Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Commissioners: Lesley Robinson, Brian Cebull, KC Walsh, Pat Byorth and Pat Tabor
Director: Hank Worsech
1420 East Sixth Avenue
Helena, MT 59620
Dear FWP Commissioners and Director Worsech:
The Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers represents some 3,000 dues-paying Montana members who care deeply about public fish and wildlife habitat, public access, and fair chase hunting and fishing practices.
We remain disappointed by the legislative mandate to appropriate up to $1,000,000 on pen-raised pheasant stocking efforts. As you know, pen-raised pheasants have a tragically low survival rate; they are hyper-vulnerable to predators and cannot thrive the way wild birds can under the right habitat conditions.
However, since these dollars must go toward raising and releasing birds instead of improving habitat for wild birds to thrive, we believe the scope of these efforts should be kept narrow and focused. It is imperative that we keep these manufactured opportunities separate from the established upland game bird seasons and done in a way that minimizes crossover between pen-raised pheasants and our wild bird populations.
Additionally, we ask that Fish, Wildlife and Parks manage these releases and corresponding harvest opportunities in a way that offers increased success and opportunity for youth while not allowing these manufactured opportunities to replace or supplement wild bird hunting opportunities for the general hunting public. Historically, youth hunter success rates have been low during the youth pheasant season, and releasing pen-raised birds may be a valuable tool to help youth find early success.
Outside of youth opportunities, it is our opinion that hunting should remain a fair-chase challenge, and wild birds and their habitat should remain the priority.
Board Member | R3/DEI Leader
Montana Chapter Backcountry Hunters & Anglers