New Year’s Musings (with Colonel Smoothbore)
By angelamontana

Posted: January 5, 2020

The New Year, 2020, has arrived and with it some thoughts about what we Montanans have in store for us in the coming 12 months.

First off, this is a presidential election year and if you think the poo was flying fast last year, just wait. Piling on will have a whole new definition. It seems that these days most politicians have a great and vested interest, that being their own self-interest. Be very careful when a pol claims to be a “strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment” and the very next word they utter is “but.” I’ve seen pandering from these charlatans in every election, yet I am amazed at how often they think we won’t remember what they said and when challenged, they claim their position has “evolved.” Evolved my pututi, they’re simply lying from the start.

Perhaps the most serious problem facing Montana’s hunters and sportsmen is the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease. This past fall we saw this pestilence spread to new areas of our state. Folks, this is really a tragedy that will impact our wildlife populations for decades to come and may even be the end of hunting as we know it. Years ago, when we Montanans chose to end game farming and the canned hunts that were a part of those monstrosities there was a lot of whining from the game farm lobby. Well, the plague of CWD is here, the whiners were wrong; CWD originated in game farms in other states, it has spread through the transport of animals to other farms and the release of infected animals into the wild. More bad news, just last week a Madison county bovine was diagnosed with brucellosis in a Designated Surveillance Area. This incident is still under investigation, but past incidents have indicated a transfer of the disease from elk to domestic cattle. Add to that the discovery of CWD in a deer near Sheridan and the folks in Madison county are going to need all Montana’s help. 

Don’t let these comments depress or discourage you; remember we live in, for me anyway, the most beautiful place on Earth. Our fish and game populations overall are healthy and thriving. We have hunting, fishing, and other outdoor opportunities that folks from outside Montana are willing to pay thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars just to participate in what we all too often take for granted. We can bask in Montana’s beauty for free and for most of us all we have to do is look out a window or step onto the back porch. We are truly blessed to live here.

I’m not much for resolutions, but this year I am dedicating myself to accomplishing a few. I’m going to the range more often. I’m going fishing as many times as I can. I’m taking my dogs for more rides and walks in the wild. Building more rods and loading more ammunition are high priorities; one can never have enough of both. I’m getting back to the competitive trap tourneys across our state. Some “old man ailments” kept me from my trap shoot’n buddies last year. Finally, I’m going to see as much of my home, Montana, as I can. Hell Grizzly, I might even make it to Westby. Here’s wishing you all a very prosperous, joyous, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Be safe and good shooting,

Colonel Smoothbore