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It’s A Wild Life

Montana Wild Life, Aug. 1931

If you haven’t seen this yet, I highly recommend you take a look. The Montana State Library has made available all the back issues of the official publications of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. This, of course, includes all back issues of Montana Outdoors from 1970 to the second most current issue. Most outdoorsmen in Montana are familiar with this wonderful publication. The magazine carries some of the most interesting articles about Montana wildlife anywhere, not to mention many prize winning photographs.

Bull Trout 1929

As great as it is to have access to back issues of Montana Outdoors, I was even more enthralled to browse issues of it’s predecessor publications. The Library has made available issues of Montana Wild Life, 1928-1933, Sporting Montana, 1951-1952 and Montana Wildlife, 1952-1970. These older magazines really give you some insights into the thinking that has gone into conservation and management decisions affecting Montana’s wildlife treasures throughout the years.

For instance, about half of the June 1929 issue of Montana Wild Life is dedicated to research on Flathead Lake from the Yellow Bay Biological Station. Included are articles on The Fishes of Flathead Lake by Dr. M.J. Elrod, The Zoology of Flathead Lake, Botany, Physics and Chemistry. Really fascinating stuff. In his article, Dr. Elrod describes fourteen fish species from Flathead, including the bull trout; “This species is variously known in different places at bull trout, Dolly Varden trout, charr, Oregon charr, redspotted trout, malma, and golet, a vernacular name in Kamchatka.” “One of the most beautiful and active of the Salmonidae. This is undoubtedly the largest fish in the lake. James Hyer, in 1916, reported taking one 37 inches in length and 25 inches in girth weighing 25 pounds 10 ounces. It was taken with a trolling line. Unauthenticated reports tell of specimens weighing up to 32 pounds.”

There are great old timey photographs, lots of fishing and hunting advice and even lyrical verse by local authors.

GO A FISHIN’
If your liver’s out of line,
Go a fishin’;
If your heart ain’t keepin’ time,
Go a fishin’;
Go and sit out in the sun
Git your troubles on the run,
Be a boy and have some fun;

Go a fishin’.
Want to keep from growin’ old?
Go a fishin’;
Keep your brain from gatherin’ mould?
Go a fishin’;
Go and wander ‘mong the trees,
Makin’ friends with birds, and bees,
Take a day off; take your ease;
Go a fishin’.
If your appetite’s no good,
Go a fishin’;
If you don’t enjoy your food,
Go a fishin’;
Grab a can of bait, and pole,
Find some nice old bull-head hole,
Let the sunshine in your soul;
Go a fishin.

To access this great resource, just go to the Montana State Library page and type the name of the publication you want to view into the search catalog option. You’ll get a search list that includes a list of the back issues available. You can use an online viewer to read or see the issues in PDF, text, EPUB, Kindle, etc. formats. If you are a researcher or just an interested hunter, fisherman, hiker or outdoorsman, this is a link you will want to keep close to your heart.

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