What's a "Traditional Weapon" in Idaho?
That stainless steel barrelled, synthetic stocked inline ignition rifle may be a muzzleloader but it is not a "traditional weapon" as defined by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.
by Ed Mitchell
The Commission has been hearing from all sides in the hunting community for several years on the issue of tradtitional weapons and the special hunts set aside for them. At their March meeting, the Commission finally spelled out the definitions.
To qualify as a traditional weapon, a rifle will be a muzzeloader with external hammer, iron sights, .50 caliber or larger, using flowable powder or synthetic, flint or percussion cap, firing a patched round ball.
In other words, if it does not look like or work the same as the rifles the trappers carried when Jim Bridger was doing business in these parts, it is not traditional. No sabots, no pelletized powder, no inline ignition, no electronic anythings.
A traditional bow is a recurve or longbow shooting wooden arrows with natural fletching and with no mechanical devices or sights.
Them's the facts, now the speculation.
Archers in Idaho already have generous seasons in which wheel bows with all kinds of hang-ons are allowed. I don't see any of those hunts going away.
Muzzleloaders have some good seasons where inlines (though not optical sights, etc.) are ok but I doubt this kind of season will be expanded. The blackpowder crowd would love to add some seasons but, in my opinion, that will not happen under the rules as they have been. The inline crowd will not have to sell their pets, as some have worried, but they will not be taking them to any new places either.
Motorized vehicles will, in traditional hunts, be used only on "system roads" (to be defined later) and not used in any aspect of the hunt.
What I do think we will see in coming years is a series of new "traditional weapons" hunts, particularly in areas where a little less effective harvest is desirable. The folks willing to do it the hard way will be the winners in the long run.
Commissioners dropped the October spike hunt in Unit 39 and replaced it with a traditional muzzleloader hunt for cows. They did the same in the Beaverhead Elk Zone and in one hunt in the Bannock Zone. So, you see that some of the shift to traditional weapons hunts was not long coming.
Before the ludicrous image leaps to mind of a buckskin-clad hunter roaring up a ridge through the brush with a .54 caliber Hawken on the gun rack, here is what may be the most important rule in traditional weapons hunts: no motorized vehicles allowed off public highways or "improved" highways.
The definition of "road" or "highway" has historically been trickier than one might expect at first blush. Remember all the fighting and whining about this issue when "roadless" areas were first discussed.
So, the new big game hunting rules booklet will contain the following:
"Traditional weapons seasons have been defined as those using traditional muzzleloader or archery equipment, and primitive travel. Hunters in these hunts agree to use motorized vehicles only on public highways and improved highways which are open to public use.
"According to Idaho Code section 36-202, 'public highway' means the traveled portion of, and the shoulders on each side of, any road maintained by any governmental entity for public travel. 'Motorized vehicle' means any water, land or air vehicle propelled by means of steam, petroleum products, electricity, or any other mechanical power. Idaho Code section 40-110 defines 'improved highway' as a graded and drained earth traveled way or better. This means any dirt road (or better) if it has regular maintenance including grading and drainage work."
Anything that puts the hunt back in hunting is not a bad thing.
Copyright 2001 Spring Creek Communications
Traditional Bowhunter Online(Idaho based magazine)
National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association
and Young Club
Legislative Fund of America
Bowhunter Education Foundation
BOOKS FROM AMAZON.COM
Muzzleloading (Complete Hunter (Creative Publishing International).)
by Toby Bridges, Tony Knight (Contributor)
The Complete Black Powder Handbook(3rd Edition)
by Sam Fadala
Archery the Technical Side (Legends of the Longbow Series ; Volume 5)
by Hickman (Editor)
Making Indian Bows and Arrows, The Old Way
by Douglas Wallentine, Douglas Spotted Eagle (Editor)