Sunday, August 18, 2013

Are You Pro Obama...Or Pro Democratic Party? If So, Please Go Somewhere Else!

Quite honestly, I started this blog a couple of years ago for one reason and one reason only...mostly so I could write about things that just didn't seem to fit anywhere else.  Here you are sure to find many topics and opinions that are most definitely politically incorrect - and that's largely due to the fact that I don't much care for anything that's political in nature.  With that said, I want to make very, very clear that I have absolutely no use for the idiot we currently have in the White House...or for that matter, pretty much the entire Democratic Party.

So, if you are extremely "PRO OBAMA" or "PRO DEMOCRAT" is the time to exit this go where you can flock with birds of the same feather.  You're not going to find it on this post.

In reality, this post is actually about SYNONYMS and ANTONYMS...sharing what the Democratic Party and the Republican Party have in common...and what truly separates their values...their beliefs...and their agendas.

                                                   Political Synonyms and Antonyms

In a couple ways, the so-called "Democratic Party" and the so-called "Republican Party" are very synonymous.  Both are political parties, representing the wants and wishes of American citizens when it comes to political campaigns for electing officials to government offices, whether it be on a National...State...Regional...or Local level.  However, probably the most common similarity is that the word "Democratic" and the word "Republican" are each comprised of ten letters.

That's where the being "alike" comes to a screeching halt.

I grew up in a Democratic household.  My father and mother voted straight Democratic tickets pretty much their entire lives.  It really didn't seem to matter who was running for what office, they ran with the Democrats all the way.  By the time I was old enough to leave home and enlist in the Marine Corps, I had come to the conclusion that if a real four-footed jackass would have been fitted with a bow-tie and ran for public office, mom and dad would have had absolutely no reservation marking or punching their voting ballots for a candidate with a name like Donkey Kong.  Then two or three years later, they would sit around the kitchen table complaining about how the price of this or that had sky rocketed, or how taxes kept climbing in order to pay for this or that public service or benefit. 

And more often sooner than later, Dad would blurt out something to the effect of, "Who in the hell voted this jackass into office?"

Well, Dad, you did!  You and a whole lot of other jackass followers.

It is very clear now, ever since the biggest jackass of them all was elected to the Presidency in 2008, the goal of the Democratic Party is to make government ever bigger, ever more controlling, and the citizens of this country ever more reliant on the government making all decisions for them, and providing their basic needs.  That has been pretty much Obama's platform ever since announcing his candidacy for the Oval Office.  Perhaps that is why he has had such strong financial backing from major supporters of the United Nations' Agenda 21 - which is to establish an extreme socialistic world under one government, with the world population dependent on government allotments and handouts.  You know, kind of how it is right now in North Phillie, East St. Louie and in the Detroit Hoods - where "Big Daddy Obama" won by a landslide during the last election.  No one one shows any drive to do any better...and neighborhoods are nothing more than falling down slums, as government dependents sit on their asses waiting for the first of the month to roll around and the start of another monthly welfare hand out.

That pretty much sums up the agenda of the Democratic Party.  Their only investment in the future of America is to make U.S. citizens more dependent on government...more dependent on government welfare and hand outs.

I've never truly considered myself a Republican, but can honestly say that I've never taken a government handout in the form of welfare or unemployment monies.  Oh, there have been plenty of times when I was "unemployed"...but it doesn't mean that I couldn't find enough work to keep my family fed, a roof over their heads, and clothes on their back.  It just took some real effort and some real creativity instead of just waiting for the postman to drop off a government check and food stamps.

What truly separates the majority of Democrats from the majority of Republicans is that the latter tend to have much better work ethics and are far more willing to work to enjoy the nicer things in life...while the other side does nothing but bitch and moan about having nothing, and feeling that those who have worked for their gains should freely "Share The Wealth".  Hmmm...sounds like another Obama plan.

The Republican Party believes in an extremely scaled down government, far fewer public employees, fewer government hand outs...and establishing the incentives that will put more Americans to work and establish more private sector working opportunities.  In other words, to rebuild the U.S. workforce and the U.S. economy.

Politics in this country have become extremely dirty, and extremely UN-American.  Those elected to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives no longer truly represent their constituents.  They are their to pad their pockets, and most all are on the take one way or another.  Even Montana's two Democratic U.S. Senators are very suspect of receiving "under the table" money.  Both continue to support radial environmental agendas that are largely rejected by those they are supposed to represent.  One great example was when a Western Montana resident and voter went by Senator Jon Tester's Washington , D.C. office earlier this spring to see if he could talk with the Senator.  He was not in the office, so his constituent ended up talking with his top aide, and when the conversation turned to the need for more stringent wolf control and less efforts by Tester to close off public access to more public lands, that aide told him that the Senator would not support or challenge anything that was contrary to the goals of environmental and animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the United States.

So, who's payroll is Tester on anyway?

The world is in turmoil, and our officials in Washington, D.C. fully realize that Americans are now living in a powder keg with a smoldering fuse.  Obama's efforts to attack our 2nd Amendment rights to "Keep and Bear Arms" has been a violation of our Constitutional Rights, and fully shows that he fears a full blown revolution, such as those now taking place around the world.

If it happens here, what outcome would you predict?  If there are "winners" and "losers", do you think the winners will be those who have earned the cash to well arm themselves and stockpile ammunition, or do you think it will be those who sit around waiting for the government to provide them with a substandard gun and a handful of the 6-billion rounds of ammo our government recently stockpiled?

Toby Bridges,


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Senator Max Baucus Responds To LOBO WATCH E-Mail In Regard To His Back And Forth Stand On 2nd Amendment Rights...

April 19, 2013

                                         Why I Opposed Expanding Gun Control

Recent tragedies have shaken all of us, and everyone wants to do their part to protect our children and communities from violence of all kinds. That debate has sparked conversations around kitchen tables all across Montana. Over the past few months, I have heard from thousands of Montanans, and it was very important to me that every one of you had a chance to weigh in on an open and transparent debate.
What I heard from you was clear: Montanans are overwhelmingly opposed to new gun control laws. That is why I voted against legislation before the Senate this week to expand gun control. And that is why I will oppose anything that infringes on the 2nd Amendment rights of responsible, law-abiding Montanans.
Montanans are passionate about our 2nd Amendment rights. We teach our kids to respect that right, and we teach them to live up to the responsibility that comes with it - just like my father taught me when he gave me my first .22 when I was 13 years old. What makes sense in other states, doesn't make sense for Montana.
Everyone agrees we need to do a better job keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, but infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens isn't the solution. The facts are clear: under the Obama Administration, federal weapons prosecutions have fallen to the lowest levels in over a decade. The Administration isn't doing a good enough job enforcing the laws that are already on the books, so piling on more regulations just for regulations' sake won't do anything to make our communities safer.
We need real solutions that will actually make our communities safer. That is why I supported funding for school safety and mental health resources. And I supported a measure to force the Department of Justice to take a good, hard look at how they can use the tools they already have to keep guns away from criminals, without adding burdens on law-abiding folks in Montana.
A top-down, one-size-fits-all approach like the President is pushing simply won't work for Montana, and it won't work for me. I will not support anything that infringes on the 2nd Amendment rights of responsible, law-abiding Montanans.
All the best,
Max Baucus


LOBO WATCH Response To Montana Senator Max Baucus


Dear Seantor Baucus;
Thank you for sending the following*. And please thank the college intern or aide who actually wrote it for you, they did a fine job. I know it is in response to my e-mail to you dated 4-19-13, in regard to your fence riding when it comes to gun control in America.
My first "gun" was also a .22 rifle - an old Stevens "Crackshot" single shot model. My father never bought that gun for me, and didn't even know I had it, and I managed to keep it hidden from him in the rafters of our garage for several years. I traded a bicycle that I had assembled from junk bicycle parts for the rifle, which was close to 50 years old when I acquired it in 1959, a couple of months before I turned 10 years old.
America was a much different, and much better, place at that time. We actually did have freedoms, and could enjoy them. Back then, I would ride my bicycle up to a small rural gas station, and buy a 50-round box of Winchester .22 long rifle ammo for 45-cents. And I would take that old rifle out and shoot a box of "bullets" just about every week - but my father eventually found the little rifle, rolled up in a piece of blanket. When he learned I had been shooting it for that long, he reached into his pocket and pulled out two quarters, handed them to me, and said... "If you've had it that long and shot it that much, and haven't shot anyone yet, I guess you're okay with it...go buy yourself a box of ammo."
This took place in the democratic socialist republic that used to be the State of Illinois.
Whatever happened to that country? A country where we didn't have a federal government that was so all controlling, and felt that it had to dictate everything in our lives.
Max, the residents of the Great State of Montana, which has become foreign soil to you, see right through the ruse. When it came to your vote against Obama's call for extremely stringent gun control, you and Jon Tester simply cancelled out each other's vote. He's in for another term, and you face an upcoming re-election.
In the following "Why I Opposed Expanding Gun Control", why didn't you share with your constituents your reason for voting in favor of the U.S. signing the United Nations pact known as the Small Arms Treaty? The gun control clauses within that treaty are far more stringent, far more controlling, and would effectively void our Second Amendment rights. Still, you voted for Obama to sign the treaty.
Be honest now, do you truly believe in World Dominance by the United Nations? Do you truly feel that America as we have known and loved it should be abandoned, and the good Ol' U.S. of A. be simply absorbed into a single world run by the United Nations?
Also, why did you not address the manner in which Obama's private military, a.k.a. Department of Homeland Security, sure hasn't practiced any "gun control" and has been actively arming up in order to wage war against Americans? Why else would they need 1.6 BILLION rounds of ammo (enough to conduct 20+ years of combat against U.S. citizens)...and armored personnel carriers? Much of the ammo procured by DHS consists of specialized long-range sniper rounds, and hollow-pointed ammunition - which has been internationally outlawed for combat use.
Now, at a time when the U.S. has become a target for international terrorists, why are so many Democrats so hell bent to disarm American citizens? If there was ever a time in history for every home to have an AR-15 and several 20- or 30- round clips fully is right now. Never before has this country been so threatened by enemies - both very domestic and foreign.
The wolf is at the door...and the time for Americans to take up arms is right now.
Toby Bridges
Missoula, MT
*Note:  The "following" mentioned in the first line of this e-mail is actually the Baucus newsletter sent out in response to our first e-mail in regard to his back and forth gun control support/opposition.  That message can be read in the following post of this blog, titled "An Open Message To MT Senator Baucus - Taking America Back!"  


Friday, April 19, 2013

An Open Message To MT Senator Baucus - Taking America Back!

Dear Senator Baucus;
I'm sure you have received many e-mails of thanks for voting against the President's strong arm push, at the cost of millions of taxpayer dollars, to enact more stringent gun control - which would indeed infringe upon the right of American citizens "to keep and bear arms."
I too would like to thank you for standing up against the pressure I'm sure that was put on you, as a Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate, to run with the pack of other Democratic senators which were attacking the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.
What I cannot understand is, if you truly believe in our rights to own and find comfort in the lawful use of a wide range of firearms, how could you stand behind President Obama's support of the United Nation's Small Arms Treaty?
You were one of 46 U.S. Senators to support the President's equally strong push for the U.S. to agree to the harsh restrictions on the private ownership of firearms as laid out in that extremely agenda driven treaty. Firearm owners across the country, and especially here in Montana, now view you and the other 45 senators who were ready to hand over our Constitutional Rights to the U.N. as little more than traitors.
Fortunately, 56 senators had the common sense to reject participating in the treaty.
The President's equally agenda driven desire for the U.S. to cave in to the demands of the U.N. does better explain why the Department of Homeland Security has been stockpiling all of that ammunition (1.6 BILLION rounds to be more precise), and that agency's acquisition of a non-disclosed number of armored personnel carriers. Were you aware that at the height of the war in Iraq, U.S. troops were expending about 6-million rounds of ammunition EACH and EVERY month? Even at that rate, DHS is now sitting on top of enough munitions to wage war with American citizens for more than 20 years.
The manner in which you voted in favor of the U.S. signing the U.N. Small Arms Treaty, then to turn around and vote against Obama's (and Biden's) attack on gun owners' Constitutional rights sends more than mixed signals to the Montana residents you are supposed to represent. It tells them that you cannot be trusted...or believed.
Real Americans are ready and willing to take this country back, if not at the election polls then by force, as rightfully guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
On which side will you stand...with the American people, or with the tyrants who are working so hard to destroy this country?
Toby Bridges
Missoula, MT

Semper Fi

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Great Gear & Great Volunteers Are Sure To Highlight 2013 Tri-State Veterans Stand Down In Plains, MT May 4th & 5th!

Womens Army Corps veteran Christy Steigers-Bridges, far left, of Missoula enjoyed the gear she took home from the 2012 Tri-State Veterans Stand Down...Plus worked as a volunteer to make it enjoyable for all vets attending.  Following photos show some of the $2.5-million in great gear to be redistributed to military vets at the 2013 Stand Down.  Click on photos to enlarge.

 Tri-State Veterans Stand Down In Plains Expected To Draw A Great Turn Out

          Per capita, Montana has the largest number of veterans of any state in the Lower 48.  In the six counties that make up the northwest corner of Montana, there are more than 11,000 military veterans, including  4,000 in Missoula County alone.  With just as many next door in northern Idaho, and in eastern Washington as well, the Sanders County Fairground in Plains, MT is expected to be a very busy place the weekend of May 4 and 5 as the second annual Tri-State Veterans Stand Down welcomes veterans of all ages from all three states.  Last year, more than 1,000 veterans gathered for the event.
          So, just what is a Veterans Stand  Down?
          Originally, the term "Stand Down" meant to pull combat troops away from battle, and get them to a place of relative security and safety where they could rest and recover.  Today, the term stands for a program that reaches out to veterans needing a helping hand.  More than 200 such events now take place across the country every year - where military veterans can receive medical assistance, legal advice, food, clothing and gear, along with information on veterans programs and benefits.
          Much of the clothing and gear comes in the form of military surplus.  For last year's Tri-State Veterans Stand Down, coordinator Billy Hill, of Trout Creek, MT, had accumulated surplus items valued at nearly $1.5-million.  The 2012 event was such a success, even more of that military surplus has been provided this year - and since mid March, Hill and a handful of Sanders County volunteers have been extremely busy unboxing and organizing close to $2.5-million of surplus boots, sleeping bags, clothing, blankets,  and other surplus gear.
          "It takes a lot of work to get this much stuff unloaded...unpacked... organized...and laid out...and it takes the help of some great volunteers to make an event of this magnitude run smoothly and be successful," says Hill. 
          Last year, two completely packed fairground show barns of surplus were handed out to Montana, Idaho and Washington military vets.  There is so much gear this year that a third barn had to be added, and it is expected to be nearly all distributed during the two-day Stand Down. 
          Hill is quick to point out, "This is not a hand is a hand up.  It's veterans helping veterans."
          Among the free goods to be redistributed to qualified veterans will be hi-tech modular sleeping systems, extreme cold weather sleeping bags, aluminum pack frames with rucksacks, wool Navy pea-coats, wool socks, wool blankets, insulated underwear, boots, and other surplus military gear.  When Veteran Stand Downs were first widely organized, they were geared to serve the homeless veteran who found "camping out" a new way of life.  With so many people now strapped by a struggling economy, barely being able to stretch one paycheck to the next, or having no job at all, today's Stand Down events are now open to all military veterans.
          The Tri-State Veterans Stand Down takes place at the Sanders County Fairground, 30 River Road, Plains, MT on May 4th and 5th, from 0800 Hrs. (8 a.m.) to 1600 Hrs. (4 p.m.) each day.  Hot breakfasts and lunches will be served both days, and for those who are in need, haircuts and showers will be provided.  Event coordinator Billy Hill says all veterans are welcomed, whether they come for the surplus clothing and gear, the meals, to learn more about V.A. services and benefits, for health services, to seek employment, or for the camaraderie and being with many other military veterans.
          "Everybody's entitled to one of each item and by the time they leave, each should have a sleeping bag.  The bag will be full of items and also a duffel bag will be full," says Hill.
          Those attending must bring a form DD-214, discharge, V.A. or military I.D. as proof of military service.  For more details contact Billy Hill at (406) 847-2407. 

Volunteers Needed - Especially needed are able bodied young men and women who can help veterans, some who are disabled, to pack gear from the fairgrounds to the adjacent parking areas.  Volunteers should contact Billy Hill at (406) 847-2407. 


Billy Hill, second from left and far right in the photo at the top of this post, organized the first ever Tri-State Veterans Stand Down, held in May 2012.  Thanks to dozens of volunteers from the Sanders County area, it was not only one of the largest such events held in the state, it was also one of the smoothest run Stand Downs ever held in Motnana.  Billy is shown here with some of the volunteers which are now working hard to organize all the gear to be redistributed to qualifying veterans May 4th and 5th.  Click on photos to enlarge. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Second Annual Tri-State Veterans Stand Down In Plains, MT Scheduled For May 4 And 5, 2013

          On a chilly and blustery Saturday morning in May of 2012, more than 1,000 military veterans and their family members gathered at the Sanders County Fairgrounds in Plains, MT for the first ever Tri-State Veterans Stand Down.  On hand to meet with them were nearly a hundred volunteers, officials from the Veterans Administration, and leaders with groups such as Wounded Warriors Project and Oath Keepers.  To kick off the two day event, a hot breakfast was served.

            Billy Hill, of rural Trout Creek, MT planned and promoted that event, which has been credited with being one of the largest such Veterans Stand Downs ever held in the state  - and one of the best organized and smoothest running.  Hill is now hard at work pulling things together to make the second Tri-State Veterans Stand Down event even larger and more successful.  The event is scheduled for May 4 and 5, 2013 - and will again be held at the Sanders County Fairground in Plains, MT.

            At the 2012 Tri-State Veterans Stand Down, more than $1-million in surplus military clothing and gear was redistributed to the veterans attending the event.  The array of surplus items included boots, sleeping bags, packs & frames, insulated under wear, wool socks and blankets, pants, shirts, hi-tech polar fleece, gloves, camping gear, extreme cold weather wear, and much more. 

            According to Billy Hill, this year's event will offer more than twice that amount of surplus wear and gear to qualifying military veterans and their family members.   To qualify, a veteran simply needs to have a V.A. or military I.D. card, a copy of their discharge papers or a copy of their form DD-214. 

            Hill says, "It is the need for much of the clothing, footwear and other surplus gear that brings these vets to the Stand Down events.  The distribution of all that surplus gear is the incentive to pull together so many veterans in one place at one time, giving the Veterans Administration an opportunity to share with them the benefits and health services available to military veterans."

            The Thompson Falls Food Bank and the Montana Food Bank worked together at last year's Tri-State Veterans Stand Down to distribute several hundred food baskets.  Working around sequestered federal funding, an effort is now being made to be able to offer those baskets again this year.  Hot meals will be served both days, and for those who have really been down on their luck and have been forced to live out in the elements, hot showers and haircuts will also be provided.  Wounded Warriors Project and Oath Keepers will also be on hand again to provide moral support and guidance to those veterans who have found it difficult to cope with post military life.  Likewise, those vets seeking employment can receive some guidance and assistance at the 2013 Tri-State Veterans Stand Down.

            As planned and hoped for, the 2012 event drew military veterans from Montana, Idaho and Washington.  Billy Hill feels the success of last year's stand down will encourage others to attend this year.  At most, Plains is just an hour and half drive from Missoula.  Hill believes there are 4,000 to 5,000 veterans there, and many could car pool for this year's event.

            He says, "If they do...they need to allow room for all of the great gear they'll be taking home with them!"

            If you are a military veteran, mark your calendar now.  The 2013 Tri-State Veterans Stand Down takes place May 4 and 5, at the Sanders County Fairgrounds, located at 30 River Road in Plains, MT.  The event runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. - Toby Bridges, Missoula, MT 


Help Needed...

Last year's Tri-State Veterans Stand Down in Plains, MT was the most successful first time event of this kind ever held in Montana.  Billy Hill pretty much single-handedly organized the entire effort, spending several thousand of his own dollars to insure its success.  This year, he is looking for a number of additional sponsors and sponsoring businesses to help defray the cost of an effort that could this year bring in more than 1,500 military veterans.  If you, or your business, or your company can see clear to help sponsor the 2013 Tri-State Veterans Stand Down, those veterans attending, all of those volunteers who make this event run so smoothly, the service organizations and agencies that will be there, and the residents of Plains and Western Montana will thank you. 

                                          Contact Billy Hill At 406 847-2407 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

E-Mail To Montana Governor Calling For Emergency Predator Control

Following is an e-mail that went out this morning (2-26-13) to Montana Governor Steve Bullock, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission, to some upper management with FWP, about 50 state senators and representatives, the state's media, dozens of sportsman/conservation organizations, and to some 200 Montana sportsmen, ranchers and rural residents.  The e-mail calls for Emergency Predator Control Legislation.

To read the LOBO WATCH release on this issue, go to the link in the e-mail.

Toby Bridges,


Dear Governor Bullock;
The token wolf seasons which have been conducted by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, coupled with totally inadequate harvests of other major predators for more than a decade, have resulted in a glut of predators which are now destroying the past 75 years of wildlife conservation in this state.
Following the 2012 big game hunting season, during which hunters in roughly the Western 1/3 of this state experienced the worse hunting season of their lives, preceded by seasons that have progressively gotten worse, the sportsmen who have funded MT FWP clearly see the problem. Our state wildlife agency has concentrated way too much on managing predators, allowing our big game herds to take a real beating.
There is only one way to reverse the loss, and that is to dramatically reduce the number of wolves, mountain lions and bears in Montana. The attached LOBO WATCH release takes a more detailed look at the problem...and what it will take to allow big game and other wildlife populations to recover.
This will be the hottest issue you will have to face through your term in office. How aggressively and effectively you work to save this Montana treasure during your first term in office will surely dictate whether or not you even have a shot at a second term.
MT FWP has already proven that predator management does not work, now it's way past time for some serious predator control.
Toby Bridges
Missoula, MT
The attached release has also been published at

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

It's Time For The MT FWP Overhaul To Begin!

Last October, a friend from back in Wisconsin contacted me for advice on a flat shooting load for his .50 caliber in-line muzzleloader.  He had drawn a tag for one of the premier muzzleloader deer hunts in America.  While he followed my NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING website (at ), he just wanted to know what I felt was the absolute best powder, charge, and saboted bullet to use.  Then, he inquired whether or not I had any truly great hunts scheduled for last fall.  So, I shared with him how bleak my hunting was looking, since I would be doing the vast majority of it very close to home in Western Montana, and how devastated our game herds were - due to excessive depredation.

Now, my friend also happens to be the editor of several Midwest outdoor magazines, and he shared that MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks had advertised in those publications that non-resident tags were still available...and that wolves had not significantly impacted big game herds.  The ad proclaimed that great hunting awaited those coming to Montana.  I hunted the entire season with the thought of how dishonestly the State of Montana was trying to sell those excessively priced non-resident big game licenses. 

By the time I finished what had been the worst hunting season of my life, the manner in which MT FWP has lied and deceived hunters, both resident and non-resident, had pushed my anger to the boiling point.  Early this past Thanksgiving morning, I drove out to an area where I used to regularly see elk and deer...and saw nothing...not even fresh tracks.  When I got back home, I knocked out the following e-mail and circulated it to more than 400 members of the shooting & hunting industry, and members of the outdoor media.

We now have a new we need a new Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  It's time for the complete overhaul of that department to begin.  No more chewing gum patch more recycling of former has beens.  We need new blood that is willing to get off their asses and out of their offices...roll up their sleeves...and to start taking care of the wolf and other predator problems in this state.  -  Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH


                                                                                                     Thanksgiving Day 2012

Dear Outdoor Industry & Media;
How many of you hunted in Montana back in the 1980's?   Among the outdoor writers and editors receiving this, how many of you attended the 1987 Outdoor Writers Association of America Conference held in Kalispell, MT?

If you have not been to Montana in the past 15 to 25 years, and you were to return today, you would find this to be an entirely different state - one with far less wildlife than 25 years ago.  And that can be largely credited to one of the worst state wildlife agencies in America - Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  This agency now bends over backwards to insure that a minimum number of major predators are eliminated insure that the number of wolves, grizzly bears, black bears and mountain lions continue to increase year after year - even when the agency fully admits that it is escalating numbers of these carnivores which have caused big game numbers to nose dive.  Most major elk herds in the western 1/3 of the state have been decimated by as much as 80-percent.

Most of that loss has occurred over the past 8 years, under the watch of Governor Brian Schweitzer...and the current MT FWP Commission, which has been headed by Dr. Robert Ream.   This one individual has done more to destroy wildlife resources and hunting opportunities in this state than anyone else who calls Montana home.  (Ream is very much a part of the wolf problem...he was part of the team which wrote the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Plan...and has absolutely no business heading the FWP Commission...or being on the Commission period!)

Last night, I returned from a lone six-day hunting trip, hunting an area in Montana where, just ten years ago, one could see upwards of a hundred deer a day.  Spending every day from daylight til dark in the field and hunting hard, the most deer I saw in one day was 14.  On three of those days, each day spending a full 10 hours still hunting and glassing some of the finest mule deer habitat in North America or sitting in a stand overlooking a river bottom hayfield (which normally drew 50 to 60 whitetails every evening)...I saw just 2 or 3 deer all day.

A few days before leaving on this hunt, the local NBC station here in Missoula aired a story on how the 11,000 hunters in MT FWP Region 1 (around Kalispell), during the first 4 weeks of the 5-week general gun deer and elk season, had "enjoyed" a 4.9% "success rate".  Now, that has to be the absolute worst "hunting success" rate in the entire United States.  As a member of the shooting and hunting industry...why would you waste your time and money to come to Montana?  Many other states offer far greater hunting opportunities.

Being as this is Thanksgiving Day, a day devoted to cooking and for being thankful for all we have, I pulled up a very appropriate LOBO WATCH release from a couple of years back which takes a harsh look at a not so tasty dish - one which the sportsmen of Montana (and Idaho) have had forced down their throats. 

When is our industry going to pull its head out of the sand, or out of wherever, and stop funding new agenda driven fish and game departments like Montana Fish, Wolves and Parks or the Idaho Department of Fish and No Game?

With the success rate so low here in western Montana, the number of hunters going afield is now plummeting quickly.
Hope your Thanksgiving Day is filled with a lot more thanks than mine, and hope to visit with many of you at the SHOT Show in January.
Toby Bridges

PS - The same stupidity that destroyed the hunting in Montana and Idaho is now spreading into the states of Washington and Oregon.

To Read The Release Mentioned In This Letter To The Hunting Industry & Outdoor Media Go To -

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Are The Northern Rockies In A Predator Pit?

On the LOBO WATCH Facebook page, there have recently been numerous comments made on "how wolves do not kill for fun"...or that "wolves kill only the sick and weak"...and even "wolves only kill what they need for food".  Nothing could be further from the truth.

We will be using the Montana Mountain Chronicle to share the truth - that wolves will kill just about anything that they come across, and especially anything that runs...and as often as not, they eat nothing.

The following was written and circulated back in June 2010.  Since, those who live in the Northern Rockies have come to realize that the damage wolves have dealt other wildlife resources and to livestock and pets is much greater than we knew then.  The real damage has come from the manner in which wolves do indeed kill far more than needed for sustenance - especially the near total loss of the young of the year.

We will be publishing several other similar reports/articles on this blog through the remainder of this month.  -  Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH


Just what is a "Predator Pit"?
            Wolf researchers have come to use the term when referring to an area where predators have pulled prey populations down so low that recovery of those populations is impossible, unless there is a drastic reduction in the number of predators. The situation results from how predators affect prey numbers in two different ways. One is the manner in which predators, especially wolves, kill far more adult prey animals than needed to survive, commonly referred to as "surplus killing". The second is the destruction of the prey age class, due to the loss of newborn young of the year.
            The loss of that recruitment can be either due to outright killing of fawns and calves in the spring (with excessive surplus killing), or due to the stress predators (especially wolves) place on pregnant females in winter, causing them to abort their fetuses. In the classic predator pit situation, a rising number of predators results in a constant decline in prey numbers, with the average age of surviving prey animals becoming older and older with each passing year - to the point that reproductive growth becomes impossible and the prey base begins to die off from old age.
            This accurately describes the situation in much of the Northern Rocky Mountains of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming today.
            Through the 1970s and 1980s, populations of elk, moose and other big game had recovered well from the record lows of the early 1900s, and by the mid 1990s many areas of the Northern Rockies boasted record wildlife populations. And through all of that recovery from the market hunting era of the late 1800s, there were still viable populations of mountain lions, black bear, and in some areas even a few grizzlies. The only missing predator was the wolf. America's sportsmen had poured billions of dollars into modern conservation projects, many of which took decades to accomplish, and they had been rewarded with an abundance of game. So much so, that during the 1980s and 1990s many joked that "The Good Ol' Days Are Now!".
            Now, they know there was more to that feeling than anyone at that time could have realized. 
            Against the wishes of the vast majority of sportsmen in this country, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began releasing wolves back into the Northern Rockies in 1995. And as wolf numbers quickly grew, thanks to federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, the dynamics of the predator to prey ratio likewise quickly changed. When the first 31 wolves were dumped back into Yellowstone National Park (1995-1996), close to 20,000 elk made up the northern Yellowstone elk herd. Today, there are more than 400 wolves within the Greater Yellowstone Area - and the northern Yellowstone elk herd, which is one of several herds in the region, has plummeted to fewer than 6,000 remaining animals. And those that have managed to survive the constant pursuit of wolf packs, some of which are now known to number 20 or more adults, have become a very geriatric herd. In 1995-96, the average age of that elk herd was around 4 years of age, today the remaining animals are an average of 8 to 9 years of age. Calf recruitment in the spring is presently near zero.
            Yellowstone's elk herds are dying. And so are the elk herds in many other areas of western Montana, northwestern Wyoming, and the northern half of Idaho. The area is definitely well into a predator pit situation. And the elk aren't the only big game that's now quickly disappearing. Moose, which were once plentiful in the Northern Rockies, have become nearly non-existent. In fact, within Yellowstone National Park, they could probably qualify as an "Endangered Species". Likewise, throughout the entire region, mule deer, bighorn sheep and mountain goat populations are also in serious decline - and the problem is wolf depredation.
            Sportsmen and others who are concerned about the future of wildlife in this once wildlife rich region of the country are now beginning to organize to take on those who seem to have one goal in mind - and that is to put an end to sport hunting. Who are the enemies?
            Topping the list is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We now know that when Congress denied funding for capturing Canadian wolves and transplanting them into Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, USFWS literally stole the money needed for the project from the excise taxes sportsmen paid on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment and fishing gear, through what is known as the Pittman-Robertson Act. These funds are to be used exclusively for wildlife habitat and fisheries improvement. USFWS helped itself to somewhere between $60- and $70-million dollars to finance several unauthorized uses - including the funding needed to dump wolves back into the Northern Rockies ecosystem. 
            Right there with USFWS is a long list of anti-hunting "environmental" organizations, including the Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, the Humane Society of the United States, and a few dozen others. These groups have learned to use wolf impact on big game populations as a tool to put an end to hunting. Without a surplus of big game, there's no need for hunters. It's that simple. And one former upper echelon USFWS division chief, who blew the whistle on the theft of millions from Pitman-Robertson funds, also says that USFWS has entered into under-the-table agreements with the environmentalists - those who want more wolves, and fewer hunters.
            And as absurd as it may sound, several of the state wildlife agencies which sportsmen have funded and supported since those agencies were founded have also bought into all the lies, deceit and theft that has now been associated with the Wolf Recovery Project of the Northern Rockies. And as these same sportsmen learn more about all that's wrong with introducing non-native, non-endangered Canadian wolves into Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, upper management within a couple of these agencies continues the cover up of the damage wolves have already dealt big game populations, livestock impact due to wolf depredation, the loss of hunting opportunities, how USFWS manipulated wolf science to justify the introduction of an invasive wolf subspecies, the true number of wolves in their respective states, and what it is going to take to gain control of this problem. 
            Perhaps the worst of the state wildlife agency lot has been Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
            Sportsmen in this state have become extremely agitated at MT FWP's inability to get a handle on the impact wolves are dealing elk, moose and other big game - and that was very evident at one of the agency's regional meetings to discuss wolves and wolf "management" on June 2, 2010. That meeting took place in Missoula, for the state's Region 2 management unit.
            A presentation by Regional Supervisor Mack Long, Regional Wildlife Manager Mike Thompson, and Regional Wolf Coordinator Liz Bradley, to detail the impact wolves were having on big game populations and various proposed wolf season harvest quotas, only tended to further agitate the 150 or so attending the meeting. Their anger was very evident, and some of the accusation very pointed. It was clear that they had had enough of wolves, and enough of losing the wildlife populations they had funded to build. And they wanted something done, and done quickly to turn things around.
            But, there was no encouragement from those making the presentation. They presented three different levels of harvest. If the statewide quota was set at 153, they claimed it would reduce the number of wolves in the state by only 9-percent. Should FWP go with a harvest quota of 186 wolves, that would reduce the state wolf population by 13-percent. If the quota was set at 216, Thompson claimed that the overall state wolf population would be reduced by 20-percent.
            But, 9-, 13- or 20-percent of what? The sportsmen of Montana are fully aware of the fact that MT FWP does not have a clue about the true number of wolves within the state. During an Environmental Quality Committee meeting at the State Capitol Building in Helena in early March, the agency admitted they had not done an official wolf count since 2008. The Chairman of that committee questioned the accuracy of their counts when he shared that two years ago, when he asked how many wolf packs were in the area of his home in northwest Montana, FWP told him just one. Then, this past winter they admitted they knew of at least six, maybe eight packs there.
            Extremely few of the sportsmen in that room for the meeting bought FWP's claim of having just 500-550 wolves in the state. Most feel there are at least twice that many, as evidenced by the loss of big game numbers all along the western side of Montana.
           Attending the meeting was Bob Ream, Chairman of the MT FWP Commission, who had willingly worked with the introduction of the non-native Canadian wolves throughout the Northern Rockies at the start of the project. 
            He angered the crowd even more when he stated, "More than 60-percent of the wolves now in Montana came here from Canada on their own."
            If that's true, why did USFWS feel so compelled to embezzle more than $60-million dollars from the funds provided by sportsmen for improving wildlife and fisheries habitat - in order to introduce wolves? Many of those at the meeting felt that it was just more of the agency's cover up of a mad-scientist experiment gone bad.
            So, what would it take to bring Montana's (along with Idaho's and Wyoming's) elk, moose and other big game populations out of the predator pit situation they've been thrown into by misguided federal and state wildlife agencies? One thing is for certain, it'll take a heck of a bigger reduction of wolf numbers than 20-percent!
            Before writing his acclaimed book, "Wolves in Russia - Anxiety Through the Ages", author Will Graves spent several decades researching and studying wolves and their impact in that country. He shares that to reverse the negative impact wolves have on wildlife populations, livestock production, plus the emotional, health and safety threat to human inhabitants of a wolf populated region, the Russian government found it necessary to reduce wolf populations by as much as 80-percent. And they did so by using semi- and full-auto gunfire from helicopters. During Grave's research, wolf control in that country carried a price tag of about $45-million annually.
            Will Graves claims, "Wolves cannot be managed...they have to be controlled!"
            In his May 2008 declaration for the wolf delisting hearing and pending "wolf management hunts", Dr. L. David Mech stated, "It has not been demonstrated that 'a substantial reduction' in wolf abundance will occur, and my opinion is that it will not because merely to hold a wolf population stationary requires an annual take of 28-50% per year."
            Mech went on to declare that wildlife agencies outside of the Northern Rockies recovery area try to kill 70% of the wolf population annually in order to achieve a reduction in wolf numbers. He was referring to what it takes to keep wolf levels low enough to prevent a predator pit situation in Alaska and areas of Canada. According to this wolf biologist and researcher, who is considered by many to be the top wolf expert in the world, sport hunting as currently being implemented by the wildlife agencies in Montana and Idaho normally do nothing to reduce wolf populations.
            Even if MT FWP goes into the 2010 wolf season with a quota of 216 wolves, and that quota is met, it simply means that by next spring there will be still more wolves on the landscape of Montana than there are as this is written - and that western Montana's predator pit situation will only worsen. More elk, more moose, more deer, more bighorn sheep, more mountain goats will be lost to the wolves, and those animals that do manage to survive the continuous onslaught of those apex predators will inch one more year closer to being lost to old age. The big game populations that have provided food for western families, an opportunity for sportsmen to harvest the surplus bounty and enjoy time afield with family and friends, and which have simply provided viewing enjoyment for countless wildlife watchers are dangerously close to being lost forever.
            Sportsmen fully realize what they are losing, and they feel those who they have entrusted to wisely manage these wildlife resources are now asleep at the wheel - or just don't care anymore. Wolf impact on the Northern Rockies is a bomb that's about ready to explode, and the fuse keeps getting shorter and shorter. - Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Winter 2012-13 - Oh, How Montana Has Changed...

Every day, shortly after noon, I shut down the computer...load my three dogs into the Suburban...and get out for a couple of hours.  Some days we head over to a mountain recreation area on the Southwest edge of Missoula to hike a closed Forest Service road...or head down along the West side of the Clark Fork River to where an old bridge used to cross...or maybe to the private shooting range I use to get in a little hiking and some target shooting.  No matter where we go, we very seldom drive more than 12-14 miles from home.

This spot is one of our favorites in winter.  What's really great about the area is that it is all public land...and it is just 5 1/2 miles from home.  Depending on the weather, and the work load waiting for me at home, we can get in a 30-minute hour walk...or an hour and a half hike.  A number of trails allows the dogs to cover a lot of territory, and they easily get in 2 to 3 times the distance I cover, and when we get back home they expect a dog biscuit...then a nice long nap.

For me, a brisk walk on a cool 30-degree afternoon gets the juices flowing again, and no matter what I had been working on before the daily outing, I come back more than ready to jump right back into the project.  Often, that walk gives me an opportunity to ponder whatever I'm writing or constructing on the internet, and I dive right back in with some fresh new thoughts.

Home is actually about half-way between where Bob is enjoying a bit of a January wade and the high ground seen in the background.  As wild as the country may appear here...a city of 70,000 people lies just a couple of miles out of sight behind those trees.

One of my 2013 resolutions has been to make much greater use of this blog.  Since posting on here last year, I've taken my photography digital - and will be sharing a lot of Montana scenic shots, such as that of the early evening walk shown here, which reminds me of Robert Frost's "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening".

Montana has changed a great deal in just the 5 1/2 years that I've been here, and not all for the better.  There has been and remains those who were attracted to Montana for what it has been, a wild and beautiful place - and since moving here they have worked hard to make it more like wherever they came from.  The clash between those who love the country and the lifestyle just the way it has been, and those now pushing for change will escalate.  Some hard battles lie ahead, and these will become topics on this blog.

Our goal is to make two or three new posts here drop back from time to time to see what's happening in Montana - no matter if you still consider it the "Treasure State"...or "Big Sky Country". - Toby Bridges, Montana Mountain Chronicle