Tendoy Sheep reduction to continue

MONTANA FISH, WILDLIFE AND PARKS

During a conference call Aug. 29 the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a proposal from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to continue a bighorn sheep elimination effort in the Tendoy Mountains that was initiated in 2015. The Tendoys contain bighorn sheep hunting district 315.

The action is a follow-up to last year’s commission decision to move forward with eliminating the Tendoy Mountains bighorn sheep herd in an effort to address a disease issue within the herd. Disease in the Tendoy sheep herd is endemic resulting in poor reproduction. Following removal of the remaining 12 sheep, the plan is to restock the area with healthy bighorns.

FWP sold unlimited licenses for three days from Sept. 6-8 and begin the hunt Sept. 15 concurrent with the traditional opening of bighorn sheep season, which ends Nov. 27.

By statute, hunters harvesting a ram or a lamb would be subject to the seven-year wait to again apply for a limited either-sex or legal ram license. Hunters taking ewes are not subject to the seven-year wait.

The remaining sheep have become very wary and will be difficult to find and harvest. Those who purchased a license were sent a letter concerning the hunt, reporting requirements, and the general areas where remaining sheep are most likely to be found.

During the 2015 hunt period 24 sheep were taken. Following the public hunting FWP hoped to take any remaining sheep by helicopter or from the ground, so no public hunt was proposed earlier. However, since the end of the 2015 hunting season five attempts by helicopter and more than 20 days of effort from the ground have resulted in the taking of only four additional sheep.

Yellowstone deputy superintendent to retire

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

Steven F. Iobst, deputy superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, has announced his Sept. 30 retirement after more than 42 years of continuous service with the National Park Service. 

Iobst was appointed deputy superintendent of Yellowstone National Park in August 2011 and directed day-to-day operations of the 2.2-million-acre park.

Iobst began his career with the Park Service as a student engineer in 1971 in Washington D.C. In 1974, he accepted his first permanent position as a civil engineer and was responsible for facility improvement projects in more than 40 national parks and park sites.

He began his career at Yellowstone in 1979 in maintenance and concessions management, then left Yellowstone in 1988 and became the chief of facility management at Rocky Mountain National Park.

In 1997, Iobst became assistant superintendent at Grand Teton National Park and served as the acting superintendent there from November 2000 to February 2002.

Iobst returned to Yellowstone in 2003 as the chief of maintenance, directing the largest park-based asset management program in the Park Service. 

In June of this year, Iobst received the Department of the Interior Meritorious Service Award.
After his retirement, Iobst and his wife Debbie will reside in Jackson, Wyoming, to be near their children and grandchildren. 

Montana court rules to keep Libertarian candidate on ballot

By Matt Volz Associated Press

HELENA (AP) –_The Montana Supreme Court ruled Sept. 13 to keep the Libertarian candidate for secretary of state on November’s election ballots after the head of the state’s Republican Party tried to have the candidate declared ineligible.

The justices, in a 5-1 decision, denied GOP Chairman Jeff Essmann’s request to remove Roger Roots from the ballot because Roots failed to file his required campaign finance disclosure paperwork.

Roots is a long-shot candidate for the open seat against Republican Corey Stapleton and Democrat Monica Lindeen. He has neither raised nor spent any money in his campaign to replace outgoing Secretary of State Linda McCulloch.

Essmann argued that Roots is not eligible as a candidate because he failed to file his business disclosure statement and several campaign finance reports. Under Montana law, candidates who don’t file the documents must be removed from the ballot.

Essmann had asked the court to order county election officials to stop printing ballots and remove Roots’ name.

Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl responded that Roots filed the documents, though some were late and one was lost in his office after Roots submitted it. Roots also said that he filed all the paperwork that was required of him.

Roots said that he believes Essmann wants him off the ballot because Roots would take votes away from Stapleton in the race. Essmann denied that he was trying to give Stapleton an advantage against Lindeen by striking Roots from the ballot.

New app designed to make hunting easier in Montana

MOUNTAINWORKS

The goal of a new smart phone app called “Montana Hunting Access 2016” is to provide an all-inclusive guide to hunting in the state. Launched last year by Bozeman software company MountainWorks, the app provides hunters with answers to critical questions about land boundaries and detailed information regarding Fish, Wildlife and Parks Block Management Areas (BMAs). 

Every BMA document is included in the app, as well as boundaries for BMAs, and all public and private land via an interactive map that works with a smart phone’s GPS. Hunters can open the app and zoom to their current location.

All of this information is stored on the phone so there’s no need to be connected to Wi-Fi or have cellular coverage to use the app.  

“After safety, the single biggest issue for Montana hunters is knowing where you can and cannot hunt,” said Scott Bischke of MountainWorks. 

Bischke’s frustration with the uncertainty of where he could hunt legally led him to work with software developer Katie Gibson to create the service. “The app is fully focused on providing the most up to date information on public and private land boundaries,” Bischke said.

“We designed ‘Montana Hunting Access 2016’ to be intuitive,” Gibson said. “We want hunters to spend their time hunting, not learning how to use our app … Everything needed, even if you change plans out in the field, is included.”