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Hunting enforcement issues 'on par'

by Brandon Roberts & Western News
| December 8, 2008 11:00 PM

Even though general big-game hunting season wrapped up, wildlife officials are still conducting follow-ups. 

John Obst, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game warden, said the season went pretty well from an enforcement standpoint.

“We were on par with other years,” Obst said. “There were lots of trespass issues, especially this year.”

He believes new developments and an increasing number of private landowners may be a factor, along with deer hanging around residential areas.

“The end-of-season push has hunters testing the limits,” Obst said. “Some people can make honest mistakes, and we are willing to work with them.”

FWP is using more simulated wildlife decoys to address some hunters’ disregard in shooting situations.

“Typically when we set decoys, the ones caught were shooting from vehicles or pavement and sometimes into private property,” Obst said.

A recent grizzly decoy was placed up the Pipe Creek drainage but Obst said all hunters that stopped to check it out identified it as a grizzly and “no one even pulled a rifle, just binoculars,” he said.

On Tuesday morning, Obst responded to a wasted game claim on Sheldon Mountain. Three bucks and two does were pitched on the side of the road.

“Some do a good job of taking the edible meat off the bone, some take the choice cuts and discard the rest,” he said.

However, one had the back half cut off, which is a wasted game violation.

“Typically this is what we go through,” Obst said. “Some take the meat and some dump the animals.”

Enforcement officials don’t get any breaks just because the general season ended. Mountain lion, bobcat and trapping seasons opened this past Monday.