Fall is in the air! Waterfowl is back, fall fishing is in full force, pheasant and rifle antelope begins this weekend, archery and upland seasons continue and some of us are already finding success and filling our freezers. It's the most wonderful time of the year!
But our work continues.
Here's what your Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has been up to and what's on deck:
Out for public comment now, 15 elk-related recommendations. Developed by FWP's hand-selected Elk Management Citizen Advisory Group, the proposals range from 'Enforce Stricter Penalties for Trespassing...' to 'Choose Your Weapon/Season,' and many others. Read what Montana BHA has to say about each and every one here, and be sure to comment yourself before the October 14th deadline.
Good news! A District Court judge granted our request to intervene in a lawsuit that attempts to upend game management in Montana. Tenth Judicial District Court Judge Heather Perry ruled in favor of our coalition's motion to intervene, acknowledging our standing in the suit filed in May by the United Property Owners of Montana against Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Fish & Wildlife Commission. But now we really need your help! Learn more and support our efforts at KeepElkPublic.org.
After unanimous approval from the Fish & Wildlife Commission, a monumental access project is now in the hands of the Montana Land Board, and they need to hear from you! The Big Snowy Wildlife Management Area acquisition by FWP would forever conserve 5,677 acres and open and improve access to more than 100,000 acres of existing public lands! This project is made possible with Habitat Montana dollars - a conservation and access program funded from license sales - as well as Pittman Robertson funds - which comes from excise taxes on hunting and shooting equipment.
Please send members of the Land Board a quick and polite note asking them to support this acquisition. Click the image below to learn more about the project.
A proposed expansion to Holland Lake Lodge is proving quite controversial. The existing special use permit holders - along with POWDR, a large ski resort operation - are proposing to tear down ten current structures and replace them with 32 new buildings. Included in the new builds would be a restaurant, more than two dozen lakeside cabins and a 28-room lodge. While Montana BHA understands the special use permit holders desires and reasonings for wanting updated and expanded facilities, many of our members are concerned with the process of approving this, the potential environmental impacts this may have, and/or the additional recreational pressures this may add to the wild lands that border Holland Lake.
To that end, Montana BHA is requesting that the US Forest Service undergo a full environmental assessment of the project and then consider an additional extension to the already extended comment period. At the very least, an additional extension will allow the public time to digest and comprehend the information shared by the US Forest Service at upcoming public meetings in the Seeley-Swan and use that knowledge to submit well-informed comments. More details on the meetings including how to attend in-person or virtually, details on the project, and how to comment online can all be found here.
A huge boost to conservation funding hangs in the balance in D.C. On June 14th, 16 Republicans joined all but two Democrats in voting in favor of Recovering America's Wildlife Act, allowing it to pass the House by a wide margin of of 231-190; Montana's lone congressman, Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT), voted against the bill.
If this becomes law, RAWA would invest $1.4 billion per year in state and tribal management agencies with a focus on critical conservation work and enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, much to the benefit of hunters and anglers. It's passed Committee in the Senate as well, and we now await a full Senate vote. At this point, Sen. Daines (R-MT) has yet to announce his support, but Sen. Tester (D-MT) is a cosponsor. Please help us get this done by taking action here.
Elections are right around the corner in Montana, and while BHA is a 501c3 that cannot and does not endorse candidates, we certainly pay attention to the issues and we encourage our members to do the same. Our Montana BHA board member Corey Ellis recently penned an oped urging hunters and anglers to remember what happened last session, and we encourage you to give it a read.
Upcoming Events and Meetings
October 4th - Flathead Valley CWC Sampling Clinic - @ Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Region 1 HQ in Kalispell, MT - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
October 4th - Holland Lake Lodge Meeting - @ Seeley Lake Elementary School - 5:30pm -7:30pm
October 19th - General Season Send Off - @ Sitka Depot in Bozeman, MT - 6:00pm - 8:00pm
October 27th - Teddy Roosevelt Birthday Bash & Public Lands Trivia - @ Meadowlark Brewing in Billings, MT - 5:00pm - 8:00pm
Field to Table Recipe
Shared by our Helena-area board member Anne Jolliff, this venison recipe comes from the heart! Learn how to make this tasty fried heart dish here.
From the Montana BHA board, thank you for your continued advocacy on behalf of our wild public lands, waters and wildlife, and good luck this fall!
Learn more about the Montana Chapter: