The high country is beckoning and Hike to Hunt is in full force! Here's a summer update from your Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers!
Elk hunting in Montana is under attack. Montana BHA and other in-state hunting and access groups formally requested to intervene to oppose the lawsuit filed recently by the United Property Owners of Montana (UPOM) that is a direct attack on wildlife management, our Montana hunting traditions, as well as public participation in decision-making. We've created an FAQs page where folks can learn more and help.
We've continued to support the addition of the 5,677-acre Big Snowy Mountains WMA in the heart of elk country. Approval next resides with Montana's Fish & Wildlife Commission. Add your voice of support here!
We've again asked Gov. Gianforte to create a cold-water task force to develop strategies to preserve fish populations and angling opportunities.
FWP continues to march forward with an ill-conceived plan to release pen-raised pheasants, despite an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). We've opposed this idea every step of the way. Final approval is up to the Fish and Wildlife Commission. You can let them know your thoughts here.
We continue to seek public access solutions in the Crazy Mountains. Here's a good update from The MeatEater on the situation and how we got here.
To improve hunter behavior, we've offered to increase and match rewards from FWP leading to the conviction of poachers and/or illegal motorized users. The first instance is highlighted in a recent turkey poaching case.
New Board Members
We'd like to extend our deepest appreciation to four outgoing chapter leaders who've recently left our board: Tom Healy, Molly VandeVoort, Paul Kemper and Bill Spahr. Thank you. Your time and talent will be sorely missed.
We also have some new faces on the board! We're excited to announce our new Flathead Region Chapter Leader: Aaron Agosto; our new Access Solutions Leader: Tyler Nickolisen; and our new Helena Region Chapter Leader: Anne Jolliff. Learn more about our new and current board members here.
Upcoming Member Events
Antelope Creek Stream Restoration Project - July 16th & 17th - near Drummond, MT
Carpp Lake Trails Work - August 12 - 14; Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness, near Philipsburg, MT
Event season is in full swing; here are some recent recaps.
Ways to Engage
Montana FWP is traveling the state hosting public meetings "to gather ideas about local elk management issues and population objectives." We encourage elk hunters to stress the need for improved hunter/landowner relations, but also for updated elk management objectives and a revised elk management plan, access solutions, aggressive cow harvests in areas with elk concentration issues and, above all, to keep elk a publicly owned resource and to prevent efforts to privatize and commercialize our wildlife. Management solutions must be equitable and balanced. For a full list of these meetings and ways to provide comments online, click here.
The next Fish & Wildlife Commission meeting is August 25th, and it's a doozy. On the agenda are land acquisitions, pen-raised pheasant releases, an attack on longterm conservation easements, wolf hunting and trapping regulations, changes to the Madison River recreational rules and more.
Federal bills that will have significant impacts here in Montana are on the move; it's important that public land owners take a few moments to express their support for things like the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act, the Montana Headwaters Legacy Act and the Recovering America's Wildlife Act which has never been closer to becoming a reality.
Join us and take advantage of a free member gift! If you didn't receive a copy of the Summer 2022 Backcountry Journal last week, that's a good indication that your membership has lapsed or there's an issue with your mailing address; you can check on both at your member portal.
Field to Table Recipe from the Backcountry
Marisa Crerar and Brian Joos represented the Montana Chapter at the 6th annual Wild Game Cookoff, one of BHA's main attractions at Rendezvous. We're excited to share their delicious recipe that featured elk meatballs, huckleberries, morels, wild asparagus, Flathead cherries and a Midnight Forest Bourbon cherry-basil smash!
- The Montana Chapter of BHA
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