OPINION: Bad bill undoes hunting partnership between CSKT and non-tribal members

For the hook and bullet community in Western Montana, the Flathead Reservation is a source of incredible opportunity. From backpacking and skiing in the Mission Range to pursuing waterfowl, pheasants and a wide array of fish species on the valley floor, outdoorsmen and women in our part of the state are privileged to have access to reservation lands, their abundant wildlife habitat and the adventures they provide. Nobody who has hunted birds or jigged for perch with the Mission Mountains in the background forgets that experience.

We owe that privilege to the hospitality of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, who manage and own the lands, fish and wildlife that make the Flathead Reservation the peerless place that it is. For nearly thirty years, the CSKT has allowed non-tribal members to hunt and fish on the reservation through the Montana-CSKT Fishing and Bird Hunting Agreement, and the state has recognized their sovereignty and authority to manage their lands and the fish and wildlife within. That long standing relationship is now under attack in the Legislature, and hunters and anglers will suffer if a few landowners have their way.

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