Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 35
  1. #1

    Default Branch-antlered donation to the Helena Food Pantry

    My hunting buddy and I headed out for an elk hunt on Sunday morning with high hopes. We were hunting a large herd that had been pretty consistent for the previous two mornings. We climbed up to the top of the ridge and by shooting light, had about 15-20 elk spotted at about 1000-1500 yards away. Between us and the herd was a small hill. Perfect. We planned to sneak over to the top of that hill, peak over, and shoot two 300" bulls. As we dropped down into the valley to begin our climb up the hill, we hear a shot. Close. We look over to see 5 cows and a bull walking up the hill about 200 yards away. Knowing the herd was probably going to move off into the trees because of the shot, I took a closer look at the bull to determine if he was legal.

    A quick bit of context here....I was recently having a discussion with a friend about the difference between branch-antlered bulls and brow-tined bulls and what is legal in different HDs in MT. A brow-tined bull must have a branch at least 4" long located on the lower half of the main beam. A branch-antlered bull must have a branch, at least 4" long, anywhere on the main beam.

    Back to the story...

    As I watched this bull, I pick out a split on his right antler, with a branch that is about 8-9" long. Great. Legal, I thought, and I shoot. After the bull goes down, I look at my buddy who is staring at me like I just shot a person. "That bull's not legal" he states, and I immediately realize that I should have been looking for a 4" brow tine to determine if the bull was legal....not a 4" branch. It's pointless to describe how sick I felt knowing I just shot an illegal animal and might have just ended my hunting for the next couple of years.

    So, after making sure the elk is dead, my buddy heads up to the top of the hill to make sure there weren't any legal bulls contemplating the morning's events out in the open. I'd be lying if I said it didn't cross my mind to bone the elk out and get back to the truck as quickly as possible with the hope that nobody called it in. As I thought about what to do, I knew what the right thing was, and that regardless of the consequences the only way I would be able to clear my conscience would be to call it in.
    Luckily, we had cell service where we were at, so I called 1-800-TIP-MONT and was connected with a warden. I informed the warden about what happened and he told me to take care of the elk as I would have if it was legal and he would head back in to town to meet me at the office.

    When I pulled into the FWP office in Helena, I was fully expecting to lose my hunting privileges for at least a year and pay $500-$1,000 in fines. After a lengthy discussion with the game warden on elk, hunting seasons, life in Helena, etc...he finally starts into the topic I have been waiting to discuss. "So..." he says, "the way we handle self-reports is this: we confiscate the animal and issue a citation for essentially the amount of money it would cost to have the animal butchered (citation of $135) so that it can be handed over to the local food pantry to help needy families. Additionally, your elk tag is validated and cannot be used on another animal. We don't take away privileges, or heap on any other fines because we know that people make mistakes and we encourage people to be as compliant as possible when those mistakes are made."

    I was encouraged to learn that FWP takes a common-sense approach to punishing mistakes. Hopefully this thread will shed a positive light on MT FWP for their handling of this, as well as push people to do the right thing if they find themselves in a situation similar to mine on Sunday. Crappy way to end the 2017 elk season, but a good lesson and, ultimately, a good life experience.

  2. #2

    Default

    Everybody makes mistakes. Owning up to them early often means a lesson learned rather than severe punishment and it helps set a good tone for the rest of us. Nice job making the best ethical decision out of a tough situation.
    A lesson was learned to not mix together silver bullets and a forum site.
    Fowl_Minded

  3. #3

    Default

    Good on you for doing the right thing, a lot of people wouldn't. Also good on them for understanding. That is a more than fair outcome, and the meat didn't go to waste.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Coloado Springs
    Posts
    1,695

    Default

    Doing the right thing is often not easy but will ease your soul every time. Hopefully the hunting gods will reward you in the future for your honesty and you should be proud that even in your mistake some folks are getting fed.
    "Never apologize for being a Patriot!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    1,300

    Default

    Like!

  6. #6

    Default

    Well done! Your story is something that I work diligently on teaching my boys. Once we make a mistake, first thing to do is admit it/own up to it. You did right.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Somewhere in the basalt rocks
    Posts
    4,039

    Default

    Well done. I've had to self report a couple of violations. It's not fun, but it's the right thing to do.
    Fear the beard....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA
    Posts
    5,030

    Default

    Correctly done Sir! Got the same T-Shirt years ago. John
    “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”
    ― Theodore Roosevelt

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Bozeman, MT
    Posts
    12,507

    Default

    I am sorry that this post is of great benefit, at your expense. Posting it here is admirable and very helpful to the cause of doing what is right. Anyone who hasn't made a mistake, hasn't hunted too much. The way you handled it is exemplary.
    My name is Randy Newberg and I approved this post. What is written is my opinion, and my opinion only.

    "Hunt when you can. You're gonna run outta health before you run outta money."

  10. Default

    Doing the right thing is not always easy, but it is admirable that you didn't give in to the temptation and try to hide it. Good on you! Besides, now you can tell your significant other that you have helped families in need, so you should get a free pass for next year's season too!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Western Montana
    Posts
    1,915

    Default

    Sorry to hear that. You're a man of integrity.
    "To all those who work come moments of beauty unseen by the rest of the world." - Norman Maclean

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    In the Sagebrush (Dillon, MT)
    Posts
    2,217

    Default

    Bummer it happened but I'm glad that it ended such that the meat didn't go to waste.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    northern illinois
    Posts
    206

    Default

    Kudos to you for doing the right thing, definitely wasn't the easy route.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Great Falls, MT
    Posts
    113

    Default

    I’m glad I read this post! It made me realize a mistake I almost made last year in bow season. I called in a branch antlered bull in a brow tined unit thinking he was legal. He got within 70 yards then the wind shifted but had I gotten the opportunity to shoot, I would have done so without hesitation. Had I connected, it would have been a violation. Sorry your elk season ended that way but kudos to you for doing the right thing and being able to sleep at night!

  15. #15

    Default

    Good for you. I know that would have gnawed at you forever if you hadn't reported it.

    I came close to having a similar slip up earlier this season. My home unit is either sex elk for archery and rifle. I hunted with a fellow hunt talker in his home unit during archery and it is either sex. He invited me back over opening weekend of rifle but he wasn't able to go with me opening morning. I tracked a group of elk in the snow, but never caught up with them. I had every intention of shooting a cow because I thought it was the same for rifle like my home unit. When we met up at lunch I told him I thought I was going to be able to get a cow that morning. He informed me that it was bull only. I came very close to messing up big time. I should have double checked the regs but that thought never crossed my mind. I learned a valuable lesson that day. I would have been sick if I had shot a cow.
    Last edited by Southern Elk; 11-14-2017 at 04:15 PM.
    "The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    West Slope, CO
    Posts
    4,386

    Default

    you're an example! Good on you.

  17. #17

    Default

    Lemonaide made.

    Thanks for sharing your story.
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

    "Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship" Denzel Washington

  18. #18

    Default

    I was taught as a young person that it is not necessarily what you do, it is what you do in the moment when you realize what you did that was wrong.

    Good for for making the right decision.

  19. #19

    Default

    If only more people realized that the consequenses of your mistakes are amplified exponentially when you cover it up. Good example you have made! We have ALL made mistakes, not all can take the heat.
    When I die, spread me over the Mission mountains so I can watch the Sunset over Flathead for eternity!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Eden Prairie, MN
    Posts
    308

    Default

    They say character is defined by what you do when no one is watching - well played.
    "Freedom is NOT Free"

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    SouthCentral Wisconsi
    Posts
    36

    Default

    Great example for all of us to follow, if the need arises. I commend you on your decision and honesty.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Lewistown, MT
    Posts
    351

    Default

    That's a tough decision to make its good for people to hear stories like this. Wardens aren't the jerks that we as hunters sometimes make them out to be. I had a conversation with a warden a couple weeks ago that had a similar story with the same outcome.

    I will say I find it funny that there are people blasting a 14 year old girl for shooting the wrong critter and there hasn't been a single negative comment here for an adult that made a similar mistake. I keep waiting for schmalts to chime in and call you stupid....

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Bozeman, MT
    Posts
    3,899

    Default

    I've never had something like this happen, but I worry about it happening to myself or someone in my family. These type of posts help me.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Rocky Mountain Front Montana
    Posts
    73

    Default

    Way to man up and own your mistake. It is easy to say "Oh, I would do the same" over a keyboard but we are truly tested when nobody is watching. I'm glad to hear the outcome worked out for you.

  25. #25

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fire_9 View Post
    I will say I find it funny that there are people blasting a 14 year old girl for shooting the wrong critter and there hasn't been a single negative comment here for an adult that made a similar mistake. I keep waiting for schmalts to chime in and call you stupid....
    I also find it interesting. I think it is partly because the difference between a legal animal and the animal I shot did not involve a different species, and partly because I was the one who wrote this post, while the girl did not have the same luxury.
    Also, I am sure some people do think I'm stupid for what happened. They might be right....who cares. If being stupid is a prerequisite for making a mistake...there are a lot of stupid people out there, and I'm certainly one.

    I think part of the problem with society (yes, I realize the gross generalization) today is that we are taught to be intolerant of mistakes and that it's not ok to fail. I'm working toward having a different perspective on both subjects. This experience will linger in my mind for a long time and certainly be the cause of a few deep breaths the next time a bull walks into my scope....but I will not internalize the shame as part of my character. I have a deep suspicion that those who throw judgment from the peanut gallery will have a harder time with the shame when their turn comes.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •