MONTANA TAKES ON THE ARMED FORCES
The state of Montana last week found itself in a state of open war against the military mind, which, it seems, regards state game laws as something less than sacred. A month ago Montana took on the Air Force, last week the Navy, and it seems quite prepared to tackle anyone else should it become necessary.
Montana's first skirmish was with three Air Force colonels, a major and a captain. Last month they breezed into Great Falls Municipal Airport from the Pentagon and other places aboard an Air Force C-54, paid $6 for resident hunting licenses instead of $100 for nonresident ones and disappeared into the Seeley Lake country. Five days later all five were arrested by Game Wardens Jim Ford and Ray Thompson of the Missoula Fish and Game District and charged with making false statements on their license applications. Each officer posted a $350 bond, left the state and subsequently forfeited the money. Then, last week, came word that five naval officers ranging from lieutenant to commander and all active at the Alameda Naval Air Station near San Francisco had tried a similar gambit with similar results. Unfortunately, by the time Montana agents had enough evidence to make arrests, the wayward officers, in spite of roadblocks, had retreated to California and could not be extradited. Montana, however, won the day. Under California law all five were arrested for illegal possession of game and, under the federal Lacey Act, for transporting illegal game across state lines. A sixth man, a petty officer, was a bona fide Montana resident, but he had brought back an elk for one of the officers and was also arrested. The five officers mailed $200 each to Montana, the luckless resident $52.50. Whatever else may be learned from this unbecoming military conduct, one lesson is clear. It is cheaper to buy a nonresident Montana hunting license than pay the high cost of fibbing.
December 3, 1956
Now in residence in Texas: 23 adults, 2 young
Still unaccounted for: 3 adults
THE MARK OF A CHAMPION
With the same superb marks-manship which he used to become national 28-gauge skeet champion, Chesley J. Crites of Detroit last week smashed the most expensive pigeon of his gunning career—his own four-place Piper Clipper airplane.
While deer-hunting in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Crites, who is also president of the National Skeet Shooting Association, tied down at Blaney Park airstrip. When he returned to take off for home, his plane's starter failed. With the engine at partial throttle, Crites spun the prop by hand until it caught. But as he dashed for the cabin, he was forced to hit the dirt—the plane, lurching forward, broke its moorings and began ground-looping crazily around the field. Crites accurately plunked eight rounds into the runaway's crankcase with a borrowed Remington .30-06. The fusillade stopped the plane, but it also set it afire. Result: a total loss.
One night last week in the Sussex area of New Brunswick, Canada, a deer-jacker picked up a pair of gleaming eyes with his five-cell flashlight and fired at them. Since jack-lighting deer is illegal, the hunter was not only startled but frightened when an angry voice demanded: "What is the big idea of shooting my horse?" The jacker had shot a horse, all right, but its unscathed rider was in no position to press charges. Hitched to the horse was a freshly killed moose, and moose hunting in New Brunswick is just as illegal as jack-lighting.
FROM THE FLYWAYS
GDW—good duck weather; BW—bluebird weather; S—snow; R—rain; F—freeze-up; T—temperature; SF—spotty flight; FF—fair flight; GF—good flight; EF—excellent flight; PG—poor gunning; FG—fair gunning; GG—good gunning; EG—excellent gunning; OP—outlook poor; OF—outlook fair; OG—outlook good; OVG—outlook very good; SO—season opens (or opened); SC—season closes (or closed)
NEW JERSEY: F/GG as main flight of Broad-bill still rafting on Raritan Bay, with only SF ranging south to Barnegat. FF of Brant on Great Bay, as most birds have moved through Barnegat Bay area. EF of Blacks in Barnegat, but GDW needed. Look for upswing and OVG.
MARYLAND: EG of Honkers on Eastern Shore, especially at Kent Island, where most pits are being hired out several times daily as hunters limit fast. EF of Cans and Blacks as late GDW moved in. EG after poor start now on Susquehanna River flats, and Chester River.
LOUISIANA: First half of split season ended last week; SO again Dec. 7, and OVG as gun-shy birds get rest and EF in progress. George Duet of Golden Meadow last week reported best hunt of his life and is now doing 90 days as penance. Judge Herbert W. Christenberry of New Orleans sentenced Duet for bagging 105 birds in one day (the limit is four), hunting without a federal duck stamp, hunting during closed season and hunting over live decoys. Christenberry, obviously a humanitarian, ordered that Duet should serve 30 days of sentence now, be released for holidays, then return Jan. 3 to finish off last 60. Since all Duet's ducks were confiscated he will be eating something else for Christmas—like crow, maybe.
NEBRASKA: EG for Mallards along Missouri River with arrival of GDW last week. EG also reported in Kerney area on Platte River. EF/EG for Honkers and Blue Geese now along Missouri River, where the straightening of a bend by Army Corps of Engineers has resulted in reclaiming river bottom for cornfields, and many geese which once moved down Mississippi River had switched to Missouri; OVG.
OREGON: EF of Mallards and Pintails now winging into Willamette in spite of BW. Lack of rain makes ideal river and pond shooting, and numerous Pintails using stubble fields, where shooters report EG over field decoys. Main flight still to come, but OG. Summer Lake public shooting grounds estimates 400,000 Snows in area, but BW has them rafting on lake in daytime and feeding at night. EF of Mallards and Honkers in Klamath Falls area, but BW here also making high flyers out of most birds and FG until weather changes. Columbia River sportsmen report EF of Honkers and Mallards around bars and islands in upper river. Honkers congregating at mouth of Deschutes River and Blalock, with morning and afternoon affording EG as geese leave river and pump over bluffs on way to wheat fields; OG and will improve.