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Scopes on Muzzleloaders

47 posts in this topic

What are your thoughts on scopes on muzzleloaders during muzzleloader season? YEA or NEY!!!

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I think if you get a good quality scope that is made for the shock from the loader, it is not bad. i looked at a Habicat or Swarovski. I would be afraid a cheap scope would not take the abuse. I am a full swarovski hunter, i know the expense but only want to buy one in a life time.

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i say no thanks. i know muzzleloaders are a primitive method of hunting, but we are at huge advantages already with the use of pelleted powder, primers, and the bullets and sabots that we are shooting. would a scope be nice on a muzzleloader? yes it would be. would i use one if the laws allowed us to, probably not. because if it could be scoped, then why not just be able to use the ruger no. 1 7mm in the gun cabinet? which is a single shot.

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nay.

I admit that it is a flip-flop from my stance in the past. Blame it on old age. IMO restrict the archery and muzzleloader regulations so that only the dedicated sportsmen will be attracted to them.

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I think both the archery and muzzleloader folks are in a niche market. Here is az we can look at the number of tags for rifle compared to the other two. it is far less for achery and even smaller for muzzle. So using a muzzleloader with a scope is not going to change the distance, only give the user a clear target than open sights. I like both, and would support the use if it ever came up.

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What about a minimal magnification?

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No scopes!

With todays Muzzies, there is very little difference between them and a single shot rifle. If you want to use a muzzy with a scope, then use it during the regular firearms season.

I like that idea, too, of keeping it raw enough so only the dedicated partake.

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Put me on the NEY side! There is no point of having a separate season if you are going to put a scope on and shoot 200+ yards with a muzzy.

Its a traditional wheapon and I say keep it old school and open sites. I think you can have a zero or 1 power scope now but I would rather just stay away from scopes in general.

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Put my name on the "NEY" side also. They are already to modern and I am very accurate out to 100yds as it is. I just wish that darn woods rat was as easy to hit as a 100yrd target. No need for scopes on muzzleloaders during that season.

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I would be in the ney column as well modern muzzeloaders resemble the traditional ones in name only, in full disclosure I do have a 1x red dot on mine.

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yes in any intensive harvest zone. No in any area other than that.

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I'd vote yes ..... and I say yes because we already allow pelleted propellants (that are not black powder), jacketed sabot bullets, shotgun primers, etc etc etc. Since all those things are already allowed I don't understand why the line was drawn at scopes.

A scope doesn't make a gun shoot farther or straighter or flatter --- it allows the shooter to do a better job of aiming. All the other things I mentioned like the propellants, shotgun primers, sabot bullets etc. improve the performance of the actual gun itself.

I've muzzleloader hunted out west in open country for whitetails and muledeer. Scopes were allowed out there and I'm really glad I had one. Where I hunt in MN and WI scopes are not allowed and the shooting distances are usually a lot closer .... but I'd still use a scope if I could.

For the people that want to keep it a "primitive" hunt and use that as a reason for not allowing scopes ----- I'd like to see a blackpowder only season - no primers, no modern propellants or bullets. But I doubt if enough guys would hunt in that season to make it worth while????

Also, I understand the argument that if you want to use a scope on your ML then hunt in the regular firearm season ..... the problem with that is I have other guns I like to use too, and wouldn't be able to use them if I used my ML in the firearms season.

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just put a scope on your muzzy and use it instead of a shotgun during firearms season. if we are able to put scopes on our muzzleloaders, then why even have a seperate season? with a scope, they are by far more accurate out to greater distances than any shotgun made. the only downside is we are limited to one shot...most of the time. leave the ML season scopeless! open sights and one shot make people definetely think about squeezing that trigger.

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Ney all the way! That is the main reason I started muzzleloader hunting. Less hunters in the woods and for us (me)that hunt public land it is a treat not to have the woods full of hunters. Which in the past 5 years the muzzy population has grown.

Perchjerker--I do agree with you that a scope makes you aim better, but without it you are not going to take many shots over 100 yds. I know my muzzy could probably easily kill at 300 yds. (Never tried it) with a scope and to me that takes away from the true nature of muzzleloading. Yes, we are using inline rifles and high power propellants and bullets, but we still only (most of the time) have one shot with iron sights and have to have a pretty good aim at short range also. Good luck to everyone this fall!!

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if the dnr is going to make one choose to use a doe permit in lottery areas then why should it be such a bad idea to let someone put a scope on their muzzy so they have a better chance to fil their tag. if was stil anything goes i might have a slightly different thoughtbut if you choose muzzy season to get your deer then you should get the best chance possible to suceed

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Lou, do you have any comments?

Heck no, I'm not getting in the middle of this one! smile The only thing I'll say is opinions are varied and well represented on this board. It's also one of those issues that has gathered Legislative interest. If you follow the legislature you know there are individuals in the House and Senate who have very strongly held opinions on this issue (from both sides). Typically, the Senate introduces a scopes bill and the House counters with a sidelock only season. A couple of years ago they settled on banning smokeless powder in muzzleloaders (don't ask how that happened). Typically, both provisions are removed in conference committee and the end result is no change.

The agency hasn't taken an official stance because of the legislative interest. Basically, if we made the change it would likely be changed again in statute when the Legislature came back in session.

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Thanks Lou, your input is always appreciated.

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NAY

If you truly have vision problems you can get a permit to hunt muzzleloader season with a scope after doctors recommendation. Tony Knight's argument about older eyes not focusing well enough to use open sights doesn't work either. My good friend who is an eye doc says just use a peep sight. That rear sight is supposed to be fuzzy as you just focus on the front sight. I think it is part of the hunt to see that trophy standing broadside just out of your effective range. Believe me I have been there. Instead of thinking "Man I wish I had a scope!", you should be thinking "Man, how can I out wit that animal?" That is the challenge you take on when muzzleloading in my opinion.

lakevet

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excactly. modern muzzleloaders are accurate, and efficient, however, remaining scopeless makes it much more challenging! may require a little bit of calling to the deer, or vacating your stand to begin the stalk to get within range. whats wrong with that? i would think both options definetely crank up the intensity of the hunt!!!

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excactly. modern muzzleloaders are accurate, and efficient, however, remaining scopeless makes it much more challenging! may require a little bit of calling to the deer, or vacating your stand to begin the stalk to get within range. whats wrong with that? i would think both options definetely crank up the intensity of the hunt!!!

I agree with everything you say.

But I still don't understand why the line was drawn at scopes on muzzleloaders.

Under your reasoning why not ban scopes on shotguns, handguns and/or rifles .... they are accurate and efficient firearms and if you took away the scopes it would make it more challenging and might require more calling or stalking. Why should MLs be treated any different than other modern firearms?

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scopes on muzzleloaders are not the discussion, the discusion is based on the fact that muzzleloders have a special season only because of the semi primitive function of their operation, allowing them to be scoped is just one step further away from their primitive roots thus eliminating the distinction that allows them a special season in the first place.

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No scopes, I like it the way it is. I am firm beliver in haveing a scope on a rifle or a shotgun for deer but during muzzel loader season I go to the iron sights and do it the way I was taught as a boy ande I reaaly enjoy drawing a bead with iron sights on a deer when the smomke clears hopefully find a blood trail.

I started blackpowder hunting with a percusion cap and not the 209 shotgun primmer now I have an inline witn a 209 primmer and think that I might try a flint lock this year to really get back to the real primitive aspect of the hunt.

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I do muzzy hunt along with bow hunt and i dunno about the rest of you but where i hunt, the deer are soo scared by the time muzzy season comes around that they sit in thick cover and dont come out unless they are chased or its dark. It is also a shotgun zone so I wouldnt mind being able to use a scope. OR they could run their season like iowa. there is a early muzzy season for residents only in oct. I think the dnr should promote muzzy hunting. You still have one shot. You give us a less desirable season then everyone els, why not cater to the muzzy hunters?

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    • Minnesota DNR News
      For Immediate Release:
      July 21, 2017
      In This Issue

      Conserving Mille Lacs walleye population requires regulation changes

      Mille Lacs Lake Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for summer 2017

      Conserving Mille Lacs walleye population requires regulation changes

      Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs Lake will remain closed until Aug. 11 to protect the walleye fishery, and ensure its long-term health and sustainability into the future

      To extend the walleye fishing season through Labor Day, the state will allow for an additional 11,000 pounds of walleye harvest on Mille Lacs 

      New solutions are being sought to rebuild and sustain a healthy Mille Lacs walleye fishery

      New fisheries data collected by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources show the total safe harvest allocation for walleyes on Mille Lacs Lake (44,800 pounds) has already been exceeded this season. To protect the fishery and ensure the long-term sustainability of Mille Lacs Lake’s walleye population, the DNR announced today that walleye fishing will remain closed until Friday, Aug. 11.

      In order to extend the walleye fishing season through Labor Day, the state will allow for an additional 11,000 pounds of walleye harvest. Catch-and-release walleye fishing will run from Friday, Aug. 11, through Monday, Sept. 4, for the Labor Day weekend. Walleye fishing will then be closed from Tuesday, Sept. 5, through Thursday, Nov. 30.

      As these regulation changes were announced, Minnesota DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr reiterated the state’s commitment to rebuilding and sustaining a healthy walleye fishery in Mille Lacs Lake.

      “Improving the walleye population in Mille Lacs is a top priority for the DNR,” Landwehr said. “We deeply regret the hardships these new regulations will cause for anglers and business owners. But they are essential to protect and enhance the future of walleye fishing in the lake for future generations. We will continue doing everything we can to understand the challenges facing the walleye fishery, and take whatever actions we can to resolve this very difficult situation.”

      Landwehr and DNR fisheries chief Don Pereira noted that allowing for additional catch-and-release fishing in August is essential for area anglers, businesses, and Mille Lacs area communities. The decision to allow for this additional harvest was made with input from the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee.

      “We want to allow as much walleye fishing on Mille Lacs as possible,” Pereira said. “So even though state anglers already have caught their quota of fish, the DNR will dip into the allowed conservation overage to reopen the season on Aug. 11.”

      Through the closure, anglers on Mille Lacs Lake may fish for all other species in the lake including bass, muskellunge and northern pike. When fishing for other species, only artificial baits and lures will be allowed in possession, except for anglers targeting northern pike or muskie, who may fish with sucker minnows longer than 8 inches.

      A prohibition on night fishing will remain in place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Nov. 30. However, anglers may fish for muskie and northern pike at night, but may only use artificial lures longer than 8 inches or sucker minnows longer than 8 inches. Bowfishing for rough fish also is allowed at night but possession of angling equipment is not allowed and only rough fish may be in possession.

      Understanding walleye fishing quotas on Mille Lacs this year, and why that quota was reached earlier than predicted
      The DNR and the Chippewa bands that cooperatively manage Mille Lacs Lake agreed this year to harvest quotas of 44,800 pounds for state anglers and 19,200 pounds for tribal fishing. They also agreed that up to 75,000 pounds of walleye could be harvested from the lake from Dec. 1, 2016 to Nov. 30, 2017.

      That agreement allows the state to use a built-in buffer – the 11,000 pounds difference between the 75,000 pounds conservation cap and the 64,000 pounds combined harvest quotas – in an attempt to allow catch-and-release walleye fishing through Labor Day, following the mid-summer closure. Bi-weekly creel surveys show that state anglers already have reached their quota.

      “The DNR is using its full allotment to maximize opportunities to fish for walleye on Mille Lacs without violating our agreement,” Pereira said. “The DNR, just like area businesses, would greatly prefer to not have fishing restrictions in place. But sustaining and stabilizing Mille Lacs’ walleye population is our primary obligation and public responsibility.”

      Continuing the walleye fishing closure will reduce the number of fish that die after being caught and released, a condition known as hooking mortality. The likelihood of fish suffering hooking mortality increases as water temperatures warm.

      High walleye catch rates on Mille Lacs have increased DNR fishing projections. A hot walleye bite attracted more anglers to the lake, resulting in angler effort that is about double what it was in 2016.

      “Cooler than normal temperatures kept hooking mortality rates low, but more anglers fished Mille Lacs, particularly catching walleye longer than 20 inches,” Pereira said. “That increased the poundage of fish caught and put us over our walleye quota.”

      According to the DNR, bigger fish are biting, in part, because there is a shortage of food for larger walleye. Last fall’s assessment showed that larger walleye were thinner than average.

      Mille Lacs’ hot bite also reflects the findings of studies done in many other fisheries that show catchability actually increases when fish population drops. In Mille Lacs, walleye congregate in preferred spots rather than disperse evenly throughout the lake. Fewer fish in the lake means there is more room in the preferred spots for fish to gather, creating a situation where a larger percentage of the population is in position to be caught rather than gathering in a less preferred but less fished area.

      More information about Mille Lacs Lake, the regulation adjustments and management of the fishery is available on the DNR page at www.mndnr.gov/millelacslake.

      New solutions are being sought to improve and sustain a healthy walleye fishery
      The DNR announced in June that a new external review team of scientists will take a fresh look at Mille Lacs Lake’s walleye fishery, using all of the best science available to gain a better understanding of the lake. This new review, led by walleye expert Dr. Chris Vandergoot of the U.S. Geological Survey, will provide additional recommendations to improve fisheries management of the lake, and contribute to a long-term solution to improving and sustaining a healthy walleye fishery for future generations. The group’s report is expected in time to help guide and inform fisheries management decisions for the 2018 season.

      DNR encourages Minnesotans to fish for other abundant species on Mille Lacs Lake
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      Bassmaster Magazine named Mille Lacs the nation’s best bass lake in June and will send 50 of the country’s best anglers to the lake In September for its Angler of the Year tournament. Northern pike abound in Mille Lacs, along with muskellunge. In early July, a woman from southern Minnesota caught and released in Mille Lacs what may have been Minnesota’s largest-ever muskellunge.

      To learn more about Mille Lacs Lake and its many great fishing opportunities, visit the DNR page. To plan visit to the Mille Lacs area, visit the Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council page.

      ###

      Mille Lacs Lake Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for summer 2017
      Q: What is happening with the walleye season this summer on Mille Lacs Lake?

      A: The closure that began July 8 and was set to end July 28 is being extended by two weeks. That means walleye fishing will reopen at 6:01 a.m. on Aug. 11 for catch-and-release only through Labor Day. A night fishing closure also will remain in place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Nov. 30.

      Q: How does this affect fishing for other species?

      A: Fishing regulations for other species such as smallmouth bass, muskie and northern pike remain the same. During the night closure, there is an exception for muskie and northern pike anglers using artificial lures and sucker minnows longer than 8 inches.

      Q: Why did the DNR extend the closure?

      A: While the DNR wants to allow as much walleye fishing on Mille Lacs as possible, the state is also required to abide by cooperative agreements made with eight American Indian Chippewa bands. The two weeks of additional closure allows the state to abide by a harvest quota set earlier this year with the bands.

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      That agreement allows the state to use a built-in buffer – the 11,000 pounds difference between the conservation cap of 75,000 pounds and the combined harvest quota of 64,000 pounds – in an attempt to allow catch-and-release walleye fishing through Labor Day, following the mid-summer closure.

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      Q: Why has the walleye population in Mille Lacs declined? What is the DNR doing in the long-term to try to conserve the population?

      A: The vast majority of walleye that hatch do not survive to their third autumn in the lake. Walleye numbers have declined to the point that it has become important to protect spawning-sized walleye, particularly the class of walleye that hatched in 2013. It is important to protect the large 2013 year class to replenish aging spawning stock.  Most males from the 2013 class are now mature, but females will not start to contribute in large numbers until next spring. The state is committed to conserving the population of walleyes born in 2013 to improve and rebuild a sustainable population for the future.

      Q: Why do we count hooking mortality during a closed walleye season?

      A: The amount that state anglers can kill (as spelled out in state-bands agreements) also must include fish that die as a result of hooking mortality, the fish that die after being caught and then released back into the water. During the closure, some anglers still catch walleye incidentally and some of those fish die after being released. Under the state-band agreements, those dead fish must be calculated and counted against the state’s allocation.

      Q: How did this cooperative management between the state and the bands of Mille Lacs Lake come to be?   

      A: Recall that in 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld lower-court decisions that allowed the Mille Lacs band and seven other Chippewa bands to exercise off-reservation fishing and hunting rights. The lower federal court also set up guidelines, known as stipulations and protocols, for both sides to follow. These stipulations and protocols provide a framework for how the bands and the state must work cooperatively to manage shared natural resources, including Mille Lacs fish.  In their agreements, the DNR and the bands are required to annually establish the number of walleye that can safely be harvested from Mille Lacs while ensuring sufficient remaining walleye in the lake for a healthy fishery.

      Q: If the walleye population is in decline, why are anglers catching so many?

      A: Fish are biting for two reasons. First, there is a shortage of food for larger walleye. Last fall’s assessment showed that larger walleye were thinner than average. Second, studies in many fisheries show that catchability actually increases when fish population decline.

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      Q: How is the DNR using science and research to help the walleye population?

      A: Mille Lacs Lake is the most studied lake in Minnesota. It is also a complex and changing system. The agency conducts a large number of surveys on the lake annually. These surveys include assessing the abundance of young walleye; setting 52 nets to assess adult abundance; using fine-mesh nets each summer to determine abundance of food (prey fish) for walleye; and using interviews with anglers around the lake (called creel surveys) to estimate the number of fish anglers are catching. The DNR also periodically tags walleye and other species to provide actual population estimates. We are tagging bass this year in cooperation with angling groups, and will be tagging walleye in 2018 and 2019 when the 2013 year class will be reaching full maturity.

      Q: What is the purpose of the external review the DNR has initiated?

      A: The DNR has asked Dr. Chris Vandergoot to lead an independent review of the DNR’s scientific approaches to manage Mille Lacs Lake. Vandergoot is a key member of the international team that co-manages a very significant walleye fishery in Lake Erie. He works for the U.S. Geological Survey in the Sandusky Lake Erie Biological station in Ohio. His review report will be available to the public in early 2018 and will help inform fisheries management decisions for the 2018 season.

      Q: What does the future look like for Mille Lacs walleye?

      A: It is unlikely that Mille Lacs walleye production will return to the levels that state anglers enjoyed over 20 years ago.  The ecosystem of Mille Lacs is going through extreme change, starting with increased water clarity in the mid-1990s, to impacts today from aquatic invasive species such as spiny water flea and zebra mussels. Longer growing seasons are also helping some species such as smallmouth bass but may be hurting others. While walleye will still be abundant, the future fishery will be more diverse, offering angling opportunities for a greater variety of fish.

      ###
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