Contributors to this thread:
Bear Hunt vs Bow Hunt
Has anybody become concerned over the running of bear during the archery elk season? I hunt unit 31 and I and others observed bear being run EVERY day during the first ten days of the bow season. Multiple bear rigs in the area. In addition, I met bear rigs the day before the season opened, and actually had one of them tell me he had been running bear . At that time I didn't know it was illegal. I observed 15 or 20 elk leave that specific area 2 hours earlier, in a large, quickly moving herd I had been watching for 2 days. I am in the area every week or so all summer long, and encountered bear rigs every time, yes even in August. Again, at that time I didn't know bear dog training was closed after July 31st. I, nor anybody I talked with from other camps, heard a single bugle during the first ten days of the season. What elk were seen by me and my partner were nervous, easily spooked, and really laying low---and completely non-vocal and unresponsive. It appeared the rutting behavior was completely disrupted. One friend said he had seen 5 branch bulls together, with no cows, 6 days into the season---highly unusual for that area. Again, no vocalizations or response at all. Leaving my camp one morning in the dark on my ATV, heading for my blind I encountered three bear rigs parked side by side by side, completely blocking the road, while unloading what looked to be 20 or more dogs, 4 or 5 adults and some kids--complete chaos. This at 6:00 in the morning. They directed me around them through the brush to get by. One afternoon heading out for the evening hunt, I got behind two bear rigs doing about 10 mph. The back one let me pass, but the front one kept me behind him for 2 miles in the dust, and didn't offer to let me go by, as they slowly progressed trying to find a scent their dogs would alert to. I have absolutely no problem with bear hunting. I actually kind of like the sound of the dogs echoing off the hills in the morning. And in past years I've had dogs follow me back to my camp, looking for their ride home. Beautiful animals. But to run bear dog season and archery elk season concurrently is, I believe, becoming a problem, at least in unit 31. And in my estimation, there are vastly more bear rigs than in the past there. I think it is disrupting normal behaviors, diminishing bow hunting experience and opportunity, and frankly just plain scaring the bejeezus out of the elk and deer. (I busted an elk in the dark hiking into my blind one morning, and that elk barked 39 times before shutting up!--Yes, I counted, getting pis_eder and pis-eder every bark.) I have talked to the biologist for the area who was very interested to hear my observations, and when asked if there had ever been any talk about separating the two season, he indicated there had indeed been discussion, and maybe there would be more. I know others who were going to talk to Fish and Game about the situation, but am interested in what you folks have to say. Any takers?
If they are running dogs after the season ends they need to be turned in.
As far as running dog season during archery season I don't like it any more than you do. Considering take seasons, training seasons, and two species to hunt the houndsmen probably have longer seasons than you and I do.
But be warned the Outfitters and Guides Association have more more pull with F&G than the rest of us. Been there, seen it happen...