Montana BHA 2024 Spring Newsletter

Besides waterfowl hunting, ice fishing, and enjoying home-cooked comfort meals featuring wild game, here’s what we’ve been up to the last three months at the Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers:

The fight for public access into the Crazy Mountains continues. We have until April 4th to convince Congress to deny the East Crazies land swap; take action here.

Photo courtesy of EcoFlight

In January, the courts ruled that Governor Gianforte’s veto maneuver on Senate Bill 442 was unconstitutional. The Governor challenged this ruling - twice - yet it was consistently declared - as recently as March 15th by the Montana Supreme Court - that he must proceed with the veto poll. This poll recently went out to lawmakers, and if you haven’t already, we encourage you to send a quick note reaffirming your support for SB 442 and respectfully asking them to override Governor Gianforte’s veto of this popular bill that would fund conservation, public access, and county road maintenance.

In what can best be described as a head scratcher, the US Fish & Wildlife Service is proposing to develop a Waterfowl Production Area in the Flathead. Learn more and comment on this before April 3rd.

In February, we joined conservation partners to celebrate the introduction of Rep. Zinke’s legislation that would make it more difficult to sell or transfer publicly accessible public lands.

We also shared our concerns with FWP regarding a proposal to expand grazing and water infrastructure in the Spotted Dog Wildlife Management Area.

To help protect the only permitted river system in Montana, we joined forces with clean water and fishing groups and asked the USFS to consider a 20-year mineral withdrawal on public lands surrounding the Smith River.

In March, we submitted comments on the proposed plan for the Lolo National Forest. Our focus was on keeping wild lands wild and prioritizing quiet recreation. Similarly, in January, we weighed in with similar requests via our objections to the Nez Perce Clearwater Forest Plan Revision.

Our Regional Board Member in the Madison Valley, Sunni Heikes-Knapton, penned a letter of support for a proposed public land acquisition near Dillon that would utilize Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars.

Our Regional Board Member in the Gallatin, Caleb Teigen, submitted an LTE thanking the Commissioners who voted to keep the in-person black bear checks in an effort to protect our hunting heritage.

Our Regional Board Member in Central Montana, Doug Krings, expressed our support for a proposed conservation easement that would provide public access and hunting opportunities near the Missouri River Breaks.

We also celebrated the winning artwork for the 2024 Migratory Bird Stamp.

And finally, welcomed four new members to our board: Northeastern Board Member, Manning Rushton, Events Leader, John Acott, Marketing Leader Luke Assenmacher, and Stewardship Leader, Micah Fields.

Upcoming Events

April 29th – Meateater Trivia Pint Night at Highlander Beer
June 8 – Grasshopper Valley Fence Pull with NWF
June 29-30 – Spotted Dog WMA Fence Removal
July 19-21 – Trail Maintenance: Helmet Pass (Lee Metcalf Wilderness)
July 26 – Eagle Rock Ranch Fence Pull with NWF


We'll be celebrating 20 years of work on behalf of our public lands, waters, and wildlife at the Minneapolis Convention Center April 18-20! Visit our exhibitor booths, compete in the turkey calling contest, test your knowledge at trivia, or beers & cheers at Podcasts & Pints.

See the full weekend lineup of events and get your tickets here!

Mule Deer Lottery

There’s still time to put your name in the hat for Montana’s statewide mule deer license! An opportunity traditionally offered only to the highest bidder, Montana BHA wanted to see this chance-of-a-lifetime be raffled off equitably rather than auctioned (read more about this from MeatEater). Raffle proceeds will go to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to support their mule deer conservation and habitat work. So rather than just one person supporting this beneficial conservation work, we all have the opportunity to chip in what we can, and one lucky winner will be drawn at random.

Get your entry before the deadline on April 30th!

Recipe from the Backcountry

Is your mouth watering yet?! Montana Stewardship Leader, Micah Fields, shared this Mule Deer Reuben recipe to help clear your freezer for turkey season.

Join Us!

Be entered to win a NRS Approach 100 when you join, renew, upgrade, or gift a BHA membership between 4/1-6/30.

Thank you for your continued support and we'll see you on the trail!



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