Monday, February 20, 2017

SR 16 Appointment of Robin Cunningham (fishing outfitter) to Board of Outfitters...SUPPORT

SR 16   This Thursday Senate Business and Labor  8AM  room 422

This SR is to confirm Robin Cunningham as chair of the Board of Outfitters (Boo)

The Montana Sportsmen Alliance has been going to most Boo meetings.  There has been much tension with outfitters and sportsmen.  We have always been made welcome by Mr. Cunningham and have no complaints on how we have been treated…Something we can’t say about all members.  Mr. Cunningham has been fair to all parties including the public.  He is honest, quick, and thorough; all attributes of a good chairman and member.  He runs a good meeting.

Mr. Cunningham has been tracking Boo since 1991.  Without his institutional knowledge, this board would be hamstrung and not able to function nearly as efficiently as it has.
  Please SUPPORT Robin Cunningham for the Boo position.

Note:  MOGA has been flooding this committee with messages against Mr. Cunningham’s appointment. It is completely self serving as they have not been able to muscle every issue.

Please call 444-4800
Senate Business and Labor:

"Sen. Ed Buttrey" <>,,, Patrick Connell <>, Tom Facey <>,, "Rep. Daniel Salomon" <>,,, Gene Vuckovich <>

SJ 9 Resolution on Chronic Wasting Disease

SJ Resolution No. 9
Montana Sportsmen Alliance
February 21, 2017  3PM in Senate FWP

Chronic Wasting Disease is a highly transmissible neurological disease that belongs to a group known as spongiform encephalopathy (TSE’s) that are found in mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. Continuing research and population modeling suggests that CWD could reduce wild cervid populations by lowering adult survival rates and by altering long-term population dynamics. Definitive diagnosis requires examination of the brain, tonsils or lymph nodes after the animal is dead. Surveillance programs focus primarily on hunter harvested animals and require adequate samples to detect the disease when the disease is prevalent at low rates. Certain management actions have been taken to reduce the potential spread of the disease from infected areas and across jurisdictional boundaries. However, once detected, current response protocols are primarily directed at reducing the density of ungulate numbers in the infected area to slow further transmission. There are challenges to this approach.

SJ Resolution No. 9 addresses the major components of an effective strategy to deal with CWD in Montana. MSA endorses this approach and urges support of SJ 9. It is imperative to recognize that time is of essence and a well articulated strategy with broad endorsement is critical. There has been a significant amount of work completed in Montana that can compliment these efforts. This includes the acquisition of population characteristics and seasonal distribution patterns for mule deer populations in the high-risk areas of Montana; the on-going refinement to existing surveillance protocols and the continued discussion on evolving response strategies. Montana has worked closely with adjacent jurisdictions and with state and federal partners under the framework of International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. 

We would be remiss to point out the obvious. Current surveillance strategies were significantly reduced in scope when previous federal funding was eliminated. Efforts over the last several years have sparingly focused on the collection of symptomatic animals and that represents an incomplete sampling strategy at best. If one considers the seasonal migration patterns that occur in some of the high-risk areas, and the proximity to the state’s borders of documented infections in adjacent provinces and states, there is a strong likelihood that transmission may have already occurred. MSA appreciates the budget decisions currently confronting the legislature and executive branch. We also recognize the immediate need to provide funding for enhanced surveillance efforts in the high risk areas of north central, northeastern, south central and southeastern Montana. 

Montana Sportsmen Alliance

 phone 444-4800

   Jill Cohenour <>, Mike Phillips <>, Tom Facey <>, Jeff Welborn <>, Edie McClafferty <>,,, "Hinkle, Jedediah" <>,, "Sen. Chas Vincent" <>, "Fielder, Jennifer" <>

HJ 9 Supporting release of wilderness study areas OPPOSE

This is today!!!!!  PLEASE CALL IN 444-4800   Leave a message for all House Natural Resources Committee members.

20-FEB-17    3:00 PM    172    HJ 9     
 Resolution supporting the release of certain wilderness study areas    Kerry White  (R) HD 64
This is entry level Fed. Lands Transfer.  Any release should be organic…..coming from the folks that use the areas…the public, businesses, industry, sportsmen, wilderness advocates, etc.  Some have languished long because of a lack of compromise. 

Each area is different with differing values to everyone.  The idea of collaborative working groups like the Blackfoot Legacy offer the best way to handle it. 

 (This includes the Hyalite-Porcupine-Buffalo Horn area connecting Hyalite to Yellowstone, a large swath of key habitat and outdoor recreational bliss the forest service has been working on for years to create a multi-use solution.)

Overarching Message frame: This resolution is the latest attack on our public lands sponsored by the same people who want to transfer these lands to the state and private interests. This resolution is a top down edict from Helena, that undermines years of collaborative work by Montanans to shape the future of the public lands nearest their communities.

    •    Montana’s WSAs span dozens of counties and affect communities across the state. Many of these communities have strong interest in how these lands are managed but they have never been consulted regarding this resolution. Shouldn’t they have a say? If local control truly matters, then the committee should respect the locals who also say that they appreciate and like WSA’s.

    •    This resolution adopts a failed one-size-fits-all approach that Montanans reject. This divisive resolution follows a failed model of picking winners and losers through a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach. Just as Montanans have rejected efforts to designate all WSAs as wilderness with no community input, they should reject efforts to release all WSAs as well.

    •    Montanans know best how to resolve land management issues. Montanans have a long track record of resolving land management issues through collaborative, place-based efforts that include all stakeholders—including timber, sportsmen, motorized and non-motorized recreation, conservation, and others.

    •    This resolution undermines locally-driven, collaborative efforts. There are over a dozen collaborative, bottom-up efforts ongoing across the state. Through these efforts, Montanans are working together to resolve their differences and chart a path forward. These efforts are the best way to resolve the status of WSAs, and this resolution undermines that important work. 

    •    Montana contains 44 wilderness study areas, spanning close to a million acres. These areas provide important habitat for big game, outstanding fisheries, and world-class recreation opportunities and many deserve to be permanently protected. Their management is of interest to all Montanans.

    •    Stop Playing Politics with Public Land: Montanans are working across the spectrum to reach consensus on how to manage public lands that belong to all Americans. That means conversations across fence lines and at kitchen tables. This resolution seeks to introduce more conflict in situations where we need understanding rather than animosity. 

Please consider standing tall with us on this.  Public lands transfer is a toxic subject for many of us.

You can call TODAY and leave a message for the House Natural Resources Committee: (406) 444-4800.


HB 454 Kerry White Removes Parks from FWP    OPPOSE

The Montana Sportsmen Alliance stands in opposition to HB 434.  It is similar to HB 324 Hamlett.  Our opposition is for the same reasons.  This one moves Parks to Dept. Commerce and allows the board to hire the director.  It fails to rectify assets purchased with PR/DJ funds thereby jeopardizing those funding sources. 

HB 454 is up in House F&G on Tues. 2/21 at 3pm  PLEASE OPPOSE

Phone 444-4800
emails: Sharon Stewart-Peregoy <>, Bridget Smith <>, george kipp <>,, Virginia Court <>, Zachary Brown <>, Jean Price <>,,,,, denleylogehd14 <>,,,,,

For reference:   See our stand on HB 324

SB 264 Distruction of Transparency

SB 264  Swandal  Reducing the board of outfitters (Boo) to just licensing.  OPPOSE

Senate Bill 264 totally dismantles the system for the oversight and accounting of outfitters activities in Montana. It effectively reduces the function of the Board of Outfitters to that of simply issuing licenses. It is absolutely critical that those who wish to act as outfitters and are issued licenses to operate in Montana be part of a system that closely examines their qualifications, operations and ultimately, holds them legally accountable for the manner in which they provide their services to the public. Outfitters base their businesses on and profit from the utilization of fish and wildlife that are public resources. As such, the citizens of Montana rightfully demand that outfitting be carried out legally, and overseen with the necessary consideration for the public’s health, safety and welfare. SB 264 strips away that authority and is totally counter to the best interests of the public and ultimately, Montana’s invaluable wild resources.  

This bill is up in Senate Business and Labor Tuesday 2/21 at 8AM:

"Sen. Ed Buttrey" <>,,, Patrick Connell <>, Tom Facey <>,, "Rep. Daniel Salomon" <>,,, Gene Vuckovich <>

Call:  444-4800

Sunday, February 19, 2017


The Montana Sportsmen Alliance:   HOUSE BILL 324  OPPOSE
Up for 2nd reading on house floor Monday 2/20.

HB 324 is a bill to remove Parks from FWP and let their commission hire their own director.

The Montana Sportsmen Alliance appreciates the many and unique recreational
and historical opportunities State Parks provide to both Montanans and
visitors to the state. We believe State Parks are valuable assets as a part
of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. As such, we oppose HB 324. The
continued attempts to remove Parks organization and operation from the state
wildlife agency have been and will continue to be a detriment to the state
as a whole. We believe that legislative intervention to change the means of
selecting the Parks Administrator is a further attempt at this and is
misguided, ill-advised and inappropriate.

.    The bill is a result of the recent removal of the Parks
Administrator. This was an appropriate and necessary action by FWP.
Legislative action to intervene and modify the selection process for a
replacement by taking it away from FWP is short-sighted and unnecessary
intrusion in the filling agency staff positions.
.    In years past, there have been efforts for other commissions or
boards to act as hiring authorities for agency directors or program
managers. It has been proven time and time again that this method is
counter-productive, does not guarantee quality leadership and serves to
further politicize selections.
.    Although Parks' primary focus is general recreation, 29 of the 54
State Parks in Montana are water-based with fishing and, to a lesser extent,
hunting being important side activities of those sites. 22 of those 54 are
on lakes and 7 are on major waterways. As such, hunters and anglers have a
definite interest and stake in State Parks. Any attempt to move Parks or its
operations away from FWP, by either procedure or physical removal will be a
detriment to sportsmen and women as well as the recreating public. We
unequivocally oppose any attempts at lessening the involvement of sportsmen
and women in the operation of State Parks or its removal from the agency.
.    The FWP Director must remain the final authority to coordinate both
work and budget priorities of division work and funding. Not only is it a
much more effective business model, it also ensures good decision-making and
aids in forestalling potential issues of funding diversion and
non-compliance with state policy and funding sources requirements.
.    This legislation does not address the fundamental and largest, most
critical issue for State Parks-funding. In fact, it serves to only further
divert attention from that basic issue. Time would far better be spent
working to help develop a reliable, sustainable and long-term means of
funding for our State Parks.

   Please OPPOSE
2017 MONTANA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES E-MAIL:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, 

Oppose SB 225

MSA stands by our Conservation Partners MBA  Already done by FWP Commission!

Up Thursday, 2/23/17 In Senate F&G
February 11, 2017
MBA ALERT - SB 225 Lighted Nocks
Members –
Many if not all of you have probably read in today’s paper that Lighted Nocks have now been approved by the FWP Commission for use during the Archery-Only season.
Whether or not if you agree with that decision I think we can all agree that the adoption of this equipment went through a rigorous vetting process with the Commission. The Commission tentatives process affords the most thorough consideration of equipment regulations as it allows for robust vetting of proposals by the Department and Commission as well as generous public comment opportunities.
Now Senator Kary from SD 22 in Billings is proposing a bill to codify Lighted Nocks, SB 225. There is no reason to codify hunting equipment; the Legislature gave that responsibility to the FWP Commission and the Commission has taken that responsibility seriously.
SB 225 sets a dangerous precedent. It has the potential to result in the beginning of codifying all our hunting regulations. So instead of hunting regulations being set by a Commission made up of hunters and fishers like you and I where there is ample opportunity for public comment, regulations could be set by our Legislature.
I don’t think there are many if any of us that want that.
Please contact Senator Kary and politely ask that he table this bill, and also contact members of the Senate Fish and Game Committee and let them know you think this bill is unnecessary. See contact information below. Please be polite.
SB 225 Lighted Nocks is scheduled for hearing before the Senate Fish and Game Committee on Thursday, February 23rd.
Sen. F&G:
Jill Cohenour <>, Mike Phillips <>, Tom Facey <>, Jeff Welborn <>, Edie McClafferty <>,,, "Hinkle, Jedediah" <>,, "Sen. Chas Vincent" <>,