Montana BHA 2023 Fall Newsletter

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Like most of us here at Montana BHA, we expect many of you are spending as much time afield or on the water as possible this fall. With that in mind, here's an abbreviated recap of what we've been up to this quarter, what's on deck, and how you can help.

A fond farewell to two of our board members, and a call to join our team!

Happy trails to our Missoula Valley board member Scott Mylnechuk and our Gallatin Valley board member Chris McCarthy who have termed out.

Scott, a BHA life member serving on the board since 2020, has helped host numerous events, meetings and stewardship projects in or around Missoula. Additionally, he's advocated for the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act (BCSA), for wild, non-motorized priorities in both the Lolo National Forest and Fish Creek area planning processes, and he's expressed our early concerns with the possible mine on the banks of the East Fork Bitterroot. Scott will continue to fight for our wild public lands and waters which he enjoys with his wife, Libby, and young son, Walter. Thanks for your time and talents, Scott!

Chris, a BHA member since 2013, has also served on the Montana board since 2020. During his term, he’s helped host fishing access site and shooting range cleanups, planned BHA events, and facilitated multiple partnerships with local corporate partners. He’s represented the Chapter on the Gallatin Forest Partnership and the Montana for Healthy Rivers Coalition, and has offered invaluable insights on numerous issues during the legislative sessions. We appreciate Chris’ many efforts and wish him well!

Interested in filling Scott's or Chris’ shoes? We're looking for new Missoula-area and Bozeman-area board members, as well as a new Upper Madison Valley board member in or around the community of Ennis. Learn more here.

What We’ve Been Up To

The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act hit a milestone last week as the made-in-Montana bill cleared Committee in the Senate for the very first time. Let's keep the momentum going by taking quick action to thank Sen. Tester for championing this legislation, to ask Sen. Daines to support it as a standalone bill, and to remind Rep. Zinke that when a bill has support from 84% of Montanans, that we expect him to get behind it.

Elk always seems to be a topic of discussion in Montana, and now is no exception. The new Elk Management Plan draft was out for review this summer, and here's what we had to say about it. The formal plan is expected to be released this fall.

Similarly, FWP initiated season-setting scoping this summer for all big game, which we commented on here. Formal season-setting proposals are expected to be out for review this fall, with Final decisions on regulations expected at the December Fish & Wildlife Commission meeting.

FWP also released their hunter survey data reports, which we questioned a bit.

The October Fish & Wildlife Commission is scheduled for October 19th. Here's the agenda.

Last month, we celebrated the final lease retirement in the Badger-Two Medicine.

Just this week, the USFS released a draft decision notice stating its tentative approval of a land swap on the east side of the Crazy Mountains. Montana BHA has long defended public access in this range, and the concerns we raised with this swap last fall don’t appear to have been addressed. Read more here.

Montana BHA board members penned letters of support for wildlife crossings pilot programs, conservation easements and public land acquisitions. You can read these here.

July - August was a busy field season for us. Read some of the stewardship event recaps here. And if you want to make sure you don't miss any opportunities to get your hands dirty, please join our stewardship email list by clicking here.

Congrats to the Adipose drift boat raffle winner, Emmylou C. from Great Falls! Thanks to everyone who purchased a ticket. If you want to test your luck again, check out the 30 Days of Giving Sweepstakes which runs til October 17th, but it’s best to enter early because we’re giving away prizes each day!\

Upcoming Events

October 18th - 6-8pm General Season Send Off at the Sitka Depot

April 18-20th - Save the Date! BHA's Rendezvous will be held in St. Paul, MN!

Recipe from the Backcountry

If you're like our Eastern Montana Conservation Leader Jake Schwaller, than you might have some elk roasts in the freezer just asking to be made into tasty, slow cooked Indonesian rendang! Click here for the recipe.

Best of luck to all this season, and be sure to share your hunting and fishing adventures with us! Tag @montanabha on Instagram and use hashtag #montanabha for possible features.

And please remember to “Respect Access, Protect the Hunt.” Read more about this effort to improve hunter behavior and ethics from FWP here.

About Montana BHA

The voice for Montana's wild public lands, waters and wildlife

See other posts related to Montana issues