no mention of other game was 
made Sacajawea s the Indian Guide, told of the hardships of her people 
in this area in obtaining sufficient food to sustain themselves and how 
her people were forced to go out on the Plains far to the east in search 
of buffalo where they were continually subject to attack by Plains 
Indians© 

As late as 1883 mountain sheep were by far the most abundant of 
game animals in this area n These huge herds evidently developed after 
the Indians were forced to leave this territory either in search of 
better hunting grounds or because they were driven elsewhere by their 
enemieso Mr. Freeman says that in 1880 when he first came to this 
vicinity there were "loads" of mountain sheep in around Small Horn and 
Sheep Canyons o They used to range in large concentrations on the flats 
which are now above the P„ & o sheds 

Mountain sheep remained the staple diet of the Freeman family 
until around I88I4. when the sheep were infested with scabbies e This 
disease introduced by domestic herds caused them to die off within a 



212 



relatively short time There were very few hunters in the area at 
that time and so the disappearance of the sheep is not blamed on hunters^, 
but on disease o It is interesting to note? however 9 that while the 
railroad was being builtj, carloads of sheep were brought down to feed the 
railroad crews as the meat was considered most palatable of big game 

With the scabbies infection of the mountain sheep., Mr Freeman 
says that his family then turned to deer hunting*, There were many deer 
in the area 3 but sheep were more abundante Antelope^, although numerous^ 
were seldom taken for food because they did not come over this side of 
the hills from Sage Creek very often 

During the intervening years after the sheep disappeared,, antelope 
in the area followed suit© Antelope were said to have been winter-killed 
due to a shortage of feed caused by the excessive use of the antelope 
winter range by domestic sheep herds Antelope disappeared from the 
drainage entirely s but lately those few antelope that survived in the 
Sweetwater country to the north have reseeded the Blacktail and Sage 
Creek drainages again 

Deer in the area were reduced to a very low population^ but because 
of the buck law numbers have increased throughout the drainage so that fair 
hunting is now possible 

In 1937^ the Beaverhead Sportsmen's Association planted elk in 
the Blacktail drainage „ According to information received from Pete 
Westergard of Dillon^ about the planting of elk by the Association^ there 
was a total of 113 elk shipped by truck from Yellowstone Parko Eighty- 
seven arrived at the mouth of Sheep Canyon^ the point of release! one 
truck was "lost" and was unloaded near Lima c Of the 8? elk arriving on 



213 



the Blacktail, there were 5 fatalities in transit leaving 82 o Among the 
82 there were 13 bulls in the shipment which left a breeding stock of 
69 providing they were all capable of reproducing This is extremely 
unlikely j, however, for the 69 probably contained some old unproductive 
cows and cows not yet of breeding age« By using this figure of 69 
head, compounding it over a period of ten years at a yearly rate of 
increase, the normal being close to twenty per cent,, indicates that the 
progeny of this planting plus the elk planted might now total about U30 
elk. 

It was agreed upon at the time of planting that no elk season 
would be opened in this area until ten years had elapsed from the time 
of planting. Now that this time limit has passed, there is a general 
movement by many people in this community to have some kind of an elk 
season in the Blacktail This movement began last year* at which time, 
it was agreed upon by the Beaverhead Sportsmen's Association to request 
a season for the taking of 3>0 branch-antlered bulls This request was 
received by the Game Department, but too late for action to be taken « 

It was thought that since this elk herd had attracted the 
interest of so many people in the vicinity and since it was apparent 
that a season would again be requested by the Beaverhead Sportsmen's 
Association, that an intensive study of the situation here was feasible 
so that the Game Department would have reliable information on which to 
base intelligent decisions and management practices for a series of 
successful hunting seasons., 

Considerable time was spent throughout the winter observing the 
location of the larger groups of elk in the lower Blacktailo These numbers 



21U 



and locations were recorded along with information collected from local 
ranchers about the larger groups of elk located further up the valley 
in the more inaccessible areas*, This gave the crewmen a definite idea 
as to where to look for elk during the proposed census flight,, A 
successful attempt was made to engage a pilot familiar with the valley 
and with the elk wintering areas in this drainage,, for considerable time 
could be saved and at the same time many more elk could be found with a 
pilot who knew the country,, 

On February 6 S 19U8 S Mr„ Herbert Mace^ a rancher on the Blacktail^, 
and a competent pilot and owner of a Stinson Station Wagon airplane,, 
agreed to fly the big game crew over the entire drainage to count elk 
in that area Mr„ Mace is very familiar with this country for he flies 
over it considerably. He has also made several personal counts of these 
elk 5 once with Deputy Game Warden Priceo 

The flight began from the Mace home rancho The first area flown 
was the lower end of the Blacktail Range with the upper Blacktail 
following,, Then the areas between the forks of Blacktail Creek were 
flown,, and finally the area along the Sweetwater Divide including that 
high country at the head of Rock Creek s Robb Creek s and Ledford Creek* 
Small groups of elk which were easily distinguished were tallied directly 
from the air„ Those larger groups on which a fast accurate count was 
impossible were photographed from the plane Later these pictures were 
projected and enlarged^ and the elk carefully counted,, By the com- 
bination of these two methods^ the census figure was reachedo 

Findings 

A total of 993 elk were counted in the area delimited on the 

215 



accompanying map One crew member counted l ? 00l|. elk -while the other saw 
a total of 993, Because of this difference., the more conservative 
number of 993 is usedo 

Distribution of elk ranged through the entire Blacktail Range to 
Prices Canyon,, Large groups were seen in the hills between the Middle 
Fork and the West Fork of Blacktail Creek, and more between the Middle 
and the East Fork, Elk were also counted in the hills at the head of 
Rock Creek and Ledford Creek 

Many more elk were seen wintering above the Blacktail Range than 
in the range proper,. Since the elk planted in this area are considered 
resident elk and are there all year, it is indicated by large herds 
outside that the progeny of the Beaverhead plant is a minor part of the 
elk wintering in the Blacktail drainage* These other groups of elk 
evidently summer in the mountainous country at the head of Blacktail 
Creek around the Notch and Antoine Peak e They may migrate through the 
Snowcrest Mountains, cross the Ruby River into the Gravellies Some 
of them summer over near the Clover Divide by Centennial Valley,, There 
is a suspected migration across the highway below Lima where forty head 
were seen crossing the road near the beacon light from the Red Con- 
glomerate Mountains,, 

It was attempted to count all elk in the Blacktail drainage 
during this flight, however, it is known that there are substantial 
numbers of elk wintering in areas adjacent to the Blacktail which were 
not included in this count« For instance, there is a group of elk that 
have been close to the two dark buttes northeast of Lima throughout the 
winter. These elk have been seen regularly by the Government trapper 
in that area. Bill Schmuck There are approximately 90 elk in this group, 

216 




Aerial view of elk in Blaoktail drainage 
during oensus flight of February 6, *48. 




Aerial view of Blackball Creek Elk 
taken on April 1, 1948 



217 



Madison-Ruby Big Game Winter Survey 




Proposed Boundary of Hunting Area 
;ik Winter Range 



218 



Recommendations 

It is recommended that studies on this herd be continued through- 
out the coming spring and summer,, A careful reconnaissance and range 
inspection should be made of the areas where the major parts of this elk 
herd have concentrated through the winter* These areas are indicated 
on the accompanying map. The analysis of range condition in these 
generally selected sites should indicate whether this herd has already 
reached its optimum number for the feed available in these selected 
feeding areas,, It is recommended that numbers be limited largely to 
the carrying capacity of the winter areas chosen by the elk themselveso 
It is the opinion of this game crew that regulating numbers of elk by 
the carrying capacity of the winter range that could be used by elk in an 
area is an error which will surely lead to difficulties,. If this herd 
is allowed to increase to the capacity of the winter range available s 
those few selected spots will be so abused that damage will be evident,, 

A careful study of the range conditions by representatives of 
the U<> So Forest Service,, of the Beaverhead Sportsmen 9 s Association^ 
Fish and Game Department s and other interested agencies^ as well as 
those ranchers upon whose land this herd winters, will formulate a 
workable management plan The proposed limitation of elk numbers 
determined by all groups concerned may be brought about which will 
produce a game crop to be harvested annually, and at the same time 
provide adequate feed and ground cover to protect other interests,, 

Because there have been reports of damage to private property by 
elk this year for the first time, it is indicated that this herd might 
already have reached beyond its optimum development unless artificial 
means of management are brought into use It is felt that these meansj 



219 



such asj, herding and feeding,, are undesirable,, If an over-abundance 
of elk is allowed to develop in this area, sooner or later it will be 
necessary to reduce the number to what the range which the elk care to 
use will support ? or the elk will migrate to new feeding areas to suit 
their choosingo The problem is already familiar to most all agencies 
managing big game,, 

It is recommended that a limited license season be opened for 
the taking of l£0 branch-antlered bulls during a special season follow- 
ing the coming regular elk season this fallo This late season will 
allow most livestock to be removed from the range before the season 
beginSo A kill of 1^0 bull elk is suggested because the annual increase 
of the elk counted during this census should be approximately 200 head 
Because there has been no hunting season initiated in this area to 
date ? there is a large percentage of bulls in the herd 5 some of which 
could be removed without materially affecting the annual estimated 
increase* If it is found by future range studies that this herd has 
developed an optimum population, the take during the next few years 
should be so regulated as to provide the desired number 

It is suggested that an aerial census be conducted each year for 
several years, at least, as a part of the studies of this herd so that 
a more substantial and reliable picture of this group of elk can be 
developed. 

The boundary of the hunting area for the proposed season is 
recommended as follows? Starting from Dillon, follow the Sweetwater 
Road to the Ruby River, thence up the Ruby River to Long Creek, thence 
down Long Creek to the Red Rock River Road, thence down the Red Rock 



220 



River Road to Lima, thence down TJo So Highway #91 to Dillon o This 
suggested boundary necessarily includes much territory in which there 
are no elk ? but it is a permanent tangible line around the area e 

For the most part 5 this country in question is extremely accessible 
as there are roads from all sides leading into ito It is almost entirely 
open country,, There is little of it that cannot be covered by Jeep» A 
general open season might make it possible for elk in the lower Black tail 
to be cut off from their natural escape route and be slaughteredo If 
this were to happen, it would naturally defeat the purpose of the season 
entirely,, 

With unlimited hunters in- the area,, and if the escape route of the 
elk were not blocked, the harassed elk would have little choice but to 
head for the upper Ruby country where they would be outside of the 
hunting area 

Practically all of the hunting area in question is owned or leased 
by a small number of ranchers* Unlimited sportsmen in the area would most 
likely create hunter damage in excess of elk damage , for to date., elk 
damage has been lighto As these ranchers are businessmen, it is only 
logical to assume that if damage to their property will be less by not 
having hunters in the area, they will post their holdings to NO HUNTING,, 
If this were to be the case, the purpose of the hunting season would be 
lost completely* 

It is also recommended that a tagging program be initiated so 
that definite information can be obtained about the migration routes of 
these elk to their respective summer ranges<> It is suspected that this 
migration pattern will be somewhat complicated,, Ear tagging would 



221 



definitely help in acquiring this essential information.. 

Other groups of elk in the Madison-Ruby Management Unit are of a 
minor nature compared to the Blacktail herd,, still they are not so 
insignificant as to be overlooked© 

TOBACCO ROOT EDC HERD 
Sub-Unit No 3 

According to information received from Bill Schowey^, Forest Service 
Ranger of Sheridan^ this elk herd was planted and supplemented by the 
Rocky Mountain Sportsmen's Association, All elk were released in the 
vicinity of the A» J« Davis Ranch The original plant consisted of 33 
head from Yellowstone in February of 1939o This plant was supplemented 
in 19U2 with the shipment of two more loads of elk of 18 each one arriv- 
ing on February 2nd and the other a week later on February 9th c 

An attempt was made to obtain the ages and sex of the elk planted 
in the area s but this data was not available 

In 19U6 a five-day open season was declared for the taking of elk 
of either sex in this area» The local sportsmen's club 9 the Madison 
County Wildlife Association^ wrote to the Fish and Game Department and 
expressed their opinion stressing the danger that a five-day season 
might exterminate such a small group of elk„ Because of the views 
expressed by this Association, the elk season was reduced to a one-day 
season on both sex 

According to Ranger Schowey ? most of the elk had drifted south 
toward Sheridan from where they were planted. Approximately 125 elk were 
found in the area of Nugget Gulch when the season opened,, This number 



222 



was considered the best part of the herd which had developed from the 69 
plantedo During the one-day of hunting c, about 65 head of elk were killed 
in the Nugget Gulch area Most of the remaining elk were driven out of 
the country back toward Twin Bridges to the locality of the Davis Ranch 
where they were originally planted. Twelve head were known to have been 
pushed up Mill Creek to Quartz and Legget Creek s„ 

Ranger Schowey estimates that there are at present possibly 10 
head of elk left in the area northwest of Sheridan on his district,, 
During the winter s no elk were seen on the Beaverhead Forest in this 
area by this game crew„ A report was received of elk being seen on the 
Dry Georgia Creek area s but upon investigation^ no elk or elk sign was 
found,, in the country from Dry Georgia south to Mill Creek o Miners in 
the area were contacted^, but none had seen any elk this winter where 
they had seen them during previous seasons „ 

Mr Clark Hall., a pilot at Sheridan Airport,, reported seven head 
of elk on Sand Coulee southwest of Sheridan on March Uth as the only 
elk seen during his frequent flights over the Twin Bridges-Sheridan area 
this winter, 

Recommendationsg 

Ranger Schowey suggests that a season be held on elk in this area 
every three or four years in order to hold down the elk numbers to what can 
safely sustain themselves on the small amount of forage allowed and 
still provide good hunting,. He estimates feed for about 100 head on his 
district in this area 

It is the general concensus of opinion in the area to have an 
open season on both sex occasionally to provide fair hunting and good 

223 



meat rather than an annual season for bulls only 8 

It is recommended by this crew that there be no regular elk season 
in this area for several years o Special seasons might be found necessary 
if probable damage to private property cannot be alleviated by fencing 
and if manipulation of the herds and their movements can be effectively 
handled by this methodo 

RUBY RIVER HERD 
Sub=Unit No, 3 

Mr Lawrence Schultz s Government Trapper of Sheridan* was contacted 
for any information and personal observations of game in his territory,. 
He reported the absence of a group of some 75 elk that usually winter at 
the head of Robb and Ledford Creeks on the west' side of the Ruby River 
area and the presence of a group of some 200 elk in a new location on 
the east side of the Ruby River in the Timber Creek -Powder Gulch area 
in the vicinity of the Canyon Camp groundo This group he thought was 
part of the Blacktail elko 

During the Blacktail aerial census*, it was found that a group of 
55 elk was wintering at the head of Rocky Robbo and Ledford Creeks A 
group of approximately 75 has wintered in this area for the past several 
years according to Nick Birre ? a Sheridan sportsman,. 

Several investigations were made on the east side of the Ruby 
River in an attempt to find the 200 head of elk of which Mr. Schultz spoke 
On Thursday. December 18th, while studying this area, one bull elk was 
seen in Powder Gulch„ Three cows, three calves and one spike were seen 
in Ice Creeko On Willow Creek 12 cows and 6 calves were seen — - one elk 
carried a cow-bell on its neck. On Friday, December 19th y 5 elk, 1 calf r 

22U 



3 cows and 1 spike bull were seen on South Fork of Greenhorn Creeko 
Later in the season on February ^th^ two bulls were seen in Martin Gulch 
south of the Vigilante Range Experimental Station » On February 11th ^ 
U6 elk were seen in the area between Powder Gulch,, Ice Creek*, and Bone 
Hollow,, An intensive re-check was made for elk in this area with 
Alternate Ranger Ronnald Schultz of Sheridan in early Marcho On this 
trip a group of k7 cows and calves were counted bedded on an open hill- 
side in the Ice Creek-Bone Hollow area Some elk located in the timber 
next to this herd could not be counted,. Several bull elk were seen during 
this investigation and considerable sign<, indicating that there might be 
a possible 75 elk in the entire area 

Unlike Mr„ Schultz^ it is the opinion of this crew that these elk 
are not part of the Blacktail herd 5 but rather part of the rapidly 
increasing group of elk that has been wintering on the east side of the 
Gravelly Range in the vicinity of the Wall Creek Ranger Station,, These 
elk might have been forced into this area by the hunting pressure created 
late last fall on the Madison side of the range during the extended deer 
seasono 

Recommendations ; 

It is recommended that the group of elk wintering at the head of 
Rock s Robb and Ledford Creeks be included in the Blacktail hunting area 
This small group of elk has caused some damage to late harvested grain 
crops on the Upper Gilbert place last fallo Including it might alleviate 
the recurrence of this damage and the necessity of a special season, and 
at the same time it would cause the boundary of the Blacktail hunting 
area to extend to the Ruby River on the east P thereby including a large 

225 



percentage of elk in the Snowcrest Mountains 9 which would not be included 
otherwise if the line were to be the road along the West Fork of the 
Blacktail The limited kilX proposed for' the Blacktail elk herd was 
based on the inclusion of the Snowcrest Mountain elk wintering in the 
Blacktail drainage,, 

The elk appearing this year in fair numbers on the east side of 
the Ruby River should be included in the investigations following the 
either sex deer season scheduled for next fallo Their movements diould 
be watched carefully when the hunting pressures on both sides of the 
Gravelly Range are equalized by simultaneous late deer hunting seasons» 
At present, these elk are in an area where they can do practically no 
damage to private property and where their presence are desiredo 

DEER 

RUBY RIVER AREA 
Sex Ratio and Fawn Crop Studies ; 

Deer problems in sub-unit 3 of the Madison-Ruby Management Unit are 
limited almost wholly to the Ruby Hiver drainage Here a serious trouble 
spot was recognized,. Both the U„ So Forest Service and the Game Department 
have been keeping an eye on this area because of the large concentration 
of deer wintering in the drainage during the last few yearSc and because 
of the resulting damage to the natural winter range o 

Studies were carried on in this area throughout the winter months 
for the purpose of gathering information and data on the numbers and 
trends of the deer population including the sex ratio and the doe -fawn 
ratio o 



226 



This information when applied to the problems created by thi3 
deer herd should help forecast the rate of development of this herd ? and 
should show the effects and results of past management practices,. In 
the same manner, it should indicate and suggest measures necessary for 
more feasible management in the future^, for the problems of holding this 
deer herd in proper sexual balance^, of reducing the herd to the optimum 
number for which there is adequate winter range thereby eliminating 
much of the destruction of private property <, are major problems indeedo 

The country referred to in this report is located in the Madison- 
Ruby Big Game Management Area in sub=unit No 3„ It borders on both 
sides of the Ruby River from the Cottonwood Camp on the south to the 
Greenhorn Creek drainage on the north and a distance varying between 
one and three miles in an easterly and westerly direction s depending on 
the topography of the hills bordering the River e The country within 
these boundaries is composed of rough broken hills extending back into 
the Gravelly Mountains to the east and into the north end of the 
Snowcrest Mountains on the westo The hills are steep ^ usually timbered 
on the northern exposures and covered generally with a mountain mahogany 
vegetative type on western exposed sides Considerable open grass areas,, 
many of which extend up over the tops of these hills,, are found on the 
southern exposed faces „ 

At the time of this survey s there was snow in the area ? but since 
this is extremely windy country ,, most of the open areas were relatively 
bare ? even on the higher slope s e 

Until recently s this herd has not created any pressing problem,, 
Deer numbers have increased steadily in this area for a number of years 



227 



under the protection of both ranchers and sportsmen, but now damage is 
being done to both private property of local ranchers and to the vegeta<= 
tion on the winter range o 

It is thought by many people s including Deputy Game Warden Kohls 
of Ennis and Ranger Schowey of Sheridan,, that many of these deer are 
driven into this area to winter by the hunting of does on the Madison 
side of the Gravelly Mountain s c This extended season following the 
regular season drives the deer high into the mountains where feed is 
usually well covered by snow at this time of year Q In just a 
short distance out of this hunting area over these low mountains^ deer 
can find a haven in the upper Ruby Valley,, This probable influx might 
explain the sudden increase of deer in the last few years in this area 
which was already reaching its optimum population 

Ranger William Schowey of the Sheridan Ranger Station was 
contacted in order to help locate the area to be studied,. Since it 
was known at the time of this survey that a deer census was to be made 
later in the season, it was thought advisable to limit the sex ratio 
and fawn crop study to an area which would be within the boundaries of 
the deer count area c 

The section chosen as representative of the concentration area 
was located on the east side of the Ruby River,, from the Vigilante Range 
Experiment Station as the south boundary, to Jasmine Creek on the northo 
This section was thought to give a truly representative sample of the 
deer population in the area because it includes the most important 
concentration area, and the terrain is most conducive to a successful 
deer sex ratio study „ 



228 



This representative section of the concentration area was divided 

into units each of which could be methodically covered during the course 

of one day 5 yet be naturally bounded so that deer overflow from one unit 

to the next would be negligible These units were decided upon as 

follows I 

First days 

Davis Creek 
Timber Creek 
Schoolmam Gulch 

Second days 

Powder Gulch 
Bone Hollow 
Ice Creek 
Willow Creek 

Third days 

North and South Forks of Greenhorft Creek 
Jasmine Creek 

Each of these units was covered on foot c All groups of deer that 
were identified as to the number of bucks 5 does s and fawns contained 
therein were tallied,, If a group of deer was not completely identified 
as to seXj then that group was disregarded entirely and was not included 
in the study because of the following reason,. The very nature of a 
differential count such as this makes it imperative that all deer in a 
group be counted and classified if the data are to be representative of 
the deer population,. It is but natural for nearly everyone,, when 
classifying deer,, to count the bucks in a group first 8 then perhaps the 
fawns^ and lastly the does If one had recorded the bucks in the group 
and was busy counting fawns when the deer in question ran out of sight „ 
the numbers tallied would not be representative of the original group a 
nor of the deer population as a whole „ Certainly a true sex ratio could 



229 



not be obtained if such figures were usedo However Q single deer 3 such 
as bucks found alone were included in this study since they materially 
effect the sex ratio during the periodo 

At this point,, it might be well to say that the sex ratio of a 
population is that relation between the number of females and the number 
of males. This ratio is obtained by dividing the number of does by the 
number of bucks The doe-fawn ratio is the relation between the total 
number of does to the total of faims c This ratio is obtained by dividing 
the number of fawns seen by the number of does in the same area The 
herd increase percentage is obtained by dividing the total adult deer 
into that number of fawns The percentage of fawns is obtained by 
dividing the total population into the number of fawns,, 

A total of 657 deer were classified in groups in the above 
designated area This total was composed of deer in the several units 
as follows; 



DaviSj, Timber o and Schoolmam Gulch Unit 

Does Bucks Spikes Fawns Sex Ratio Fawn Crop Doe—Fawn Ratio 
138 32 5 89 l§3o7 6Uo5% 1$& 



Powder j Bone Hollow, Ice and Willow Creeks Unit 

Does Bucks Spikes Fawns Sex Ratio Fawn Crop Doe-Fawn Ratio 
80 10 6 72 1*5.0 90 o(# 1*£0 



North and South Forks of Greenhorn and Jasmine Creeks Unit 

Does Bucks Spikes Fawns Sex Ratio Fawn Crop Doe-Fawn Ratio 
121 13 6 85 Is 6. 3 10.2% la.70 



Totals for Entire Area 

Does Bucks Spikes Fawns Sex Ratio Fawn Crop Doe Fawn Ratio 
339 55 17 2U6 I4I4.7 72. 6g lj.73 



230 



Herd Increase 69o6% a 
Percent of Fawns 31oh%° 

Conclusions reached from this study indicate that this deer herd 
is sexually well balanced,, and that the fawn crop is satisfactory^ at 
least it compares favorably with many range lambing operations „ 

Census Studiesg 

Ranger William Schowey of Sheridan was contacted early in the 
seasono He explained the method and technique used by the Forest Service 
in this area last year 5 the date of last year's county and the area 
covered during last year's census It was decided that it would be 
feasible to use the same method and the same area as was used before so 
that a true comparison could be made between the data ou Gained last 
year and that obtained this season,. The census was conducted on 
approximately the same dates as during the previous year 

The area to be studied was divided into five units,, each of 
which could be methodically covered by a team of two men during the 
course of one day,, yet be naturally bounded so that deer overflow from 
one unit to the adjacent one would be as small as possible,, These 
units are delimited on the accompanying map and are numbered 1 through 
£ for ease in identification o Unit #1 is located on the east side of 
the Ruby River on the extreme southern end of the area survey ed This 
unit starts at the Cottonwood Camp and extends down the Rivero It is 
bcrunded on the north by Warm Springs Creek and the South Fork of Warm 
Springs Creek <, Unit #2 is bounded by Warm Springs Creek and the South 
Fork of Warm Springs Creek on the south and it extends down the River 



231 



to the Canyon Camp,, Unit #3 is bounded on the south by th Canyon 
ground and terminates on the northern side of Greenhorn Crek drainage. 
Unit #k is located on the west side of the Ruby River oppoite Unit #1 
It also is bounded on the south by the Cottonwood Camp anc It extends 
in a narrow strip down the River to the Canyon Camp Unit '1$ begins 
at the Canyon Camp-ground and ends on the ridge between Cram Creek 
and Ledford Creeko This unit is composed largely of the Cram Creek 
drainage o In aggregate s these units outline an area of approximately 
sixty square mileso 

Each of these units was covered on foot by two men vjrking to- 
gether,, Non-adjacent units were worked simultaneously so tat any 
overflow from one drainage would not be recounted in anothe by the 
other crew© In most cases 5 one member of a crew covered th country 
in the creek bottoms while his crew partner worked the highr country 
The crewman at the higher level would then be in a better p:- it ion to 
see deer on both sides and the bottom of the open drainages The 
number of the unite, the name of the drainage,, the time 5 and he number 
of deer in each group seen were recorded so that a check coud be made 
for those deer that might have been counted twice s once by ech 
crewman^ and so be considered when totaling the figures,, Clssification 
of deer seen was not attempted as it was during the precedin census 
because at this time of year distinguishing does from bucks 
questionable except at close range o 

A, total of 2 S 10U deer were counted in the area designaedo The 
total of the census conducted one year previously was \ s 12kt> This 
total was composed of the following sub-totals of the several mitSo 



232 




233 



Area 

Unit #1 
Unit #2 
Unit #3 
Unit #k 
Unit #5 

a o o 

O a a 

o a o 

a • o 

Totals s 2 5 10U s 1*721* g # 380 



19^8 Count 


a " 
• 


1947 Count 


a 

A 

• 
• 


Difference 


100 


o 

a 

a 

a 


61 


o> 

a 

o 
a 


4 39 


38U 


o 

o 

o 


U67 


5 

o 

o 


- 83 


l s 206 


o 

o 

o 


788 


a 

o 

» 


* U18 


118 


a 

o 

o 


U3 


o 

a 

• 


f 7$ 


296 




o 
o 


365 


o 

o 

a 


- 69 



Recommendationsg 

Conclusions reached from this study and from observations of 
the vegetation on the winter range indicate that this deer herd has 
increased beyond the optimum number for the area usable as winter range 
and the herd is still increasing The 19 14.8 census shows an increase 
of 38O head of deer seen over that of the previous year n 

Since coyote populations have been materially reduced throughout 
both the winter and summer range of this deer herd within the last few 
months^, it is reasonable to assume that the fawn crop will be higher in 
the future than in the past and the death loss due to predators will also 
be reduced,, 

These facts lead one to anticipate a more rapid rate of increase 
of deer in this concentration area than heretofore unless the present 
number of breeding stock is reducedo Therefore^, it is recommended here 
that a season on both sex be set for the coming hunting season for the 
taking of three hundred does G A kill of three hundred does 5 plus the 



23U 



expected number of bucks will lessen the number of deer in this herd 
and reduce the increasing tendency of the herd to further out=grow its 
available winter range,, This season should be set simultaneously with 
and in a similar manner as the season on the Madison side of the 
Gravelly Mountains so that hunting pressure will be equalized on both 
sides of the range throughout the season 

AREA TO BE HUNTEDg Beginning at the mouth of Greenhorn Creek,, 
thence up Greenhorn and the North Fork of Greenhorn to Baldy Mountain,, 
thence along the divide in a southerly direction to Crockett Lake Hanger 
Station^ thence along the Divide Boad to the West Fork Ranger Station* 
thence down the road to the Ruby River? thence down the Ruby River to 
Greenhorn Creeks the point of beginning,. 

It is recommended that a checking station be operated by a 
competent and reliable man throughout the entire hunting season in 
order to obtain accurate information on the number, age P and sex of deer 
removed which will be essential data for the proper management of this 
herd in the future » It is further recommended that information on the 
weight,, antler measurement,) and other data be obtained at this station 
for research use by the Wildlife Restoration Division of the Montana 
Fish and Game Department,, This information is obtainable only from 
checking stations during the hunting season,, This work should be 
instigated in order to promote progressive studies in various phases of 
deer management „ 

The Upper Ruby Valley deer concentration area is unique in that its 
topographic features,, vegetation typical weather conditions* and deer 
population, make it as conducive to intensive continuous deer studies as 



235 




One of the many coyotes killed by 1080 poison in 
the Ruby River area. Only eagles and magpies 
remain to clean up caroasses as they are doing 
with this coyote. 




This old deer caroass is typical of the fatalities in this 
area in that it has not been touched throughout the winter 
except by magpies and an occasional eagle. Heretofore, 
ooyotes removed these carcasses almost overnight. 



^36 



jny area encountered in this part of the state,, It is suggested that 
this area be investigated in the near future for the purpose of setting 
up long-time experiments and investigations in deer management upon 
■which decisions^ regulations^, and management practices of more elusive 
herds may be basedo 

ANTELOPE 

In sub-unit No 3 of the Madison-Ruby Management Unit s there are 
three recognized herds of antelope -with possibly a fourth developing,. 
None of these herds were planted,, but instead they have spread into the 
various areas from the Sweetwater Basin source,, the only herd in the 
region that was not completely decimated in past years 

Thirty years ago 5 antelope were common in most of the sagebrush^, 
grass types of vegetation around Dillon., Hunting was considered ex» 
cellento Mr Ernest Orr an old timer intimately familiar with the 
Blacktail and Sage Creek areas recalls that in his younger daysc, antelope 
hunting was a popular sporto Because of the terrain and the seasonal 
migrating habits of antelope in the Sage Creek area*, this country was 
the most popular antelope hunting spot in southwestern Montana,, Huge 
herds that summered in the Centennial Valley migrated in the fall to 
the Sage Creek area to winter,, These herds were intercepted in their 
movements by hunters^, and considerable numbers were taken It is 
Mr» Orr" s opinion that although many antelope were killed by hunters^ 
they could hardly be considered the major decimating factor in the 
elimination of the antelope from this range „ Instead he seemed very 
definitely convinced that excessive over=grazing of the winter range 
by domestic sheep during the summer months left so little antelope 

237 



■winter feed that what remained was not sufficient to sustain large numbers 
of antelope throughout the hard winters, and in a few seasons they were 
gone entirely,, According to C, R, Price 3 Deputy Game Warden,, Sweetwater 
Basin is the only area in which antelope were not eliminated in this 
section of the State. Here £«=6 antelope were all that he had seen for 
year s„ 

Later, from these few antelope left in Sweetwater Basin^ numbers 
increased under protection and antelope eventually migrated over the 
Sweetwater divide into the Blacktail drainage, then around the foothills 
of the Snowcrest Mountains and over into the Sage Creek country „ Now ? 
each of these sections is once again populated with permanent small herds e 
Sweetwater Basin still contains most of the antelope in this sub-unit - 
close to twice as many as the others combined,, Sage Creek is next 
largest, for this country is very extensive and the limitations of 
feed and range are not so confining as in the smaller Blacktail area 
where but relatively few antelope winter,. 

Purpose; 

The purpose of these antelope investigations was to make a count 
of the antelope in the units which generally comprise the antelope 
hunting area in southwestern Montana,, This information may lead to 
more effective management plans and means of protection for newly 
planted herds in the area, and to a change of the hunting regulations 
in the area open to hunting as far as sex and numbers to be taken are 
concerned. 

The description of the area open to antelope hunting in Beaverhead 
and Madison Counties is as follows* Beginning at Twin Bridges following 



238 



the road to Dillon^ thence following Highway #91 to Monida^ thence 
following the Red Rock Lakes Road to the road which runs northward 
between the Snowcrest and Gravelly Mountains^ thence following this 
road down the Ruby River to Twin Bridge s s the point of beginning This 
area is open for the taking of one hundred buck antelope<> 

Herds included in the Madison=Ruby Management Unit are Sweetwater 
Basing Blacktail Creek and the SagB Creek herds 5 all in sub-unit No 3 S 
and the Waterloo planted herd in sub=*unit No lo All of these areas 
are typical antelope ranges in that they are composed of low 5 rolling 
hills covered with a mixture of sagebrush and grass types© The sage 
types are usually found at the lower elevations and the grass types on 
the higher hills and knobs<> There is considerable variance in elevation 
in all of these areas providing range suitable for both winter and 
summer feeding o 

Each of the areas mentioned were investigated first from the 
ground by truck or horseback and on foot,, and later from the air e Local 
residents and sheepmen in the field were contacted in each area in order 
to help locate probable areas and the usual haunts where antelope might 
be foundo These contacts were well worthwhile^ for each of these areas 
contains considerable country in which the antelope may roam^, and so 
the chances of finding many of them from the ground are somewhat remote 
For the same reason,, the probability of counting all of them from the 
air is also unlikely,, At most,, the figures included here are indications 
of the antelope populations and are not intended to be conclusive o 

Sweetwater Basin g 

On April lst 5 19U8, a plane was hired from Butte, and was piloted 

239 



by John Fox It was intended to cover all of the antelope country around 
Dillon to get an overfall picture of antelope numbers in this section 
during this flight 

Sweetwater Basin was the first area flown*. For a time, no 
antelope could be seen anywhere, but after several passes over the area 
where antelope were seen on the preceding day they came out of the 
sagebrush in the creek bottoms into view c Five hundred and ten antelope 
were seen from the air in this Basin o 

On the previous day more than three hundred antelope were seen 
here from the ground e Usually the groups of antelope found were composed 
of around sixty head making an accurate count difficult as they ran in a 
bunch past the pickup 

Sheepmen contacted in this area say that the antelope in the 
Basin oftentimes range as far over to the east as the bare hills between 
the Ruby River and Cream, Ledford and Robb Creeks D However s on in- 
vestigations no antelope were seen in this area*, 

Across the Sweetwater Hills west of the Basin on Carter Creeko 
a herd of antelope was reported by student flyers from the Dillon 
Airport,, Upon investigation in this area D it was found that eighty- 
seven head had wintered close to a spring on the Dodd Ranch „ Mr e Dodd 
says that the antelope are at his spring most every morning «, He has 
counted eighty-seven in the bunch, but he estimates that there are 
about 10£ in the group „ 

Further investigational work is necessary to determine the status 
of this Carter Creek herd as to its permanency,, 

Blacktail Creek - Sub-unit No 3» 

2U0 




Antelope as seen from piokup in 
Sweetwater Basin 




Antelope viewed from air during 
aerial census 



241 



Flights over this area were made on February 6th and on April lst n 
No antelope were seen on either flight 

Mr Herbert Mace 5 a rancher and pilot on Blacktail Greeks has 
flown over the area often and he reports seeing antelope in this area 
frequently throughout the winter He has counted at least kh in his 
wire pasture - an enclosure containing an area of twenty-two square 
mile So This enclosure is evidently a favorite haunt of this herd during 
the winter a Mr Mace estimates that a good fifty head winters in the 
Blacktail drainage,, 

Sage Creek - Sub-unit No 3 

During the aerial survey on April lst s 131 antelope were counted 
in the area between Little Sage Creek and the North Fork of Big Sage 
Creek <, This is perhaps the most heavily populated section in this 
extensive antelope range 

Several ground checks were made in this area c The largest number 
of antelope seen in any one day was 106 o These antelope were in small 
bunches of from 10 to 20 and were well scattered,, 

Antelope have been reported seen this winter from Uo So Highway 
#91 on the slopes of hills behind Armstead all the way to Dell and beyond. 
These antelope are usually in small bunches and well scattered just as 
those seen in Sage Creek „ 

Mr Co Ro Price 9 Deputy Game Warden^ estimates that there are 
probably 2J?0 antelope in the Sage Creek herd§ about twice as many as were 
counted from the air Q 

Waterloo Antelope - Sub-unit No 1 



2H2 



This small herd was planted in 19U6 near the town of Waterloo 
in sub-unit Mo 1 of the Madison-Ruby Unito Two truck loads of antelope 
trapped near Toston were unloaded in this'area One load consisted of 
18 and the other 13 5 totaling 31o Because of gas fumes from one of the 
trucks, seven antelope were asphixiated in transit,, leaving a total of 22 
planted antelope o The six surviving antelope in the truck load that was 
gassed were quite feeble when released and so could have been easy prey 
for coyotes in the region,, This area was flown by this field crew on 
March Uth in a plane from Twin Bridges,, No antelope were located from 
the air 

The largest group of antelope reported seen in this planted area 
was 13 observed from the air during a flight by Deputy Game Warden Carl 
Daniel on May 21sto Heretofore he had reported seeing a group of $ or 
6 several times close to the sawmill near the road at Twin Bridges 

Recommendation s; 

It was the opinion of this crew that until some census figure was 
acceptedc, the buck law was most applicable to these herds in the open 
area, for protection of the does is necessary to build up a large herd 
Because of the number of antelope found in the hunting area 9 6^1 actually 
seen^, 897 reported,, l o 000 estimated,, and because the percentage of 
accidentally killed does during a buck season was not previously 
realized^ it is recommended that instead of continuing the buck law in 
this area* a season on both sex be initiated for the taking of a total of 
100 antelope* 

It is further recommended that a more complete investigation be 
made of the newly planted antelope herds as to both natural survival and 



2U3 



adaptation to the new habitats and to poaching by individuals 

MOOSE 
Moose in the Madison-Ruby Management Unit are relatively scarce o 
Perhaps they are as plentiful in the Upper Ruby country as anywhere in 
the unito During a trip in a sno-cat up the Ruby River to the Black 
Butte country s 9 moose were counted. Moose also have been reported 
in the willows of Blacktail Greek^ but they have not been seen by 
this crew while in the area or flying over it 

SUMMARY 

A Big Game Crew composed of two men was stationed in Dillon 
throughout the winter of 19U7™19U8 The purpose of this work was to 
study the problems concerning big game in the three Big Game Management 
Units in southwestern Montana,, This report is concerned with but one 
of these units — the Madison-Ruby Game Management Unit 

During the winter^ it was attempted to gather as much informa- 
tion and pertinent data applicable to big game management as possibleo 
Such substantial data are needed to help remedy existing problems and 
to suggest management practices to prevent future problems from 
materializing o Studies to gain such information are briefed below G 

Blacktail Elk Herd? 

The Blacktail Greek drainage was recognized as one of the more 
important areas requiring concentrated efforts during the winter seasono 
The winter-long study of elk in this area was climaxed with an aerial 



2kk 



census on February 6th „ Nine hundred and ninety-three elk were counted 
within this drainage » 

Recommendations are suggested as follows; 

lo That summer studies be made in this area to check on migrations, 
summer range s, and range condition of winter range s 

2 That elk numbers be limited to the carrying capacity of the 
winter grazing areas chosen by the elk themselves - not by winter range 
available o 

3<> That the proposed optimum elk population be set this summer 
by all interested parties such as the Beaverhead Sportsmen's Association, 
Fish and Game Department, Uo So Forest Service, and ranchers on whose 
property the elk winter,, 

Uo That an aerial census be conducted each year so that a more 
reliable and substantial picutre of this group of elk can be developed,, 

5o That an elk tagging program be initiated so that definite 
information can be obtained about the migration routes of these elk to 
their respective summer range s„ 

6 8 That a limited license elk season be opened for the taking of 
1^0 bulls after the cattle are removed from the range „ 

7o That the hunting area be delimited as followss Starting at 
Dillon, follow the Sweetwater Road to the Ruby River, thence up the Ruby 
River to Long Creek, thence down Long Creek to the Red Rock River Road, 
thence down the Red Rock River Road to Lima, thence down U» S. Highway 
#91 to Dillon o 

Tobacco Root Elk H erdt 

This elk herd was planted by the Rocky Mountain Sportsmen's 

2U5 



Association near the Davis Ranch A total of 6° elk were planted up to 
19k2» Last year a one -day season on either sex was openedo Sixty -five 
head of elk were killed in Nugget Gulch,, approximately half of the total 
estimated herdo The remainder returned to the vicinity of the original 
plant near the Davis Ranch o No elk were seen in this area by this crew 
throughout the winter 

It is recommended that there be no regular elk season in this area 
for several years<> Special seasons might be found necessary if probable 
damage to private property cannot be alleviated by fencingo 

Ru by River Herds (elk) 

A large group of elk were reported wintering on the east side of 
the Ruby River in the Gravelly Mountains in the vicinity of the Canyon 
Camp-ground After several investigations it was found that the largest 
number of elk seen in the area were hi cows and calves*, plus several 
bull elk and considerable sign^ indicating that there might be 75 elk 
in the area B 

Investigations in this area following the either sex deer season 
next fall should be instigated so that their numbers and origin may be 
determined,, 

Ruby River Deer Herd s 

A sex ratio study of deer in the Ruby River area last December was 
followed by a deer census in cooperation with the Uo So Forest Service in 
February,, These investigations indicate that the deer in this area have 
reached a population of over 2 5 10U and are increasing rapi.dly The doe- 
fawn ratio was found to be 1 doe to 73 fawn<, fawn crop 72o6$<, percentage 



2U6 



of fawn in the herd ¥(%$ and the sex ratio was found to be one buck for 
every Iu7 does,. 

It is recommended thats 

l e That a reduction of deer numbers in this area be brought about 
to what the winter range will sustain in an unovergrazed condition » It 
is recommended that a season on either sex be initiated for the taking 
of 300 does and fawns» This season should be set simultaneously with 
the similar season on the Madison side of the Gravellies so that 
hunting pressure will be equalized,, 

2o That the area opened to both sex be delimited as follows? 
Beginning at the mouth of Greenhorn Creek, thence up Greenhorn and 
the North Fork of Greenhorn to Baldy Mountain, thence along the divide 
in a southerly direction to Crocket Lake Ranger Station,, thence along 
the Divide Road to the West Fork Ranger Station, thence down the road to 
The Ruby River,, thence down the Ruby River to Greenhorn Creek,, the 
point of beginning e 

3« That checking stations be operated in this area by a competent 
man throughout the hunting season in order to obtain vital information 
on numbers, age, sex, weight and measurements of deer removed from the area, 

he That this area be considered for the purpose of setting up 
long-time experiments and investigations on deer management problems, 

Antelope .- 

Investigations and studies concerning antelope were conducted 
throughout the winter to determine the survival rate of the various 
plants in the vicinity and to obtain substantial information on the 
numbers of antelope included in the antelope hunting area, 

2U7 



Ground checks were made in the various ranges throughout the 
winter o Aerial census methods provided the most accurate information,, 

Sweetwater Basin Antelope s 

Sweetwater Basin contains the largest herd of antelope in this 
section of the country It has been the source from which the Blacktail 
Creek and Sage Creek antelope originated,. The largest number seen here 
was £10 e 

Blackt ail Creek Antelope g 

No antelope were seen wintering in the Blacktail drainage „ Some 
sign was seen during one flight over the area It is probable that at 
least 50 head have wintered in this area 

Sage Creek Antelopeg 

One hundred and thirty-one antelope is the greatest total seen 
during a single day in this area,, It is estimated that this number is 
about half of the antelope population in this extensive area 

Waterloo Antelope g 

This is the only planted herd in this Management Unit and was 
started in 19U6 consisting of 22 heado None of these antelope were seen 
personally during the winter* Deputy Game Warden Carl Daniel has seen 
as many as 13 at one time during an aerial flight*, 

Recommendations? 

lo That since 6Ul antelope were actually seen within the hunting 
area^ 897 reported^ with an estimated 1^000 totals that a season on both 
sex of antelope for the taking of one hundred antelope be initiated,, so 



2U8 



that the high percentage of does accidentally killed will not be left on 
the ground^ but will be taken as legal meato 

2« That more complete investigations be made of the newly planted 
antelope herds as to both natural survival and adaptation to the new 
habitats and to poachingo 

Moose: 

Moose in this Management Unit are relatively scarce. During the 
winter season only 9 moose were seen© 



Submitted bys 

Richard Lo Hodder s Fieldman 
June 8 5 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



2U9 



STATE Montana 

PROJECT 1- R (Eastern Montana) 
DATE July 1$ 9 I9U8 

BEARTOOTH U NIT 
AERIAL INSPECTION OF BEARTOOTH MOUNTAINS 
DATE? 



March 12, 19U8 

PERSONNEL S 

Gene Tierney, Deputy Game Warden,, Fish and Game Department 
Don Lo Brown, Assistant Big Game Leader, Wildlife Restoration 
Division 

PURPOSES 

The elk herd in the Beartooth Mountains south of Red Lodge had been 
inspected on February 3§ 19hQ$ by a ground crew, and it was the purpose 
of this inspection to determine what had happened to the elk since that 
date© 

Deep snow in late January of this year, forced the elk down on an 
over-grazed range and into some haystackso With the removal of this 
tempting hay, it was hoped the elk would move west to an. area considered 
good wintering groundo 

This survey was to determine the success of the plan» 

PROCEDURE AND FINDI NGS; 

The crew took off from the Billings airport at 0a 00 A Mo„ and 

250 



flew to the Grove Creek area lying east of the eastern tip of the Bear- 
tooth Range o A few tracks were seen here that appeared to be elk tracks,, 
but no elk were seen 

After Grove Creek 5 the Rock Creek drainage was inspectedo 
Approximately 5>0 head of elk were seen on the western slope 5 because 
some elk were in the timber an exact count was not possible o 

The area, lying between Rock Creek and the West Fork,, where the 
elk were seen on February 3rdj, was looked ato but neither elk nor elk 
tracks were seen This was the range it was hoped the elk would leave 
as it was already over=grazed by summer livestock,, 

The eastern slopes of the West Fork revealed a few elk tracks 
and on the western slope of the West Fork the major portion of the herd 
was foundo Deputy Game Warden Tierney stated this was the 106 head 
seen between Rock Creek and the West Fork on February 3rd„ 

Unfortunately it was impossible to get an accurate count because 
of high winds and difficult down-draftSo 

Deputy Tierney reports the Red Lodge Rod and Gun Club insisted 
on feeding the elk hay through the winter despite the protests from the 
Fish and Game Department „ 

This may present a difficult problem for the Department next winter 
if not stopped,, 

After a short look at the northern slopes of the Beartooth range y 
which revealed no evidence of elk r the crew returned to BillingSo 

CONCLUSION* 

It is concluded the removal of the haystacks on the Wapole Ranch, 
as recommended from the inspection of February 3rd served its purpose 

251 



in causing a migration of elk to the west* 

Although the snow was very deep* it was not crusted,, and it is 
believed the elk would have wintered satisfactorily without the handout 
of hay,, 

Deputy Game Warden Tierney reported no browse line was evident 
in any part of the range a 

RECOMMENDATIONS? 

It is recommended this elk herd be reduced to 1^0 animals and 
held to that number This will probably not meet with the approval of 
the local sportsmen*, but the Forest Service has recommended a reduction 
to fit the available winter food c It is estimated there are 1?5» elk now 
using the range 

If the feeding of hay in this area is not discouraged,, it will 
probably lead to the same problems en a small scale 5 as those encountered 
in the Jackson Hole feeding program 



Submitted byg 

Don Lo Brown,, Assistant Big Game 
May 6 S 19hQ Leader,, Wildlife Restoration Division 



252 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1~R (Eastern Montana) 
DATE July 1$ 9 1%8 



BLAINE UNIT 

ANTELOPE DAMAGE INSPECTION 
Loraa=Hopp Area 



DATEs 



June 5 S 6« and 7 S 19 U8 



PERSONNELS 



Ed Giebelc, Chouteau County Sportsmen s Club 
Don Lo Brown,, Assistant Big Game Leader,, Wildlife Restoration 
Division 

PURPOSES 

Reports of damage to winter wheat fields by antelope have been 
received from several farmers in the Loma^Hopp Communitieso This inspec= 
tion was made for the purpose of determining the extent of such damage 
and to recommend the necessary steps to prevent further damage,, 

PROCEDURE AND FINDINGS g 

The area between Loma and Big Sandy was inspected from the air on 
June 6 S 19U8o At that time no antelope were seen on the wheat fields 
although eight were sighted in the vicinity,, No evidence of damage was 



253 



noted in the fields and the few antelope present would not seem to 
present a threat of potential damage in this area e 

The farmers of the area reported that antelope were frequently- 
seen in the fields during March and AprLlc, but had not been seen 
lately o 

This entire area lying north and east of the Missouri River <, 
has extensive winter wheat acreage and as a result the natural antelope 
range has been reduced to the sharp coulees? and rough breaks <> Even 
though the antelope population is small this natural range may not 
furnish sufficient forage , and they may travel into the cultivated areas 
for foodo 

CONCLUSIONS; 

Several assumptions can be made concerning the antelope in 
this section of nothern Chouteau County* but the most logical conclu- 
sion would seem to be that because of the small amount of available 
natural antelope food in the early spring, these animals are forced to 
forage on the cultivated lando 

For several years it has been assumed by some that the antelope 
were found in wheat fields only because the weeds there were readily 
available* This year many of the farmers have sprayed their wheat fields 
with weed killer with remarkable successj thus the absence of weeds may 
account for the antelope leaving these fields e 

Another assumption is that the antelope were in the wheat fields 
during March and April because these fields offered the earliest green 
vegetation, but since the grazing lands have become green the antelope 
have migrated back to their natural forage « 



25U 



It is believed many of these complaints were not made for the 
purpose of requesting relief from antelope^ but they were voiced merely 
as a topic of conversation!. 

Finally,, it is concluded there are so few antelope in this entire 
area the damage they could inflict on any field would not be worthy of 
mention o 



Submitted byg 

Don Lo Browne, Ass "to Big Game Leader 
July 8 S 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



255 



STATE 



Montana 



PROJECT 1°R (Eastern Montana) 
DATE July l5,19U8__ 



CARTER UNIT 



CARTER COUNTY ANTELOPE STUDY 
SUMMER ±9hl 




Montana Fish and Game Department 
Wildlife Restoration Division 



July 1, 19U8 



Submitted byg 

Gerald Salinas, Field Assistant 
Wildlife Restoration Division 



256 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

PERSONNEL AND DURATION OF STUDY, „ . „ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . o 2^9 

rUllrUOJjo o e c ■ i- ■ ' o o o ©oooooooooooooooooooooo L*^/ 

1 JTtVjL/ijXJ Ulti-J ©0O4QQ0O0OOOOOOOOO0QO0OO0O0OOOO C. QU 

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JVLL vJXlA J. XUlJ oooooooooooooooooooooo ooooo £, Ol4 

VJQriGrc i iX ivSpcG u S o ooooooo oooooeooooooo C Oi4t 

The Usual Winter Migration ooo 00 ooooooooo 267 

Migration of the Abnormally Severe Winter,, „ « „ e 269 

Migration in the Three Local Wintering Areas „ o « » o 271 

XUVLM LllZf OOOOOOO O OOO O OOOOO ooooooooooooo £ OX. 

O UTTuTlO l rCcul^6 oooooooooooooooooooooo iOl 

ti XXiX'Sr tv&ngG oooooooooooooooooooooo fcO ^ 

Notes on Antelope Food Habits,, ooooooooooooo 283 

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Vl inX) 6 1* MO XTw cLL X X»y oooooooooooooooooooo tO> 

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\JX)XlGr X^ SS6S00 ooooooooooooo ooooooo uOy 

NOTES ON RANCHER ATTTTUDESo . . • o . . . . . . . . . . . . . • 289 

Antelope Population,, ooooooooooooooocoo 289 

rlUn"Oing ACulVlLyo o o o ooooooooooooo ooo cSy\J 

GENERAL FIELD NOTES 00000000000000000000000 Zyc 

a\J X UljiVJ. J-UI'JO 0000 eo o 4 90000000 ooooooooo o C.Jl\ 

Antelope Population in the Carter Unit o „ o . » « e „ o 29U 

DGX itcXOXOSo 00000000 00000000000000O C*j\J 

(continued) 

257 



TABLE OF CONTEN TS (Continued) 

Page 
SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION,, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298 

RECOMMENIjIAI IONS oooooooooooooooooeoooooooo 3^3 

PJ DJ 1 1 w* TrLrt.Jri I oo oooooooooooooooooaooooooo JrJ ( 



List of Illustrations 

ill lafj <f i&UCl oooooooooooooooooooooooooooOO C~ \} v-^ 

MAP NOc 1 THREE MAIN DRAINAGESo • . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . o 26l 

MAP NO. 2 WINTER DISTRIBUTION AND MIGRATION ROUTES. ....... 266 

MAP NO. 3 SUMMER DISTRIBUTION. ..... .... . ...... „ 273 

FIGURE 1 OWL CREEK BREAKS AREA. ... ............. 278 

FIGURE 2 THE HEAD OF TIMBER CREEK. ............... 278 

FIGURE 3 "FINGER BUTTES". ...... ...... . ...... . 279 

FIGURE \\ TWIN FAWNS ...00.00.00.0.. .00.00. 279 

FIGURE $ SAMPLES RANCHER INTERVIEW FORM ....... . . . . „ 306 



258 



CARTER COUNTY ANTELOPE STUDY 



PERSONNEL AND DURATION OF STUDY 

The following study was conducted from July 21st to August l6th 5 
19U7 by Gerald J„ Salinas, Temporary Field Assistant, Wildlife Restora- 
tion Division under the supervision of Don Lo Brown, Assistant Big Game 
Leader, Wildlife Restoration Division. 

PURPOSE 

The population of pronghorn antelope in the Carter Unit has 
increased during the last decade to the point of possible over- stocking 
on some of the winter ranges*. 

The ranchers of the unit have for a long time been very tolerant 
of the large numbers of antelope occupying their lands „ However, several 
complaints of damage had been received from these ranchers previous to 
the time this study was made A number of ranchers have complained of 
damage to alfalfa fields and others have expressed concern over the heavy 
winter concentrations of antelope „ These, they feel, may facilitate 
the spread of disease and are a hazard to both domestic stock and the 
antelope o 

In the past, information about the migration, summer and winter 
concentrations and life history of antelope in the Carter Unit has been 
meager» For this reason a fieldman was sent into the area to obtain 
data that might be used in drawing up future management plans 

It was not intended that this summer's study would cover all the 



259 



detailed phases of the problem,. It's main purpose was to lay the ground 
work for future investigation and year around observations,, 

PROCEDURE 

Since there was much desirable information to be obtained and 
comparatively little time for gathering it, the only practical approach 
to the problem was to contact ranchers of the area and obtain as many 
of their year around observations of the antelope as possible . The 
data gathered from these local ranchers were recorded on a stardardized 
form that will be referred to in the rest of the report as the 
"Rancher Interview", This report is based on information taken from 
these forms. The "Rancher Interview" was developed before the field 
work was started in order to prevent oversight of important points 
while making field contacts,. County maps were used to acquaint the field 
man with the area and for location of major concentrations, etc 

The fieldman traveled by car from one ranch to the next. By 
traveling in this manner and taking information from ranchers, most of 
the better antelope ranges were visited. Field observations were made 
on the antelope range whenever time permitted. 

The study area is that major antelope range in southeastern 
Montana which roughly forms a rectangular block of land extending 
thirty miles north of Highway 212 and covering the sixty miles from 
Powder River to the South Dakota Border. This antelope range lies in 
the Carter and Powder River A, 3, and C, hunting areas and will be 
referred to in this report as the Carter Unit. 

The area was worked in three sections that are separated by 
natural barriers. As seen in Map No. 1, these sections are set apart by 



260 



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261 



the divides which lie between the main drainages of the area The Powder 
River and Boxelder Creek make up two of these sections and the Little 
Missouri River and Owl Creek make the third. Drainage area borders which 
appear on the map were arbitrarily established to include ranches which 
were visited in the various drainages,, 

The Powder River section was worked on the east side of the River 
as far north as its junction with Stump Creek which lies a short distance 
northeast of Powderville The southern limit of the antelope range in 
this drainage area includes that country which lies east of the Little 
Powder River and north of highway 212 „ The eastern boundary of the Powder 
River drainage is roughly the divide between this River and Boxelder 
Creeko (The Little Powder River is unmarked on the accompanying maps 5 
but can be easily seen as the main tributary that forms the east branch 
of Powder River and joins it just north of Broadus ) The Powder River 
area was worked from Broadus* 

The Boxelder section is bordered by the Powder River divide on 
the west and the Boxelder-Little Missouri divide on the east. The 
northern edge of this area was in the vicinity of Ridgway,, while the 
southern limit of the antelope range was found to run parallel and about 
5 or 6 miles north of Highway 212 „ This unit contains the south- 
eastern corner of the Piniele Game Preserve « The Preserve lies in the 
relatively high country of the Powder River-Boxelder divide and has an 
area of about U6 S 080 acres*, 

The Little Missouri-Owl Creek section is bounded by South Dakota 
on the east and Wyoming on the southo This includes the heads of Owl 
and Indian Creeks which flow into South Dakota,, The Boxelder-Little 
Missouri divide forms the western edge,, The northern and southern 

262 



limits are Capitol and Alzada B Little of the area southwest of Highway 
212 was included,, There will be repeated references to these three 
areas in the findings of this report,, 

Graded county roads follow the three main drainages and in dry 
weather the ranches can be easily reached on side roads extending from 
these. 

The ranchers were cooperative and were apparently anxious that 
their personal observations be made available for use by the Fish and 
Game Department , 

On July 30 s July 31? and August 1, a n aerial count, using the 
strip method, was made in the Carter Unit, Although the antelope were 
beginning to bunch into small herds the distribution was fairly even 
and it is believed that the count is reasonably ac curate. It was 
assumed that 100$ of all antelope in the flight path were observed. 
Three fifths or 60$ of one mile was covered on each flight,, strip select- 
ed at random. One mile was covered by the observers in the plane when the 
flight path followed a major drainage. Flight altitudes varied from 
£0 to 500 feet depending on the topography and existing light conditions. 
Map No. 1 shows distribution of the antelope population as determined 
by the summer aerial count. The flight lines which were made during 
the aerial count are also represented on this map. 

FINDINGS 
The migration pattern, population distribution, description of 
range conditions, and discussion of mortality and other factors will be 
treated in the following sections of this paper. 



263 



MIGSATEOM 

General Aspects 

Most of the area of the Carter Unit is a natural antelope summer 
range $ comprised of open country and low divides which lie between the 
major drainagese The drainages^ as previously described, break the 
country into three parallel sections,, A general northwesterly migration 
is observed in each of these areas every fall* The reverse of this is 
seen in the springo The routes of these migrations are shown on Map 
No, 2* 

Herd Composition in Relation to Migration 

Herd composition fluctuates with the seasonal antelope movements,, 

The antelope return in small groups to the summer range at the 
end of the winter,, There is no sudden massive movement of the type which 
may occur in the fall. 

Small bands are widely dispersed on the summer range by late 
May and early June when the fawns are dropped. It is believed by game 
men that antelope populations reach near-perfect distribution at this 
time since wet does tend to seek maximum isolation from others* Even 
at fawning time, however 9 there are some small bands of bucks and other 
mixed groups* As summer passes^ nearly all the antelope begin to gather 
into the small groups* These range freely,, but all movements are local* 

By the time of the rut in late September small bands have been 
formed* These begin to shift toward the winter range in November and 
their size may increase as they move* There is a considerable difference 
between these and the larger bands which may form and drift in the more 
severe winters* 

26U 



Extent of Migration 

Past contacts with the Carter herd has raised the question as to 
whether the winter migration is merely a local shift of antelope in 
each drainage or local and extensive migrations from South Dakota to 
Bozelder Creek and Powder River a It was previously felt that the former 
condition was probably the actual case c Migrational data was recorded 
with this problem in mind„ The results of this investigation indicate 
that depending upon the severity of the winter 9 the winter migration 
is merely a partial shift, a shift in the local drainages or a longer 
movemento This agrees with the findings of Bailey (1936) 9 Beer (19UU)<> 
and Carhart (19U2). 

The winter migrations are mainly of two types; those that occur 
during normal winters, and the larger winter movements that take place 
during winters having severe storms and excessively deep snows 8 
Carhart (19U2) also points out this two phased migration,, These two 
migrational patterns will be treated separately,. Some incidental 
information concerning the unusually mild winter conditions is also 
included,, 

The following data are shown on Map No„ 2<> 

(1) Migration routes which are used during mild winters and 
during winters of usual severity,, 

(2) Some of the migration routes known to have been used 
by antelope during the long migration of November 19hho 

(3) Winter range concentrations during usual winters,, 
(U) The concentration areas of very severe winters,. 

The relative sizes of both types of wintering areas are no indication 



26$ 






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01 01 



of actual numbers which occupy them During very mild winters animals 
are found on the usual winter ranges and in suitable parts of the summer 
range o Under severest conditions a large portion of the antelope move 
to shelter in the Powder River drainage, 

A general treatment of the two phased migration in the entire 
Carter area will be presented first and this will be followed by a more 
detailed discussion of the migration to the four local wintering areas<> 
These together should provide an overall picture of migration during 
both "open 18 and unusually "hard" winters© 

The Usual Winter Migration 

Need for food is the chief cause of the annual winter migration.. 
In the winter there is a definite "heavy snow 18 belt which covers most 
of the summer range in the Carter Unit 8 The snow belt extends east 
into South Dakota,, Snow covers most of the low forage of the open 
divide areasj but leaves considerable browse and shelter available in 
the partially wind-swept breaks of the four main creeks« This snow-free 
condition is especially noticeable in the Powder River Breaks at the 
western end of the antelope range » Here 5 as in the other winter range s $ 
antelope are seen feeding in areas of the larger sage type that are not 
covered by snow„ Two sage species of major importance in this range are 
Big Sage ( Artemisia tridentata ) and White Sage ( Artemisia cana ) 

The western edge of the deep snowbelt is limited by the Powder 
River-Boxelder divide and it extends to the headwaters of those creeks 
that drain into the Powder River from the easto The divide runs northward 
from the vicinity of Hammond which is located on Highway 212 « This 
climatic condition is apparently caused by prevailing winds and storms that 

267 



approach the area from the Dakotas to the east. The main effect in 
the Carter Unit is felt in the territory lying east of the Powder River- 
Bo xelder divide o 

The above described snow pattern explains in part the local 
migrations to shelter in wintering areas of the three main drainages of 
Carter Unite It may also explain the migrations which result in large 
concentrations of antelope in the Powder River Breaks during the 
exceptionally hard winters. 

From the information that was gained in "Rancher Interviews 1 * ? it 
is apparent that the movement of antelope., during usual winters,, is for 
the most part local ■ 

The following paragraphs pertain to these local winter migra- 
tions; 

A glance at the map shows that the east side of the Powder River 
Drainage is a much larger area than the Boxelder drainage and includes 
a large area of good antelope summer range o Thus the concentration in 
the Powder River Breaks during the less severe winters may well be a 
local shift o 

During an open winter the Boxelder drainage contains as many or 
more antelope than during the summer,. This indicates little movement 
of antelope from the Boxelder during open winters, although many of 
these animals move to Powder River during severe winters and the antelope 
which summer on the east side of Boxelder are conspicuously absent. 
The extent of migrations during normal winters will be further elaborated 
upon in the discussions of migration in the three local wintering 
areaso 



268 



Migration of the Abnormally Severe Winters 

The snow belt is well marked during the more severe winterso 
Nearly all of the higher range is blanketed with snow after the first 
heavy storms The low growing forage of the open country is thus 
inaccessible to antelope from the beginning of winter c 

The main summer ranges in Carter Unit are a bleak and open type 5 
the terrain of which makes it difficult for antelope to obtain food and 
survive during hard winters o With the onset of winter storms they are 
forced to move into the breaks where there is browse and protection*. 

The following paragraphs describe the long winter migrations 

With the increase of antelope numbers in the Carter Area during 
the last decade the winter migration has become more noticeable* The 
increased numbers may be a factor which contributes to a greater need 
and tendency for long migrations s especially during severe winter 
weather e This agrees with Carhart (1°U2) and incidental information 
obtained from the Highline in northern Montana* 

The occurrence of long migrations during the severe winter of 
1936 and again in the fall of 19 kh is substantiated by a number of 
statements from ranchers,, 

During the winters of 1936 and 19UU-U5 many of the ranchers,, 
particularly those in the upper ends of Crow Creek and Pilgrim Creek., 
observed tired antelope which were thought to have drifted in from a 
long distance to the easto 

Large numbers of antelope were also observed passing through 
different sections of the main drainages during the winters of 1936 and 
19UU-U5© These were apparently long migrations* 



269 



During the winter of 19hh-°h^» the usual heavy concentration of 
antelope did not remain in the Little Missouri area Large numbers of 
antelope were observed traveling westward a short distance north of 
Alzada and in various areas along the north side of Highway 212« 

In addition very large numbers of antelope passed through the 
usual migration routes of the Little Missouri drainage » A large number 
of migrating animals passed through Nine Mile Creek 9 Large numbers of 
antelope came in from South Dakota— passed through the Albion region and 
Blacktail Creek in the Little Missouri drainage and continued westward 
through the Finger Buttes region,. The "Finger Buttes" are a distinctive 
land mark that jut out from the Boxelder-Little Missouri divide at the 
head of Blacktail Creek, These can be seen on the maps and in figure 
3. 

Permanent Population Influxes 

The winter migration pattern during severe years may be responsible 
for some re-distribution of antelope 

Antelope normally return to their summer ranges at the end of 
winter and does attempt to return to their home range before dropping 
their fawns each spring 

Many of the antelope never returned to their original summer 
ranges after the large migration of I9IU1© A few new herds remained on 
the east side of the Little Missouri,, Some of the antelope may have 
been stopped during their eastward spring movement to summer range by 
flooding creeks which are ice covered during the fall migration, although 
instances of antelope swimming rivers during their spring migration 
are known. Movements of animals in the Little Missouri area was also 

270 



inhibited by fences. 

With the dropping of fawns new resident populations are establish- 
ed in an area This occurs commonly after an unusually long winter 
migration o 

Where the new range is favorable a large increase of antelope is 
often seen The resulting increase has not been great in the Little 
Missouri area 2 but it does represent a larger year around population of 
antelope than was present prior to 19UU-U50 

Migration in the Three Local Wintering Areas 

The best method of obtaining a true picture of migration as it 
occurs in the Carter Unit is to describe migrations as they are seen 
in each of the four main local areas These parts placed together 
comprise the total migration in the unito This is the logical way 
to use the information gained from rancher interviews^ since each rancher 
sees local conditions rather clearly ^ whereas his concept of the over-all 
problem is less reliable and may be incomplete 

An analysis of the population figures., given by the ranchers 
in interviews^ indicates that there is a shift of antelope between the 
summer and winter ranges The number of antelope in any area is apt to 
fluctuate widely during different seasons of the year This further 
substantiates the ranchers 5 description of seasonal migration,, The 
population figures represent an estimate of local ranchers and although 
they may not be completely accurate, they do yield relative values which 
can be used to some extent for management purpose s 

It was also found that the summer distribution and population of 
antelope as indicated by ranchers was comparable to the summer aerial 

271 



count made during July 30, 31? and August 1st in this area. 

Rancher estimates of the population for each of the main drainages 
during summer,, winter., and extremely severe winters were secured,. Data 
on the ratio of summer to winter numbers in each drainage area and the 
relative abundance of animals in the various areas during both seasons 
were thus obtained,, 

The antelope population density figures for each drainage area 
were derived by dividing the number of sections of land in that area 
into the number of antelope reported in the area during the three 
previously mentioned periods,. The resulting population densities for 
various parts of the range have been transferred to Map No» 3 which 
shows summer distribution and Map No 2 which shows winter concentration 
areas o A total estimated summer population for the three drainage 
areas has been compiled and is shown in Table No„ 1„ 

A description of the migration as it is seen locally is also 
included in this section of the report,. The following is a description 
of the migration in each of the four local wintering areas 

Migration in the Powder River Area 

The heart of the antelope's summer range is in the relatively 
high country of the Powder River drainage which lies east of the Powder 
River county line and extends into the region of the Boxelder divide,, 
The estimated summer population is about 10 antelope per square mile,. The 
winter density of this area varies from 10 to V? antelope per square mile 
during open winters,, Practically no antelope remain there during severe 
winters. 

The usual winter range for antelope in the Powder River area 

272 



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forms a belt which lies parallel to and a short distance from the Powder 
River» This range extends into the main side drainages including Timber^ 
Crow 5 Pilgrim,;, and Hay Creeks* 

During summer^ there is generally a low population of antelope 
in this winter range belt and in that entire area extending from Powder 
River eastward to the vicinity of the Powder River county line* The 
summer population density is estimated by ranchers to be 2 to h antelope 
per square mile There is possibly a greater density in the Hay Creek 
region,, but this was not confirmedo That area is indicated on Map No„ 

3o 

This map shows summer distribution of antelope in the Carter 
Area, The map is self-esplanatoryo The usual summer distribution of 
antelope is shown on the map and while the densities which are indicated 
may not be too accurate the picture of relative distribution should be 
goodo All the figures of antelope population densities are rough 
approximations^ based upon rancher estimate s s and are probably a little 
high for the total acreage of each enclosure on the map 

One rancher was of the opinion that there was a large number of 
antelope on this winter range during most of the winter,. He described 
these concentrations as "A series of bands which are seen for about 30 
miles along the Powder River©" This winter range is 8 to 10 miles in 
widtho The description is probably representative of an extreme 
condition. 

Antelope winter heavily on Lower Hay Creek <, On the Pilgrim 
Creek drainage the antelope winter mainly in the Powder River Breaks 
that lie a few miles east of the river itself « Further down, the Powder 



27U 



River from Pilgrim Creek, the antelope numbers vary greatly -with the 
type of winter This seems natural since no large drainages come into 
Powder River for V~> miles between Pilgrim Creek and Crow Creek— hence 
only severe weather drives large numbers of antelope into the entire 
wintering area a 

Although relatively few antelope summer on that lower part of 
Crow Creek s which lies in Powder River County, it is an important winter 
concentration area The winter population density is usually more than 
20 antelope per section,. This figure is based on ranchers' estimates 
and is of limited value since they only ride over the lowlands in 
winter,. 

The antelope are not present on lower Crow Creek in such large 
numbers during mild and open winters,. Those., which ordinarily move 
closer to Powder River, winter locally in the breaks of upper Timber 
Creek, Dry Creek and Crow Creek „ These areas are shown on Map No c 2„ 
Thus, antelope tend to winter in the higher country near the headwaters 
of these three drainages whenever it is possible and the breaks of 
lower Crow Creek provide additional shelter whenever it is needed,, 

The ranchers throughout the surrounding Powder River country 
consistently report a much larger antelope concentration in Crow 
Creek than do the resident ranchers,, Crow Creek which is reputed to be 
an extremely heavy winter concentration area — has an estimated 
population density only three-fifths as great as that reported for lower 
Pilgrim Creek and Hay Creeks* It is estimated that there are 30 animals 
per section in the latter wintering areas,, The relative importance of 
these two winter range areas should further be determined in the field. 



275 



The winter migration on lower Timber Creek consists of a movement 
of antelope toward the Powder River as the winter becomes more severe «, 
Further up Timber Creek 5 the antelope cross into Crow Creek and the 
Powder River Breaks to the south of it The migration routes and winter 
distribution are shown on Map No„ 2 

The summer range-winter range relationship and the accompanying 
migration can be readily seen by referring to Map No 2 and Map No c 3» 

The seasonal migration is certainly not a clearly defined 
activity.. After the antelope have moved into the lower areas and have 
apparently come down for the winter they shift back and forth from the 
breaks region to the creek bottoms — with local weather changes They 
come out on the higher flats during days of good weather and retreat to 
shelter during storms This is especially noticeable in the Crow Creek 
area. 

This type of behavior parallels the larger population shifts in 
which Timber Creek 5 Dry Creek and upper Crow Creek are used as local 
winter range during open winters <, Lower Crow Creek and the Powder River 
Breaks are the winter ranges during more severe winter s„ The head of 
Timber Creek is shown in Figure 2„ 

To attempt a prediction of the extent of a particular winter' s 
migration would be no more successful than a long range prediction of 
that winter's weather,, Although the "normal" condition cannot be 
defined^ those types of winters which can arbitrarily be called the 
"usual" and the "unusual" — reveal that there are actually three 
degrees of migration and these are directly correlated with the severity 
of a particular winter's weather — mild, of usual severity, or ab- 
normally severe o 

276 



During the severest winters when the antelope range in lower 
Crow Creek and the Powder River Breaks, migration from the divide 
country is nearly complete 

Very few antelope ever cross to the west side of Powder River or 
Little Powder River „ This is true during even the more severe winters » 
The local ranchers are in agreement on the location of this winter range 
boundaryo Topography probably limits movement beyond this 

After the antelope have moved in from the higher country to the 
east 5 they find food and shelter on the sage-covered breaks on the east 
side of the Powder River „ There is apparently no need for the antelope 
to cross the river • 

Migration in the Boxelder Area 

Fairly large numbers of antelope summer in the Boxelder area<> 
The west side of the Boxelder drainage has a summer population of 
approximately 12 antelope per square mile The summer density to the 
east and the extreme northern end of the range is about 8 antelope per 
square mile. Relative summer population densities are shown on Map 
No 8 3» There is a slight unavoidable discrepancy between these detailed 
population densities and those shown on the map 

During open winters most of these antelope winter locally. There 
appears to be a shift from the east to the west side of the Boxelder 
area and there may be a larger number of antelope during an open winter 
than in the summer,, The open winter population on the west side increases 
to more than 15 antelope per section while the density on the east side 
drops to five or less antelope per section. 

During severe winters there is some movement of antelope from the 



277 










Fig. 1 0«rl Creek Breaks Area 
(Owl Creek in Background) 




Fig. 2 The Head of Timber Creek 



27 Q 




Fig. 3 "Finger Buttes" (Viewed from the 

Boxelder-Little Missouri Divide to the 
Southwest) 




Fig. 4 Twin Fawns 

(In the Head of Dry Creek) 



2 73 



Boxelder drainage into the Powder Biver area Only about 3 to k antelope 
per section remain on the west side of Boxelder Creek and about 3 or less 
antelope per square mile winter on the east side 

The heaviest snow in years occurred on November 13th and lUth of 
19hhe Large groups of antelope moved through the Boxelder drainage in 
an abnormally large westward migration „ These appeared to have come a 
considerable distance — perhaps from the western edge of South Dakota 
Practically all the antelope moved out of the Boxelder drainage during 
that winter,, 

Migration in the Little Missouri Area 

Antelope^ in large numbers^ normally take three rather distinct 
migration routes across the Little Missouri drainage,. These routes are 
shown on Map No„ 2 They follow Blacktail Creek s pass through the 
region just north of Albion 5 and through the North and South Forks of 
Cottonwood Creekso 

The county road along the Little Missouri follows a fenced lane 
During the fall migration the antelope are usually held for several weeks 
while they work their way through these fences and across the River n 
Some woven wire fences impede the natural migration in this area 

Considerable numbers of antelope winter in the lower parts of 
Horse and Elkhorn Creeks during ordinary winterso Antelope also winter 
in South Indian Creek and the head of Owl Creeko These two Creeks drain 
into South Dakota to the east,, but there is apparently a westward 
migration into their headwaters during the winter „ The Owl Creek Breaks 
are shown in Figure 1„ 

The antelope move from most of the area on the east side of the 



280 



Little Missouri River and the Owl Creek Breaks during very severe 
winter So They pass through the Little Missouri in a westward migration,, 
During the winter of 19hh$ large numbers of antelope passed just north 
of Alzada This is an unusual migration route and these antelope were 
apparently driven long distances by the deep snow 

During the winter of 19U7 antelope wintered close to the Little 
Missouri bottom in the vicinity of the three main crossings,, Since 
19hk$ antelope have wintered near the Little Missouri River e A greater 
number of antelope now remain on this range during summer and winter,, 

A rather large antelope population winters along the west side of 
the Little Missouri,, These concentrations are seen in the vicinity of 
Cottonwood Creek 5 on the flats near Blacktail Creek and on the lower 
parts of the North and South Forks of Cottonwood Creek „ 

The more exposed summer ranges on the Little Missouri area support 
no antelope during the usual winter,, In early winter large numbers of 
antelope remain in the Little Missouri drainage „ However* if the weather 
becomes too severe they drift westward and many of them are gone for 
part of the winter,. 

An increase over the summer antelope population is observed during 
winter,, Ranchers attribute part of this to influxes from South Dakota 
which are apparently an annual occurrence • 

RANGE 
A detailed investigation of range condition was not possible during 
this study. The following incidental information was obtained. 

Summer Range 



281 



Large numbers of antelope are now thriving in the summer range 
without causing range depletion or appreciable resentment from the ranch= 
owners o The ranchers 9 comments indicate that the summer use of range 
by antelope causes no noticeable damage 

There have been complaints of summer damage in only a few local 
areas and these involve cultivated crops» Owners of alfalfa fields 
report most depredations 

Carter County range is in good condition,, Favorable growing 
seasons during the past decade are thought to be responsible for this© 
The year 19U7 was thought by most ranchers to be the best grass year 
since 192 7 « The range is looking better than it has ever within the 
memory of reliable old timers The wild hay crop of Bluestem grass 
( Agropyron smithii) was excellent in most areas Federal range men 
agree that the ranges of the Carter area are in excellent condition,) 

Although there is an upward trend of the range due to this period 
of favorable climate and apparent proper use^, it was not felt that the 
condition of all the range was good Certain areas have large amounts 
of cactuso This may be an indication that these portions of the range 
have not completely recovered from the effects of the plow and previous 
hard use c Local range condition is certainly not good in the vicinity 
of salted reservoirs 

Several ranchers were concerned over the possibility of range com- 
petition between antelope and domestic stock in the event of a future 
dry weather cycle,. 

Under certain conditions during the fall, domestic alfalfa fields, 
in some local areas, may be used by the antelope as a part of their range*, 



282 



Ranchers are able to eliminate this by adequate fencing,. Although 
expensive 5 some ranchers consider this to be worthwhile Some of the 
ranchers believe alfalfa damage is not too extensive This alfalfa 
damage is thought by a number of land-owners to be negligible although 
occasional damage may occur when animals run through ripe standso 

The problem of antelope damage to cultivated crops in the Powder 
River drainage may increase with the future development of Moorhead 
dam e 

Water is probably no limiting factor in the Carter area due to 
the presence of numerous stock re servo irs c 

Winter Range 

Some factors which influence the winter range have already been 
presented in this report under "Migration" These include a general 
picture of the physiography of the Carter area which describes the open 
summer ranges and the sheltering character of the winter ranges; the 
effect which the winter 9 s severity has upon range availability, and the 
hampering effect of sheep fences upon free movement of the antelope <, 

The previously mentioned "snow-belt" condition is a part of the 
winter range picture „ During mild winters*, there is often much bare 
ground to the west of the Powder River divide <, Food is also available 
further east in the local wintering areas of Doxelder Creek and the Little 
Missouri. During severe winters deep snow makes more of the feed east 
of the Powder divide unavailable to antelope «, 

Notes on Antelope Food Habit s 

A rancher who has kept an antelope as a pet said that its diet 



283 



mainly consisted of weeds in the summer and sage and other browse in the 
winter o 

It has been noticed in some areas from the antelope shift from 
black sage ( Artemisia frigida ) to white sage ( Artemisia cana ) when the 
former is covered with snow These common names are of local usage,. 

The antelope 8 s diet apparently shifts in fall and winter to 
browse c Ranchers believe they feed upon sage and salt sage during this 
season o 

This introduces several quest ion s c Is there a shift to browse 
because it is available while other feed is covered with snow? Would 
the antelope take larger percentages of cured grass and dry weeds if 
they were available? Is there a seasonal need for woody browse in the 
antelope's diet during winter? What do the antelope feed upon when they 
leave the breaks area and return to high ground during open weather? 

Year around analysis of food habits for Montana antelope is 
neededo A seasonal food study would yield valuable information The 
data could be tied in with information which is already available^, 
Buck (l$k% Couey (19U6), and Buechner (19li7)o 

Several ranchers reported that antelope do not eat hay e In some 
instances antelope have been seen in near starving condition and still 
they did not feed upon available hay„ 

It was noted during the summer aerial count — > that no antelope 
were found within approximately one~=half mile radius of sheep o However s 
it became apparent during the "Rancher Interviews"' that antelope are 
present in large numbers on some sheep ranges and totally absent from 
otherso The explanation for the presence of antelope and sheep on the 



28U 



same range may be due to the presence of rough breaks in the area which 
provide the antelope with abundant food or in some instances the ranges 
may have been used by sheep only recently,. 

Range competition between antelope and sheep seems apparent from 
the similarity of their general food habitso By a similar token there 
is probably little competition between antelope and cattle on the summer 
range,, Buechner (19hl)o 

MORTALITY 

Winter Mortality 

Woven wire and sheep proof fences impede the natural migration 
pattern ^ which has been to drift ahead of severe storms to protected 
areas • These particular fences provide a definite problem -= especially 
during the more severe winterso These fences^ which are increasing in 
numbers^ often delay the antelope along their route to the winter range 
By restricting movement^, they cause antelope to be caught in areas which 
offer little protection and food during storms Some of these antelope 
become weakened and eventually winter killo 

Large numbers of antelope are often held by fences on their way 
to winter rangeo Sometimes antelope pile up against sheep fences for h 
to £ days before a storm and they are often released by ranchers who 
open gates or sections of fence for them 

It might be possible to aid some antelope which become piled up 
against fences during a severe winter by driving them with a plane in 
such a manner that they can continue their migration without delays of 
several days 



28$ 



During severe winters there is a large die -off of antelope in 
Crow Creek and the Powder River Breaks,, A number of questions and some 
of the possible answers arise 

This condition may be the result of a combination of factors© 
The antelope population may be reaching the carrying capacity of its 
winter range s„ The fences may weaken animals that are forced into long 
migrations for food and shelter,, These and other factors may finally 
bring about losses from disease 

Winter losses may be an indication of winter food stresses under 
severe weather conditionso Antelope have been seen in the willow bottoms 
for the first time during the winter of l Q U7o This may be a newly ac- 
quired habit or it may be a sign that the winter concentrations are 
becoming excessive,, Apparently antelope of various ages die during the 
winter o Ranchers believe there are often less antelope returning to 
the summer ranges in the spring than the numbers that migrate in fall* 
This may be due to differences in observationj, or it may tie in as an 
indication that during severe winters «— the winter kill is great 
enough to be actually noticeable when the wintering bands retrace their 
migration routes to the summer ranges 

Heavy losses that occur in hard winters like that of 19UU-U£ can 
be attributed,, in part 5 to the fence problem,. Disease may also figure 
in as a factor contributing to the deaths of weakened animals However^ 
the possibility of there becoming an over population of antelope in 
the Carter Area seems quite real 2 even in the face of certain decimating 
factors and adverse conditions* There is much need for on-the-spot 
investigation of antelope winter condition s Q 



286 



Disease 

It was originally hoped that additional information could be 
gained concerning the extent of the antelope disease condition,, which 
had become noticeable during the spring of 19h7o This study was to 
contain a follow-up of information in the report "Antelope Investigation 
in Carter Unit", which was conducted by Faye Couey and Don Brown 5 
May 30th and 31st, 19U7o 

However 5 the summer study was conducted too late in the season 
to determine?, at first hando a great deal of additional information con- 
cerning the infected area,, None of the ranchers contacted in the area 
had seen any currently ailing antelope at the time of this study, 
however, one rancher had disposed of a IS stoved-up" buck a week or so 
earlier — this was the last one known to him 

The following is an important point supporting the possibility 
that the antelope infection extended over a greater area than was 
originally supposed,, The rancher on the lower Timber Creek range, which 
was thought to be the focal point of the ( Actinomyces necrophorus ) and 
( Corynebacterium ovis ) infections^, estimated dead antelope carcasses per 
section of the range he observed,, However #n some ranchers in Dry Creek 
and Crow Creek estimated nearly as high and even higher losses Although 
these ranchers were unable to determine the cause of antelope deaths on 
their ranges,, the figures alone and the proximity of this range to proven 
infected antelope range make it highly probable that disease may also 
have been a contributing factor in their winter kills* Areas of heavy 
antelope winter loss during 19U7 are indicated on Map No„ 1 

It may be well to point out that the ranchers in the region of the 



287 



large winter losses usually ride only low lands during winter,. Heavy 
die-off s which were observed during the late winter in 19U7 (8-10 
antelope per square mile) are probably representative of bottom concentra- 
tions only c 

In the Little Missouri drainage^ considerable scouring among 
young antelope is some times noted c This diarrheic condition is thought 
by some ranchers to be a worm infestation and may be an important factor 
which reduces the fawn crop ^onsideraoly in this area Locations where 
there has been scouring among antelope^, especially young 5 sometime 
during the last two years are shown on Map No lo 

Predation 

There is definitely some eagle predation upon antelope „ Two 
ranchers who fly a plane in the Boxelder area and one rancher who lives 
on lower Crow Creek report a total of 16 eagle kills which they have 
witnessed in the past few years A rancher in the head of South Indian 
Creek reported one dead antelope that appeared to be an eagle kill and 
an unsuccessful attack by an eagle upon a yearling antelope o It is 
believed that golden eagles are quite numerous throughout the plains 
region of Montana Many were observed in all the antelope ranges visited 
during the summer of 19h7o 

Ranchers reported some predation upon antelope by coyotes during 
past years The amount of predation upon fawns was unknown but it was 
felt to have been significanto Coyotes made a few kills during the fall 
of 19U6o 

During the winter of 19U7 the new poison W 1080 M was used 
experimentally in this area and the coyotes were nearly eliminatedo 

288 



Sheep ranchers reported that coyotes had not bothered them since „ This 
may result in a greater increase of antelope c 

In the past some undetermined factors have apparently reduced 
the fawn crop considerably between the time that they are born and the 
following fall,, 

Other Losses 

Antelope are sometimes killed when they break through fences after 
being run deliberately or accidentally ahead of cars on the county 
road which follows Little Missouri River<> This condition might be 
improved if some well designed signs urging caution in the matter were 
placed along this road, 

Antelope suffer some losses when they become caught in fences 
during the winter migration Crusted snow cripples some antelope during 
the winter « 

Poaching by out-of=state hunters was reported in the Little 
Missouri area a Dead antelope are found after each hunting season and some 
antelope are also crippled during the hunt. 

NOTES ON RANCHER ATTITUDES 
The importance of understanding the ranchers attitude toward 
antelope on their ranges made a strong impression upon the fieldman during 
this study» Their reactions to the permit hunt is also important informa- 
tion, 

Antelope Population 

As has previously been mentioned^ nearly all the ranchers seem to 
feel that antelope do little or no harm (visible competition with domestic 

289 



stock) to their ranges during summer This is probably due to the evenly 
scattered condition of the herd during summer month s e 

The Little Missouri drainage has a sizeable winter concentration 5 
but the residents of this drainage are more concerned over their winter 
antelope than are the residents of the other two main drainages,. Some 
of the reasons for this are apparent » Sheep-tight fences and other 
fences^ from Alzada to Capitol^, hold groups of antelope which are trying 
to migrate* There is a considerable influx from South Dakota during 
certain years 'in parts of the Little Missouri and of other areas where 
a heavy winter concentration is the usual condition and in addition there 
is often a rather large summer population — the sentiment very often 
expressed by these ranchers is that they feel n there really are too many 
antelope 1 " in their area,, 

In certain areas the only damage which is attributed to antelope 
is the trampling of fields and portions of pasture s s in a manner similar 
to that of sheep o 

Ranchers report varying degrees of damage to their alfalfa,. Most 
of them are not familiar with the actual extent of damage,, This infor=> 
mation is needed and should be determined in future food habit studies. 
The results should be made known to the ranchers 

Ranchers who reside in areas of occasional heavy winter die«offs 
feel that some official agency should dispose of diseased and dying 
antelope o 

Hunting Activity 

Several hundred antelope are taken by permit in the Carter Area 
during the special antelope season » Many of the hunters are unfamiliar 



290 



■with the area and have a limited amount of time to kill their antelope c 
Some careless hunting practices result and there is considerable 
resentment by ranchers to these „ Ranchers especially resent excessive 
crippling of antelope by hunters who shoot into the herd and the 
possibility of livestock losses« 

This is difficult to do in many instances,, because of the character 
of the hunt g but this action would be beneficial to the hunters and is 
greatly desired by the ranchers o The rancher could caution the hunters 
not to shoot near livestock or buildings and to close gates,. In some 
instances ranchers are able to move their stock into one pasture during 
the antelope season,, This contact between rancher and hunter would help 
eliminate friction which exists between the two interests in some areas 

Many ranchers with posted lands said that they would be glad to 
have hunting on their range if the hunter would stop at their ranch 
house — before hunting,. Others expressed the desire to hunt with 
permit hunters 5 if they have time available — or they would aid them 
by directions* Posted land in the Little Missouri area is being in- 
creasedo 

Some ranchers feel that application period for antelope permits 
should be more publicized in the Carter Area or by some other means the 
number of permits received locally should be increased 

Fine relations between antelope hunters and ranchers in Boxelder 
Creek-upper Crow Creek area and in the vicinity of the Piniele Game 
Preserve is in quite striking contrast to the resentment commonly 
expressed by ranchers in the Powder River and the Little Missouri 
drainage So 



291 



The desirable attitude toward the hunt in the first mentioned 
area can probably be attributed to the activity of the Powder River~ 
Carter Game Protective Association,, Members of this Association are 
largely residents of the central area G Many of these ranchers look 
forward to the hunt because of the fine two~way cooperation that is 
common in this area 9 Pioneer members of this organization created the 
Piniele Game Pre serve o The friendly attitude toward the antelope of these 
ranchers and others in the Carter area has made possible the large increase 
of antelope in this range in the last two decade s 

The Department is fortunate in having the cooperation of this 
group „ If similar hunter~rancher relationships and friendly attitudes 
toward antelope could be extended to other antelope ranges^ it would be 
valuable to management 

GENERAL FIELD NOTES 

Some interesting sidelights concerning antelope were noted in 
"Rancher Interviews' 8 6 These may add to the general knowledge of Montana 
antelope o 

An incident related by several different sheep operators is of 
some interesto Whenever lambs are suddenly awakened by anything which 
passes them in the night they will instinctively jump up and follow <, 
There have been several such happenings in the Carter Area in which 
lambs followed an antelope several miles and herders believe that lambs 
have possibly been lost in such a manner o 

Several ranchers offered the comment that the only effective way 
to determine antelope numbers is by the use of a small plane,. These men 
have ridden in this country for years and realize the limitations of a 



292 



ground estimate,. As they see it* the antelope is built for running and 
can be in the local drainage today and "over the hill" tomorrow — and 
usually iso 

There is some evidence that antelope use the winter migration 
routes during their return to summer range in springe Many ranchers 
believe it is largely the same antelope which return to their range in 
summerc Two ranchers in different parts of the Boxelder drainage report 
the return to their range in successive years of w freak -horned" bucks<> 
Does attempt to return to the exact area where they lived as fawns — 
to drop their young according to an observation related to ranchers by- 
early day Indian antelope hunters in northern Montana© 

There was apparently an exceptionally heavy fawn crop during the 
spring of 19^7 o Single fawns are more the exception than the rule^, 
according to ranchers Antelope normally have twins,. Buck (19U7)„ 

Antelope rarely jump fences They usually jump between the 
wires or crawl under the fence. There are accounts of antelope having 
jumped fences more often recently -<= than in past years© Rancher 
observation and personal observation reveal that the antelope's running 
gaits are similar to those of a horse e This and the past history of the 
antelope,, on the Plains, may be a partial explanation for their 
reluctance to jump fences although they easily make long broad jumps. 

During the migration,, antelope are driven ahead of the severe 
stormso Sometimes they are driven by the storm front . but often they 
are observed moving westward before the storm strikes.. In this way 
antelope play the role of a natural weather prophet,, This behavior is 
also apparent after the antelope have moved into the winter range* They 
move into local shelter preceding stormy weather e 

293 



The relative times, at which the antelope hunts are held in South 
Dakota and Montana^ may possibly determine the direction which antelope 
will move across the border Some ranchers living on the east side of 
the Little Missouri report that during the fall of 19U6 antelope moved 
into Montana as a result of the South Dakota hunt which they said^ was 
earlier than the Montana hunt that year Fall migration in this area is 
naturally a westward movement 

The coordination of hunting season dates between the two states 
might well be worked out to affect whatever movement may be mutually 
desired — in management of the antelope 

The 19U7 hunt date for South Dakota was the only one available 
at the time of writing The 19U7 antelope permit hunt in the Carter 
area was held September 28th to October 12th P while the adjacent South 
Dakota hunt was held October 1st to October 7th o 

POPULATIONS 

Antelope Population of the Carter Unit 

Estimates of the number of antelope 9 which summer in the Carter 
Area 5 were made from data secured in "Rancher Interviews' 8 and from data 
secured by the summer aerial counto The two population figures were 
arrived at independently Figures secured from both sources were used 
to determine populations for each of the three drainage areas and these 
totals yield two estimates of antelope population for the entire Carter 
area* The rrethods used in both counts have been presented under the 
heading PROCEDURE . 

1. The Little Missouri River q Owl Creek and Indian Creek area 



29h 



includes 888 square miles of antelope range as seen on Map No lo 

a Total area covered by "Rancher Interviews" was 356 

square miles The ranchers estimated that 3 ? U93 antelope are on their 

land during summero 

To allow for repetition of over-lapping antelope herds in 

ranchers' estimate sj because only the areas where antelope were reported 

to be plentiful were visited and since main concentrations were dealt 

with — the antelope numbers*, estimated by the ranchers interviewed in 

each of the three main drainage areas^, was used as the total figure for 

each area (It was assumed that most of the best antelope range was 

covered*) 

b« During the aerial survey ? 118 miles were flown in this 

area and 232 antelope were counted? 

252 g 118 gg x g 888 square miles 

ll8x = 223,776 

x s 1^895 antelope 

Allowing 60% coverage of a flight path one mile in width, the estimate 

for this area is 3d 162 antelope The letter "x" represents the unknown 

total number of antelope in the area* 

2. The Boxelder Drainage Area includes 552 square miles of antelope 

range o 

a„ Total area covered by "Rancher Interviews" was 211 
square miles The ranchers estimated that 1^760 antelope are on their 
land during summer 

bo During the aerial survey, 106 miles were flown in this 

area and 213 antelope were counted? 

213 I 106 jg x t 552 

106x = 117,576 

x - 1,109 antelope 



29$ 



Allowing 60% coverage of a flight path one mile in widths the estimate 

for this area is lj>81|8 antelope „ 

3« The Powder River Drainage (east of Powder River) includes 619 

square miles of antelope range 

a Total area covered by "Rancher Interviews' 8 was I4I9 

square mileso The ranchers estimated that 2<,590 antelope are on their 

lands during summer,, 

b During the aerial survey , 80 miles were flown in this 

area and 325 antelope were counted? 

32$ s 80 n x s 619 square miles 

80x s 200^275 

x - 2 5 5>06 antelope 

Allowing 100$ coverage of a flight path one mile in width,, the estimate 

for the area is 2 5 506 antelope Q Coverage was figured as 100$ because 

the flight lines follow major drainages,. This was described in PROCEDURE,, 

The population estimated for Powder River may be too large since 
the percentage of total area which was covered by rancher interviews 
is larger than in the other two drainages This may be seen in Table 
Noo lo In addition^, the major portion of the flight lines in this 
drainage area were made in the better antelope ranges© 

The antelope population in the Carter Unit ? based on "Rancher 
Interviews" s is 7 5 8U3<> The antelope population in the Carter Unit 5 
based on the aerial survey, is 7 2 5l6 Both of these estimates are 
probably too high 3 but they furnish a rough figure which can be checked 
by future count s e 

Se x Ratios 

Sex and age classes were determined and recorded for a small 

r 

296 



number of antelope which were observed in the Carter area during the 
study* 

The sample indicates? 



U7 Bucks) 
62 Does ) 
^9 Fawns) 



Buck/Doe Ratio 5 l/lo32 
Doe/Fawn Ratio = l/o95 



TABLE NOo 1 

TABLE OF ANTELOPE POPULATION IN THE CARTER AREA 
(Based on "Rancher Interviews") 



Drainage Area 



:Area insArea cove reds Percent of:No of antelope 
sSq„ Miosby Interviews Total AreasRancher Estimates 

























Little Missouri 


River 







888 s 


356 






Uo 


s 


3,U93 


Boxelder Creek 






t 


552 : 


211 


6 


38 






1,760 


Powder River 




t 

s 
s 


619 z 
1 


U19 




• 


68 


• 


% 


2,590 


Entire Carter Unit 


• 


m 


2,059 s 


986 




t 


hi 


• 



m 


7,8U3 








9 
• 




o> 






i 





TABLE NOo 2 

TABLE OF ANTELOPE POPULATION IN THE CARTER AREA* 
(Based on the Aerial Survey) 



Drainage Area 



sArea imMiles flowru Percent 4Antelope»No of 
sSq Mio* ^coverage g Counted : Antelope 

s : son a one 5 : (Aerial 

z : smile fl- z s Estimate) 

i z gigh t p ath; g- 



Little Missouri 


River* 


9 
• 

I 


888 


s 

1 


118 


l 

1 


60 


1 


252 


1 


3,162* 


Boxelder Creek 




1 
I 


552 


it 

1 


106 


l 
1 


60 


1 

1 


213 


Z 

z 


1,8U8* 


Powder River 




t 

Or 
• 

2 


619 


8 
1 

t 


80 


z 
z 
z 


100 


> 
-> 

1 

: 


325 


z 

z 

8 


2,506* 


Entire Carter Unit 


Z 

r2,059 


t 


30U 


1 
z 


__ 


z 

2 


790 


9 
Z 


7,516 






1 




: 




1 




1 




' 





♦These figures are shown on Map No. 1, 



297 



It was impossible to distinguish between yearling and adult 
females*, Since does are thought not ^o breed during their first year s 
the actual doe-fawn ratio is made less apparent in the preceding figure So 
This small sample is inadequate for the derivation of significant 
ratio So Additional sex ratio data is neededo Two reliable observers 
estimated a ratio of two bucks to three doeso 

The 19hl fawn crop was reportedly very good 3 with a large number 
of twins being reported* McLear (2$kk) and Carhart (±9k2) found that 
the majority of fawns were twins A set of twin fawns are seen in 
Figure U« 

SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION 

!• It should be emphasized that this report is based almost 
entirely upon information gained from "Rancher Interviews'* that were 
made in the Carter Area during a short period in the summer of 19U7« 

2<> Information concerning antelope migration ? population dis- 
tribution and any disease conditions was particularly sought during 
this study© 

3» A characteristic snow condition in the Carter Area makes most 
of the food on the summer range unavailable during winter,, This explains 
in part the local migrations to wintering areas of the main drainages, 
and the migrations which result in large concentrations of antelope near 
the Powder River 

U« The severity of the winter determines whether the winter 
migration is merely a partial shift to local winter ranges, a complete 



298 



movement to local winter range s ? or a longer movement from local 
ranges to more distant ranges that are used only during severe winter s<> 
The movement of antelope during "open 1 * winters is local — for the most 
part and long migrations usually occur during the very severe winterso 

£• The winter migration pattern during severe years may be 
responsible for some re-distribution of antelope,, 

6 The heart of antelope summer range in the Powder River Drainage 
lies east of the Powder River County line,, 

7o Antelope winter range in the Powder River area forms a belt 
which lies parallel to and a short distance from the Powder River and 
extends somewhat up its main side drainages — > Timber Creek* Crow Creek, 
Pilgrim Creek, and Hay Creek. 

80 Large numbers of antelope wintering in Crow Creek and the 
Powder River Breaks from the Pilgrim Creek region northward were 
indicated,, The winter range concentration in lower Hay Creek should be 
re-checked, 

9o Antelope summer in the Boxelder country in fairly large numbers. 
During open winters most of these antelope probably winter locally t 
while during severe winters there is some movement of antelope from the 
Boxelder drainage into the Powder River wintering area Q 

10o Antelope are normally in the Little Missouri area during both 
summer and winter,, During very severe winters the antelope pass through 
this drainage from South Dakota and may leave the area The South Dakota. 



299 



antelope population,, which is adjacent to the Carter herd g has experienced 
a large increase in recent years and its westward migration pattern 
explains the annual influx which is witnessed in Montana,, 

llo There is apparently little visible competition between 
antelope and domestic stock on the summer ranges In the event of a dry 
weather cycle a large antelope population might provide excessive com- 
petition to domestic stock 

12o There are heavy concentrations on some of the winter ranges« 
The food s which is available on winter ranges during severe weather s may 
be a limiting range factor for the present antelope population,. It 
should be determined whether there is an over-population at present or 
if the recent winter kills are sporadic outbreaks 

13o The average size of the ranches in the Carter area is about 
15 sections 6 Cattle ranches comprise nearly all of the area of the 
Powder River drainage e In the Boxelder area about two-thirds of the 
ranches support sheep and the remainder have cattle « In the Little 
Missouri., about three—fifths are cattle ranches and about two-fifths 
sheep ranches,. A considerable portion of the range is Federal grazing 
lando 

■ 

liu A sample "Rancher Interview'* form is included at the end of 
this reporto The I4.6 completed Carter area forms are filed for future 
use* The District fieldman can refer directly to these for further detail 

l5o Investigation of the northern edge of the antelope range in 
this unit was incomplete o Additional information is needed for the 



300 



LIBRARY OF 
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK 

Belton, Montana 



Stump and Cabin Creeks vicinities,, There are probably isolated popula- 
tions south of Highway 212 which may a in time, become a part of this 
unit herdo 

16 Some ranchers are very careful observers of antelope . It might 
be practical to ask certain "key" ranchers to make observations and 
collect desirable data at their convenience and on a year-around basis. 

17o It might be possible to aid some antelope which become 
piled up against fences during a severe winter by driving them with a 
plane in such a manner that they can continue their migration without 
delays of several days* 

I80 Aerial censuses of antelope should be made from June 1st to 
June 15 th, time of even distribution, if the best results are desiredo 

19 o The area of best antelope range in the Carter Unit is 
limited to the north,, south, and west by natural and artificial barriers 
With current low decimating factors the present trend indicates a 
steady increase in numbers of antelope,, Coyote population will continue 
to be low. This may reduce the loss from predation and as a results the 
fawn crop may approach two per breeding doe. 

20. The friendly attitude of Carter area ranchers toward 
antelope in this natural range results in a minimum amount of poaching 
and this may account for the greater population increase in this region 
than is found in adjoining areas,, 

21. Extensive pre— study planning should precede further investiga- 
tion. A. good outline of problems and procedures for future study can be 

301 



drawn up from the suggestions presented in Ken Thompson's 19U2 report ^ 
suggestions taken from this report^ and from the other antelope litera- 
ture which is available „ 

A systematic approach in future work will aid in evaluating the 
19 hi study as to the quality and representative nature of the data 
gathered and will increase the value of any future investigations*. 

22 « Additional information on the usual winter migration routes 
and the movements made during severe winters is neededo 

23 o Additional information on the dates and variation in spring 
migrations is also needed,, 

2Uo Although the local disease problem in lower Timber Creek was 
investigated and antelope here were not found to be carrying the disease 
(Actinomyces necrophorus) to the cattle,, if a similar situation again 
arises another investigation will have to be made since the new conditions 
may be quite different „ Heavy winter losses and the prevalence of 
disease in the future may be resented by the local ranchers or anyone else 
who has an interest in the Carter herdo The heavy winter loss of 19U6- 
hi does not seem normal,, Several ranchers indicated that the number of 
dead carcasses found following this winter was the greatest they have 
ever observed,, 

This heavy winter-loss evidence points to the possibility that 
there was a disease outbreak in the general area This may have 
occurred as an aftermath of too great a concentration of antelope during 
a winter of adverse conditions,. 



302 



25 o The spring of 19 hi was unusually wet a and such weather may- 
have some effect on the prevalence of disease o Many lame antelope were 
ob served o Such mechanical injury lends itself to the spread of disease 

26 Information which will aid in better hunter distribution 
should be obtained,. Information which will improve the hunter-rancher 
relations should also be made available to interested groups,, Public 
relations are an important factor in good management of the Carter 
antelope herd 

2?o Additional predator loss data is needed,, The importance of 
this factor and its relation to the antelope population trend should be 
determined over a period of years 

RECOMMENDATIONS 

1 Year-around food habits data is needed,, Any data which will 
supplement that already available would be especially valuable,, Infor- 
mation pertaining to antelope use of alfalfa is desirable and such 
findings should be passed on to the ranchers,, 

2 Careful sex ratio and fawn crop data should be secured as 
soon as possible „ This will aid in determining the trend of the herd 
A buck/doe ratio of 1/1.32 from a small sample indicates a possibility 
for removing extra bucks,, 

3o A winter investigation in the Carter Area winter ranges to 
gather factual data of concentrations and winter mortality is very 
desirable The reason for certain antelope dying In winters when there 
is apparently available food should be determined,, 

303 



During a winter investigation the observer should attempt to 
determine the proportions of mortality which occur in the old age group s 
that are found among young antelope weakened during migration^ and that 
which is accompanied by disease,, Any indication of the presence of 
disease other than Corynebacterium ovis should be notedo The advisability 
of destroying diseased and dying animals by an official agency should be 
determinedo It should also be determined if feed on the winter ranges 
is inadequate during severe condition s 

ko If future censuses support this summer's findings obtained 
through ranchers^ that there are too many antelope in certain areas that 
have year-around concentrations^, the permit kill should be increased,, 
Live trapping may be necessary to relieve these concentrations in view 
of the fact that the number of special hunting permits have often been 
under-drawn in past years 

The desirable number of antelope to be maintained in the Garter 
herd must be determined at an early date 

5o Extensive trapping operations should be undertaken if a surplus 
of antelope in this area becomes more apparent and cannot be easily 
removed by hunting,. The transplants should be made in areas entirely 
separate from the Carter unito 

Trapping and tagging of antelope in the Carter Unit is necessary 
if positive information is to be obtained on the migrations© This work 
should be done in cooperation with the South Dakota Game Department,, 

6 Additional recognition of the overall rancher point of view 
should be incorporated into management of the antelope herd 

30U 



Any information which the Department can supply the Miles City 
rancher group,, which is interested in management ? and the Carter-Powder 
River Game Protective Association will be useful in accomplishing this 
end This may aid the hunter=rancher relations during the permit hunts, 



Submitted bys 

Gerald Salinas, Field Assistant 
July 1, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



305 



Figure 5o Samples RANCHER INTERVIEW FORM 



No< 



Date 



Rancher 



Area 



Specific Location 



Summer Numbers 



Damage 



Winter Numbers 



Damage 



Disease and infections 



When 



Degree 



General 



Where 



Sex ratio 



Doe -fawn ratio 



Twins 



Singles 



Antelope personally seen 
Stock Numbers 



Opinions in general 



Acres Number 



Migration Observation 



Range condition 
Domestic use 



Winter Range Antelope Use 
Remarks: — 



Submitted by 



306 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 



1. BAILEY, VERNON 

1936— The Mammals and Life Zones of Oregon p 70-75« 

2o BEER,, JAMES 

19HU— Distribution and Status of Pronghom Antelope in Montana 
Journal of Mammology 25 (1) % U3-46o 

3e BUCK, PAUL Do 

I9I4.7-— The Biology of the Antelope ( Antilocapra Americana ) in 
Montana Unpublished Master's Thesis for Montana State 
College o 

ho BUECHNER S HELMUT Ko 

19U7— Range Use of the Pronghorned Antelope in Western Texas, Trans, 
Twelfth North Amer Q Wildlife Confer, 185-192.. 

5, CARHART, ARTHUR Ho AND KAUTZ, LORIN Go 
19U2— Antelope Survey Colorado Volo 2 

60 COUEY, FAYE M. 

19U6~~Antelope Foods in Southeastern Montana 
Jouro Wildlife Man, Vol c 10 (U) p» 367« 

7. EINARSEN, ARTHUR So 

I938— Life History and Management of Antelope in Oregon,, Trans, 
Third North Amer, Wildlife Confer, 381-38 7- 

8, Mclean, donald d„ 

19UU~*-The Prong-Horned Antelope in California 

California Fish and Game Vol„ 30 (U) p 221-21*1, 

9. SKINNER, Mo Po 

192ij.-»The American Antelope in Yellowstone National Park„ 

Roosevelt Wildlife Forest Experiment Sta» Syracuse,, N,Y, 

10 o THOMPSON,, KEN 

19U2=~-The Pronghorn Antelope in Montana— Life History Notes 5 

Restoration Division, Montana State Fish and Game Department 



307 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1- R (Eastern Montana) 
DATE July l$ s 19U8 



CARTER UNIT 



ANTELOPE TRAPPING OPERATIONS INSPECTION 
(Carter County) 



DATEs 

March k and 5, 19hQ 

PURPOSES 

The antelope trapping crew operating in Carter County reported 
trouble finding antelope e It was requested by Director Cooney that 
someone fully acquainted with the area go to the site of operations and 
assist them 

PROCEDURE AND FINDINGS; 

As time was all important it was suggested the trip be made by 
airplane „ 

Leaving Roundup in the early morning on March U s a flight was 
accomplished to Albion« From here areas in which antelope were seen in 
large numbers^ during the antelope census^ were re-visited and the 
findings reported to the trapping foreman,. 

The area in which a large number of antelope were seen, was 
inspected by the crew on the ground and approved for a trapping site. 



308 



The trap was moved from its former location to the new site on 
March 5th o 

Some difficulties in antelope trapping not formerly encountered 
were brought out in this operation,, First the sheep fences in this 
area made it necessary to drive the antelope through gates and proved to 
be impractical o Antelope driven for the long period necessary to 
herd them through a gate and then again into the trap very often balked 
and refused to move 

Also the great numbers of sage grouse in this area gave the pilot 
a few anxious moments when they would flush during his low dives 

Last it was found the antelope would break up from large groups 
to small herds of only £ to 10 when driven for long periods Several 
theories were advanced on the reason for this and all seem to have merito 

1* The lateness of the seasonj the does are heavy with fawn and may 
make it difficult for them to keep up with the bucks and yearlings 

2o At every fence a few would fail to get through and further 
break up the group 

3o Ranchers report the normal migration is east at this time of 
year and it is difficult to drive them any other direction 

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDA TIONS; 

It is concluded from the evidence now at hand* the most opportune 

time to trap antelope in this area is during late fall or during the winter 

migration o At this time the ranchers report antelope move westward in 

bands ranging from $0 to several hundred heado 

Submitted byu 

Don Lo Brown r Ass 'to Big Game Leader 
H*y 6, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 

309 



STATE Montana 



PRO JECT i~a (Eastern Mo ntana) 
DATE July 15, 19hQ 



CHOTEAU UNIT 
HIGHWOOD MOUNTAINS INSPECTION 

DATEg 

May 19, 20, 21, 19i|8 

PERSONNELS 

Charles Loberg, Deputy Game Warden, Montana Fish and Game Department 
Bert Goodman, District Ranger, U So Forest Service 
Dan Massing, Assistant Ranger, U„ So Forest Service 
Interested Ranchers of the area 
Interested Sportsmen from Highwood Club 

Don L Brown, Assistant Big Game Leader, Wildlife Restoration 
Divi sion 

PURPOSES 

The chief purpose of this survey was to gather all interested 
parties at the Highwood Ranger Station and inspect Highwoods Mountains' 
elk ranges Then work out some form of plan from this inspection for 
management of the elko 

PROCEDURE? 



310 



Members of the U„ So Forest Service,, Fish and Game Department and 
ranchers gathered at the Ranger Station in the evening of May 19th« and 
discussed plans for survey to begin on May 20th o 

Ten riders left the Highwood Ranger Station at 9s 30 AoM„, and 
rode up the North Fork of Highwood Creek The entire ride lasted 6 
hoars and it is estimated a distance of 20 miles was traveled,. Most 
of upper Highwood basin was inspected relative to numbers of elkc, 
available food and amount of forage use 

FINDINGS? 

This area has had almost double the normal amount of rainfall 
this year and everything was locking good and very green Evidence of 
moderate to heavy use of forage in some of the open parks, indicated 
numerous elk had been grazing there Judging from the amount of elk 
droppings present,, the elk must be quite numerous in this area It is 
doubtful however,, if the use by elk will sloa the annual growth of 
vegetation to any great extent „ 

Although the clouds were hanging down on the higher elevations 
limiting the visibility,, u7 elk and lj deer were sighted,, 

Several old animals, probably oulls, .vere seen that appeared 
to be almost white,, One group of 12 elk were seen at very close range 
and they appeared to be in very good condition,. Of these 12 elk. 10 
were obviously yearlings and the other two apparently cows,, 

One area that had been overgrazed to the point of erosion 
several years agOj, then fenced, it was noted to bo making a remarkable 
recovery. Ranger Goodman reports the plants that were sown in this 
protected area have been killed out by the native grasses,, Goodman could 



311 



not recall the names of all the plants that had been used, but reports 
there was some crested wheatgrass which cannot be found now c 

The snow was about gone except for a very few protected areas 
and the creeks were running high,, but clear,, 

After the ride a discussion was held, and it was agreed by all 
present, that the Highwood Game Preserve shoald be abandoned to pave 
the way toward managing the elko 

If it is possible to abandon this Preserve,, those present voted 
for a 30-day regular season on branch=antlered bulls — also it was 
their recommendation the season on buck deer be opened with the elk 
season 

CONCLUSIONS i 

It is concluded that there is not at present an overgrazed con- 
dition in the Highwood Mountains,, but with a normal increase of elk it 
may present a dangerous situation under adverse conditions in a very 
short time© 

It is assumed, because there has been no hunting in the area since 
1935$ that the sex-ratio is nearly equal Q Therefore, there should be a 
surplus of harve stable bulls which could be removed to reduce the size 
of the herdo 

RECOMMENDATIONS; 

It is recommended a detailed survey of this area be made to 
determine the number of elk present and then attempt to held this pop- 
ulation slightly below its present size 

It is further recommended the Highwood Game Preserve be abandoned 



312 



to make it possible to harvest this surplus of bullso 

The recommended season is to begin October lj?th 3 and extend until 
November l^th,, with the restriction of shooting only branch-antlered 
bulls. It is hoped this will cause the hunters to look closely before 
they shoot and prevent the killing of cows 

During this season it is recommended the area be opened to 
hunting of buck deer also 

Estimates of elk populations for this area run from 3^0 to UOO; 
actual counts vary between 200 and 275a The counts were made by pilots 
of the Highwood area c 



Submitted by: 

Don Lo Brown, Ass'to Big Game Leader 
June h f 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



313 



STATE Montana 



PROJEC T 1-R (Eastern Montana) 
DATE July \$ s 19U8 



MISSOURI BREAKS UNIT 

AERIAL INSPECTION OF FORT PECK GAME RANGE 
(Phillips and Fergus Sub-Units) 

DATE; 

February 23, 2U, 2$, 19U8 

PERSONNEL ; 

Tom Horn, Manager, Fort Peck Game Range 
Cliff Wolf, Patrolman, Fort Peck Game Range 
Don Lo Brown, Assistant Big Game Leader, Wildlife Restoration 
Division 

PUBPOSE; 

Previously an aerial inspection of the deer population was made 
on the Fort Peck Game Range in September of 19k7o At the time of this 
inspection, the foliage was still on the trees, thus obstructing to some 
extent a vertical view,, Because of this fact, it was assumed that part 
of the deer had not been observed*, 

The primary purpose of this inspection was to check the findings 
of the September 19U7 census 

PROCEDURE; 

Members of the crew from the Game Range set up a camp and a 
re-fueling station at the Balke Ranchj the plane, furnished by the 



31U 



Restoration Division, was flown to that base on February 23rd 

The initial flight was made to census white-tail deer on the 

south side of the River during the early morning of February 2l;th, and 

a second flight for the Phillips County side of February 25th „ 

The remaining portion of each day was spent counting antelope 

and mule deer in the surrounding breaks or in making ground inspections,, 

FINDINGS ; 

In the count of white-tail deer made last September, the Fergus 
County side of the River had a larger deer population than the Phillips 
County side, but the reverse was true during the February inspection,, 
However, because the River was frozen, it was possible for deer to move 
freely from one side to the other e 

The fact that there were more deer on the south side of the 
River than on the north side could be attributed to the more easily 
accessible browse species on the southern exposures during the winter 
months o 

Ground inspections revealed no evidence of any over-use of 
browse plants on either side of the River» 

It was noted that most of the bucks had shed their antlers, 
making it practically impossible to distinguish between sexes or be- 
tween adult deer and fawns However, a few white-tail and several mule 
deer bucks were seen that had not shed their antlers 

The antelope count in the Chain Buttes area, of northeastern 
Petroleum County, revealed there were more antelope than formerly 
estimated. 



315 



FLIGHT I 

AREA COVERED ; 

Missouri River flood plain 5 from headwaters of Fort Peck Lake to 
the western end of the Game Range s on the south side of the River <, 

FLYING TIMEs 

Forty-five minute So 

MILES FLCWNt 

Fifty to 60 miles (estimated) 

FLIGHT OBSERVATIONS; 

o o 

• o 

Species ; Unclassified ; Bucks with antlers 

• © 
o © 

ex o 

• © 

White-tail deer r 31 * 12 

» • 

Mule deer g 2 z 



SUMMARY: 



Total square miles of flood plain above headwaters of 

the lake- ----------- __-____-- 10 sq mi« 

Total square miles of flood plain estimated covered 

by flight path- . - - 8 sq„ mi< 

Total number of deer seen on flood plain- ----- - - [& deer 

Estimated population of deer in Fergus County ( kS x 

1.25)- • - - 56 deer 

Deer per square mile of flood plain --------- £• 6 deer 

100$ of deer in flight path considered observed,, 



316 



FLIGHT II 



AREA COVEHEDs 



Chain Buttes area in Petroleum County,, Part of which is in the 
Game Range and part is note 

FLYING TIME ; 

One hour and U5 minutes. 

MILES FLOWN: 



135 to 1^0 (estimated). 



FLIGHT OBSERVATIONS: 



Species 



Antelopes 
Group 1 
2 
3 
h 
5 
6 
7 



Deer 



Total 



sDoes and Fawns : Bucks 



a 




12 


2 


59 


1 


37 


• 

• 


18 


2 


k 


• 


17 


• 





I 




2 


1U7 


2 




2 






8 

12 

6 

k 

h 

3 



37 




2Unclassified 









53 

53 

23 



ANTELOPE SEX-RATIO: 



One buck to 3«97 doe< 



SUMMARY: 

Total square miles censused in Chain Buttes Area- - 60 sq. mi. 
Total number of antelope seen- ------- - 237 antelope 



Antelope per square mile in this area- ------- 3„9 antelope 

100$ of antelope considered observed in this area 

FLIGHT III 
AREA. COVERED; 

Missouri River flood plain 5 from headwaters of Fort Peck Lake to 
the western end of the Game Range^ on the north side of the River 

FLYING TIM E? 

Thirty minutes* 

MILES FLOWN? 

Thirty- five to U0 miles (estimated). 

FLIGHT OBSERVATIONS; 

o © 

o « 

Species : Unclassified s Bucks with antlers 

© Q> 
• O 

f i 

White-tail deer t 68 t 1 

t s 

Mule deer s li i 



SUMMARY: 



Total square miles of flood plain above headwaters of 

the lake- _-_ _ _ _ , _ 5 sq„ mi 

Total square miles of flood plain estimated covered 

by flight path- - ■ --_- U sq. mi 

Total number of deer seen on flood plain- - - - 73 deer 

Estimated population of deer in Phillips County (73 x 

1.25)- ■ - 91 deer 

Deer per square mile of flood plain- __-- —18 ©2 deer 



o 



o 



318 



100$ of deer in flight path considered observed. 

FLIGHTS IV AND V 

These flights were made in an attempt to census mule deer in the 
breaks area, but they had to be abandoned because of poor visibility. 

The mule deer blended so well with the dead grass and bushes that 
they were extremely difficult to distinguish*, 

CONCLUSIONS? 

It is concluded the aerial census method for deer is very 
satisfactory in determining sex-ratio,, but it is less reliable when 
used for total population counts during this season. 

The September aerial count for the flood plain of this area was 
111; deer, the estimated population being 171 deer. The February count 
for the same area was 118 deer« and the estimated population was ll±7 
deer. 

Ground counts on deer of the flood plain agreed favorably with 
the aerial counts except in one instance; that is 7 deer (white-tail) 
were counted from the air, while Ul were counted in the same area from 
the ground in the evening o 

SUMMARY ; 

September count February count 

11U 118 

152* 

September estimated Population February Estimated Population 

171 1U5 

20 2* 

(*) Corrected to include known error of 3U deer on Hutton bottom; 

319 



ill deer were counted from the ground and only 7 were counted from the 
air<> 

RECOMMENDATIONS ; 

The work on deer census, that has been completed in this area, 
will be very helpful in determining the future use of aerial deer countsj. 
therefore., it is recommended that this area be periodically censused to 
gain further information and to improve our censusing technique B 

Opinions and recommendations relative to the 19U8 big game season, 
formed as the result of the September, 19h7 survey,, have not been 
altered by this inspection,, 



Submitted bys 

Don Lc Brown., Assistant Big Game Leader 
July 1, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



320 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (Eastern Montana) 

DATE July 15, 19U3 

MISSOURI BREAKS UNIT 

GARFIELD COUNTY RANCHER-SPORTSMEN MEETING 

DATE ; 

February 21, 19 kS 

PERSONNEL ; 

Faye M» Couey, Big Game Leader, Wildlife Restoration Division 
Don L. Brown, Ass'to Big Game Leader, Wildlife Restoration 
Division 

PURPOSE; 

For the past several years it has been the desire of the Montana 
Fish and Game Department^ the Fish and Wildlife Service and interested 
sportsmen's groups, to experiment with re-establishing an elk herd within 
the boundaries of the Fort Peck Game Range «, 

On the theory the elk may migrate to private lands surrounding 
this area 5 the Department wanted this project sanctioned by the 
ranchers living within the area* 

With the purpose in mind of discussing and receiving an opinion 
from these ranchers regarding the elk plant^ the above metnioned 
personnel attended this meeting* 

PROCEDURE AND FINDINGS; 

321 



The President of the club opened the meeting for discussion and 
each rancher was asked to express his views on the subject of elk plant- 
ing After a lengthy discussion, in which both the ranchers,, sportsmen, 
and Fish and Game personnel expressed their views, the question was 
brought to a vote e 

Only the ranchers living within the area considered to be elk 
habitat were allowed to votej the result was an 8 to 8 tie for and 
against planting of elko No attempt to break this tie was made as only 
an expression of opinion was the object of the meeting « 

An additional subject discussed and brought to a vote was whether 
or not the Snow Creek Game Preserve should be abandoned) they voted to 
start a petition for its abandonment « 

CONCLUSIONS ; 

The discussion indicated that four ranchers were very definitely 
opposed to planting elk, four were non-committal, but voting against it 
for their own protection later, (as they stated it), and the other 8 men 
were very anxious to try the experiment 

It is concluded that the majority would like to see the elk re- 
established in this area if they had assurance the elk would not bother 
their crops or haystacks; or if they were certain action would be taken 
immediately to relieve any damage they may receive from the elk„ 

However, as this is to be an experiment it would be better to 
try the elk plant on a relatively small area and expand or detract from 
that plant, 

RECOMMENDATIONS ; 

The area lying between Hell Creek and Snow Creek is representative 

322 



of the entire area and all the ranchers living within this area voted 
to try the elk planto Therefore., it is recommended approximately 20 
elk be planted here to test the feasibility of additional plants*, 

This area is bounded on the north by Fort Peck Lake and on the 
east by water backing from the lake up Hell Creek, on the south there 
is open country back from the breaks which may tend to hold the elk 
in the protective cover. 

It is further recommended the Snow Creek Game Preserve be 
abandoned, its purpose has been a point of conjecture for many yearSc, 
and the ranchers are petitioning to have it opened to huntingo 



Submitted bys 

Don Lo Brown, Ass'to Big Game Leader 
May 6, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



323 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (Eastern Montana) 
DATE July 1$, 19U8 



MISSOURI BREAKS UNIT 
NOTES ON BIGHORN SHEEP PASTURE INSPECTION AT BILLY CREEK 

Due to a very inclimate weather in the form of high winds and rain s 
a very hurried inspection of the Rocky Mountain bighorn pasture was made 
by Cliff Wolf of the Fish and Wildlife Service and Don Brown of the 
Wildlife Restoration Division, 

The primary purpose of this inspection was to determine if the 
ewes had started to drop their lambs and if any repair was needed on the 
fence o 

Two large rams were seen near the northwest corner of the 
pasture s and the remaining 13 sheep were sighted in the rough area near 
the southeast corner,, All were lying down in open country when first 
seen at 7s 30 AoM»^ and as they jumped and ran they appeared to be in 
very good condition. 

Two of the three water holes were visited and there was no 
indication that they had been used by the bighorn s„ 

Some of the southern slopes where the grass was getting green 
appeared to have been used by the bighorns and the Yucca appeared to have 
been browsed rather heavily,, 

Mr Wolf reports he first saw rutting activity on December 2nd,, 
19h7 9 and it extended into the first part of January, 19U8 e According 

32U 



to Mr Faye Couey's study on Rocky Mountain bighorns, the lambing season 
should begin after the middle of May„ 

No repair on the fence was neededo 



Submitted bys 

Don Le Brown, Ass 8 t Big Game Leader 
May 6 S 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



325 



STATE Montana 



PROJEC T 1-R (Eastern Montana) 
DATE July 1$, 1?U8 



YELLOWSTONE UNIT 
RANCHER INTERVIEV/S ON SWEETGRASS COUNT! ANTELOPE SEASON FOR 19U8 

DATE ; 

May 1, 19U8 

PERSONNEL : 

G. 0. Johnson, Deputy Game Warden, Montana Fish and Game Department 
Don L. Brown, Ass't, Big Game Leader, Wildlife Restoration 
Division 

PURPOSE ; 

With an antelope season in all surrounding counties and only 
part of Sweetgrass County open to hunting, several ranchers reported 
migration of these animals to the protected area of Sweetgrass County, 

Last year at the request of the Big Timber Rod and Gun Club 
and several land-owners, part of Sweetgrass County was left closed. 
This year due to an apparent increase in antelope, one rancher requested 
it open. 

It was the purpose of these interviews to determine whether it 
should be opened or closed; it was known there were sufficient antelope 
to warrant a hunt, so only the consent of the ranchers within the area 
was needed to recommend it be opened. 



326 



PROCEDURE AND FINDINGS ; 

The first man contacted was Bob Kart, rancher and president of 
the Big Timber Rod and Gun Club* His opinion was that the club would 
approve the opening of this area if it were approved by the ranchers 
within the area. 

By talking to Victor Tronrud, owner of a section in the area in 
question, we learned that there were only two other land-owners con- 
cerned. Mr. Tronrud's opinion was it would be alright with him to 
open the area if the other two thought it advisable, 

Mr. Brannin, Manager of the Stevens ranch, had already made a 
request to the Deputy Game Warden for an open season and that left 
only Mr. Glennie to be interviewed. 

^r. Glennie was of the opinion the antelope were becoming too 
thick and would like to see them thinned out by hunting, but dicta 1 t 
want an open season if it were not agreeable to the other two ranchers 
in the area. 

C ONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS : 

It is concluded that this area would warrant an open season on 
buck antelope and would prevent an influx of them into this area during 
the hunting season. 

In all probability there is a definite migration into this 
Porcupine Butte region during the hunting season, but it is doubtful 
if they stay after the season is past. 

There are indications of more antelope here now than in years 
before, but this could be due to a natural increase. 

It is recommended that this area, known as Porcupine Butte, be 



327 



included in the Sweetgrass County antelope season. 

It is recommended that all of that portion of Sweetgrass County- 
lying north and east of Sweetgrass Creek to the Victor Tronrud Bridge 
and south and east of the road from this bridge to the Wheatland County 
line be opened to antelope hunting from October 17 to October 2k» 19hQ s 
100 buck antelope to be taken on a permit basis „ 



Submitted bys 

Don L<, Brown s Ass'to Big Game Leader 
May k, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



328 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (Game Birds) 
DATE July l$ s 191+8 



STATE-WIDE 



SURVIVAL STUDIES ON GAME FARM RAISED PHEASANTS IN MONTANA 



DATE ; 

July 29th - December 2k? 19U7 

PERSONNEL : 

Wm<, R Bergeson 5 Game Bird Leader., Wildlife Restoration Division 

Robert J„ Greene ^ Fieldman, Wildlife Restoration Division 

Fred Lo Hartkorn, Field Assistant , Wildlife Restoration Division 

Lester Barton,, Foreman,, State Game Farm, Warm Springs 

J. Re Wells, Foreman, State Game Farm, Billings 

Truce Emett, Deputy Game Warden, Montana Fish and Game Department 

Ro So Sullivan, Caretaker, State Game Farm, Moiese 

Fa irfield Bench Study Area 

The Fairfield Bench Study Area,, approximately 8 miles wide by 
Ik miles long,, is located in southeastern Teton County, Montana, It 
is one of the most ideal ring -necked pheasant habitats in the State o 
The majority of the land is under irrigation,. Gram crops are raised 
on kk% of the land, alfalfa and other hay on 1A %^ peas and sugar beets 



329 



on 3<>5%o The remaining 3k% is utilized in lesser crops, pasture land, 
roads, ditches, farm yards, etc The average farm unit consists of about 
90 acreso This creates a rather uniform crop pattern over the entire 
irrigated area. 

The first ring-necks were introduced to the Fairfield Bench in 
1936 when 60 pen-raised birds were liberated there . Small numbers of 
game-farm birds have been placed in this area each year since that 
time. In 19k3$ 2,83k wild pheasants,, obtained by live trapping principal- 
ly in the Milk River Valley., were added to the practically non-existent 
pheasant population. In 19U6, 365 live-trapped birds were liberated 
on the Bench. 19U7 was the first year that any appreciable number of 
pen-raised pheasants were released in this area Roughly 1<,500 birds 
were liberated in the Fairfield Bench area in mid-summer. The 
excellence of the habitat is shown by the fact that well over 2,000 
cock pheasants were harvested here during the past hunting season,, 

This area was considered ideal for a study of this type because 
hunting pressure was expected to be very heavy, making it likely that 
a relatively large number of banded birds would be baggedo Also, the 
nature of the area made it possible to get almost a 100 percent check 
of all hunters in the area by means of a single highway checking station, 
thereby aiding in recovery of bands 

The Fish and Game Commission has created six bird refuges on the 
Fairfield Bench Area. These areas^ averaging about 90 acres, are 
closed to all game bird hunting and are posted with warning signs. 
These closures include some of the best pheasant habitat in the area 
and offered an opportunity to gather information as to the value of 



330 



small refuge areas in increasing survival of game farm pheasantse 




lo To determine the hunting returns on 8 and 9 week old pheasants 
released in mid-summer,, 

2 To determine the value of small refuge areas in increasing 
survivalo 

3c To gain information as to survival rates of 8 and 9 week old 
pheasants o 

Uo To study difference in survival following different release 
methods o 

PROCEDURE: 

On August 5th 5 19hls> five hundred banded pheasant s s nine weeks of 
age, including 239 cocks, were released at 8 different stations,, Five 
of these release stations were within administrative closures,. By 
this j it was hoped to establish the value of making releases within 
closures,, Local sportsmen were allowed to release these 5>00 birds in 
any manner they pleased, in order to provide information which might be 
of value in improving the release methods,. However, the releases were 
made in such a manner that except for the mistake of urging the birds out 
of the crates and consequently causing many of the birds to fly and 
scatter widely, we were unable to greatly improve their methodo 

The entire procedure, including banding } loading,, transporting, 
and releasing required a total time of 21 hours U5 minutes,. Of this 
time, 9 hours were spent in traveling from Warm Springs game farm to the 
Fairfield Bench „ The temperature during the entire process ranged from 
62° to ?6o Fo 

331 



A detailed record of the band numbers, sex„ weather conditions,, 
cover types where liberated, and exact liberation sites were recorded on 
a special form. 

On August 7th, 19U7, 501 banded pheasants including 225 cocks 
were liberated on the Fairfield Bench Of the 225 cocks, 75 were 8 
weeks of age and the remaining 150 were 9 weeks of age<> By releasing 
the two age groups under as near identical conditions as possible, it 
was hoped information might be gained on the survival of the two age 
group So These birds were released at seven different release stations, 
none of which were within administrative closures, but all were con- 
sidered to be comparable to the eight stations described for August 7th 
release. 

Nine-week old birds were released at four stations, 8-week old 
birds at two stations, and 8 and 5 -week old birds at one station,. 
Release methods were identical to the ones used on the previous releases 
except more care was exercised to avoid exciting the birds, which had 
caused them to fly and scatter as the crates were opened^ The birds were 
allowed to leave the crates at will, and in two cases the crates were 
left open for about three hourso At the end of this time, several birds 
still remained in the crates Few of the birds flew upon being released 
and widespread scattering was held to a minimum,, 

Slightly less time was required for the banding, transporting and 
other procedures than was required for the previous release,, The entire 
process took 18 hours and 10 minutes from starting of banding until all 
the birds were released,, The trip from Warm Sj une Farm to 
Fairfield required only l\ hours and was made over a slightly shorter 



332 



route© Temperature ranged from U6° F to 110° F$ the higher temperature 
having been taken in the sun at the finish of the liberating process 

As before^ a complete^ detailed record was kept on a special form 
of all band numbers,, release sites,, etc» 

FINDINGS ; 

Since band returns from cocks bagged during the eight-day season 
October 26th to November 2nd 5 19U7 are the only source of information 
on these studies^ it is not intended that these figures be interpreted as 
a quantitative measurement of survival,, They serve only as an indicator 
of survival in the various classes,, Results are summarized in Table 1$ 
numbers and percentages cited are for male birds only<> 







Table 


1 










o 

B 

D 
• 


Number 


a 

a 

a 
■ 


Number of 


a 
B 

• 
• 


Percent 




sReleased 

• 
* 


• 
• 

o 

» 


Bands Returned 


a 
a 

o 
o 


Return 


August 5th Releases? 


*- 

o 
a 




o 

a 

■ 
5 




O 

o 

o 

a 




Males,, released in 


A 
O 

s 




A 




a 

o 

a 




Closures 


o 

a 


1U2 


i 


22 


o 
a 


15.5 


Males released outside?. 




o 
a 




o- 




Closures 




97 


o 


6 


8 


6 e 2 


Total 


© 


239 


5 

o 




28 


o 

o 


11.7 


August 7th Releases? 


o 

• 




i 

s 




8 

a 

m 




9 week old males 


B 

o 
• 


150 


5 

o 

a 


2k 


6 


16, 


8 week old males 


: 


75 



D 


10 


o 
o 


13.3 


Total 


S 

• 
a 

t 


225 


t 

a 
• 

s 


3U 


* 

B 

• 


15.1 


Total Both Releases 


s 

o 

• 


h6k 


o 



o 
a 


62 


a 
a 

a 
o 


13.U 



Hunting returns from the various classes used in this experiment 



ranged from 6.2 to 16 percent, with an average return of 13cU percento 
Game farm birds provided only 2 5 percent of the tctal kill on the study 
area Based upon results obtained from experiments of this type in ether 
parts of the country, band returns were comparatively high for pen-raised 
birds released from 2^-3 months prior to the opening of the hunting season, 
This relatively high return is undoubtedly due to several factors*, 
including heavy hunting pressure, the checking station method of band 
recovery, and the ideal habitat for pheasants which this study area pro- 
videdo If it is assumed that hunting returns are an indicator of 
survival, the most outstanding fact brought out in this e:xperiment is 
the great variation shown in the survival of these birds at the different 
release stations,, (See Table 2). 

Table 2 



Release Stations Closure ; Number of 

Number ? % Males Released 



Number of 
Bands Returned 



Percent 
Return 





o* 




1 




s 




o 

I 




August 5th t 


t 




s 




: 








1 


■ 


Yes 


• 


12 


a- 
o 


2 




16.7 


2 




No 


o 

• 


22 


i 


h 


2 


18 2 


3 


»• 

*• 


Yes 


o 

• 


hh 


m 


k 


1 


10.0 


k 




Yes 


■ 


23 




6 


o 

1 


20.7 


5 


O 

9 


No 


o 
1 


U6 


% 


2 


• 


Uc3 


6 


• 
• 


No 


1 
I 


29 


t 





o 

■ 


0.0 


7 


© 

• 


Yes 


o 

a 


26 


o 

•> 


5 


* 


19o2 


8 


ft 


Yes 


• 


35 




5 


» 


1U.3 


August 7th: 


m 

o 

• 




: 




1 
I 




1 




9 


1 


No 




U5 


t 


10 


« 


22.2 


10 


t 


No 


% 


23 


o 

6 


2 


■ 
• 


8.7 


11 


t 


No 


? 


68 


m 


13 


• 
• 


19ol 


12 




No 


• 


23 


t 


3 


1 


13.0 


13 


» 


No 


: 


2U 


z 


3 


1 


12.5 


Ik 


r 


No 


m 


22 


1 


1 




u»5 


15 


1 

1 


No 


o 

• 
• 


20 


t 


2 


■ 


10.0 


Total 


1 




r 

t 


U(£ 


: 
I 


62 


r 
I 





33U 






In an area such as the Fairfield Bench where the crop pattern is 
highly uniform, and where release sites appeared to be highly similar s 
the band returns varied from to 2 2„2 percent,. Some variation may be 
caused by differences in hunting effort in the different areas D However, 
since hunting pressure was heavy throughout the entire area, it is the 
opinion of the observers that it would tend to be uniform and have 
little influence upon the variation in the returns,. This is further 
brought out by the fact that the band recovery was highest from birds 
released in the small refuge areas where no hunting was permitted,, 
Therefore, it seems logical to believe that the variation shown in 
Table 2 is due more directly to survival in the various groups released,, 
and hence basically to environmental factors that are not apparent 
when choosing a release site More study of this subject is necessary 
to determine these factors,, If such variation exists within one 
seemingly homogeneous area,, it is to be expected that variation in 
survival would be even more pronounced in different areas of the State 
which have highly differentiated environmental conditions 

When hunting returns are used as a basis for survival studies, 
the question naturally arises as to the number of game farm pheasants 
that survived the hunting season,, Information on this subject is given 
later in the section on the Moiese study. 

The figures in Table 1 indicate that the hunting return and 
presumably the survival rate of pen-raised pheasants, is increased by 
releasing the birds within small refuge areas,, This fact is even more 
significant when one considers that hunting was not permitted on these 
refuge areas, therefore, hunting returns would be expected to be relative- 



335 



ly lowo The higher return, therefore, probably can be attributed to 
higher survival brought about by the more suitable habitat found 
within the refuge areas.. It is believed that an intensive cover and 
food development program within these areas would further increase their 
value as sites whereby game farm birds could be released with a higher 
expected survival rate* 

A slightly higher return was obtained from the birds released 
at 9 weeks of age, compared with the 8-week age group « as shown in 
Table l e However, this difference cannot be considered significant as 
it is believed that the numbers used are not sufficiently large, and 
when both releases are combined, it is found that the returns from the 
two age groups are identic al 8 

The only differences in the handling and release methods used 
between the August 5th and August 7th groups were that the August 7th 
release required slightly less time for banding, transporting and 
liberating, and more care was taken on August 7th to prevent exciting the 
birds to the point of flying and scattering widely. Birds released on 
August 5th had the advantage of less temperature variation during the 
entire process and also, many of these were released within refuge areas 
where it has been shown that returns were greater. In spite of this, 
the return figures in Table 1 show a significant difference. Apparently, 
since more care was exercised during the liberating process and slightly 
shorter time required in transporting, the hunting returns were favorably 
increased. 

It seems evident from this study that since single factors; such as, 
refuge areas, and better release methods can appreciably increase the 



336 



hunting returns of game farm pheasants,, a combination of such factors 
are potentially capable of increasing the value of the game farm pheasant 
to the hunter. 

Moiese Bird Farm Study Area 

The Moiese Bird Farm Study Area is located in the Flathead 
Valley in southwestern Lake County, Montana. It consists of 80 acres 
of irrigated land fenced with a six foot semi -predator proof fence. 
The area includes about 20 acres of alfalfa hay, 10 acres of barley, 
and the remaining $0 acres includes mixed native grasses and dense 
sweet clover and weeds* Intensive diversified farming is carried on in 
the surrounding locality with alfalfa hay, grain, and sugar beets 
being the main crops grown. The entire Flathead Valley creates a 
relatively ideal pheasant habitat, supporting a fairly heavy pheasant 
population, 

PURPOSE ; 

1* To determine the survival rates of game farm raised pheasants, 
2. To determine if survival of game farm raised pheasants could 

be increased by temporary supplemental feeding and predator control on 

the release area, 

3o To determine if possible if pheasants raised with domestic 

hens were more adapted to the wild conditions encountered following 

release and hence have a higher survival rate, 

PROCEDURE; 

Three separate releases of pen raised birds 8 weeks of age were 
made on the study area. All birds were banded and band numbers recorded 



337 



to provide a means of identifi cation Releases were made under the 
following conditions o 

On August 12th, 1°U7 S 21$ pheasants from the Warm Springs Game 
Farm were released on the study area by local sportsmen,, The birds 
appeared to be in good condition at the time of releasee 

On August 16th, 19U7, 300 pheasants from the Warm Springs Game 
Farm were released on the study area,, These birds were liberated at the 
same place as on the August 12th release. Handling and release nethods 
were identical to the above release except that some supplementary 
feed was provided in feed boxes scattered about the release area and 
some feed was scattered on the ground. The same feed that the birds 
had been fed at the game farm was provided until September lUth. This 
consisted of cracked wheat and turkey growing pelletso It was thought 
that information might be gained as to the value of supplemental 
feeding in this release method. 

On August 27th, 19U7, 100 birds from the Billings game farm 
were released on the study area. Banding was done at the time of 
release. The time in transit for these birds was much longer due to 
the increased distance and required 12 hours, in contrast to h hours 
travel time on the other releases. Travel was done at night, however, 
and the liberating was completed at the same time as on the previous 
releases. It was hoped to gain information as to the survival of 
birds raised with domestic hens from this study. 

Survival data on the three releases were obtained by periodically 
searching the area for dead birds prior to the hunting season, from 
hunting season band returns, and by live trapping birds in the study 



338 



area during the winter months,,' It was thought that these procedures 
would furnish a more complete picture of survival in conjunction with 
the Fairfield Study where hunting season band returns furnished the 
only data on survivalo Hunting season band returns on the Moiese study 
area would be expected to be relatively low due to the area being 
closed to hunting* Howeve the Fairfield study has shown that higher 
hunting returns were obtained from birds released on refuge areas where 
no hunting was permittedo 

A detailed discussion of bird behavior and causes of mortality 
has been given in a previous report and will not be included here, 

FINDINGS; 

Periodic searches for dead birds were made over the study area 
up to November 3rd Only dead birds bearing bands were recorded,, It 
is believed by the observers that many dead birds were not found due 
to the dense vegetative growth on the study area Results of these 
searches are given on Graph 1 as percentages of the total number of 
birds in each release by number of days following release 

A total of 119 or 19 o 3% of the 6l5 pheasants released on the 
study area are known to have perished prior to the hunting season,, and 
were actually found dead within the fenced area« It is believed that 
some dead birds were not recovered within the area,, In addition, an 
undetermined number of other experimental birds probably left the area 
completely and consequently no data were obtained,, The majority of the 
deaths were believed to have resulted from the inability of the pen- 
raised birds to become accustomed to the wild invironmento 

Predators accounted for a number of the deaths in spite of the 



339 



fact that the area was enclosed by a semi -predator proof fence, and that 
the caretaker of the area carried cm an intensive predator trapping and 
hunting program throughout the summer,, 

Bands from 21 birds or 3ok% of the total birds released on the 
Moiese study area were recovered during the hunting season. This return 
is considerably lower than on the Fairfield study area and may be partly 
due to less hunting pressure in the immediate vicinity of the Moiese 
study area and to the fact that bands could not be recovered at a checking 
station. Table 3 summarized hunting season returns from the different 
releases. 

Live trapping of pheasants on the study area was carried on during 
February and March t& determine the number of game farm birds present. 
A very mild winter with very little snow made trapping difficult since 
an abundance of food was available throughout the winter. However, 
72 pheasants were trapped on the area, U5 of which were identified by bands 
as being pen-raised birds. All the birds had not been trapped on the 
area by the time trapping was discontinued. This was determined by 
marking each bird as it was trapped by clipping the wings on the 
hens, and the tails of the cocks. With weather conditions becoming 
less favorable for trapping, as the season advanced, this activity was 
discontinued. 

Trapping results are also presented in Table 3. 



3U0 



GRAPH 1 



<D 


0> 


CO 


CO 


to 


CO 


rt 


rt 


TO 


a> 


CO 


CD 


H 


H 


H 


CD 


CO 


CO 


# 


pi 


tf 


CJ 


vO 


r»- 


iH 


H 


CVl 


• 


e 


• 


W) 


hD 


hO 


2 





2 


<»! 


< 


< 






1 1 




aSeq-uaoaej aATq-^xnumooy 



3U1 



Table 3 
PHEASANTS RECOVERED ON MOIESE STUDY AREA 





m 




\ 


• 




I 


t 








Date 


:Dead Recovered: 
: Numbers Percent! 


tHunte 


r I 


teturnsi 


t Live Trapped ; 


i Total 




iNumbe 

i 
i 


rs Percent! 


[Number s 


: Percent! 


i Number; 


t Percent 


August 12 


• 


s : 

• 4 


- 
ft 














Release 


* 


2U : 


! 11.2 ! 


: 12 




5.6 i 


! 12 J 


i 5.6 j 


; U8 i 


: 22.3 


August 16 


• 
• 


! 


> 1 


ft- 














Release 


m 
m 


75 ! 


25 ! 


: 5 




1.7 s 


: 17 s 


; 5.6 , 


97 s 


! 32.3 


August 27 


m 

m 
•- 




















Release 


a* 
a- 

n 


20 s 


: 20 s 

► 4 

4 


* 


t 


U.0 ! 


! 16 ! 

: i 


• 16.0 s 

* < 


: U0 ! 
: j 


• Uo.o 


Total 


• 
• 

m 
m 

* 


119 I 


r i 

19.3 s 

1 


i 

I 21 

i 


m 
• 

* 
m 

m 
m 


3.U I 

i 
■ 


! U5 ! 


• 7.3 : 

f « 


185 '-. 


: 30.0 



A\ partial record of the fate of pen-raised pheasants after 
liberation is shown here. Although an average recovery of 30 percent 
leaves many birds unaccounted for, a fair picture results, and tends to 
form a basis for further study on what becomes of the birds and con- 
sequently, methods by which survival rates may be increased. As many or 
more birds are shown to have perished before the hunting season as were 
killed during the season and trapped on the area the following winter. 

Results of this study tend to indicate that supplementary feeding 
of the birds at the time of release had no beneficial effect in 
increasing survival. Here again, more study is necessary,. However, 
trapping returns on the area further substantiate the earlier conclusion 
that supplementary feeding tends to hold the birds in the immediate area, 
and may account for the higher number of dead birds recovered from the 
August 16th release, since 5.6 percent of each group were trapped during 
the winter. 



3^2 



The advantage of game farn pheasants raised with domestic hens 
compared with those artificially reared in brooders is indicated by the 
larger number of birds from the August 27th release that were trapped 
during the winter. However, the fact that only kO percent of the birds 
were accounted for makes it possible that other factors might enter into 
the picture. Again, further study is necessary, 

RECOMMENDATIONS ; 

In order that more information be secured on the subject of 
survival and ways in which the survival rate of game farm birds may 
be increased, more study is necessary. If these studies could be re- 
peated, more definite conclusions could be drawn 



Submitted byj 

Robert J. Greene, Fieldman 
May 25, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



3U3 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (Game Birds) 
DATE July 1$, 19U8 



STATE-WIDE 
EXPERIMENTAL PLANTINGS OF SAFFLOWER AND MULTIFLORA ROSE SEED 

FOR GAME BIRD FOOD AND COVER 



Saf flower: 

In order to determine the value of safflower plantings as a food 
and cover crop for upland game birds, 680 pounds of clean safflower seed 
was purchased from Mr Lester Tague at Intake , Montana, at a cost of 130 
per pound. The seed was distributed to farmers in various areas of 
the State who agreed to make trial plantings on small areas » In addition,, 
two acres were seeded to safflower at the Moiese Bird Farm and about 3 
acres at the Fort Peck Bird Farm. Since Mr„ Tague advised us that the 
plant would not do well at elevations over 3 S 000 feet, the areas chosen 
for planting were located at different elevations as well as in areas 
where pheasants are relatively abundant The experimental areas and 
their elevations where plantings were made are as follows; 



Operator 


: Area 


; Elevation 


o 

t Acres Seeded 

m 
m 


Goffena 


s 

: Musselshell 


t 2,700 


9 

i Approx. 1 acre 


Lewellen 


» 

t Grass Range 


: 3 5 U80 


s 3/U acre 


Capser 


s 

s Harlowton 

r 


$ U 5 300 

m 


s 1/2 acre 

t 








(Continued) 



3UU 



(Continued) 














Operator 


o 
» 

m 


Area 


Pi 

m 

p 


Elevation 


• 
• 
m 


Acres Seeded 


Halberg 




Helena 


pi 

* 

• - 


U,l57 


• 
• 

o 
i 


1/2 acre 


Bailey 


t 


Fort Peck 


• 
• 


2,000 


p 

p 

m 


3 acres 


Ken Homer 


5 

o 

p 


Charlo 


m 

o 

m 


2,850 


p 

p 
p 


1/2 acre 


Noel Tougas 


• 
• 


Pablo 


9 

pj 
m 


2,850 


• 
•- 


1/2 acre 


Sullivan 


t 

Pj 

■J 
•> 


Moiese 


• 

m 
m 


2,800 


B 

D 

■ 

P 
P 


2 acres 



Plantings will be checked throughout the summer and winter to 
determine the crop condition at the various sites and the utilization by 
game birds. Remaining seed will be held over for planting next spring. 

Multiflora Rose; 

Approximately 5# of Multiflora Rose seed was obtained from the 
Nebraska State Game, Forestation and Parks Commission for trial plantings 
in Montana. Seed was distributed to the State Nursery at Helena and to 
the Forestry School Nursery at Missoula. Approximately l/2 pound of 
seed was given to each nursery. This would produce about 20,000 seedlings 
at each nursery if successful. The remainder of the seed will be held 
over for future plantings. 



Submitted by: 

Robert J. Greene, Fieldman 
June 10, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



3U5 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 1-R (Statistics) 
DATE July 1$, 19 kQ 



STATE-WIDE 
CUMULATIVE RECORD OF BIG GAME DATA 

Since 19U3 estimates of big game numbers have been compiled on a 
unit basis by men in the field who are in the closest contact with the 
game and represent our most reliable source of information,. This 
system was organized by Forest Service and State Fish and Game personnel 
at that time with the view in mind of classifying big game ranges 
according to logical drainage units and avoid political boundaries,. 

The plan involves an annual get-together of local Deputy Game 
Wardens, and Forest Rangers, usually directly following the hunting 
season, and through their intimate knowledge of the unit, they arrive at 
a mutual agreement regarding the data to be collected,. This necessarily 
involves considerable guesswork, but it has been the hope that 
following this up year after year, using checking station records, census 
methods and collecting all additional information on the subject, that we 
may arrive at a reasonable approximation of total numbers o It is felt 
that this is being accomplished and that the attached tables indicate 
a fair estimate of game populations in the State 

The accompanying map shows the 39 units with their sub-units,, 
Included are Park Service, Indian Service and Fish and Wildlife Service 
landso Representatives of these agencies were contacted when these data 



3U6 



were collected,. Of note is the fact that only that portion of the 
Yellowstone Park Northern Elk Herd that winters in Montana* outside 
of the Park, is included in the report (Absaroka Unit) o 

The accompanying Annual Big Game Report Form shows the method of 
recording data for each sub-unite Instructions for completing the form 
are on the backo 

The column on estimated capacity of the winter range in animal 
months on the Cumulative Record Form may be hard to reconcile with the 
other columns. This is because the number of months use varies in 
different sub-units and when compiled there seems to be little relation 
between the estimated capacity of the winter range in animal numbers 
and the estimated capacity of the winter range in animal months,, A study 
of the sub-unit report form will clarify this and,, the following Table 
may help explain,, 



Absaroka Unit ; 


» i 

: Capacity of s 
Winter Range : 


Length 

: of Use 


» 
a 

» 

:( 

• 
• 


Animal Months 
2 Elk s 1 cow) 


Sub-unit #1 j 


200 elk s 


: 5 mo. 


» 

o 
a 


5oo 


Sub-unit #2 s 


150 elk j 


5 moo 




375 


Sub-unit #3 : 


: 1,600 elk j 


: 3 mo. 


■ 
p 

r 


2,U00 


Total j 
1 


1,950 elk : 

> f 




: 
: 

i 


3,275 



3U7 




Z48 



M-1217-R1 (Revised September 19 U5) 

(See instructions on back of forn and 
W FSM, HF-D8-1, Supp.) 

MANAGEMENT 

Reports ANNUAL BIG GAME REPORT, 19_ 

Annual 



1. 
2. 

3. 
k.. 

5, 
6, 

7. 

8, 

9 



National Forest 



Ranger District 



Management Unit 



Number of Subunit 



10 



Species 


Elk 


WoTc 
deer 


Mule 
deer 


Moose 


Mt. 
sheep 


Mt. 
goat 


Ante- 
lope 


Bear 
Black Grizzly 


Esto no, animals 
on unit. Winter 
range only 


















Estimated 
capacity of 
winter range 


















Difference 4> or - 
between (6) and 
(7) 


















Estimated 
capacity of 
winter range in 
A.M. 
Dates; 


















Losses? 


















Legal kill 


















Predators 


















Other 


















Total 



















11. Land use conditions; 



12. Reporting officer 



Signature 
Signature 



Title 
Title 



3U9 



Instructions for Completing Form 

lo Name of the national forest in ivhieh the subunit being reported on is 
locatedo State game wardens leave Lank on units not involving national 
forests 

2. Name of ranger district,, State leave blank if no ranger district is in- 
volvedo 

3. Name of management unit as per 19hh photostat map. 
lie Number of subunit as per 19hh photostat map. 

5. Report on elk, white-tail deer, mule deer, mountain goat, mountain 
sheep, moose and antelope. 

6. Estimated number of animals that use the winter range only on this sub- 
unit. Winter range to be defined locally 

7. Estimated capacity of winter range only in numbers of anirnals 

80 Show as minus if capacity is greater than present use, plus if capacity 
is less than present use. (Examples actual present number of animals 
is 1 5 000. Estimated capacity is 300. Hie difference is 2004°. Indicates 
200 too many on the unit,) 

9o Report in cow months, use following converting factors: 

1 animal month equals 1 cow for 1 month. 

1 " » « 2 elk for 1 month. 

1 M " ■ k deer for 1 iconth. 

1 " " " 1 moose for 1 month. 

1 " " " 5 antelope for 1 month. 

1 " n "5 mountain sheep or goats for 1 monthu 

Show dates, or period, considered on winter range. 

10. Self-explanatory. 

11. Briefly state condition of range, if overused or under used, conflicts 
with domestic stock, or anything else relating to big game management 
that is pertinent to this unit. 

12 If compiled jointly by a ranker and a State game warden, both sign and 
make but one report. Duplicate^ to be sent to State Officials by game 
wardens if desired. 

Notes Use a separate sheet for each subunit. Originals for each subunit 
to go to the regional office whore suomarieB will be prepared. 
Forests and State may summarize for their own benefit if desired, 
but subunit sheets bus LI go to the regional office. Forms for 
summarizing will be supplied on request. 



350 



CUMULATIVE RECORD OF BIG GAME DATA 



ELK 



ESTIMATED POHTLATION AND HANGS CAPACITIES 



1947 













Management 


Est, 


Est. Cap. 


Dif fr 


Animal Mo© 


Unit 


Pod» 


Winter Range 


Or 


"Winter Range 


Absaroka 


2,625 


1,950 


£675 


3,275 


Beartooth 


455 


700 


=245 


1,250 


Big Belt-Boulder 


1,365 


3,200 


-1835 


6,400 


Big Hole-Monida 


125 


300 


-185 


1,275 


Bitterroot 


1,535 


2,650 


-1115 


5,375 


Blaine 


30 


100 


-70 


200 


Bridger-Crazy Mts« 


62 


150 


—88 


350 


Carter 


25 


100 


-75 


600 


Cascade 










Choteau 


300 


300 





600 


Clarks Fork 


2,240 


3,325 


=1085 


6,293 


Custer 










Deerlodge 


1,702 


2,450 


-658 


5,515 


Ennis-Hebgen 


255 


300 


-45 


525 


Fergus 


130 


600 


-470 


3,250 


F lathe ad-Sun Piver 


6,100 


0,300 


-200 


12,600 


Gallatin 


2,502 


1,900 


f602 


6,250 


Glasgow 





100 


-100 


600 


Gl endive 










Kalispell 


440 


510 


=110 


1,132 


Kootenai 


541 


790 


-249 


2,790 


Little Belts 


1,170 


3,585 


-2415 


7,170 


Mad is on«Ru by- 


1,415 


2,500 


=1085 


7,000 


Missouri Breaks 





800 


-800 


4,800 


Musselshell 










Phillips 





250 


=250 


1,500 


Poison (Flathead 










Ind. Res,) 


600 


1,500 


-900 


3,000 


Poplar 










Powder River 










Swan-Blackfoot 


2,640 


3,690 


-1050 


7,305 


Sweetgrass Hills 


15 


50 


-35 


300 


Teton 










Yellow stone 










Glacier Nat »L Park 


3,293 








Blackfeet Ind. Res 


400 


100 


£300 


300 


Cheyenne Ind. Res. 










Crow Ind. Res 


1,500 








Ft. Peck Ind. Res. 










Nat'l. Bison Range 


78 









Totals 



31,543 



38,210 



-11,488 



89,655 



3*1 



£HE£,ii£l LIU ££.££££, 2.L ILL 2. 1L — E RLLL 

ELK 



LOSSES 



1947 













Management 


Legal 








Unit 


Kill 


Predators 


Other 


Total 


Absaroka 


3,017 


8 


203 


3,228 


Beartooth 


37 


3 


20 


60 


Rig Belt»Boulder 


190 


71- 


111 


372 


Big Hole-Monida 


25 


16 


10 


51 


Bitterroot 


278 


45 


65 


388 


Blaine 








10 


10 


Bridger<*>Crazy Ivlts. 








3 


3 


Carter 








5 


5 


Cascade 










Choteau 


10 





30 


40 


CI arks Fork 


215 


35 


125 


375 


Custer 








♦ 


Deerlodge 


397 


31 


90 


518 


Ennis=>Hebgen 


50 


6 


7 


63 


Fergus 


29 


6 


6 


41 


Flathead-Sun River 


1,396 


93 


138 


1,627 


Gallatin 


224 


25 


453 


702 


Glasgow 










Gl endive 










Kalispell 


8 





14 


22 


Kootenai 





6 


2 


8 


Little Belts 


202 





25 


227 


Mad is on -Ruby 





32 


69 


101 


Missouri Breaks 










T'usselshell 










Phillips 










Poison (Flathead Ind. 


Res.) 100 


5 





105 


Poplar 










Powder River 










Swan-B 1 ackf o ot 


404 


73 


110 


587 


Sweetgrass Rills 





4 


1 


5 


Teton 










Yellowstone 




- 






Glacier TIat'l. Park 










Blackfeet Ind. Res. 


100 


4 





104 


Cheyenne Ind. Res. 










Crow Ind. Res. 










Ft. Peck Ind. Res. 










Nat'l Bison Range 











Totals 



6,682 



463 



1,497 



8 C 642 



352 



£ £M£ LL1 LIU ££££.*;£ ££ £L£ 2.&.E2. 2LLL 

WHITE-TAIL DEER 



ESTIMATED POPULATION AND RANGE CAPACITIES 



1947 



Management 

Enii 



Est. Est* Cap. 

Pnp. WiTitflr Kanga 



Dif f Animal Mo. 
Or ■» "Wintej* Range 



Absaroka 




25 


100 


Beartooth 




120 


500 


Big Belt-Boulder 




170 


350 


Big Hole-Monida 








Bitterroot 




445 


1,310 


Blaine 




100 


750 


Bridger-Crazy Mts. 




8 


1,100 


Carter 




81 


600 


Cascade 




.75 


200 


Choteau 


- 






C larks Fork 


6 


,895 . 


7*800 


Custer 




50 


500 


Deerlodge 




275 


780 


Ennis-Hegben 






•» 


Fergus 




700 


1*000 


Flathead-Sun River 


1 


,705 


2,625 


Gallatin 







100 


Glasgow 




5S0 


3,000 


Gl endive 




400 


400 


Kalispell 


2 


,760 


4,110 


Kootenai 


14 


„000 


10,13Q 


Little Belts 




420 


1,15Q 


Madison-Ruby 







150 


Missouri Breaks 




350 


700 


Musselshell 




150 


500 


Phillips 




175 


1,000 


Poison (Flathead 








Ind, Res.) 


1 


,000 


3,000 


Poplar 


1 


,200 


2,500 


Powder River 




15 


500 


Swan-Blackf oot 


5 


,100 


5,900 


Sweetgrass Hills 




25 


100 


Teton 




50 


150 


Yellowstone 




50 


300 


Glacier Nat»l Park 


1 


,268 




Blackfeet Ind. Res. 




200 


240 


Cheyenne Ind. Res. 








Crow Ind. Res. 




75 




Ft. Peck Ind. Res. 




100 


1,000 


Nat'l Bison Range 




65 





-75 


125 


-380 


625 


-180 


1,000 


-865 


1,197 


-650 


2,250 


-1092 


1,250 


-519 


1,112 


-125 


500 


-905 


7,900 


-450 


1,500 


-505 


752 


-300 


4» 

3 5 000 


-1020 


2,625 


-100 


400 


-2450 


9,000 





1,200 


-1350 


4,227 


f3870 


9,755 


-730 


1,150 


=150 


525 


-350 


2,100 


=350 


1,500 


-825 


3,000 


-2000 


3,000 


-1300 


7,500 


-485 


1,500 


-800 


5,625 


-75 


300 


-100 


374 


-250 


900 



=40 



•900 



300 



3,000 



Totals 



38,602 



52,545 



•15,451 



79,192 



353 



CUMULATIVE RECORD OF BIG GAME DATA 





'.TRITE-TAIL DEER 






LOSSES 






1947 




Liana gement 


Legal 








Unit 


Kill 


Predators 


Other 


Total 


Absaroka 





2 


2 


4 


Beartooth 





5 


3 


8 


Big Belt-Boulder 


5 


9 


7 


21 


Big Hole-Konida 










Bitterroot 


54 


42 


36 


132 


Blaine 


5 


15 


15 


35 


Bridger-Crazy l.Its. 










Carter 


10 


2 


7 


19 


Cascade 


1 


2 


2 


5 


Choteau 










C larks Fork 


390 


675 


425 


1,490 


Custer 


2 


4 


4 


10 


Deerlodge 


15 


155 


156 


326 


Ennis-Hebgen 










Fergus 


50 


28 


18 


96 


Flathead-Sun River 


67 


125 


67 


259 


Gallatin 










Glasgow 





30 


35 


65 


Glendive 










Kalispell 


157 


90 


120 


367 


Kootenai 


605 


240 


285 


1,150 


Little Belts 


65 


15 


5 


85 


Mad is on -Ruby 










''issouri Breaks 


30 


20 


30 


80 


Musselshell 


15 


8 


2 


25 


Phillips 


1 


25 


25 


51 


Poison (Flathead 










Ind. Res.) 


200 


20 


20 


240 


Poplar 





50 


50 


100 


Powder River 





2 


2 


4 


Swan -B 1 a ckf o ot 


360 


670 


405 


1,435 


Swoet'-rass Hills 





5 


2 


7 


Teton 





3 


1 


4 


Yellowstone 


2 


5 


5 


12 


Glacier Hat*l« Park 










Blackfeet Ind. Res 


25 


3 





28 


Cheyenne Ind. Res. 










Crow Ind. Res„ 










Ft. Peck Ind. Res. 


150 


25 


25 


200 


Nat'l Bison Range 











Totals 



2,209 



2,275 



1,754 



6,238 



35U 



CUMULATIVE RECORD OF BIG GAME DATA 



MILE DEER 
ESTIMATED POPULATION AMD RANGE CAPACITIES 




1947 






Management Est e Est„ Cap. 
Unit Pop, % inter Range 


Dif. ¥ 

Or - 


Animal Mo. 
Winter Range 



Absaroka 


3,450 


4,400 


Beartooth 


7,000 


9,000 


Big Belt-Boulder 


6,795 


10,800 


Big Hole-Monida 


1,100 


1,500 


Bitterroot 


2,725 


3,900 


Blaine 


2,100 


5,400 


Bridger-Crazy Mts c 


7,200 


8,200 


Carter 


590 


1,550 


Cascade 


800 


1,500 


Choteau 


900 


1*500 


C larks Fork 


12,755 


15,050 


Custer 


1,400 


2,000 


Deerlodge 


5,815 


5,700 


Ennis-Hebgen 


3,150 


1,700 


Fergus 


1,500 


2,150 


Flathead-Sun River 


3,520 


4,370 


Gallatin 


1,600 


2,000 


Glasgow 


450 


2,500 


Gl endive 


200 


200 


Kalispell 


490 


750 


Kootenai 


6,250 


7,550 


Little. Belts 


13,700 


19,800 


Mad is on- Ruby- 


5,600 


7,100 


Missouri Breaks 


1,800 


4,000 


Musselshell 


1,300 


1,500 


Phillips 


1,800 


4,000 


Poison (Flathead 






Ind. Res©) 


700 


1,000 


Poplar 


100 


l fl 000 


Powder River 


1,800 


3,600 


Swan-Blackf oot 


4,800 


5,550 


Sweetgrass Hills 


500 


1,000 


Teton 


625 


900 


Yellowstone 


1,200 


2,500 


Glacier Nat'l Park 


766 




Blackfeet Ind. Res. 


150 


200 


Cheyenne Ind. Res. 


200 


800 


Crow Ind. Res. 


2,500 




Ft. Peck Ind. Res. 


20 


500 


Nat'l Bison Range 


331 





-950 

-2000 

-4005 

-400 

-1175 

-3300 

-1000 

-960 

-700 

-600 

-2295 

-600 

+115 

+1450 

-650 

-850 

-400 

-2050 



-525 

• -1300 

•-6100 

-1600 

*-2200 

-200 

-2200 

-300 

-900 

-1800 

-550 

-500 

'-275 

-1300 

-50 
-600 

-480 



5*325 
8,750 

11,044 
1,825 
3*837 

16,200 

10,250 
3,962 
3,750 
1*500 

16,293 
6,000 
5,500 
2,387 
6,450 
4,370 
2,562 
7,500 
600 
1,114 
5,175 

19,800 
8,165 

12,000 
4,500 

12,000 

1,000 
3*000 
10,800 
5,300 
3,000 
2*250 
7*500 

300 
2,400 

1,500 



Totals 



107,682 



145,170 



-41,250 



217,909 



355 



5L1.L1L.1L1L11L £.£££112. 9.L ]LL2. ®. A H B ££!£ 

MULE DEER 



LOSSES 



1947 



Management 
Unit 



Legal 
Kill 



Predators 



Other 



Total 



Absaroka 


420 


80 


BeartOdth 


355 


60 


Big Belt-Boulder 


1,020 


850 


Big Hole-Monida 


95 


55 


Bitterroot 


452 


280 


Blaine 


75 


55 


Bridger-Crazy Mts e 


650 


75 


Carter 


55 


15 


Cascade 


90 


20 


Choteau 


25 


90 


C larks Fork 


877 


815 


Custer 


140 


50 


Deerlodge 


625 


348 


Ennis-Hebgen 


285 


90 


Fergus 


280 


50 


Flathead-Sun River 


819 


146 


Gallatin 


190 


80 


Glasgow 


23 


10 


Gl endive 






Kalispell 


38 


27 


Kootenai 


490 


220 


Little Belts 


1,500 


855 


Mad is on-Ruby 


625 


295 


Missouri Breaks 


100 


50 


Musselshell 


200 


27 


Phillips 


125 


100 


Poison (Flathead 






Ind, Res.) 


100 


5 


Poplar 





10 


Powder River 


180 


155 


Swan-Blackfoot 


475 


455 


Sweetgrass Hills 





15 


Teton 





15 


Yellowstone 


100 


20 


Glacier TJat'l. Park 






Blackfeet Ind. Res. 


15 


3 


Cheyenne Ind. Res. 


50 


10 


Crow Ind. Res. 






Ft. Peck Ind. Res. 


10 


5 


Nat'l. Bison Range 







130 


630 


110 


525 


460 


2,330 


50 


200 


80 


812 


65 


195 


106 


831 


35 


105 


30 


140 


50 


165 


280 


1,972 


50 


240 


616 


1,589 


20 


395 


32 


362 


95 


1,060 


45 


315 


25 


58 


30 


95 


182 


892 


120 


2,475 


195 


1,115 


100 


250 


33 


260 


50 


275 





105 


10 


20 


70 


405 


240 


1,170 


25 


40 


45 


60 


20 


140 





18 


10 


70 



20 



Totals 



10 D 484 



5,436 



3,414 



19.334 



3S6 



£££3LLi.liI— 2.*l£o rd ££. JLiH. ILL— 2.LLL 

MOOSE 



ESTIMATED POPULATION ASD RANGE CAPACITIES 



1947 



Management 
Unit 



Est, 

POPo 



Est. Cap. Dif„ 
Winter Ifangg 0r 



Animal Mo© 
g inter Range 



Absaroka 


475 


425 


f50 


3,825 


Beartooth 


170 


250 


-80 


1,050 


Big Belt-Boulder 


60 


225 


-155 


1,455 


Big Hole-Monida 


180 


245 


-65 


1,225 


Bitterroot 


285 


670 


-385 


2,810 


Blaine 










Bridger-Crazy Mts, 


11 


55 


-44 


30 


Carter 










Cascade 










Choteau 










C larks Fork 


90 


242 


-152 


932 


Custer 










Deerlodge 


954 


1,160 


-206 


2,825 


Ennis-Hebgen 


200 


200 





850 


Fergus 










Flathe ad-Sun River 


130 


215 


-85 


860 


Gallatin 


310 


310 





1,715 


Glasgow 










Glendive 










Kalispell 


89 


144 


-55 


686 


Kootenai 


190 


250 


-60 


990 


Little Belts 


16 


130 


-114 


520 


Madison-Ruby 


170 


400 


-230 


3,350 


Missouri Breaks 










Musselshell 










Phillips 










Poison (Flathead 










Ind. Res.) 


10 


10 





40 


Poplar 










Powder River 










Swan-Blackfoot 


14 


203 


-190 


762 


Sweetgrass Hills 










Teton 










Yellowstone 










Glacier Nat'l. Park 


300 








Blackfeet Ind. Res. 


10 


10 





60 


Cheyenne Ind. Res, 










Crow Ind. Res. 










Ft. Peck Ind. Res. 










Efat'l. Bison Range 











Totals 



3,664 



5,144 



-1,771 



23,985 



357 



L^Llll.LLLLI.L Hl££2,£ 9.L ILL 2. £i.21!L LLLL 

::oose 



LOSSES 



1947 



Management 
Unit 



Legal 
Kill 



Other 



Predators 



Total 



Absaroka 


23 


Beartooth 





Big Belt-Boulder 





Big Hole-Monida 


10 


Bitterroot 


4 


Blaine 




Bridger-Crazy Mts. 




Carter 


• 


Cascade 




Choteau 




C larks Fork 





Custer 




Deerlodge 


25 


Ennis-Hebgen 


10 


Fergus 




Flathead-Sun River 





Gallatin 


9 


Glasgow 




Gl endive 




Kalispell 


9 


Kootenai 





Little Belts 





Mad is on -Ruby 





Missouri Breaks 




Musselshell 




Phillips 




Poison (Flathead 




Ind. Res.) 


5 


Poplar 




Powder River 




Swan-Blackf oot 





Sweetgrass Hills 




Teton 




Yellowstone 




Glacier Nat'l Park 




Blackfeet Ind, Res. 


4 


Cheyenne Ind. Res. 




Crow Ind. Res. 




Ft. Peck Ind. Res. 




Nat'l. Bison Ranr;e 








14 


37 


5 


3 


8 


2 


4 


6 








10 


4 


17 


25 






32 


57 





15 


25 





8 


8 





17 


26 





11 


20 





18 


18 





2 


2 


2 


9 


11 







4 



Totals 



99 



14 



154 



2G7 



358 



££E£ LA 1 1 12. ££££££ ££ ILL 2. 2L£i£ £A2A 

MOUNTAIN SHEEP 



ESTIMATED POPULATION AND RANGE CAPACITIES 



1947 



Management 
Unit 



Est. 
Pop. 



Est. Cap, 




Dif. £ Animal Mo 


Winter Range 


Or <=>> Winter Range 


250 




-160 


• 500 




-340 


250 




" -250 


50 




-50 


350 




-318 



Absaroka 


90 


Beartooth 


160 


Big Belt-Boulder 





Big Hole-Monida 





Bitterroot 


32 


Blaine 




Bridger-Crazy Mts 


6 


Carter 




Cascade 




Choteau 




C larks Fork 


. 15 


Custer 




Deerlodge 


90 


Ennis-Hebgen 


40 


Fergus 




Flathead»Sun River 


280 


Gallatin 


65 


Glasgow 




Gl endive 




Kalispell 




KOotenai 


157 


Little Belts 




Madison-Ruby 


18 


Missouri Breaks 


16 


Musselshell 




Phillips 




Poison (Flathead 




Ind. Res.) 


20 


Poplar 




Powder River 




Swan- Blackfoot 


20 


Sweet grass Hills 




Teton 




Yellowstone 




Glacier Nat'l. Park 


204 


Blackfeet Ind. Res, 


10 


Cheyenne Ind, Res. 




Crow Ind. Res. 




Ft Peck Ind. Res 




Nat'l. Bison Range 


12 


Totals 


1,235 



100 



160 



400 



600 
1,500 



100 



285 



40 



»94 



•155 



330 


-240 


320 


-280 


830 


-550 


315 


-250 



-243 

-582 
-1484 



>80 



-265 



-30 



6,380 



-5,371 



3S9 



£££££^T_il£ ]LZL££]i£ IE. II £ 1L ' £ ILLLL 

T-JOTOTTAI]: SIIEEP 
LOSSES 1947 













I.'anagement 


Legal 








Unit 


Kill 


Predators 


Other 


Total 


Absaroka 





7 


12 


19 


Beartooth 





2 


4 


6 


Rig Belt-Boulder 










Big Hole-Monida 










Bitterroot 





5 


2 


7 


Blaine 










Bridger-Crazy Mts. 










Carter 










Cascade 










Choteau 










C larks Fork 





3 


7 


10 


Custer 










Deerlodge 





4 


2 


6 


Ennis-Hebgen 





8 





8 


Fergus 










Flathead-Sun River 





45 


30 


75 


Gallatin 





8 


8 


16 


Glasgow 










Gl endive 










Kalispell 










Kootenai 





30 


4 


34 


Little Belts 










Madison-Ruby 





5 





5 


Missouri Breaks 










T'usselshell 










Phillips 










Poison (Flathead 










Ind. Res.) 










Poplar 










Powder River 










Swan-Blackf oot 





3 


2 


5 


Swoetgrass Hills 










Teton 










Yellowstone 










Glacier Nat'l. Park 










Blackfeet Ind. Res. 


5 








5 


Cheyenne Ind. Res. 










Crow Ind. Ros. 










Ft. Peck Ind. Res. 










Nat'l Bison Ranro 











Total 5 120 71 196 



360 



CUMULATIVE RECORD OF BIG GAME DATA 







MOUNTAIN G0A..T 






ESTIMATED PORTIA TI 01! AND 


RANGE CAPACITIES 




1947 


Management 


Est. 


BS"C© 


ap. 


Dif. fr 


Animal Mo 


Unit 


Popo 


T.'inter 


Range 


Or. - 


Venter Range 


Absaroka 












Beartooth 


6 


400 




=■394 




Big Belt-Boulder 





50 




-50 




Big Hole-Monida 


30 


30 









Bitterroot 


530 


1,350 




-820 




Blaine 








• 




Bridger-Crazy Mts 


90 


500 




-410 




Carter 












Cascade 








J 




Choteau 


10 


50 




=40 




Clarks Fork 


285 


365 




-20 




Custer 












Deerlodge 


720 


925 




-205 




Ennis-Hebgen 





300 




=300 




Fergus 












Flathead-Sun River 


1,465 


2,065 




-600 




Gallatin , 


5 


265 




=.260 




Glasgow 












Glendive 












Kalispell 


130 


130 









Kootenai 


195 


275 




=80 




Little Belts 












Madison Ruby- 





400 




-400 




Missouri Breaks 












Musselshell 












Phillips 












Poison (Flathead 












Ind. Res.) 


100 


500 




-400 




Poplar 












Powder River 












Swan-Blackf oot 


350 


600 




-250 




Sweet grass Hills 












Teton 












Yellowstone 












Glacier lat'le Park 


866 










Blackfeet Ind, Res. 


20 


20 









Cheyenne Ind. Res. 












Crow Ind. Res. 












Ft. Peck Ind. Res. 












Nat'l. Bison Range 













Totals 



4,802 



8,225 



»4,229 



361 



£. ll ii il .l £_ l l x £. 2. ill 2. ill 2.l l1l lae!l 1lll 

'O t ~:taiii goat 



LOSSES 1947 



Management ■ Legal 

Unit Kill Predators Other Total 

Absaroka 

Beartooth 2 2 

Big Belt-Boulder 

Big Hole-Monida 

Bitterroot 80 62 29 171 

Blaine 

Bridger-Crazy Mfcs. 

Carter 

Cascade 

Choteau 

C larks Fork 2 10 12 

Custer 

Deerlodge 15 13 28 

Ennis-Hebgen 

Fergus 

Flathead-Sun River 34 50 28 112 

Gallatin 

Glasgow 

Gl endive 

Kalispell 

Kootenai 

Little Belts 

Mad is on -Ruby 

Missouri Breaks 

Musselshell 

Phillips 

Poison (Flathead 

Ind„ Res ) -10 10 

Poplar 
Powder River 

Swan-Blackfoot 20 16 36 

Sweetgrass Hills 
Teton 

Yellowstone 
Glacier JTat'l. Park 

Blackfeat Ind. Res. 2 2 

Cheyenne Ind, Res,, 
Crow Ind. Bm« 
Ft. Peck Ind. Res 
Nat'l. Bison Ranre 

Totals 128 157 88 373 



362 



£E£H.£.£ II I £ £!££.££. 9.L 111 2A1LE ££!£ 

MTELOPE 



ESTIMATED PORTLATIOII AND RANGE CAPACITIES 



1947 



Management 
IMS 



Est, 
JEqjl 



Est, Cap, 



Dif 
Or 



Animal Mo 
Wintifir Hfmgfi 



Absaroka 
Beartooth 
Big Belt-Boulder 
Big Hole-Monida 
Bitterroot 
Blaine 

Bridger-Crazy Mts a 
Carter 
Cascade 
Choteau 
Clarks Fork 
Custer 
Deerlodge 
Ennis-Hebgen 
Fergus 

Flathead-Sun River 
Gallatin 
Glasgow 
Gl endive 
Kalispell 
Kootenai 
Little Belts 
Mad is on -Ruby- 
Missouri Breaks 
Musselshell 
Phillips 

Poison (Flathead 
Indo ReSo) 
Poplar 
Powder River 
Swan-Blackfoot 
Sweetgrass Hills 
Teton 

Yellowstone 
Glacier Nat'l. Park 
Blackfeet Ind, Res. 
Cheyenne Ind. Res, 
Crow Ind. Res, 
Ft, Peck Ind, Res, 
Kat'l, Bison Range 



134 

10 

510 

160 

13 

450 

250 

7,550 

355 

600 

700 
157 



350 



950 
450 



520 
1,030 

600 
3,000 

225 



15 

1,310 

1,500 

530 

4,500 

60 
25 

75 



360 

300 
2,690 

600 

50 

3,500 

600 
7,600 
1,500 

600 

1,000 
660 

2,500 



3,800 
450 



900 

1,100 

2,000 

3,000 

10,000 

100 

500 
2,900 

2,000 
1,500 
5,000 

60 
300 



1,000 



=226 


168 


-.290 


60 


2180 


3,016 


-440 


600 


-37 


30 


3050 


8,400 


-350 


1,440 


-50 


7,610 


1145 


2,500 





480 


-300 


2,400 


=503 


724 



»2150 



6,000 



•2850 


9,120 





1,080 


-380 


720 


~70 


2,480 


1400 


4,800 





7,200 


7775 


24,000 


=100 


80 


=485 


1,200 


1590 


6,960 


-500 


4,800 


-970 


3,000 


-500 


12,000 





72 


-275 


720 



.925 



2 B 400 



i'otals 



26,029 



56,570 



■28,541 114,060 



363 



C l T I' IT L A T I V E RECCED OF BIG CAKE DATA 





LOSSES 


ANTELOPE 


1947 




Management 
Unit 




Legal 

M-ll Prefers 


Other 


Total 



Absaroka 
Beartooth 
Big Belt-Boulder 
Big Hole-Monida 
Bitterroot 
Blaine 

Bridger-Crazy 1ft s. 
Carter 
Cascade 
Choteau 
C larks Fork 
Custer 
Deerlodge 
Ermis-Hebgen 
Fergus 

F lathe ad-Sun River 
Gallatin 
Glasgow 
Gl endive 
Kalispell 
Kootenai 
Little Belts 
Had is on -Ruby- 
Missouri Breaks 
Musselshell 
Phillips 

Poison (Flathead 
Ind. Res.) 
Poplar 

Powder River 
Swan-Blackf oot 
Sweetgrass Hills 
Teton 

Yellowstone 
Glacier Nat'l. Park 
Blackfeet Ind. Res. 
Cheyenne Ind. Res. 
Crow Ind. Res. 
Ft. Peck Ind. Res. 
Nat'l. P. is on Ran 







4 

250 


,205 




150 




125 



35 
90 
50 
300 
30 




115 

50 



300 

5 

10 

100 



11 


44 

4 



50 

19 

250 

9 



50 
9 

30 



75 



10 

1 

115 

2 



30 

14 

,250 



25 

12 

25 



55 



21 

1 

159 

6 

4 

330 

33 

2,705 

15 



225 
21 

55 



255 



12 


10 


57 


46 


38 


174 


25 


50 


125 


50 


25 


375 


25 


10 


65 


5 


2 


7 


40 


72 


227 


20 


30 


100 


20 


30 


50 


50 


50 


400 


4 





9 


5 


5 


20 



25 



25 



150 



Totals 



2,819 



878 



1 892 



5,589 



3& 



£11 ' ! LLil LIE IL-E.££.2. D 9.L LL1 ILIi® E£li 

' [1ZZLY BEAR 



ESTIMATED POPULATION AND BANGE CAPACITIES 



1947 



Management 
ITnit 



Est, 
Z2£f 



Absaroka 


25 


Beartooth 


12 


Big Belt-Boulder 




Big Hole-Monida 




Bitterroot 


6 


Blaine 




Bridger-Crazy Mts. 




Carter 




Cascade 




Choteau 




Clarks Fork 


23 


Custer 




Deerlodge 


2 


Ennis-Hebgen 


15 


Fergus 




Flathead-Sun River 


205 


Gallatin 


10 


Glasgow 




Glendive 




Kalispell 


60 


Kootenai 


76 


Little Belts 




Madison-Ruby 




Missouri Breaks 




Musselshell 




Phillips 




Poison (Flathead 




Ind. Res.) 


30 


Poplar 




Powder River 




Swan-Blackf oot 


71 


Sweetgrass Hills 




Teton 




Yellowstone 




Glacier Nat'l. Park 


105 


Blackfeet Ind. Res. 


40 


Cheyenne Ind. Res. 




Crow Ind. Res. 


7 


Ft„ Peck Ind. Res. 




Nat'l. Bison Range 





Est. Cap 

"Winter Range 



Dif f 
Or - 



Animal Mo 
Winter Raage 



Totals 



692 



365 



GRIZZLY BEAR 
LOSSES 1947 



Management Legal 

Unit Kill Other Total 



Absaroka 5 2 7 

Beartooth 

Big Belt-Boulder 

Big Hole-llonida 

Bitterroot 

Blaine 

Bridger-Crazy Mts. 

Carter 

Cascade 

Choteau 

C larks Fork 112 

Custer 

Deerlodge 

Ennis-Hebgen 5 5 

Fergus 

Flathead-Sun River 41 10 51 

Gallatin 

Glasgow 

Glendive 

Kalispell 12 3 

Kootenai 

Little Belts 

Mad is on -Ruby 

Missouri Breaks 

Musselshell 

Phillips 

Poison (Flathead 

Ind. Res.) 5 5 

Poplar 

Powder River 

Swan-Blackfoot 15 6 

Sweetgrass Hills 
Teton 

Yellowstone 
Glacier Nat'l. Park 

Blackfeet Ind. Res. 8 8 

Cheyenne Ind. Res. 
Crow Ind. Res. 
Ft. Peck Ind. Res. 
Hat'l. Bison Ranro 

Totals 67 20 87 



366 



cumu lathe !L]!££ILH. 2.L 1 I 1 9lLH'E JLLLL 

BLACK BEAR 



■ » -" " ■ — i»i 



ESTIMATED POPULATION AMD RANGE CAPACITIES 



1947 



Management 
Unit 



Est. 

Pop* 



Est. Cap. 
Winter Rane-e 



Dif . f Animal Mo. 
Or - Tf inter Range 



Absaroka 


175 


Beartooth 


540 


Big Belt-Boulder 


192 


Big Hole-Monida 


110 


Bitterroot 


482 


Blaine 




Bridger-Crazy Mts, 


100 


Carter 




Cascade 


8 


Choteau 


20 


Clarks Fork 


1300 


Custer 




Deerlodge 


381 


Ennis-Hebgen 


200 


Fergus 




Flathead-Sun River 


775 


Gallatin 


90 


Glasgow 




Gl endive 




Kalispell 


365 


Kootenai 


1310 


Little Belts 


235 


Madison-Ruby 


285 


Missouri Breaks 




Musselshell 


5 


Phillips 




Poison (Flathead 




Ind. Res.) 


300 


Poplar 




Powder River 




Swan-Blackf oot 


720 


Sweetgrass Hills 




Teton 




Yellowstone 




Glacier Nat'l. Park 


385 


Blackfeet Indo Res 


100 


Cheyenne Ind. Res. 




Crow Indian Res» 


125 


Ft* Peck Ind. Res. 




Nat*l. Bison Range 





Totals 



8,003 



367 



1- ] 1 1 1LA 1LZ1L 2.*L££HL 9.L ILL1 £.AME RL1L 

BIACK BEA2 



LOSSES 



1947 



Management 
Unit 



Legal 
Kill 



Other 



Absaroka 
Beartooth 

Big Belt-Boulder 
Big Hole-Monida 
Bitteri-oot 
Blaine 

Bridger-Crazy 1'Its. 
Carter 
Cascade 
Choteau 
CI arks Fork 
Custer 
Deerlodge 
Ennis-Hebgen 
Fergus 

Flathead-Sun "River 
Gallatin 
Glasgow 
Gl endive 
Kalispell 
Kootenai 
Little Belts 
l,"adison-Ruby 
' issouri Breaks 
Musselshell 
Phillips 

Poison (Flathead 
Ind. Res.) 
Poplar 

Powder River 
Swan-Blackf oot 
Sweetgrass Hills 
Teton 

Yellowstone 
Glacier lat'l. Park 
Blackfeet Ind. Res e 
Cheyenne Ind. Res. 
Crow Ind. Res. 
Ft. Peck Ind. Res. 
llat'l. Rison Range 



28 
25 

14 

2 

92 



155 

36 
25 

70 
5 



48 
95 
17 
12 



125 



45 



17 



Total 



25 
5 

14 

5 

39 



60 

39 

15 

4 




7 



12 

45 







55 







53 
30 
28 

7 
131 



215 

75 
40 

74 
5 



55 
95 
29 
57 



125 



100 



17 



Totals 



811 



325 



1„136 



368 



STATE" Montana 



PROJECT 6-D 



DATE July 15, 19U8 



STATE-WIDE 

FINAL REPORT 
POSTING GAME PRESERVES 

The following is a final report covering the period through the 
fiscal years 19UU-U5-U6 and U7. 

During this time it has become increasingly evident that the 
proper posting of closed areas, sanctuaries and game preserves plays 
a vital role in the management of Montana's wildlife resources. An 
important development has been the steady swing away from the old 
type of hard and fast game preserves to the more flexible administra- 
tive closures. This has made clear, well defined boundary markings 
essential. 

A critical analysis of closures of c.11 types has been made 
during the period under the regular 1-R survey program* Recommendations 
led to the actual abandonment of several game preserves and the 
creation of a number of administrative closures. It is felt that the 
beneficial results that are becoming evident wo aid have been seriously 
nullified had it not been for a system of posting r:;ade possible through 
this project. 

Metal signs were used during the early part of the program. As 
the supply became exhausted, field work on the project was temporarily 



369 



delayed. Plywood signs were obtained, however, that have been found 
very satisfactory,. It has now become possible once more to obtain 
metal signs. 

The work has been somewhat seasonal. It was found most economical 
and practical to fit the posting in during the occasional slack periods 
between other major projects, thus aiding materially in holding key 
personnel. Travel about the periphery of the various closures has 
been accomplished by the use of pick-up, saddle horse and foot travel. 
Back-country posting has necessitated the establishment of tent camps 
where necessary. It has been found that there are, at present, over 
100 closures of various kinds in the state. The following list contains 
the more important and more typical of the closures posted under this 
project. 

Skalkaho Preserve - This preserve, located in Ravalli County a 
few miles east of Hamilton, was changed in scope to exclude portions of 
winter range and extended to the north in an effort to obtain better 
distribution of elk. This change in boundary and the re-distribution of 
game that followed has made ; .t possible to utilize winter range not 
previously covered by game. 

Cherry Creek Preserve - Located in Sanders and Mineral Counties, 
this preserve was reduced in size to more closely comply with the needs 
of game management and also to render it more conveniently outlined 
by posting. 

Keystone Administrative Closure - Located in Mineral County, this 
closure was established to replace the Little St. Joe Game Preserve. 



370 



This latter garne preserve was showing marked evidence of over-utilizaticn 
by both elk and deer The Keystone Preserve was created and the Little 
Sto Joe Preserve abandoned in order to obtain a far more desirable dis- 
tribution of both species of big game. 

Grass Valley Game Preserve - Located in Missoula County, five 
miles west of Missoula. Primary use, the protection and development 
of upland game birds. It was found to be still serving a useful 
purpose and re-posting was necessary to clearly outline the boundaries* 

Piniele Game Preserve - Located in Carter County, used primarily 
for the protection and development of antelope . This preserve was 
originally rather poorly posted. Its boundaries had become almost 
impossible to follow. Opening the County to the hunting of antelope 
made re-posting essential,, 

Cabin Creek Administrative Closure - This closure is located in 
Fallon County and was created for the purpose of protecting a plant 
of mule deer, 

Ballantine Game Preserve - This game preserve was established in 
192U in Billings area, Yellowstone County, Its chief value has been 
the protection and propagation of game birds, however, a considerable 
amount of benefit has accrued to mule deer as well. 

Billings Game Preserve - This preserve was established for the 
protection and propagation of game animals, antelope, mule deer and 
game birds. The approximate size is 16,000 acres. 

Arrow Creek Bird Closure - This closure was established in 19U5? 

371 



for the protection and propagation of game birdSj principally ring- 
necked pheasantSo It is located east of Billings in Yellowstone 
County. One of the chief purposes for establishing this closure was 
to create a sanctuary in which to release live trapped pheasants for 
the purpose of building back the depleted game bird population in 
that valley, Size, approximately 1,920 acres. 

Golden Creek Big Game Closure - This closure was established 
in 19 kh for the purpose of protecting and encouraging the development 
of a group of deer transplanted into the Bull Mountains from farther 
west in the state,, The closure is located in the Bull Mountain Range 
south and west of Roundup in Musselshell County. It contains ap- 
proximately U0,6UO acres. 

Hawk Fish Creek Closure — This closure is located in the Bull 
Mountain Range south and east of Roundup in Musselshell County. 
It was established in 19hh for the same purpose as that described 
under the Golden Creek Closure. The size is approximately 3U>£60 
acres. 

Laurel Bird Closure - This closure was established in 19U5 for 
the protection and propagation of game birds consisting of ring-necked 
pheasants, Hungarian partridge, sago grouse and sharp-tail grouse. 
One of its chief functions is to serve as a sanctuary in which to 
liberate live-trapped pheasants in this portion of the Yellowstone 
Valley. Contains appro xi mat ely 7,0Li0 acres. 

Pine Ridge Big Game Closure - This closure was established in 19l|2 



372 



for the protection and propagation of mule deer. It is located east 
of Billings in Yellowstone and Big Horn Counties and contains 
approximately 126,000 acres 

Polytechnic Bird Closure - This bird closure is located on the 
western outskirts of Billings in Yellowstone County. It was established 
primarily to protect private property from pheasant hunters. It has, 
however, aided materially in the development of substantial game bird 
population in this area. Its size is approximately 2,600 acres. 

Shephard Bird Closure - This closure was established in 19U5 in 
the Shephard Agricultural Development District in Yellowstone 
County east of Billings. The primary purpose in establishing this 
sanctuary was to develop an area in which to release live -trapped 
pheasants in this section of the Valley. It contains approximately 
7,720 acres. 

Gallatin Game Preserve - This is one of the oldest of the present 
game preserves, having been established in 1911 for the purpose of 
protecting and developing the Gallatin elk herd. It is located adjacent 
to Yellowstone Park on the headwaters of the West Gallatin River in 
Gallatin County. It is interesting to note that, following intensive 
big game surveys in the area under the 1-R investigative program for 
19U1-U2, a change was recommended in the boundary of this preserve. 
This change greatly improved the management of the elk in that area. 
The size of the preserve is approximately 3^,000 acres. 

Helena Lake Game Preserve - This preserve was established in 



373 



19U5 for the protection and development of waterfowl in the area. It 
is located just west of the lake north of the city of Helena in Lewis 
and Clark County. Following a careful survey of the area by the game 
bird 1-R crew,, this closure was recommended. A clearly marked boundary 
was essential as heavy waterfowl hunting takes place in this general 
vicinity o 

The Judith River Big Game Closure - This big game closure was 
established in 19U5 to take the place of an abandoned game preserve 
known as the Judith River Game Preserve. Recommendations leading to 
this change were an out-growth of intensive big game surveys in the 
area (1-R game studies 19U1-U2) The closure has been established for 
the purpose of attaining a more desirable distribution of the Judith 
River elk and deer herds . Over-used winter range areas were becoming 
apparent on the old preserve, particularly on the lower portions. 
The new closure to the north is drawing big game away from the old 
preserve area,, A clearly marked boundary was very essential about 
the edge of the new closure to avoid confusion. This new Judith River 
Big Game Closure has been established sufficiently long by this time 
to find that it is working very beneficially in regard to better game 
management in the general area. It is located in Judith 3asin County 
south of Stanford, and contains approximately Ul,000 acres. 

The Snowy Mountain Preserve - This game preserve is located on 
the crest of the Snowy Mountains south of Lewistown in Fergus County. 
It was established a number of years ago for the protection and 
development of big game, principally mule and white-tail deer, as well 



37U 



as game birds,, principally native upland grouse . The original markings 
had become almost entirely obliterated,, It contains approximately 
25 5 000 acres. 

Limestone Hills Big Game Closure - This closure in Broadwater 
County south and west of Townsend 3 was established recently for the 
purpose of developing the mule deer herd in this key winter area. It 
had been observed for many years that increasing numbers of hunters 
were flooding into the region due to extreme accessibility plus a 
relatively high concentration of deer, particularly during the latter 
part of the hunting season. It was felt that this heavy pressure 
was having a decidedly detrimental effect upon the deer. A temporary 
closure to be continued for several years under close supervision 
will unquestionably benefit game in the area* 

Gates of the Mountains Big Game Closure - This area was closed 
to the hunting of big game for the development and protection of 
mountain sheep 5 mule deer and possibly elk. 

Seeley Lake Game Preserve - This game preserve has been in effect 
for a number of years and was established primarily for the protection 
of white-tail deer. An investigation of this area by the 1-R big game 
crew indicated that the game preserve was still beneficial in its 
effect on game. 

Arrow Creek Big Game Closure - This closure in the northern 
portion of Judith Basin County was recently established for the protection 
of mule deer in this area. It appears that an increased number of this 



375 



species would be desirable,, A careful investigation of this area 
was carried out by the Eastern Montana 1-R big game crew 

Sarpy Creek Big Game Closure - This closure is located in the 
northeastern portion of Big Horn County and was established primarily 
for the purpose of protecting a planted herd of mule deer in the Sarpy 
Hills. 

Grave Creek Big Game Closure - The Grave Creek Big Game Closure 
was established to substitute for the original game preserve. The 
newly established big game closure takes in only a fraction of the 
area originally covered by the game preserve „ Careful observations 
following the establishment of this closure indicate that from a game 
management standpoint, it is quite satisfactory,. Proper posting has 
been an important phase of the work 

Richland County Big Game Closure - This administrative closure 
was created primarily to protect mule deer and antelope planted in a 
desirable section of this county „ As this particular county is closed 
to the hunting of big game during the coming season, this particular 
closure will not be necessary,. However, it has apparently benefited 
game in the pasto 

Glendive Area - This closure in Dawson County was created 
primarily for the protection of an important plant of mule deer within the 
Glendive badlands area. As it is not expected to open this county 
during the coming fall to big game hunting, this closure will have no 
value until the county is again open to hunting. However, it lias been 



376 



very worthwhile during past seasons,. The mule deer in this large 
badlands type range appear to be developing well from the plants made. 

Fairfield Bench Game Bird Closures -> There were originally ten 
small closures scattered strategically over the Fairfield Bench 
Restoration Area. One of these closures has since been discontinued, 
however , the remaining nine are apparently working out very well in 
the development of ring-necked pheasants in this very desirable area. 
The closures average 80 acres in size* 

Stillwater Closure - This closure located in Stillwater County 
on the west side of the Stillwater River just below the canyon, was 
established primarily to benefit the group of mountain sheep which 
range in that territory,, It was of particular value during the past 
years when the chrome development in that area brought a heavy popula- 
tion of miners with a resultant decided increase in hunting pressure. 

East Rosebud Big Game Closure - This closure was established 
primarily to protect an important plant of white-tail deer. It has 
apparently worked out very beneficially in regard to this species of 
big game,, 

Highwoods Game Preserve - The Highwoods Game Preserve in Cascade 
County was established a number of years ago for the protection of a 
small herd of planted elk. Since that time the herd has increased 
considerably, resulting in heavy use of particularly desirable bits 
of winter range. It is felt at the present time that steps should be 
taken toward the abandonment of this game preserve, substituting in its 



377 



place, if necessary, one or more flexible game closures. 

Powder River Big Game Closure - This large closure is being 
questioned rather seriously at the present time in regard to its actual 
value to the restoration and development of either deer or antelope. 
It is expected that an intensive investigation of this particular 
region will be made during the coming summer. 

SUMMAR Y - This project in aiding the proper posting of game 
preserves, closed areas, refuges, etc., has not been spectacular, 
but has been extremely worthwhile. It is hoped that this project or 
one similar to it, perhaps on a smaller scale, may be continued 
for several years until all of the closures are properly posted. 



Submitted by: 

Robert F. Cooney, Director 
May 26, 1°U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



378 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 17-D-3 



DATE July lg, 19U8 



STATE-fflDE 

FINAL REPORT 
GAME RANGE DEVELOPMENT THROUGH SALT DISTRIBUTION 

PERSONNEL; 

A. A. O 1 Claire, State Fish and Game Warden 

Walter J, Everin, Chief Deputy, Fish and Game Department 

Robert Fo Cooney, Director, Wildlife Restoration Division 

W. K. Thompson, Assistant Director, Wildlife Restoration Division 

Faye M. Couey, Big Game Leader, Wildlife Restoration Division 

Merle J. Rognrud, Assistant Big Game Leader, Wildlife Restoration 

Division 
M, J. Watt, Deputy Game Warden, Hamilton 
George Hollibaugh, Deputy Game Warden, Drummond 
Cooperating Sportsmen 

COOPERATING AGENCIES ; 

U. S. Forest Service 
Johnson Flying Service 
Ravalli County Sportsmen's Club 
Park County Rod and Gun Club 



379 



OBJECTIVES ; 

The placement of salt on big game ranges has been used as a 
management tool to guide movements of members of the deer family o By 
a carefully developed salting program it has been found that deer and 
elk can be enticed away from critical winter ranges during early spring 
and held in higher country during the fall. Vital winter vegetation is 
saved by this shift of game populations,, range conditions improved and 
a supply of forage is reserved for critical winter periods, 

ORGANIZATION OF PROJECT; 

During the initial stages of the work game range salting was 
conducted for five years as a research project . After the needs were 
determined salting was carried as range development and in the future 
will be considered a maintenance project. 

METHODS ; 

Maps have been prepared of all winter game ranges and salting 
plans devised to meet the specific needs of each area. These plans 
have been prepared from management data obtained during big game 
investigative studies. 

Salt used is in $0 pound white blocks. Two to four of these are 
placed on a salt ground. Two methods of salt distribution are used. 
One, by the pack strings of the U. S. Forest Service and Deputy Game 
Warden personnel, salt blocks are placed on many of the game summer 
ranges. Approximately 78,UOO pounds of block salt are put out by 
pack. 

In remote, almost inaccessible regions it has been found desirable 



380 



to distribute salt aerially. This has been accornplished each year by 
use of a Ford Trimotor Chief advantage of this method are speed, 
economy, and salt can be dropped during early spring when much of the 
area would not be accessible by pack strings due to the snow depth 
and trail conditions. Thirty -eight thousand pounds of block salt 
are distributed by air. 

Salt Distribution by Areast 

Beaverhead Area 
Wise River. ............ £00 pounds 

Dillon Area .... ........ 200 pounds 

Bitterroot Area 
Aerial Distribution ....... ,12,000 pounds 

Cabinet Area 

Plains. ......... 1,200 pounds 

Thompson Falls. .......... 1,000 pounds 

Trout Creek. ............ 1,500 pounds 

Noxon. .... .......... 800 pounds 

St. Regis ....... 2,000 pounds 

Custer 
Absarokee. .......... .. 1,000 pounds 

Red Lodge ...... ... ... 2,000 pounds 

Deer Lodge 
Phillip sburg . ......... . • 1,500 pounds 



381 



I3U. UT/6 oeoooo 0000000000 

Boulder, 



eoooooooooo o o o o 



Whitehall 



oooooooooooooo 



Deer Lodge 



ooooooooo oo« o 



>00 pounds 

800 pounds 

3,U00 pounds 

1,000 pounds 



Flathead 



0OOOOO0 0*o0 



o O OOOOO0OOOOO0 



Big Prairie « . 
Condon o 

North Fork o.oooooeoe.o 

Coram,, 

Spotted Bear . 
Swan Lake, 
Java. 
Tally Lake 



Loooooooooooooooo 



OOOOOOOOOO© 



• OOoooooooooe 



0O OOOOOOOOOOOOO 



OOOO OOOOOOOOO 



2,000 pounds 
800 pounds 
1,000 pounds 
2,000 pounds 
3,000 pounds 
1,000 pounds 
600 pounds 
1,000 pounds 



Aerial Distribution 



O O O O O 



o . • 12,000 pounds 



Gallatin 



Bozeman. 



eooooo oooo*ooo 



Shields. • . • 



OOOOOOOOOOO 



Yellowstone. 



000000000*00 



U,000 pounds 
1,100 pounds 
1,000 pounds 



Helena 



Canyon Ferry .... 
Lincoln. 



00000000 



00000000 



oeo* 



2,000 pounds 
2,000 pounds 



Fortine. . . . 
Troy. . . „ . 



Kootenai 

...... 1,500 pounds 

...... 2,000 pounds 



0000 



382 



larland 



eooooooooeoooeo 



Rexford, • 



OOOOOOOOOOOOO 



Yaak 



CO OOOOftODOOOooOO 



o o © o e oooooooeeo 



Libby 

Fisher River • •••••.,•••• 

Lewis and Clark 



Aerial Distribution - Teton 



e o o o * 



Aerial Distribution - Sun River 



« o o 



uUQ J. . -Ji\ ooooooooooooo 09 

Ms..r T>ins&cLLe o ooc«©ooooooo 



Lolo 



Seeley Lake 

Missoula. 

Lolo. 



O O O fl O OOOOOOOO 



o oooooo*ooooe 



o o o o ooooooooooo 



Ninemile 



© a r> o © o o o o o o © oo 



Superior o «, « 
Bonita 



o o o © o oooo«o 



ootoeoooo oeoooo 



AERIAL DISTRIBUTION 



2^000 pounds 
2 c, 000 pounds 
1 5 20C pounds 
600 pounds 
l^OO pounds 



6 S 000 pounds 
8 5 000 pounds 
2 5 000 pounds 
l^OO pounds 



6 5 000 pounds 
5 5 600 pounds 
3 5 000 pounds 
2 5 000 pounds 
8 5 000 pounds 
1<,000 pounds 



Bitterroot Area g Salt distribution in the Bitterroot Drainage 
was accomplished in four hours and 1$ minutes. Of this the Ravalli 
County Sportsmen's Club paid for one hour's flight. As in 19U6 5 it 
was arranged to use the tri~motor in conjunction with the U. So 
Forest Service and thus save deadhead time from Missoula to Hamilton 
and return. 

Six tons of salt was flown from Hamilton as indicated in the 



383 



table below « On each flight 3^000 pounds of salt were carried and four 
blocks were distributed on eacn drop,, 







o 










9 




Flight 


s Area 

• 
• 




D 
a 

■ 
o 


Pounds of Salt 


• 

O 




Flying Time 


1 


© 
o 

? West Fork 








3,000 


&■ 

o 
o 


70 min. 


2 


% East Fork 






s 

© 


3,000 


• 
o 


60 min 


3 


s Burnt Fork-Skalkaho 




• 


3,000 




55 min 


k 


s 

s West Side 


Bitterroot 


Range 




3,000 


Ck 

S 


70 min c 



Total 



12,000 



U» 15" 



The attached map indicates the salting plan used» 

Continental Units Aerial salting has been conducted in the 
Continental Unit since 19U2 In this area a salting program is especially- 
desirable because many natural licks are found on winter range,, It is 
desirable to discourage use of natural licks by substituting artificial 
salt grounds« 

The salt drops are located in altitudenal zones The lower zone 
with an average elevation of 6,000 feet, represents range that is 
accessible to elk in the springy but is well above winter range The 
second or alpine zone is located at between 7,000 or 7,500 feet along 
the Continental Divide or the upper limits of summer range 



301i 



BITTERROOT AERIAL SALTING PLAN 
April 28, 19U8 







R 20 c 

BoiSf Meridian 



Salt Drop 
Flight Route 



385 



Flight-Weight-Tirne Tabulation 





© 

a 


e 




O 

a 




Flight 


s Area 


s Pounds of 


• 
* 


Flight 




• 
a 

• 


m 
• 

a 
• 


Salt 


a 
• 

o 


Time 


1 


o 

m 

sUpper South Fork of Flathead - 


9 

a 

m 


2,800 


• 

a 

a< 


2s0£ hrs 




s Landing at Augusta 


o 

M 








2 


• 

sUpper North Fork of Sun River - 


• 
a 


2 5 800 


• 
• 


Is 10 hrso 




s Landing at Augusta 


a 

i 




a 

• 




3 


8 

sSun River-Moose Creek - Bear Creek 


s 

• 
• 


2,800 


3 

a 
a 


Is 00 hrso 




% Area - Landing at Augusta 


s 




at 
B 

o 




k 


• 

sNorth Fork Sun River - 6 S 000 foot 


9 

a 

ft 


2,800 


ft 

a» 


Is 05 hrs<, 




s Zone - Landing at Augusta 


o 




• 




$ 


i 

sWest Fork Sun River and South along 


t 

a 


2 5 800 


a* 


1?55 hrso 




t Divide - Landing at Missoula 


o 

1 




• 
• 




6 


• 

sSouth Fork Flathead-Black Bear to 


a 

a 
a 


2,800 


a 
o 


Is 30 hrso 




s Spotted Bear - Landing at Mis- 


• 




9 
• 






s soula 






S 




7 


sSwan Mission Range - Landing at 


• 

aj 
ai 


2,800 


a 
m 


ls25 hrs. 




s Missoula 


o 

a 




a 

• 




8 


9* 

gSchafer Ranger Station - Middle Forks 


2,800 


• 

o 

a) 


2s k0 hrs 




s of Flathead - Landing at Missoula 

• 


a 

a 

• 








CONCLUSIONS : 











Observations from elk tagging, checking station, summer examination 
of forage and inspection of salt grounds have shown that the salting 
program is successful in distributing big game specie s„ 

Cost analysis of methods of distribution have indicated that in 
some areas aerial salting is the most economical as well as the most 
efficient ne ans of salt placement 

Total salt output has increased from 6U,000 pounds in 19U0 to 
116, U00 pounds in 19U7» 



386 



Aerial Distribution of Salt in Mountains 



Game Range Unit g Tons of Salt Placed 

8l9Ul-U2si9U2-U3a9U3-liIisl9UU-U5sl9U5-U6sl9U6-U7 



Sun River t < a $ 2 5.5 s 5.5 s 5<>5 1 5.5 ? 5.5 

o o « » o • 

6 o • • • • 

South Fork of Flathead ? r 3c0 : 3-0 s 2.8 s 2.8 : 2.8 

O- o o o © • 

©-••••• 

Middle Fork of Flathead : % 1.1* s 1.1* s l.lj : l.U : leU 

O o © » o ■ 

o » • ft • ft 

Swan-Mission Range g g s j 1,3 : 1.3 : 1.3 

e o • • o a 

o • Q • a • 

Bitterroot Range s s r s 2 U.O ; 6.0 



RECOMMENDATIONS ; 

It is recommended that the present distribution of salt be con- 
tinued with the following suggested change s„ 

1. Include the North Fork of Flathead in the aerial salting program, 
One ton of salt to be flown from Kalispello 

2. Revise the Bitterroot salting plan and not attempt to 
correlate salting with U. S. Forest Service flights,, A revision 
providing for 1 1/2 ton from Missoula to be dropped enroute to Hamilton 
and three loads out of Hamilton, with the last load being dropped on the 
return to Missoula, will enable the Game Department to fly in the early 
morning hours when the air is not rough and to select a suitable day for 
the job. Little, if any* additional expense will be incurred by this 
revision and better results are assured, as well as greater safety. 

3. A detailed review is being made of the effect of salt placement 
on the Sun River slope of the Continental Unit. It is felt that some 
adjustment may be desirable in regard to the altitudinal zone distribu- 



te 7 



tion pattern more in keeping with vegetative readiness of the 
important forage plants. In other words it appears that the alpine 
drops should be delayed for perhaps a month after the intermediate 
drops (6 S 000 foot zone) have been made. This should preclude heavy 
premature grazing in alpine basins 

It is proposed this year to move the alpine drops down into the 
intermediate zonej thus ? it is hoped accomplishing the desired 
objective and still getting the salt out during the one flight 
operation. 



Submitted bys 

W. K. Thompson,, Assistant Director 
June 1$ 9 19hQ Wildlife Restoration Division 



388 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 21-R-2 



DATE July l£, 19U8 



STATE-WIDE 

MAGPIE CONTROL INVESTIGATION 

PERSONNEL ; 

Wm Ro Bergeson, Game Bird Leader, Wildlife Restoration Division 
Robert J„ Greene, Fieldman, Wildlife Restoration Division 
Don ViTilliams, Field Assistant, Wildlife Restoration Division 
Organized Sportsmen's Groups 
County Extension Agents 

PURPOSE: 

lo To determine the range and comparative abundance of the magpie 
in the State 

2o To establish the degree of depredation by magpies on game 
birds, particularly the pheasant* 

3<> To secure information on types of magpie control used and the 
degree of successo 

PROCEDURE; 

In order to determine the relative numbers of magpies in the 
State, the areas of heavy concentration, and the relationship between 
magpies and game birds, particularly pheasants, questionnaires were 
mailed to all organized sportsmen's associations and to the County 



389 



Extension Agent in each County of the State. In addition, a survey 
was made over most of the State by Restoration Division personnel in 
order to gain first hand information on the problem through 
observation and contacts with farmers, game wardens, and sportsmen. 

Returns on the questionnaires were poor. Reports were received 
from only 38 of the 56 counties. The personal survey covered 39 
counties, including the ones not reported on the questionnaire so 
information was received from the entire State. Coincidental with 
pheasant field work, observations were made to determine the degree 
of predation by magpies upon pheasant eggs and young birds. 

FINDINGS; 

For distribution and relative abundance of magpies in Montana 
see Map 1. It will be noted that magpies are found in varying numbers 
over the whole State, being common in all major drainages and 
tributaries with the exception of drainages in a few counties in 
northwestern Montana. It was found that the range where the magpie is 
most abundant corresponds almost exactly with the range of the ring- 
necked pheasant in Montana. 

Of the 38 counties reporting by questionnaire, 23 were carrying 
out a magpie control program and six were planning a program. Control 
programs were sponsored by sportsmen's organizations, county agencies, 
and other organizations. Estimated cost of the programs ranged as high 
as $900 a year. Control measures consisted of trapping, poisoning, 
contests, bounties, organized hunts, nest destruction, etc. One 
county had hired 1 man as a full time trapper with good results. The 
approximate cost of this I was 12tf per bird trapped. Bounties 



390 



ranged from 2$ to 100 per bird for adult birds,, Gallatin County reported 
gathering 10,5>00 eggs while Lake County reported the highest number of 
adult birds destroyed,, l5,000„ Varying degrees of success were reported 
on the control work in various counties,, As high as 80$ eradication of 
the birds was reported for one area in Sheridan County where a very 
intense program was carried outo 

Control measures that had proved successful differed in different 
areas in the State Egg collecting and the payment of bounties were 
reported as being unsuccessful in a number of counties. Poisoning 
was also unsuccessful due to the fact that many land-owners objected 
to the use of poison on their property* 

Reports from 26 counties indicated that the magpies had increased 
in numbers over the past five yearso One report stated that the magpies 
had increased 9~10 times over the numbers of a few years ago 

With the range of the magpies and the ring-necked pheasant 

corresponding so closely, the question arises as to what damage the 

magpie might inflict on the pheasant population,, Twenty- seven of the 

38 questionnaires received reported that the magpie is known to be 

destructive to game birds, and that there was a correlation between 

the decrease in pheasant population and the increase in magpie 

population,. The most serious damage to the pheasant population by 

magpies is caused by nest destruction,, eating eggs, and killing youngo 

Several reports were received where magpies were actually seen eating 

pheasant eggs and killing the young birds B However, most reports of 

predation were based on evidence such as egg shells in the brush where 

magpies were numerous, rather than actual observations of predation. 

Submitted bys 

Wm„ Ro Bergeson, Game Bird Leader 
July 1, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 391 




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101 



392 



- 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 21-R-2 



DATE July l£, 19U8 



STATE-WIDE UNIT 

MAGPIE TRAPPING IN THE WIN BRIDGES AND SHERIDAN AREAS 
January to March,, 19kQ 

The snail 2 x k x U traps were used most extensively and 
successfully during this trapping season,, although some k x 6 x 6 
traps were used 5 but were found to be inferior o The funnel entrance 
on this type of trap was found to be much more satisfactory than the 
w V tt type trap used by most farmers on their larger traps© However, it 
is believed that the larger the trap the better, since more than one 
funnel can be used and the trap looks less like a box c These small 
traps must be checked and rebaited every day or two, since the snow 
covers the bait and funnelo A special catching net is required, similar 
to a fish landing net with a long handle to remove the birds from the 
trap. 

The bait supply, of course, was limited, and the best supply of 
good bait was obtained at the slaughter house at Twin Bridge s The 
best bait was found to be hog intestines, since magpies like fat and 
not especially the lungs as commonly believedo The bait was placed 
above the funnel on each side and at the end of the funnel, leaving 
just enough room for a bird to get by without squeezing 



393 



These traps were placed in localities where the magpies were 
observed to feed and were located a few feet from the edge of brushy 
cover in order that magpies could see them easily. Most successful 
locations were in grain fields and near sheep pens not too near 
buildings or a heavily traveled road. The most magpies caught in a 
single trap was 25, while the mos t caught in one day was $0 — all 
in the same grain fieldo 

Besides trapping, poison stations were established and 
experiments were made with several poisons to determine the best 
one D Potassium Cyanide was found to work very well for the first few 
days after it was set out, but lost its strength after that time,, 
The best formula was found to be l/2 oz c of strychnine alkaloid to 
1 pound of suet, mixed with a little red meat and about 1/2 pint of 
neatsfoot oilo The neatsfoot oil keeps the suet from becoming brittle 
in cold weather and also tends to hide the poison's bitter taste, 
besides having a very strong animal odor. Dead birds were usually 
found within 10 or 20 feet of the stations where the above formula was 
usedo With poison, the best results were again obtained near sheep 
pens or in grain fields 

Probably the main reason there are so many magpies in this 
area is because of the numerous sheep ranches and attendant sheep 
carcasses lying in their vicmity Everyone was very glad to see 
the magpies destroyed, but not so willing to put out time and effort to 
do the destroying or to dispose of the garbage and carcasses in their 
barnyards. 

A project of this kind in the Sheridan area is not recommended 



39U 



again for several reasons,, First, the weather is too mild and snow is 
essential for good trapping^ second, trapping is far too costly to be 
used in such a mild climate o Poison would work better if everyone 
agreed to use it, but few were willing to have it on their rancho The 
third, and most important reason, is that the people weren't interested 
in trapping magpies or protecting pheasants. Almost every farmer 
contacted who had any grain at all didn't seem to care if all the 
pheasants were killed off, since they believe pheasants damage grain 
crop So 

Most of the sportsmen want pheasants and want very much to see the 
magpies destroyed,, M« Jo Birrer of Sheridan, president of the local 
club, was and will be, very glad to help in any program of the Department, 
It is suggested that the sportsmen conduct their own project with some 
support from the Fish and Game Department » 



Submitted by; 

Don Co Williams, Field Assistant 
May 2I4.5 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



395 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 22-D 



DATE July 1$, 1?U8 



MISSOURI BREAKS UNIT 

FINAL REPORT 

MOUNTAIN SHEEP HOLDING PASTURE 
FORT PECK GAME RANGE AREA 



SUPERVISORS? 



Ao A. 0'Claire ? State Fish and Game Warden 

Robert F, Cooneyy Director ,, Wildlife Restoration Division 

« 

PERSONNEL ; 

Faye M. Couey ? Big Game Leader^ Wildlife Restoration Division 
Don Lo Brown 5 Assistant Big Game Leader <> Wildlife Restoration 

Division 
Charles Harkness^ Field Foreman, Wildlife Restoration Division 

COOPERATING AGENCIES: 

Fish and Wildlife Service (Tom Horn, Manager Fort Peck Game 

Range and his staff) 
Bureau of Land Management 
Soil Conservation Service 
Local ranchers and sportsmen 



396 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS ; 

The Missouri Breaks within and adjacent to the Fort Peck Game 
Range present apparently ideal mountain sheep range. During historic 
times large numbers of the Audubon variety of mountain sheep were 
found in the area Indiscriminate hunting plus perhaps other factors, 
however, caused their total extinction by 1916. 

There have been no bighorn sheep in the area since that time. 
It is isolated by great distance from the present range of the 
remaining herds e It is impractical, therefore, to expect a natural 
migration into the area. 

The re -introduction of mountain sheep by transplanting presents 
a very desirable possibility. Former experience in this type of work 
has indicated that a holding pasture sufficiently large to accommodate 
the planted sheep for a period of up to two years would be a material 
aid in assuring the success of the project. Sheep released directly 
tend to scatter widely, away from the point of release . With the 
limited numbers available for planting purposes, it is extremely 
desirable that a minimum of scattering take place. 

It was, therefore, planned that a holding pasture be constructed 
which would enclose about a half section of suitable habitat. An eight 
foot woven wire fence with set posts was used to encompass an area of 
sufficient forage and water to preclude the necessity of artificial 
feeding or watering. 

An intensive field examination of this area by Fish and Game 
Department personnel in company with Howard Osmundson, range technician 
for the Soil Conservation Service, Tom Horn, Refuge Manager Fort Peck 



397 



Game Range., and Frank McKeever, local rancher, was the basis for 

computing the size of this pasture, based on the carrying capacity of 

this type of forage. 

The pasture, as shown by the accompanying nap, lies in Section 

five and eight, Township 21 North, Range 3U Easto All of Section five 

and that portion of Section eight that is not privately owned is 

Government land under the administration of the Bureau of Land Manage- 

mento Leases have been obtained for the use of these lands 

Government Land 2$h acres 

Private land (Frank McKeever) 7U acres 

Total 328 acres 

The fenced area drains eastward into Billy Creek, The eastern 
boundary encloses roughly 80 acres of extremely rough badlands The 
balance of the pasture is rolling grassland with scattered patches of 
scrubby Ponderosa pine and an occasional Douglas fir„ Principal 
grasses are Bouteloua gracilis ,, Carex filifolia , Calamouilfa 
longifolia, Agropyron smithii g Koeleria cristata, Poa sp , Stipa sp e , 
Andropogon sp., and other less palatable species. Browse plants 
consist largely of Artemisia (3 species), Gutierrez i a sp., Symphoricarpos 
sp_., Prunus , Salix , Amelanchier , Sarcobatus and three species of 
Juniperu s. Several weed species are found of which Trogopogon is the 
most common o 

The fence consists of lodgepole posts ten feet long set two feet 
in the ground and adequately bracedo Light woven wire seven feet high 
was placed on the inside of the posts and two strands of barbed wire 
placed six inches apart on top of this. There were about three miles of 
this fence. 

398 



The fence was located that at no point would animals be able to 
jump over except up hill or at least from the level ■ Where there might 
be a possibility of getting a running start at a low place, an arm 
was built projecting inward at a k$ degree angle with two more barbed 
wire strands attached,, 

Where the fence crossed coulees, and there were two large ones, 
special gates were built to swing and let high water and accompanying 
trash go through and still prevent the sheep from getting outo 

The rough terrain and many problems arising therefrom caused more 
time and a corresponding increase in expense to be added to the 
original estimated costs of the project,, Below is a list of total 
cost of construction,, 

Salaries and Wages $ 2,988 . 70 

Subsistence 8l3o7H> 

Operation and Rental of Equipment £21, 37 

Tel. & Tel., Workmen's Comp , Contingency 9$*9h 

Materials 2,775.22 

Total $ 7,19U.98 

Two springs which constituted about the only source of water in 
the enclosure were dynamited and curbed such that an adequate supply 
of water was insured,, A reservoir built outside the fence and just 
above these springs, but abandoned because of a leaky bottom, was 
treated with bentonite so that it would hold run-off water „ This 
should help stabilize the spring flow. 

As this area adjoins the Fort Peck Game Range we feel fortunate 
in having the additional protection this affords. Fish and Wildlife 



399 



patrolmen are making particular effort to keep an eye on the sheep and 
the pasture. Their predator control program has been modified to 
give particular emphasis on reduction of both coyotes and bobcats 
in this area. We are also indebted to this Service for considerable 
time and use of equipment in construction of the fence. 

On November 16th, 19k7<, 16 bighorns were released in this en- 
closure. This included two large rams 5 one young ram 5 nine ewes and 
four lambs o These animals were supplied by the Colorado Game and 
Fish Department and they were trapped from the Tarryall herd. We 
feel fortunate to be able to obtain stock from this exceptionally 
thrifty herd and hope to keep this group free from any other strains 
at least until they become well established here* 

During the breeding season the small ram escaped from the pasture. 
Evidence indicated that he was forced through the fence by one of the 
larger rams He stayed in the vicinity a short while then disappeared. 
During latter April an inspection revealed the remaining l£ sheep to 
be in fine condition and quite at home in the enclosure. 



Submitted by: 

Faye M. Couey, Big Game Leader 
May U 5 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



U00 







Mountain Sheep Tight Fence Used on Pasture 




Typical of the rough terrain through which the fence was constructed. 

Uoi 




Photo from the air showing fence and north side 
of the Mountain Sheep Pasture, 




Swinging type trash gate constructed in canyon 
bottom across a dry-wash,, 



U02 






STATE FISH AND GAME DEPARTMENT 

BIGHORN SHEEP TRANSPLANTING 
AREA 

Billy Creek -Missouri Creak? 
T.2IN. R.34E. 




Sec.& 



403 



MISSOURI BREAKS MOUNTAIN SHEEP DEVELOPMENT AREA 



R.34C 




UOL 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 2l;-M 



DATE July 1$ 3 1?U8 



WATER FACILITIES 

WILDLIFE HABITAT DEVELOPMENT AERIAL INSPECTION 
MUSSELSHELL AND PETROLEUM COUNTIES 



DATE ; 

April 27, 19U8 

PERSONNEL : 

Win. R Bergeson, Game Bird Leader, Wildlife Restoration Division 
Don Lo Brown, Ass't. Big Game Leader, Wildlife Restoration 

Division 

PURPOSE ; 

For several years it has been thought that inspection of the 8-D 
Wildlife Habitat Development areas, many of which involve traveling long 
distances over rough, unimproved roads, could be more satisfactorily 
inspected from an airplane with reference to species and numbers of water- 
fowl present, condition of cover, water levels within the reservoir, and 
condition of the fences surrounding them. 

Accordingly, two and a quarter hours flying time were spent checking 
10 reservoirs in Musselshell and Petroleum Counties to determine if this 
method was practical. 



ko$ 



PROCEDURE ; 

Leaving Roundup in the morning the observers inspected each reservoir 
from an altitude of approximately 1,000 feet, then low enough to distinguish 
the various species of waterfowl present, and again lower to check the 
condition of the fences » 

No attempt was made to make precise observations since the purpose 
of the flight was to determine only the feasibility of this type of 
inspection. 

FINDINGS: 

Following is a brief resume of what was seen at each reservoir 
area in order of incidence? 

Alt; Water very low, wildlife area exposed to cattle trespass 
through water side, no waterfowl observed, fence in need of minor repairs. 

♦ Big Meyers ; Reservoir very low, fence falling down in several 
places and down over most of west end, about 2£ ducks present most of which 
were mallards 

" Little Meyers; Water very low, fence down on east side and in need 
of repairs elsewhere., about 20 ducks present mostly teal - one pair 
mallards noted. 

Yellow Water ; Water level below normal for this season, but 
adequate to carry through the year. Approximately 1,500 waterfowl of 
different species noted. No attempt was made to distinguish species, but 
mallards, teal, shov. Lers, pintails, canvas backs and coots were noted. 
Fence repairs are needed along the water line. 



♦These reservoirs have not been recommended for future maintenance by W, 
K. Thompson in "Water Facilities and Wildlife Habitat Development", Quarterly 
ber, \$k 

U06 



..eg- Horse ; Water very low, several thousand ducks and shore birds 
noted, but no attempt was made to identify various species present. Fence 
in good shape o 

Little Bear s Dry* 

Unnamed Reservoir ? (1 mile K.E« of Little Bear) Has excellent 
wildlife area, fence in poor shape and down in several places, reservoir 
l/2 full, 12 ducks mainly mallards present. 

Goodwin ; Dry, fence in need of repairs, cover in development area 
is very good. This reservoir may fill during June* 

Melstone ; Water level very low, fence in good shape. Several 
pairs of mallards present, also many coots. 

Wood s; Water level low, fence intact, pot hole wildlife area 
below dam filled with water. No waterfowl observed. 

Although the observers did not land the plane at any of the 
reservoirs, the type of terrain is such that landings could very easily be 
made if necessary and a detailed inspection accomplished at each site. 

CONCLUSIONS ; 

The use of an airplane provides a very economical, time saving, 
and satisfactory method of inspecting reservoir development areas most of 
which are widely scattered and rather difficult to reach by other methods 
of travel* Although ducks sometimes flush when approached at very low 
altitudes it is possible t.o distinguish species in most cases. Some 
difficulty was experienced in identifying aiving ducks which in several 
instances went under water on the approach of the plane, but even here 
circling a few times would allow satisfactory identification. 



U07 



udoUMKENDATIOIJS ; 

It is recommended that each of these areas be inspected by air 
during the next 30 days and again during the summer and fall seasons. If 
this were done systematically each year, their comparative and overall 
values could be easily determined. 



Submitted by: 
Wm. R. Bergeson, Game Bird Leader 
Don L. Brown, Ass't. Big Game Leader 
May 8, 19U8 Wildlife Restoration Division 



U08 



STATE Montana 



PROJECT 26-M 



DATE July 1$ 9 1?U8 



BITTERROOT UNIT 

AERIAL SALT DISTRIBUTION 

DATE; 

April 28, 19U8 

PERSONNEL ; 

Ken Thompson, Assistant Director, Wildlife Restoration Division 
Merle Rognrud, Ass't. Big Game Leader, Wildlife Restoration Division 
M. J. Watt, Deputy Game Warden 
Jerry Verheltz, Pilot, Johnson Flying Service 

PURPOSE ; 

The third annual aerial salting of game ranges in the Bitterroot 
Unit was made to continue the plan for securing a more desirable seasonal 
distribution of big game. The salt drops, have attracted elk and deer to 
higher elevations earlier in the spring thus minimizing the period of use 
for winter ranges. Salt on the west side is available for goats and some 
east side drops could be used by moose, 

PROCEDURE ; 

Six tons of salt were dropped from the Johnson Flying Service 

U09 



on -motored plane in four hours and fifteen minutes of flying time,,* The 
drops each were four 5>0-pound blocks of salt located along the flight 
route as indicated on the map showing the salt plan for the Bitterroot 
Unit. 

One flight wa? loaded out of Fissoula and three loads were flown 
from Hamiltono M. J. Watt spotted the salt drops except on the east 
fork trip which was guided by Earl Malone of the Ravalli County 
Sportsmen's Club. Ernest Petersen also assisted in the salting work and 
Jerry Verheltz piloted the plane. 

FILINGS: 



The maximum use of flying tine was made by planning the trips as 
followsj flight one routed along the west side Bitterroot Range from 
Missoula to Hamilton. Flight two was r.ade over the West Fork, flight 
three into the East Fork and flight four along the east side of the 
Burnt Fork-Skalkaho country returning to Missoula. Each trip required 
approximately one hour of flying time. 

Salting in the Bitterroot Unit has developed into a quite 
satisfactory plan (See map) No changes in the location of drops for 
1°U? are contemplated at present. However, investigation of the sites 
should be made as opportunity is afforded to determine their use by 
game. Most drops were made in open parks on the ridges so the more 
accessible sites could be checked,, In some instances it may be desirable 
for a change in location of the drop,, 

RECOMMENDATIONS ; 

The Bitterroot Unit be salted during the spring of 19U9 after the 

♦One hour of fly: -id for by rvalli County Sportsmen's 

Club.) 

U10 



plan shown on the map« 

Salt drops be investigated when opportunity is afforded to find 
the extent of use by game,. 

Localities of heavy winter use by game and where damage to private 
property occurs be periodically inspected to determine whether heavier 
salting or a different pattern of drops would improve the condition. 



Submitted bys 

Merle Rognrud s Ass't. Big Game Leader 
May 20 s ±9kQ Wildlife Restoration Division 



Ull 



BITTERROOT AERIAL SALTING PLAN 
April 28, 19U8 



m ontaoa Mei 



T32 N, 




Flicrht Route 



U12 



( 



' 






Helena,, Montana 
July 1$, 19U3 



Regional Director 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

Swan Island 

Portland,, 18 Oregon 

Dear Sirs 

We are herewith submitting a Quarterly Progress Report in 
connection with the projects carried out through the use of Federal 
Aid in Wildlife Restoration funds. 

The coverage is for the period April 5 May and June s 19U8. 

Submitted bys 



^Tft^^-Pn 



Robert F. Cooney, Director 
Wildlife Restoration Division 




Approved bys 



d.ao % dL*^> 



A. A. 0» Claire 

State Fish and Game Warden 



U13 





Date Loaned 












. 
































































































































• 















Ace .#1186 



Wildlife restoratio^ffkv^sil 

quarterly repor^^Jifl^jMine, 19I4.8 




ame Commission