Montana's hunting season is moving forward with archery hunters and youth already in the field. Throughout this season, many in Montana will be looking for game on private land. MTN's Chet Layman takes a closer look at a couple of unique programs that make this happen.
BOZEMAN — No one would question successful hunting requires two things: resources, and access to those resources. Montana is rich in both, when it comes to access, thanks to partnerships with landowners through programs like block management.
“We have more than 90 block management areas here in Region 3, and so these are again really great opportunities for the public to be able to access areas of private land and sometimes adjoining public land for free hunting opportunity,” said Morgan Jacobsen with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Another way FWP has found to help with access is through its program known as the Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program.
“Fish, Wildlife and Parks partners with both private landowners and public land managers to enhance habitat for upland game birds,” Jacobsen said, “so this looks at attracting game birds to an area with really high quality habitat and then providing free public hunting access to those areas as well.”
See the theme here: private land owners partnering with FWP to enhance habitat and allow access. That means hunters need to recognize this fact and follow the rules; if not, that access could easily go away.
“Hunters can help facilitate future public hunting access opportunities by showing respect to the land, the landowners being safe making ethical decisions when you're in the field and making sure that you follow the rules of these properties where you're hunting,” Jacobsen said.
Why is this such a big deal? For last year’s hunting season, 1,200 landowners enrolled 7.1 million acres of land into the block management program alone.