Thanks for reading these posts and please know I am making a point in a round about way. Today I wanted to say a little more on the positive things that I and my friends have done to protect wildlife and its habitat. First I absolutely love what I do! It is so hard to explain to someone who doesn’t hunt or fish why we do those things. It goes way back to our forefathers and before. Some people were gatherers and others hunters. We grew up, by today’s standards, very poor! But I never knew that as it was one of the best childhoods a boy with energy and a love for nature could have. When my feet hit the floor in the morning I was headed outside to the corral or to the mountains. We used to love going up the north fork of bear creek to see the local elk. They summered up there raising their calves. The noise they made talking to each other was music to my ears. We loved them but also needed them to survive. That was over 90 percent of the meat we ate. I love its taste to this day. Even at that age I knew you needed to not kill them all off as they were our winters meat and without them bugling and cow calling something was missing in the wild.
Being a lifelong hunter and outdoorsman nothing is noisier than a silent forest! So as I became more settled in life I started giving back. Here are some of the things I feel were beneficial to the animals I share the forest with. In 1985 I packed wire and other supplies to barren lakes to sink logs and stumps into the water to improve fish habitat. I used my work horses Bill and Banjo to drag logs and boulders onto the ice and when the ice melted they sank with them wired to the rocks. In the 80s I spent three days catching bighorn sheep at Corwin Springs. This was with Tom Lemke, the local wildlife biologist. We used a net and waited while they came to drink, then ran them into the net, we then jumped on them blindfolded them and put them in cages to be transported around the state to invigorate other sheep herds. 1987 I supplied the horses and helped to catch baby elk calves in the lamar valley . This was for Frank Singer . We would watch a cow circle and bark. Then we knew a calf was close and would circle in until we jumped it or saw it. Many died from this method from stress. They then put radio collars on that would expand and fall off at about 6 months old.
I remember one time their was a mortality signal then a live signal. This went on for 3 days we rode in and some coyote pups were playing with the collar at their den. Mystery solved. 1989 I packed two pair of beaver into Hellroaring for Dan Tyers of the forest service at Gardiner. They exploded and by 1995 beaver were in every tributary in Hellroaring. The fishing was great and moose were so numerous that we thought they would always be there. How wrong I was.
I already mentioned in a previous post about weed control. In 2000 to keep erosion down I packed 350 mule loads of gravel to the low trail rockslide. This was an enormous job. I also clear trail every year by old fashion methods, using a crosscut saw and axe. We have literally packed over 5000 6 foot by 8 inch treated water bars to put on the trail for erosion. I have rebuilt many miles of trail and footbridges. I volunteer to train the Marines how to pack mules and to learn a little more about the mountains. During the late season for over 20 years we brought in elk fetuses hearts and lungs and blood samples for Tom Lemke. This was to study the health of the Northern elk herd.
I have packed out mountain lions that had been killed in YNP by other lions. For the lion study. When the community needed to buy the grounds where the rodeo is Don Laubach Bill Hoppe and myself along with the chamber was the first to jump in and donate it. Then when we needed a new arena I put $7,000 up and Gary Pates put the other $500. When they needed $10,000 for a rodeo a few years back I was there for that. Sue organized and got donations from many community members to rebuild the Tinker hill cemetery fence. I kept excellent records for 2 years for Kevin Frye of the Montana FWP. This was for Grizzly bear sightings etc. This fall I found a grizzly eating another grizzly he had just killed and brought DNA out for him to study . I gathered 12 truck loads of barbwire off of deckard flats to keep the wildlife from becoming entangled. Ninety nine percent of this was volunteer and once again I want to thank my family and wonderful employees. They worked hard on many of these projects with me. One more thing I forgot in 1998 we helped Brian Helms a back country ranger to mark the YNP boundary from Gardiner to Cooke City. Again I want to reiterate most of this was volunteer. The reason I spoke of all this is to show that I as a outfitter feel the importance of giving back to nature and the community what they use. This will all start to tie together with tomorrows post.