In Montana, good relationships between hunters and landowners are integral to our opportunities, lead to proper wildlife management and ensure that our hunting traditions continue.
Landowners play an important role in sustaining healthy wildlife populations, contributing to our economy and communities by creating jobs, and providing valuable habitat and treasured open spaces. But the relationship between hunters and landowners can start to fray when just a few hunters abuse the privilege of hunting on private land.
To promote the importance of hunter ethics and improved hunter behavior, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is partnering with other conservation and agriculture organizations to “protect the hunt.”
The campaign is focused on hunter responsibility and respect for private land and the access landowners provide. The slogan is: It’s up to us. Respect access. Protect the hunt.
“Through programs like Block Management, Montana ranch families provide free public hunting experiences across the state. We ask sportsmen to remain diligent in their actions and to protect access by respecting the places they hunt and holding one another accountable,” said Jim Steinbeisser, Montana Stockgrowers Association President.
“While hunters in Montana enjoy a wealth of hunting opportunity on our public lands, private lands in the state offer irreplaceable hunting access and vital habitat for our public wildlife. But access to private lands is a privilege that can be swiftly taken away from us,” said Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Montana Coordinator Kevin Farron. “We must show the utmost respect for these properties and their owners, know – and follow – the rules, and thank landowners for providing access whenever we can.”
While excellent hunter behavior might be the norm in Montana, poor behavior, like not following landowner rules, trespassing, abusing access privileges, littering, and a host of other offenses, can lead to a decline in access opportunities. In fact, many hunters don’t know that not following rules for a block management area can result in a citation for hunting without landowner permission.
“We all know that most hunters do it the right way. That’s why it’s up to us,” said FWP Director Hank Worsech. “Improving hunter and landowner relationships by promoting hunting ethics will enhance the critical relationships between hunters and landowners and allow us to better manage wildlife. It’s good to see both hunters and landowners stepping forward to make it happen.”
Along with an outreach campaign, hunters and landowners can visit the FWP website for more information on hunting ethics, working with landowners, and to link to all the partners involved.