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Biennial report, Montana Game and Fish Commission, State of Montana (Volume 1919-1920) online

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Americas Greatest

Report of the J


For thet~Two Ye^rs Ending

NOVEMBER ,, ,^,p, 192

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Preserving the Game in Yellowstone Park

By J. L. DeHART, State Game Warden.

I have had about as good an opportunity to get as correct a survey
of wild life in and about Yellowstone Park during the past 25 years
as any one now residing in the Rocky Mountain region.

Upon the most reliable information I can secure, a very small per
cent of cow elk made their return trip from the Yellowstone wintering
area to the summer range in the park. Therefore, the calf crop would
be very short for 1920.

During the spring months of 1917 a survey was made of what is
known as the Northern Yellowstone Park Elk Herd. The Yellowstone
Park people, the Biological Survey, the Forestry, and the Montana
Game Department all took part and the final tabulation gave approxi-
mately 17,000 head, as the grand total.

On or about October 1, 1919, the state of Wyoming published and
circulated a pamphlet, quoting Yellowstone Park authorities as being
responsible for the information, to the effect that the northern herd of
elk had but 10,000 head.

During the "open season" of 1919 in Montana the early storms
throughout their summer range district drove the elk from the park,
and our department can show to the entire satisfaction of any one who
has a desire to know the facts that there was the awful slaughter of
4,000 elk from this reported band of 10.000. We must not overlook
the cruel treatment Montana's wild life has received at the hands of
the state legislature, when the "open season" was extended 30 days,
making 90 days' hunting season on elk, thereby extending the inhumane
slaughter well into the early winter months.

We also know that the Yellowstone Park people fed this remnant
of a once noble herd of elk, on the Gardiner river bottom, not far from
the village of Gardiner, during the severe winter weather, and not-
withstanding the many tons of hay fed them the loss runs from 700 to
1,000 head.

Regarding the statement relative to the elk starving to death in
Montana, I desire to say that game wardens and forest rangers report
finding less than 100 dead elk throughout the northern herd's territory,
and this loss was caused where drifting herds sought winter shelter.

They also tell us that "The Yellowstone National Park and the
Teton game preserve, immediately south of the park, contain about
25,000 elk." This information is misleading; for the Teton herd, under
normal conditions, for several consecutive years past, has shown 25,000
or more elk, and this herd of elk is found on the southern slope of the
high mountain divide, tributary to the Teton waters, and does not
reach Montana's hunting ground.

Our northern herd of elk summers on the Yellowstone watershed
and drifts north to Montana's hunting ground when the severe storms
of early winter drive them down for food and shelter.

The time is ripe for the sportsmen of the state to ask the powers
that be to consider Montana's interest when making arrangements for
stocking the forests with domestic animals.

With these facts before you, may I ask, why give the public such
unreliable information? Is it for the purpose of camouflaging the
truth so that this damnable system of renting the elks' winter feeding
ground to flock masters for a few paltry dollars? What's the profit,
and what's the loss?


Gardiner, Montana, 1919. Elk Shed Their Horns in Winter Months

Montana's sportsmen have but a very short time in which to enter
a vigorous protest against this system, and claim protection of a rea-
sonable amount of winter grazing ground for the remnant of the north-
ern herd of elk. I predict that unless prompt action is taken in this
matter^ — protect the elks' winter grazing ground along the park bor-
der — that within five years the nortliern herd of elk will consist oi
several head confined within an enclosed pasture, somewhere in Yel-
lowstone Park.

If a tract of territory, 10 by 20 miles, adjacent to Yellowstone Park,
running from Dome Mountain east to Slough creek along the eastern
border of Yellowstone Park, were set aside for their winter grazing,
a home would be furnished for our northern elk herd, and thereby
save many thousands of dollars to the government.

During the winter of 1919-20, when hundreds of tons of hay were
being fed to this remnant of the elk herd, the sportsmen of Montana
suggested that a few hundred head of elk be shipped to the Dixon
buffalo preserve in Western Montana, later to bo turned loose in the

This preserve had hundreds of acres of splendid grass, and noth-
ing to eat it, but no, the management preferred to do otherwise, and
when spring came 700 to 1,000 dead animals were taken from their
winter feeding grounds.

For wild life preservation in the Yellowstone National Park and
vicinity, there must be radical changes at an early date, otherwise
liberal appropriations of money will be asked for, for the purpose of
restocking this natural and wonderful home of wild life.

Big game animals — moose, elk, deer and antelope; fur bearing ani-
mals, birds and fishes are being handled in and about the Yollowstone
National I'ark without gloves. If wild life could talk, many heart-
rending stories could be told.

During the tourist season of 189S-99 I was engaged in driving
tourists thro\igh "this greatest of all American summer playgrounds,"
and (luring these sumni(>r months almost every stream was found to
be abundantly stocked with native trout, as well as abundantly pro-
vided with beaver and all other fur bearing animals which might be
seen daily.


Trix Falls. Upper Cut Bank River, Glacier Park

But upon investigation at this date, we find the fishes gone, beaver
destroyed, and in fact a few short seasons more will find old Yellow-
stone National Park a wilderness, so lonesome except during the tour-
ist season that the sound of one's own voice will frighten you.

Nature's wonderland is being commercialized, and wild life is being
driven from the forests. You no doubt have heard the old, old story,
that it is easy to protect yourself against your enemies, but a difficult
matter to protect yourself against your friends. So it is in wonderland;
the poacher we read about is not the one to be found so prevalent about
Yellowstone Park.

"A sad, sad story."


Caught on the Square. But Not Necessarily on the Hook

Fish and Wild Game Protection by Warden DeHart

Addresses Billings Commercial Club at Luncheon - 0. F. Goddard

Wins "Fish Story" Prize

Characterizing fish and wild game as among the most important of
Montana's natural resources and strongly advising against their wanton
destruction. J. L. DeHart, State Game Warden, addressed the Billings
Commercial Club yesterday at a "fish" luncheon, at which H. C. Crip-
pen presided. Other speakers included J. H. Brunson, Superintendent
of Fish Hatcheries of Montana; C. B. Roedel of Sheridan, Wyo. ; G.
Wingard, Red Lodge Commercial Club, and Judge George W. Pierson.

A vaudevillian touch was added by the "fish story" contest, in
which O. F. Goddard, R. H. Fuhrmeister and George W. Swords par-
ticipated. Mr. Goddard carried off the honors and was presented with
an expensive automatic reel, donated by the J. Collins West Sporting
Goods Company.

C. B. Roedel talked on ways of preventing fish from getting into
irrigation canals and ditches, and exhibited a screen of his own in-
vention on which patent is pending.

J. H. Brunson spoke in favor of a closed season for trout, and de-
nounced the practice of fishing for trout in frozen over lakes during
the spawning season.

Judge Pierson gave an interesting account of the life and works
of Isaak Walton.

In his address on fish and game in Montana, Game Warden DeHart
said in part:

"In the minds of those who have to do with the forestry, the fish
and game interests of this state; those that have given these subjects
careful and thoughtful study, each of them in itself seems to occupy
such a place in the make-up of the individual life of so many people
and are jointly so interwoven with each other and the general pros-


Joe Smith the 2nd on the Madison
August, 1916

Char Fishing, Clarke's Fork of the
Columbia River

perity of our state, as to make even their prospective loss appear in
tlie light of a calamity, a condition that if once established will be
extremely hard, if not impossible, to overcome, and that will bring
serious, very serious results in its train.

"How much better it would have been had the people of this state
and of this nation endorsed the idea of game and wild bird preserva-
tion and of fish protection and propagation years ago, instead of at
this time.

"It has been said that the benefit derived by a day afield with rod
or gun by the tired or worn out indoor \i^orker is something that can
not be correctly expressed in words or figures. Physical exercise and
forgetfulness of daily worry and business care bring their reward in
return of health and there is no incentive in this direction.

"Our idea is to make an open park of all the wild lands of this
state, a place in which our people of all classes can find pleasure and
maintain their strength, where the well and strong can enjoy an out-
ing that will keep them well and make them stronger; where those
who are starting on the road to shattered nerves and inability to meet
the demands they are called upon to face, can strengthen their hold
on all those things that fit men to meet the requirements of their
every day battle with the world.

"The presence of game and fish is a lure to strenuous outdoor
exercise, that means better health to those who hunt or fish, and there-
fore better citizenship. To us, hunting, or the pursuit of game, does
not appear simply in the light of recreation, or pleasure, nor does it
appear as a waste of time, but instead is in every sense of the word
a national necessity.



Columbia Chub. Taken in Yellow Bay, Flathead Lake

"The appropriation made to the use of the Game and Fish Com-
mission from the game funds to replenish and return game and fish to
our forests and streams, was something like $40,000 for the last two
years; this for the maintenance, upkeep and general expenses in con-
nection with hatcheries, and the distribution of the fish throughout the

"We who are trying to do the work realize that without the help
of the people, the utmost effort of the Game and Fish Commission, or
of the Department of Game and Fish must be futile. I call the atten-
tion of those who do not hunt to the fact that under our law they are
joint owners in the wild game and birds of this state, and we beg of
them to help conserve these things before it is too late.

"The year 1919 will undoubtedly go down in history as the year
in which wild life in Montana met its Waterloo. The terrible drouth
which had lasted for a period of months and years and reached its
climax in 1919, resulted in hundreds of our splendid trout streams dry-
ing up and as a result many millions of game fishes were de>stroyed.

"As a result of the heavy snowfalls early in the season, big game
was driven from high altitudes and summer ranges to the lower levels,
where, owing to faulty game laws, thousands of elk and deer fell vic-
tims to the unerring marksmanship of the Montana sportsman.

"The present time is the opportune time for the honest to God
sportsmen to become active and lend a* helping hand in correcting the
many irregularities to be found in the Montana game laws, by sending
only such men to the legislative halls as may be known as true sports-
men, believing in protection and conservation of wild life, thereby sav-
ing one of Montana's greatest assets. Among the many natural re-
sources that Montana possesses her wild life is acknowledged to be
one of the greatest assets and attractions.



Joe Nevil, Deer Lodge, Fishing on
IVIadison, 1916

Stewart Spring Creek, Georgetown

"Personally, I am unalterably opposed to any proposed plan of giv-
ing the federal authorities supervision of big game in Montana. I do
not believe that any of the natural resources of this state should be
placed under the supervision of the federal government.

"I believe that the necessary authority delegated to the State Game
and Pish Commission would relieve the necessity of a hard and fast
rule that might be established by statute for the closing of streams,
particularly during the spawning season.

"We stand for the screening of irrigating canals in order that the
fry planted at the expense of the sportsmen of this state may find
their abiding place in the many splendid trout streams in place of
being thrown upon the lands as a result of open irrigating canals, to be
devoured by the many scavenger birds to be found within our state.

"We do not believe that the best results may be obtained by the
indiscriminate use of poisoned grain for the purpose of destroying
members of the rodent family. We contend that the greatest care
should be given in the distribution of poisoned grain, as we have had
an unlimited number of reports to the effect that large numbers of
insectivorous, singing and game birds have been destroyed as a result
of the sowing of poisoned grain upon wild lands, which has been con-
tended to be the only method whereby the rodent family may be dis-
posed of."



Grlnnell Mountain and McDermott Falls

Golden Trout Caught in Granite Lake by Helena Men

New Variety oi V'n^li found in Granite J.ake Distiiuiixe in Coloring

(Libby Times, August 30, 1919.)

Leo Faust aiui L. B. Tipling of Helena made a trip to Granite Lake
on Thursday for the purpose of catching the golden trout which are
found only in the waters whieh run from that lake. This place in the
main range of the Cabinet mountains, so far as is known, is the only
place where this particular kind of trout is found and the trip was




made especially, as said, to get some of them. This trout has a rich
golden coloring, and is considered the handsomest of all the different
kinds of trout. It is rarely found and those who take a large interest
in fishing consider it a great privilege to get an opportunity to catch

These fish have the spots found on the ordinary trout and all other
characteristics of the common trout. The distinction is the coloring
and this is a very beautiful golden color. The whole body of the fish
has the golden tinge, the shading heavier along the sides than on either
top or belly. The fins look like burnished gold when the fish is first
laken from the water and around the gills is found the deepest and
brightest color. The whole effect is most beautiful, and as said, to get
an opportunity to catch them is considered a rare treat.

Granite Lake is 16 miles from Libby in the heart of the Cabinet
mountains. It is one of the most beautiful lakes in Montana. It is
walled in by towering cliffs of solid rock and there isn't any more
rugged scenery in the Glacier National Park than is found there. The
lake is about a mile long and a half mile wide. Its waters are alive
with trout. They are not large, but the meat is hard and white and
exceptionally sweet. The lake is fed from the Blackwell glacier, the
only glacier in the Cabinet mountains, and its waters are exceptionally
cold by reason of that fact. The glacier lies about 2,500 feet above the
lake's level.

The fish in the lake have no coloring other than those found in any
other open water. But in the water which runs from thf» lake and
which goes through a densely timbered and willowed section are found
these rare golden fish. The trip from Libby is made by auto and a
forest service trail. The first ten miles can be easily made in an auto
and the balance of the trip either on foet or horseback. However, the
trail is very steep in places and it is a hard trip either way.

Mr. Faust and Mr. Tipling made the trip in one day, caught a big
mess of the trout and while tired, said they had had a perfect day and
were both well satisfied with the trip and the number of fish which
they caught.



We Plead: No Confiscations Made

She's Hard to Catch Dat Fish Wot's Called Trout

By Joseph Chauvin, Butte, Montana

My Dear Chauvin: I ban catch feesh for 65 yr. han I bin katch some
feesh in my tams. But Butte has some feesherman dat beets me all
holler, for hinstance, dare ees Mister Pilling, shees game ward. She
has many reech frens dat don't kno bullfrog from trout, dat want to
lern to catch feesh, so dey hinvite Mister Pilling to go wid her to show
her how. So Mister Pilling he say yes and go wid you, so dey go
down on top Rock Creek, de reech fella she brings lots of bate. Ees
got bottle. When dey Ian on top de creek de reech fella shees tro her
fli on top de creek, but she get no bite, so she go lay down under tree
and Mister Pilling he say hi show you how she is done, so he jump
hinto de riv, but she don't use same kine of bate de odder sports take
halong wid her een qt. bottles. Shes carry bull beds een her vess
pocket. When he feesh see Mister Pilling, she knos dat she ees game
ward han day flock to her for protec, den he has hit hall to herself.
He shake de bull hod hover dase heyes, but he put hook hinside de bull
trout, so de trout he grabs her, han Mister Pilling he pull liin de feesh.
Shees fill her basket, den shes fill hall de odder fellas basket too, han
day hall come home happy, han tell dare wives han frens wha grate
feesherman dey are.

Mr. Pilling has laf, but don't say something. He has hall de fun,
han bees frens hall de glory. Some feesherman. Mister Pilling.

Den dare ees Mister Ross. Shes ketch an lans de beegess feesh
wid smalles tackle dan henny Ijody. 16 han 18 poun trout wid noum-
ber steen hook, two tred line han 8-inch pole. I mean 8 bounce rod.
How de do it ees niistaire to hovrybody. Hi been ketch some beeg
feesh myself, sometam; 30 poun peekril, 6 poun black bass, 16 poun
steelhod, but am have to have hook beeg henuf han line strong henuf
to pull Ford car bout of mudhole, to Ian trout like dat een beeg hole
riv, I have to take my hat hoff to her for hexpert feesherman.



Lake Near Copper Creek, Main Range

Den comes Mister Walker, shees tall mans. Shees what you call
henthusiast feeshermans. Shees wade half kross de riv han sit hon
beeg rock. Hennybody helse get drown. She carries more flies in her
book dan dare ees flies hon de beeghole riv, han more spoon on her
pocket, dan wood furnish table for hotel, so when shees tro hall dem
flies han spoon hoverboard, shes boun to hook something wid thousan
dollar wert hof takle. He say she wants to learn ketch feesh sinntific,
but am seen farm boy wid willo pole, snel hook han grass hop, coss
2 bits ketch more feesh hin an hour dan she do hin a day wid her hex-
pensiv tackle, but shes good sport, han will make beeg catch some day.

Den dere ees may fren Parks. Shes hones hard work feesherman.
Shes feesh haccording to sport rules, han ees hentittle to hall de feesh
hees ketch, han usually gets her share, han don't brag habout eet.

Ha! Den come de double henthusiast feesherman Pop Job. Shes
way habout 300 poun, han wen she falls hinto de riv shees scare de
feesh for one mile each way. When she lans hon creek she wants to
ketch hall de feesh dare ees in her. Sheel feesh hevery hole for 5 mile
before hennybody ees up. Sheel feesh hard like hannudder man saw

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