Montana residents generally happy with elk, mule deer management, survey finds

Elk hunting has been an emotional topic for some Montana hunters in recent years, with rallies on the Capitol steps, special conferences between differing interest groups and bills introduced in the Legislature.

Yet according to a Fish, Wildlife & Parks press release, 73% of the respondents to a recent survey are “satisfied with elk management in Montana. Generally, hunters surveyed were also satisfied with current elk hunting regulations and support the timing of the current general elk hunting season.”

In an email, the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association hailed the findings.

“These results should inform public discussions and the elk management policies of the (Fish and Wildlife) Commission going forward,” said Mac Minard, executive director of MOGA. “Montana hunters made it clear that they do not support additional regulations or loss of opportunities and underscored a need to increase hunting on private lands in order to disperse elk to public lands.”

Nonresident elk hunters were also questioned. More than 60% of nonresidents said they would prefer having the opportunity to hunt every year in the state, even if it meant a lower probability of killing a mature bull. Yet almost 75% said they were very interested in killing a bull elk.

“These surveys are important ways for us to gauge hunter opinion on our elk and mule deer management,” said FWP Director Dustin Temple in a statement. “We’re currently working on regulation proposals for the public’s review early this fall. We hope hunters take the time to review the proposals and let us know what they think.”

Read more from the Billings Gazette here...

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