Saturday, December 30, 2017


JackAtchesonSr-obituary-December 28, 2017


Butte, Montana: Sportsmen and women around the world lost a friend, advocate, ally, and invaluable resource with the passing of Jack Atcheson Sr. of Butte, Montana on December 27, 2017; at the age of 85.

Jack Atcheson Sr. was born May 9, 1932, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Son of a farmer and coal miner, he moved with his family to Butte, Montana in the late 1930s and called Butte home for the rest of his life. Atcheson was still a teenager when he enlisted in the Army, spending a year in infantry combat in Korea. He suffered frostbite in the Korean winter and had lifelong back pain from a near-miss from an enemy artillery shell.

Atcheson left the Army as a Master Sergeant and returned to Butte, marrying his lifelong partner, Mary Claire. Together they founded Jack Atcheson & Sons in 1955, originally a taxidermy business that developed into an agency for organizing outdoor adventures around the world. It was Jack Atcheson Sr. who coined the term “hunting consultant” to describe his occupation, the term that is now commonly used—and preferred—by his competitors and colleagues.

A dedicated Western hunter himself, Atcheson was on the scene as North American big game rebuilt and hunting opportunities expanded in the Western United States, Canada, and Alaska. He was also a pioneer in hunting and conservation throughout the world, arranging some of the first organized expeditions to Mongolia in the early 1960s, and, as the winds of change swept traditional hunting grounds in East Africa, he was among the first to organize safaris to Angola, Congo, Botswana, then-Rhodesia, and then-Southwest Africa; and as Northern Rhodesia transitioned to Zambia he was an original partner in Zambia Safaris.

The first American clients Atcheson sent to Southwest Africa (now Namibia) were his lifelong friends Jack and Eleanor O’Connor; a few years later he hosted Jack O’Connor on his final hunting trip, for whitetail in Montana. During the same period, he arranged the first (of many) guided hunts, for elk in Montana, for then-future journalist Craig Boddington, who considered Atcheson a mentor as well as friend…as do so many of his thousands of clients over the years.

An extremely active and experienced international hunter himself, Atcheson was also a dedicated user of Montana’s public lands and outspoken advocate for public land opportunity. He was one of the leaders behind the passage of Montana’s famous Stream Access Law guaranteeing access to fishermen…and opening up over five million “blocked” acres of Montana public land to sportsmen and women. In 2000 he was awarded the prestigious Time/Mirror -Outdoor Life Magizine Conservation Award for his conservation efforts.  Other recipients include Aldo Leopold and Jimmy Carter.  Many of his adventures are collected in his hunting memoir, Hunting Adventures Worldwide (Stoneydale Press, 1995).

Jack Atcheson Sr. is survived by his wife, Mary Claire; and by his four children: Sons Jack Jr., Keith, and Brian; and daughter Kristie. Although remaining an active Montana sportsman until his final autumn, Atcheson retired gradually from the family business. Jack Atcheson & Sons remains in Butte, Montana, now operated by brothers Jack Jr. and Keith Atcheson…and remains active in hunting and conservation throughout the world. Their father’s motto, and their company slogan, is “Go hunting while you are physically able.” Jack Atcheson Sr. lived that motto until the end.

Friday, December 29, 2017

ALERT: We have lost another one....Jack Atcheson...Conservation Giant

Jack Atcheson Sr. has passed away.  Another of our Conservation Giants gone.  We will follow up with an article.
Condolences to the family from the Montana Sportsmen alliance.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

EMWH Carol Gibson Passing and more

Dec. 5, 2017

"Beware of the person who can't be bothered by details." 
~ William A. Feather, Publisher and Author

Newsletter Social Media link

Carol Gibson's Passing
It is with sadness that I share the news of Carol Gibson's passing on Dec. 3rd. While some may think of Carol as the quieter sidekick to the conservation mountain, John Gibson, Carol was her own force of nature, she will be missed. 

In addition to all Carol's Public Land/Water Access Association (PLWA) work, where I got to know her, she was an activist and a conservation hunter/angler here in Montana. Carol was an educator for many years, 
a Billings Representative for the Montana State House, sat on the Governor appointed Board of Outfitters, participated in numerous organizations like PLWA, Northern Plains Resource Council, League of Women Voters, MT Wildlife Federation, Billings Rod & Gun Club, and Montana Conservation Voters.

"Carol, who owned her own rifle and shotgun, spent many days hunting with John and friends. She also killed her own deer, field dressed them and along with John, butchered and put the meat in the freezer", shared Bernard Lea, a long time friend that was on many of those hunting trips, during their 60 years of friendship.

John shared, "At eleven A.M. on  Sunday Dec. 3, 
my wife, soul mate of 61 years and the mother of our 3 daughters, Jill, Shaun and Teal and Jill's 2 sons Justice and Frisco, left this world. Her heart became too weak to carry out it's life giving functions. Carol will be cremated. We will plan a celebration of her life at a later date but for now I will take a trip and spread a small part of her ashes on memorable spots that represent a part of our life together. One example would be Mud Creek where we lived in the mid sixties and the owner would let us swim in the warm pool while the winter snow fell."

In lieu of flowers, if you would like to send a memorial contribution in honor of Carol Gibson, you may do so to Public Land/Water Association, 
PO Box 80987, Billings, MT 59108 or online at 

John stated that he is thinking of holding a Celebration of Life for Carol on her birthday, January 27th.

Public Land/Water Access Association's New Website
Public Land/Water Access Association just raised the public access bar with the debut of their new website at
With nearly 2 million acres of public lands in Montana not accessible to the public, more than double that of other Western states, Public Land/Water Access Association was created in 1985 to, “maintain, restore, and perpetuate public access to the boundaries of all Montana public land and waters.”

With the growing membership and public access awareness, PLWA needed a new web platform to provide resources and an interactive library to their members, journalists, law students, lawyers, historians and the public at large, about public land and stream access issues in Montana. Their social media friendly web platform is designed to work on PCs, tablets and smartphones.

“This is a totally new vehicle for us, with interactive resources for public lands and water access awareness and activism in Montana - a fact based vehicle that will grow with us and go with us into the future, as we continue pursuing our mission of maintaining, restoring, and perpetuating public access to the boundaries of all Montana public land and waters”, said Bernard Lea, PLWA's new President.

For decades the grassroots public access non-profit has been working with local hunting/angling organizations across the State, as well as with County Commissions, State and Federal public lands agencies to restore access. When necessary, PLWA is not shy about fighting back in County Commission meetings, or in District and Montana Supreme courtrooms. One case, involving the Seyler Lane Bridge easement, on the Ruby River, took about 13 years to finally be resolved. Now, as resolved by State law, Montana's Fish, Wildlife & Parks will complete the fencing public access project on both sides of the Seyler Lane Bridge, this next spring.

Vice President John Gibson declared, “Private interests are continually attacking access to our public lands and waters. Check out our new website, see our track record of access victories! Then join the fight to preserve and restore access to our Montana public lands and waters. Let's get that 2 million inaccessible acres restored back to the public who owns them!”

Crazy Mountain Note
I am still doing research on the Crazy Mountains, including Railroad Grant deeds. 
"Whereas, by the act of Congress approved July 2, 1864, entitled 'An Act granting Lands to aid in the Construction of a Railroad and Telegraph Line from Lake Superior to Puget's Sound, on the Pacific Coast, by the Northern Route,' and the Joint Resolution of May 31, 1870, there was granted to the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, its successors and assigns, for the purpose of aiding in the construction of said railroad and telegraph line, ... 'every alternate section of public land...' ". 

Many of these granted sections are in the Crazy Mountains. When the Northern Pacific sold these sections (mostly by 1940) to private landowners, if there were public access roads/trails at that time, the deeds include language, such as, "The lands above described shall be subject to an easement in the public for any public road heretofore laid out or established or now existing over and across any part of the premises," or "... the lands hereby conveyed being subject, however, to an easement in the public for any public roads heretofore laid out or established, and now existing over and across any part of the premises." That language does not occur on deed sections that did not have roads. This has been very interesting plotting out the Railroad grant sections to current maps. ;) I am loving the research resources here in Helena.

Troy Downing update
While back in the Bozeman area for some research, I went in for the Downing omnibus hearing scheduled for Nov. 15th. The omnibus had been rescheduled. I was told that Downing had this rescheduled for Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at 1:30 pm.

Meanwhile, an article came out in the Bozeman Chronicle, Montana U.S. Senate candidate claims primary home tax break in California. 
"U.S. Senate candidate Troy Downing of Big Sky is receiving a tax break on property he jointly owns with his wife, Heather, in California, an exemption that is for homeowners if the home is their primary residence... The San Diego County assessor’s office confirmed that he had been receiving the homeowner’s tax exemption since 2005. The most recent property tax bill for the fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2018, showed Downing received the exemption... San Diego County Division Chief for Assessment Services Jeff Olson said Downing acquired the Fallbrook property in 2005 and has had the exemption since then. The application for the tax exemption is a self-declaration that is signed under penalty of perjury, he said."

I found the PDF of the San Diego County Assessors Homeowners' Property Tax Exemption.
Also online was the current property tax bill, which is public records, showing the $7000 resident Homeowner' Exemption (screenshot below) for their Sleeping Indian Road, Fallbrook property.

Concerning the MT FWP citations, in a press release on Nov. 8, Downing's campaign stated, "
This is nothing more than an orchestrated attack on a combat Veteran..." Being a veteran has nothing to do with this, nor is it a defense. In the Chronicle's resident Homeowners Exemption story, Downing's campaign again tried to excuse the issue, "Downing’s Campaign Manager Kevin Gardner released a statement after being presented with the property tax bill and said it was California policy to automatically renew homeowner’s exemptions. He said if it was done, it was done without Troy’s knowledge."

This begs the question, if Downing can't keep up with his MT FWP residency information, nor notifying San Diego County's Treasurer Tax Collector as to a change in primary residence, as well as his campaign's deflecting/attacking excuses when confronted with legitimate residency questions, how in the hell would he be able to handle the very detail oriented, high pressure work load of representing Montana in Congress? 

I mean, Tester is not a superhero, and he was none too happy with receiving a 479 page tax bill, including illegible handwritten notes, shortly before having to vote on it. What would, thus far, detail deficient and deflecting Downing do in that situation?

It's all about the details and properly representing Montana! I agree with Senator Tester, Montanan's deserve so much better.

Thank you to contributors & subscribers for your support; without it, EMWH would not be able to pursue this work. 

Click to be a Contributor or Subscriber to Enhancing Montana's Wildlife & Habitat

Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu
Helena, MT


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Mule Deer North of Chester had CWD

Chronic Wasting Disease Found in Deer north of Chester
A mule deer buck shot by a hunter Nov. 12 north of Chester on the Highline near the Canadian border has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.
The deer was taken in hunting district 401 in Liberty County.
The test results mark the fifth incident of CWD discovered in Montana wild deer this fall. The other four deer came from south of Billings. Until this year, CWD had not been found in Montana, though the disease exists in wild deer herds in Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
In anticipation of the disease coming to Montana, FWP recently updated its CWD response plan, and FWP director Martha Williams has assembled an incident command team to respond to the detection near Billings. FWP is in the process of putting together a team for the latest detection north of Chester.
An incident command team will define an initial response area (IRA) around where the infected animal was harvested, and may recommend a special CWD hunt. The specifics of this hunt would be determined by the incident command team.
FWP is currently organizing a hunt to respond to the detections in south central Montana. This hunt will come before the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission at their meeting Thursday in Helena for final approval.
It has not been determined yet if a special CWD hunt will occur at the site of the latest detection north of Chester. Currently, there is no general deer hunting season open near where the deer was harvested in HD 401.
CWD can only be effectively detected in samples from dead animals. CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. It is part of a group of diseases called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs). TSEs are caused by infectious, mis-folded prion proteins, which cause normal prion proteins throughout a healthy animal’s body to mis-fold, resulting in organ damage and eventual death.  
Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, it is recommended to never ingest meat from animals that appear to be sick or are known to be CWD positive. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters who have harvested a deer, elk, or moose from a known CWD-infected area have the animal tested prior to consuming it. If hunters harvest an animal that appears to be sick, the best thing to do is contact FWP and have the animal inspected.
Some simple precautions should be taken when field dressing deer, elk or moose:
·         Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when field dressing.
·         Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
·         Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
  • Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field dressing coupled with boning out of a carcass will essentially remove these parts.)
For more information on CWD and FWP’s response, please look online at You can email

Losing a Giant! Carol Gibson, Our Friend and Ally!

We have lost another giant in the Conservation world! Carol Gibson passed away Sunday morning in Billings. She was a beautiful women with style and class. She was a constant companion to John and shared his passions. She was always a welcome addition to meetings or any gathering.
The Montana Sportsmen Alliance sends our condolences to John and family. She will be sorely missed!

The Montana Sportsmen Alliance

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Montana Sportsmen Alliance

The Montana Sportsmen Alliance would respectfully ask you to consider us in your end of year giving.  You can donate to MSA or to MSA Pac.  MSA Pac is used for our extensive legislative work.  MSA is used to support the Montana Sportsmen/women in many venues.  Threats to the N.A. Model, access to public lands, and commercialization never go away.

Without your support, we are hamstrung in efforts to inform, collaborate, and educate Montana's sportsmen/women!

Please go to our Montana Sportsmen Alliance website and hit the contribute buttons or send it snail mail.   or

Leadership Team
John Borgreen
Steve Schindler
Sam Milodragovich
Jeff Herbert
Joe Perry
JW Westman
Robert Wood