Is Hunter Recruitment Really Hurting Hunting Opportunity in the West? Here’s One R3 Coordinator’s Take

DJ and I rumbled down the dusty, wash-boarded road en route to where we planned to camp for the opening weekend of Montana’s rifle season. We passed glammed-out campers, generator-powered chest freezers, fleets of four wheelers, and license plates that seemed to be from everywhere but Montana. DJ lives in northwest Montana, and I live in the booming mountain metropolis of Bozeman.

“I’ve been hunting here for years, dude,” I griped. “I’ve never seen it like this.”

“Ebbs and flows, brother. But recently, it seems like a lot more flow than ebb,” he replied.

As we drove deeper into the unit—but continued to see just as many hunters—my frustration nearly boiled over.

But to many long-time western hunters, I could be considered a part of the hunting-pressure problem. I was not born in Montana. I take up space on public lands and hunt public wildlife. I sit on three conservation organization boards, including the Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers as the R3/DEI coordinator. And the cherry on top: I work in the hunting and fishing industry.

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About Paul Kemper

BHA Life Member, Traditional Bowhunter, Traditional Bowhunters of Montana Board Member, Wood Guns, Heavy Bags for Distance (or short)

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