WSF Mountain Minutes
Nov. 30, 2012

Hunting is a conservation tool
It might come as a surprise to some, but hunting is one of the most effective conservation tools that we have. More than 95 percent of the native wildlands that remain in deep South Texas are in the hands of private landowners and in order to keep that important habitat intact landowners must find a way to make their land produce income. Taxes must be paid, windmills repaired and fences kept up. Mineral wealth such as gas and oil are not always available and traditional cattle operations are becoming difficult for ranchers to make a living with.More

World-ranked bighorn ram now on display
The Free Press
Elk Valley, Canada, visitors can now get a close-up view of a Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep ram that lived for almost 12 years at Teck's Greenhills Operations, growing horns that are ranked jointly the sixth largest in British Columbia and the 33rd largest in the world. Fernie Chamber of Commerce has the mounted ram head on display at its nature center on Highway 3, which presents the history and resources of the Elk Valley to visitors and local school groups.More

Escrow closes on land for bighorns
The Desert Sun
Escrow closed to finalize protection of 2,748 acres of land formerly owned by billionaire Tim Blixseth in and along the Santa Rosa Mountains from near Frank Sinatra Drive southeast to near the shores of the Salton Sea. The parcels will be preserved as open space and habitat for the mountain range's endangered population of Peninsular bighorn sheep and other species. It includes some of the last undeveloped alluvial fans, the gradually sloping areas connecting mountains and the valley floor, which are critical habitat and movement corridors for the sheep.More

Bighorn sheep trio debuts at ZooMontana
Billings Gazette via Independent Record
The ZooMontana family has increased by three. On Nov. 15, the zoo announced that three young bighorn sheep — like those found across Montana — are now on public display. "They are such a prominent animal in the area and it's just so spectacular to see them do what they do," said Jeff Ewelt, the zoo's director. The young sheep — two females and a male — are on indefinite loan from a Nebraska ranch to the zoo as part of a breeding program, meaning there could be lambs running around the enclosure someday.More

Watch bighorn sheep near Green River
Early December is the perfect time to see Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. That's why Division of Wildlife Resources personnel have chosen Dec. 1 as the day to hold Utah's annual Bighorn Sheep Watch. The event is free and pre-registration is not required. If you attend, Brent Stettler says you should bring a pair of binoculars, a spotting scope and a camera. During the rut, this time of year, Stettler says equally matched rams will occasionally engage in head-butting. "At other times," he says, "a superior ram will harass or drive off a smaller ram."More

Black Friday's gun-buyer checks set a record
USA Today
For the second consecutive year, prospective gun buyers joined Black Friday shoppers in record numbers as firearms dealers swamped the FBI with required buyer background check requests. The FBI fielded 154,873 calls, a roughly 20 percent increase from last year's previous one-day record of 129,166, according to bureau records. The requests came in such volume throughout the day that FBI call centers experienced two brief outages — one of 18 minutes and one for 14 minutes — during the busy day, bureau spokesman Stephen Fischer said.More

The only way to fly: Airplane travel with firearms and ammunition
Sports Afield
The Transportation Security Administration is the federal government agency created to ensure traveler safety and prevent terrorism within the public transportation system. TSA agents are best known and most visible as the screeners at airports, scanning your carry-on luggage, asking you to remove your shoes and belt, confiscating your Leatherman tool and passing their magic wands over your spread-eagled body. Less visibly, they X-ray and hand-search your checked baggage at the airport, probing not only the contents but also the container itself for hidden pockets, false walls and dangerous goods. This is a good thing. Most of us are willing to trade a little hassle and invasion of privacy for increased safety. Those of us who fly with firearms face a bit more hassle than the average Minnesota grandma, yet TSA regulations for hunters remain surprisingly reasonable.More

FWP asks for help finding poachers amid wake of carcasses, orphans
A rash of poaching incidents this fall in central Montana is prompting officials with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to ask for the public's help in finding the responsible parties. Recently, FWP released a photograph of two moose calves standing over the body of their dead mother, which was killed near the top end of Belt Park Road in the Little Belt Mountains in the early morning hours of Oct. 25.More

Savage Lady Hunter
Sports Afield
With the introduction of the new Model 11/111 Lady Hunter, Savage Arms is one of the first rifle manufacturers to design a rifle specifically for women. Most gunmakers seem to think a "lady's" rifle is just a standard rifle with the stock cut down and maybe some pink highlights, but the engineers at Savage consulted with serious women hunters and discovered that there is a lot more to it than that.More

Old-time lever-action rifles still have place hunting whitetails
Pottsville Republican Herald
While strolling through the aisles at the Forks of the Delaware Antique Arms Show at the Allentown, Pa., Fairgrounds last fall, two friends overheard a comment while passing a table of an exhibitor that almost caused them to spill their coffees. "It seems like lever-actions are becoming popular again," said an obviously younger and less informed potential buyer.More