Archive for the Big Game Category

Archery Recurve-The primitive challenge

Posted in Bear, Big Game, caribou, North America on March 26, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

Many sportsmen who are involved in hunting have a favorite weapon.  Some are long range hunters who choose to challenge themselves by finding the perfect long range opportunity.  Other hunters relish the old smoke pole.  Famous hunter Jim Shockey was the first to harvest record book quality animals of the 27 North American big game species using a muzzleloader.  I personally, have hunted with a firearm (an ancient Winchester Model 70), muzzleloader, and compound bow.  One group who prides themselves in the ultimate handicap when it comes to weaponry are recurve archery hunters.

Most recurve hunters will tell you that their weapon has about a 20 yard effective range.  Compare that to a 40-60 yard effective range with a compound bow, and you can see the challenge.  Add the primitive and instinctive draw motion and colorful wood construction of many recurve bows, and you do feel a certain primitive connection with ancient hunter gatherers.

This old tom was dropped by a persistent recurve enthusiast.

While I was researching this post, I came across one amazing archery site

These guys hunt giant bears using recurve bows.

This 950 pound grizzly was shot as it charged.  The old boar scored into the Boone and Crocket records books.  Congratulations to hunter Pat Lefemine.

This giant brown bear was harvested by hunter Tom Huebner in Alaska at less than 10 yards.  What an amazing challenge on one truly dangerous animal.

I loved this quote from the site, “I shared this hunt with my uncle, an Alaska resident, stalking this dry, 8’4″ sow (the only lone bear we observed in 14 days) while she hunted red salmon on a lake shore. Shot her three times from 25 to 35 yards and she feel in sight. It was all over in a matter of 20 seconds. All arrows hanging by the fletching on the far right side, grouped tight through the lungs.”

White Lions from South Africa

Posted in Africa, Big 5, Big Game, International, Predators on March 22, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

John Riggs recently sent me photos of white lions that he has been breeding in South Africa.  Truly a beautiful animal.

Once again evidence that economic demand produces all sorts of interesting abundance.  Who would ever imagine that someone would invest the serious money needed to produce a breeding population of white lions.

I guess as they say, seeing is believing.  Thanks to John for sending the photos of these beautiful animals.

If you are interested in learning more about John’s operation contact him at:, tel: 27 78 004 2200.

A Moose named Malcom

Posted in Big Game, Friends and Family, Moose, North America on March 20, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

My in-laws recently sold their cabin.  We have many wonderful family memories from the cabin including, of course, wildlife.  The canyon that held the cabin was full of Shiras Moose.  One of North America’s great ungulates, Shiras Moose are the smallest of all Moose species.  As you will see in the photo, there is nothing small about these creatures

This giant bull was nicknamed, Malcom.  We enjoyed watching this old boy most of the summer and into the fall.

This old boy often hung out in the front of the cabin, as demonstrated by this great photo.

My wife is watching Malcom from the front porch.  What a beautiful photo of a moose in velvet.

Forgive the fuzzy photo.  But this cow and calf could often be seen in the same area as Malcom.  We like to think this calf was sired by ol’ Malcom.

Another Monster Cat out of Utah

Posted in Cougar, North America, Predators on March 16, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

Congratulations to huntress Deb Cunningham on a beautiful mountain lion.  The tail on this monster cat looks longer than Deb is tall.  It almost looks like the cat has stopped to pose for the picture.

The photo of the skinned hide gives you a sense of the dimensions of this tremendous cat.  My guess is this cat is over 8 feet nose to tail.

Thanks to legendary cat guide Wade Lemon for the photos of this exceptional cat.  Visit Wade online at

Moose born on the lawn

Posted in Big Game, Moose, North America on March 11, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

This one had to be a shocker.  This is what the email says about the photos:

In my 33 years in Minnesota, I have never seen a newborn baby
moose. This one was not even a half mile from our house. The mother
picked a small, quiet neighborhood, and had her baby in a front yard
just off of US 53, at 5:30 am.

Joe and I were out bike riding when we came upon the pair. The lady across the street from this house told us she saw it being born. We saw them at 5:30 PM. So the little one was 12 hours old. What an awesome place we live in to see such a sight.

Giant Archery Billies

Posted in Big Game, guides and outfitters, Mountain Goats, North America, Ungulates, World's Best on March 8, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

British Columbia is not only known for it’s giant mountain goats, it is also known for breathtaking scenery.  Check out these two photos from stick and string outfitters

Located in Western British Columbia, not only do these old males boast giant horns, they also have beautiful wooly coats that makes these animals so famous.

Below is a map of the hunting area.  I loved this quote from the website:

“B.C.’s Northcoast bordering Alaska is noted for having the highest population of mountain goat in north America. Our Exclusive 10,000 sq. mile guide area is located in the heart of mountain goat heaven. Towering peaks, mountains, ice fields provide some the best habitat for these magnificent animals. The high mountain goat population in our area allows for an extended season. Goats maybe hunted right up until the end of February.”

Sign me up for an early season archery hunt!  Contact Matt at Stick and String Outfitters.

Matt Burrows
Stick & String Outfitters, LLC
P.O. Box 441
Pine, CO 80470

303.524.2461; email:

Never Cry Wolf-ESPN article on Wolves in Russia

Posted in Big Game, North America, Wolf on March 3, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

ESPN just published a very interesting article on Will Graves research on wolves in Russia.  For those of you who remember the old Movie Never Cry Wolf, this article is a must read.

A few quotes from the article: 

In the heat of media frenzy about the environment, one must always remember to think critically and be on alert for romanticism, exaggeration and what Teddy Roosevelt called “nature fakers.”

 In the U.S., we have been led to believe that wolves are not dangerous to people. In books and movies like Farley Mowat’s “Never Cry Wolf”, Michael Blake’s “Dances With Wolves,” and Barry Lopez’s “Of Wolves and Men”, wolves are “nature’s sanitarians” who prefer eating lemmings more than larger mammals. They are presented as secretive, adverse to attacking humans and may even friendly to people, like dogs…

…A pack of 3-5 wolves will kill an average of two reindeer or caribou every three days. They can eat 6-7 pounds of meat per day; over 10 pounds if they have not eaten for awhile. That translates into 1.5 tons of meat per wolf per year.

Contrary to some authors, Graves asserts that Russian wolves prefer healthy prey, not sick or diseased animals. They seem to enjoy indulging in “surplus killing,” running havoc through herbs of animals, or even through villages, killing more than they can eat and leaving the surplus carcasses for scavengers…

…There are many, many accounts of wolves attacking people in Russia. As many as 80% of the attacks are by rabid wolves, but at least 20% are perfectly healthy wolves. The worst attacks on humans tend to come from wolf-dog hybrids, as well as wolves that have lost all fear of people.

…A healthy, athletic man may beat off an attack by one wolf, but he will always lose to a pack, unless he is well-armed. One reason why we have not had as many wolf attacks on people in North America is that the populace is armed.

Wolves in North America are not supposed to attack people, but the reality of fatal wolf attacks in North America became real on November 8, 2005: 22-year-old Kenton Carnegie, while walking through the woods of Saskatchewan, was killed by a pack of four wolves that had become habituated to a garbage dump…

James Swan’s entire article is well worth a read

22 Wolves in Wyoming

Posted in Big Game, North America, Wolf on March 2, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

One pack with 22 wolves.  I guess seeing is believing.

One of my good friends has hunted with three generations of his family in this area.  His 14 year-old son took a 32 inch mule deer in 2009 in this very area.  As a hunter and a big game expert he estimates that 2009 will be the last year they harvest trophy class mule deer in the area.  22 wolves just do too much damage to the ungulate infrastructure to have any other result.  His 10 year-old has been dreaming of harvesting his own old muley.  He told his dad, “Dad, I don’t care if you have to work 24 hours a day…you have to fix this wolf problem.”

10 Things you probably did not know about wolves

1. Each wolf will eat 1.5 tons a year of wild game.

2. Wolves are vectors of diseases that further impact wild game and humans

3. Wolf Populations in US already exceed recovery targets many times over and extend beyond recommended boundaries

4. Wolves Prefer Bigger game, healthy animals, disproportionally females and young, and seem to enjoy surplus killing (not lemmings and the old and sick big game as was so nicely fictionalized by the movie Never Cry Wolf)

5. Wolves Kill Humans-period (even in current times in North America).  Even a healthy grown man will always be killed by a pack of wolves-unless he is well armed.

6.  Wolves in the US have already effectively wiped out entire subpopulations of ungulates.

7.  Wolves have done hundreds of millions of dollars of economic damage to ungulate populations.

8.  Wolves reduce biodiversity-Shiras Moose, Elk, Bears, Big horn sheep, Mountain Lions etc.- all delicate populations at risk from wolves. 

9. Wolves are anything but endangered.  In North America and Asia, wolves are overpopulated.  There are no threats to loss of the species-in fact studies show wolves are overpopulated in many areas.

9.  Constitutionally States have the right to regulate wildlife (and are required to pay basically the entire bill)  Activist judges and out-of-state special interest are using expensive litigation to stop wolf management by states.  Even after those same special interests assured states and local conservation groups that they would not oppose returning wolf managment to the states once population recovery objectives were met.


Big picture

Special interest groups are what Theodore Roosevelt referred to as “Nature Fakers.”  They don’t like our version of conservation which is firmly rooted in scientific abundance principles.  We are the original conservationists.  We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of man hours to rebuild big game herds which were decimated by the 1980s.  The nature fakers haven’t provided their money or their time (unless you count some unproductive litigation). 

Most of us don’t mind wolves, we just want them regulated like every other species of big game.  Big game abundance is a more fragile thing than many people realize. Those who have invested their lives to fix big game in the west understand this.  We have sweated and invested to fix problems in the west.  We have reintroduced big game species including mountain goats, wild sheep, elk and bison to many areas where they had been lost.  We reduced tag allocations, reduced overgrazing and rehabilitated habitat.  Overpopulation of wolves is erasing much of the investment.  The natives are restless.  We are the original conservationists. 

The anti-huning groups have an imperialist mentality.  They want to dictate to the states decisions that are constitutionally state decisions.  While the nature fakers run a primarily anti–hunting agenda, the truth is that the states are really good at producing and protecting big game abundance.  The litigation is hurting big game numbers and true biodiversity.  In the process, they are making the sportsmen the enemy of wolf conservation.

Shiras Moose Generations

Posted in Big Game, Moose, North America, Ungulates on March 1, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

This morning as my family was getting ready for work and school, my 12 year-old called the family to the kitchen window.  Across the ravine, 3 shiras moose were hanging out on the hillside.  I grabbed my camera, ran across the ravine and got a few photos.  Enjoy!

After watching the animals for about 10-15 minutes, this is my best guess.  One is an old female.  The second is last year’s calf and is a male.  You can just see his horn buds in couple of the close-ups.  The third is also a male and probably her calf from two years ago.   Check out the frost on the female’s back-pretty cool.

Calf on its way to its Mother

Calf greeted by Mother

Older brother makes his way to the others (above).  Younger brother sticks his tounge out at older brother (below).

Here are few interesting facts about Shiras Moose in Utah.

(1) Shiras moose are the smallest of the moose species.  Populations exist in Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Washington and Oregon.

(2) Experts believe that in the modern era, Shiras Moose are not indigenous to Utah.  In 1957, the first Shiras moose count found 57 total animals.

(2) The population high for Shiras moose has been reached in the last 10 years, with a record number of 4,000 Shiras moose in the state of Utah.  This number appears to represent more moose than can be supported in many areas of Northern Utah.  Harvest quotas have been increased to maintain the current and more sustainable level of 3200 shiras moose.

Interesting Excerpt from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources:

Moose are well established in the northern half of Utah with the majority of the moose existing on 9 management units (Table 4). The current statewide population in Utah is estimated at 3200 animals. The general trend of the moose herd has been upward since the late 1950’s, with an average annual growth rate of 1.12 from 1957 to 1991. From 1992-1996, moose populations declined likely due to above average mortality during winter 1992–1993 and moose populations exceeding carrying capacity on some management units. During the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, moose population again grew and reached a record population size of nearly 4000 moose in 2005. Since 2005, the moose population has been intentionally reduced due to habitat degradation concerns.

Wolf Depradation Numbers-The Real Story

Posted in Big Game, North America, Wolf on February 28, 2010 by thegreatwhitehunter

When wolves were reintroduced into Idaho, Montana and Wyoming the agreement with the states, sportsmen, the Federal Government and the tree huggers was simple.  300 wolves.  The prowolf people asked for 450 wolves with at least 150 and 15 breeding pairs in each state.  This 50%margin, they reasoned was needed so the number wouldn’t fall below 300.  It would take YEARS they argued, probably DECADES with a slow 5% population growth rate.  The 450 would represent wolf repopulation recovery and then management would be returned to the states.

2010 Numbers

Idaho-850 + wolves

Montana-600 + wolves

Wyoming-300 + wolves

We are at 1200 wolves more than the 450 requested.  Biologists agree that 1 wolf kills 20 elk each year.  2,000 wolves x 20 dead elk = 40,000 dead elk each year.

Tom Bergerud top wolf expert from British Columbia told the Idaho Department of Fish and Game  the following:  

“I predict that you´re going to have major impacts from wolves in this state,” (Idaho) he said. I predict a major elk decline. 

He said that he saw wolves “repeatedly depress moose, caribou and elk populations while studying them throughout Canada and in some cases they wiped out local populations of caribou.” 

“I’ve watched herd after herd (of caribou) go EXTINCT across Canada,” he said. The problem: wolves have no known predators to keep them in balance with the ecosystem..”


The Idaho Fish and Game predator expert disagreed with Tom Bergerud

“We really don’t fear wolves or other predators are going to drive any populations of big game animals to extinction,” says Steve Nadeau, who heads the Idaho Fish and Game Department’s wolf, bear and mountain lion management effort at Boise.

“They will cause some level of predation within those populations that may or may not affect the status of that population.”

The department and tribe are monitoring elk and wolf populations. If it’s determined wolves are having too severe an impact on elk, he says, new rules proposed by the Fish and Wildlife Service would allow some wolves to be removed. ……… Steve Nadeau

So who was right, the guy who had seen it all, or the guy who thought he knew it all?

Here is the bottom line, the Lolo herd had 9,729 elk before wolves were reintroduced, that number is now down to 1,473.  Of that number cow elk, the producers of the next generation, are down from 3,832 to 705.  Calves are down from 669 to just 144.   You need 25 calves per 100 elk just to sustain a population.  In the Lolo unit, the number is below 10 percent.  Simple math Folks, looks like Tom was right and Steve was wrong.  Wolves are just as good as killing big game as was predicted.

Here is the news article from 2010 on the Elk Populations in the once mighty Lolo Herd.   

February 25th, 2010

By Eric Barker of the Tribune

Lolo Zone also could see fewer hunters after notching a large decline in elk numbers

…Depressed numbers of elk in the Lolo Zone could lead to fewer tags being sold there. Tags are already capped in the zone.

“We are seeing continued declines of elk numbers in the Lolo Zone,” Crenshaw said. “Data is indicating a 50 percent decline from 2006.”

The total number of elk counted during recently completed aerial surveys dropped from 3,452 four years ago to 1,473 this year. Cow elk dropped from 2,276 to 824 and calves from 669 to 144. Bulls are doing a bit better. They went from 504 to 461. But Crenshaw said bull numbers won’t stay at that level if few young elk survive to replace them.

“With such poor recruitment anticipated we expect them to be affected in the next couple of years as well,” Crenshaw said.

He said tag sales for the zone could be further capped, but hunters are already abandoning the zone and the restrictions might not be necessary.

“Around half of the resident tags were left unsold last year and about two-thirds of outfitter tags were left unsold…

Warning Graphic Photos!

We were told that Wolves only kill the sick, old and infirm.

This pregnant cow was killed by wolves.  They only ate the fetus, leaving the cow unused.

This one too…

This one too…

They didn’t even finish eating this unborn calf.