LETTER: RE: Sportsman, Landowner, & Outfitter Support for SB 442, as currently amended

April 3, 2023 


MT Senate President Jason Ellsworth 

State Capitol 

1301 E. Sixth Ave. 

Helena, MT 59601 


RE: Sportsman, Landowner, & Outfitter Support for SB 442, as currently amended 


Dear Senator Ellsworth: 

Senate Bill 442 from Senator Mike Lang (R-Malta) was amended in Senate Finance and Claims on March 30th to restore funding for Montana’s premier conservation program, Habitat Montana, as well as expand the Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program as founded by former Representative Kelly Flynn. The amendment also supports the HEART fund, which helps people and communities deal with drug addiction issues, provides increased benefits for veterans and their spouses, increases funding for criminal justice programs and provides a new, stable source of funding for county roads. 

This bill as currently amended is worthy of broad support and should be recognized as an important bipartisan compromise. SB 442 brings Montanans together to keep our communities whole, improves the condition of the land, protects our hunting and fishing opportunities for future generations and offers support and recognition to the heroes and their spouses who served America in the armed services. 

This is a once in a generation bill that meets the needs of many Montanans. Senator Lang’s leadership on this has been heroic and stalwart. We deeply appreciate his willingness to work with all sides to arrive at a legislative fix that invests in rural Montana and the people who call it home. 

For our own purposes, the restoration of the Habitat Montana funding through a new Habitat Legacy Account is both innovative and critical for Montana’s hunting and angling traditions. It shows that hunting organizations are just as invested in the ongoing maintenance, stewardship, and restoration of private and public lands as we are invested in creating new opportunities to hunt and fish. SB 442 provides a new funding tool to improve landowner tolerance of wildlife and help landowners respond to the challenges of prolonged drought, invasive weeds and other environmental changes. 

We believe SB 442 is an opportunity for hunters and rural landowners to collectively improve our land stewardship and showcase Montana’s strong land ethic. It protects funding for traditional habitat tools and establishes new tools to improve the condition of the land, improve the distribution of wildlife across public land, reduce conflicts between wildlife and livestock and help ensure better outcomes for hunters, anglers and landowners. 

We respectfully request that you expeditiously pass SB 442, as currently amended. 




American Woodcock Society 

Anaconda Sportsmen 

Archery Trade Association 

Boone and Crockett Club 

Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation 

Ducks Unlimited 

Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana 

Flathead Wildlife Inc. 

Gallatin Wildlife Association 

Hellgate Hunters and Anglers 

Laurel Rod and Gun Club 

Montana Artemis Alliance 

Montana Bowhunters Association 

Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers 

Montana Chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation 

Montana Outfitters and Guides Association 

Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife 

Montana Trout Unlimited 

Montana Union Sportsmen Alliance 

Montana Wildlife Federation 

Montana Wild Sheep Foundation 

Mule Deer Foundation 

National Deer Association 

National Wildlife Federation 

Pheasants Forever 

Quail Forever 

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation 

Ruffed Grouse Society 

Skyline Sportsmen’s Association 

Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership 

Traditional Bowhunters of Montana 

Wild Sheep Foundation 

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