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Game Wardens Ramping Up Enforcement Efforts On Wildlife Management Areas

Game wardens with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks are increasing law enforcement efforts on wildlife management areas while seasonal closures continue for many of these areas.

So far this year, FWP wardens in southwest Montana have prosecuted four cases of trespassing on WMAs, including Fleecer Mountain and Wall Creek WMAs.

Wardens work diligently to protect WMAs and the wildlife on them, especially during closure periods in winter and spring. Penalties for those who violate these closures can include fines and revocation of hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for up to 24 months.

FWP maintains WMAs with wildlife habitat and security as top priorities. Deer, elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and a many other wildlife depend on habitat that WMAs provide.

Public access and a variety of recreation activities are allowed on many WMAs during much of the year. However, public access is prohibited during seasonal closures to provide security for wildlife during times of stress and reduced forage in winter and spring.

Most WMAs are closed to public access from Dec. 2 to noon on May 15. Dates may vary, depending on the site. For a list of access opportunities on WMAs, visit

As more people go afield to look for shed antlers and enjoy other recreation opportunities, it’s important to follow these practices:

  • Abide by seasonal closures, travel plan restrictions, regulations for motorized travel and other rules in place for public lands. Contact the respective land management agency for the areas you plan to visit for more information.

  • Obtain a state recreational use license—available anywhere hunting and fishing licenses are sold—before recreating on state school trust lands. A conservation license only covers hunting and fishing activities on these lands.

  • Always obtain permission before accessing private lands. Block Management areas are not open to shed hunting without landowner permission.

  • Montana is bear country, and recreationists should always be prepared a bear encounter. Carry bear spray and follow other guidelines found at

Responsible and ethical recreation helps ensure continued access to the places Montanans enjoy.

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