Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Public Trust Doctrine & Montana's Stream Access Report

The Public Trust Doctrine & Montana's Stream Access

Folks, Kat put together a documented history and rebuttal to the issues and attacks sportsmen in Montana are facing recently from out of state special interests and dark money. MSA has been one of the Montana grassroots sportsmen groups targeted as a "green decoy". This affects our legislative bills, stream access and our Constitution.
MSA wanted to pass this along.

Take a look at The Public Trust Doctrine & Montana's Stream Access report.

"For over a year, Rick Berman and Will Coggin (D.C. special interest lobbyists) have been attacking grassroots hunting & angling groups, especially Montanans, labeling them "green decoys". During the 2016 election, I found Montana Supreme Court candidate, Kristen Juras' paper against the public trust doctrine and Montana's Stream Access; PERC (Property and Environment Research Center) put out an oped attacking the Public Trust Doctrine and Montana grassroots hunting & angling groups.  During the 2017 Legislative session, a number of legislators attacked the Public Trust Doctrine, equating it with "a taking", making it sound like a dirty word; Coggin began emailing our legislators attacking the local hunters and anglers that defend our public trust; and certain special interest legislators publicly attacked the grassroots groups attempting to brand them with the slanderous "green decoy" label. Enough was enough. I had to make time to refute all the bullshit.
Despite Juras' belief that Stream Access is a monumental erosion of private property; despite Sen. Jennifer Fielder's 'fears' and lack of understanding; the Public Trust Doctrine is not new, it predates our US and Montana Constitutions, and is already in our Montana Constitution. Building on documentation I had been accumulating, I have spent the last couple months on this refutation, to arm the public with the truth about the foundation of the public trust doctrine and our stream access - to change the conversation.

Utilizing my pre-conservation research background, I have woven together this refutation history with endnotes for veracity. Additionally, I set up a webpage to house every piece of documentation involved in PDF for verifying, reading and downloading, including Supreme Court cases and Montana bills that go back to the 1800's.

The history provided illustrates not only the older Public Trust Doctrine foundation, but also examines the present attacks, especially in Montana, by out-of-state dark money interests and local efforts to undermine the Public Trust Doctrine itself, as well as the grassroots hunting/angling conservationists that have long defended the public trust.

To ensure our Montana Stream Access is here to stay, we need to educate and equip ourselves with the Public Trust Doctrine, defending it against private, legislative and judicial attacks; diligently and tirelessly challenge each access violation, in order to preserve our world-class, “Best in the West”, Montana Stream Access, for future generations.

The Public Trust Doctrine & Montana's Stream Access is brought to you for free and is open access for non-commercial use. You may download, view, copy and print and distribute this document as a whole. If you would like to contribute towards the many hours of research and compilation, it would be greatly appreciated, but this is first and foremost a labor of conservation love, to assist in Putting the 'Public' Back In 'Public Trust'."

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

MSA's National Monument Comment May 2017

Secretary Ryan Zinke
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240

Dear Secretary Zinke:

The Montana Sportsmen Alliance is an organization of men and women from across
Montana—hunters, anglers, conservationists, hikers, river floaters, photographers and wildlife
watchers, to mention a few. We subscribe to and adamantly support the fundamental
proposition that our fish and wildlife, and the public lands and water that sustain them, comprise
the foundation of a magnificent public legacy, a public trust and national heritage found nowhere
else on earth. Woven deeply into that is the National Monument System. These sites and
landscapes, including Montana’s Upper Missouri River Breaks, by virtue of their designation,
allow Montanans and all Americans alike to visit and enjoy and experience those unique
landscapes, regardless of social or economic status.

We are very concerned with current attempts to alter, diminish and in many cases, privatize our
public resources. In this case, such is taking place through the thinly veiled “review” of sites
designated under the Antiquities Act. That law was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed
into law by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. It is part and parcel of numerous successive laws, acts
and designations that could be viewed in sum as America’s Conservation Constitution. It was
initiated with the vision and foresight of Roosevelt and many others, and carried through the last
century by presidents and congresses—both Republicans and Democrats— with the full support of the American people. It has not been without controversy but each time- including the case of the Missouri Breaks National Monument- designations have prevailed and ultimately proved to be the right thing to do, both important and necessary. Yes, the Act is 111 years old but it has withstood the test of time. And as the saying goes, it’s not good because it’s old- it’s old because it’s good.

You have opportunities in addressing the President’s Executive Order. You can continue on with
a predictable, biased critique of these glorious places, viewing them as “open to discussion,”
further wasting your and the Department of Interior’s time, not to mention our tax dollars, in a
losing effort to find loopholes and deficiencies . Or, you can turn this around into a celebration of
the remarkable landscapes and sites that not only distinguish and define our country and states, but are living testament to America’s commitment to Theodore Roosevelt’s magnificent
conservation legacy, both for ourselves and many generations to come. It is our belief that you
should take the latter trail.

Thanks for your time and attention to this very important matter.

Respectfully submitted
Montana Sportsmen Alliance
Leadership Group

Joe Perry, Brady
John Borgreen, Great Falls
Sam Milodragovich, Butte
Robert Wood, Hamilton
Steve Schindler, Glasgow
Jeff Herbert, Helena
JW Westman, Park City

Saturday, May 13, 2017

New F&G Commissioners

Tim Aldrich and Shane Colton were appointed to the commission yesterday by Governor Steve Bullock.

Congratulations Gentlemen, we look forward to working with these two outstanding individuals!


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Zinke order risks Montana FWP grants Gazette

Zinke order risks Montana FWP grants


Our heralded Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke showed recently how he has no business running this important federal agency for our public lands. Zinke calls himself a Theodore Roosevelt Republican, but he is so in over his head that his utter lack of qualifications for the job could have real implications for our public lands and wildlife habitat.
Zinke fell in with the usual Republican bull about fiscal conservatism and ordered a review of all grants from Interior, including the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson taxes. These are paid by sportsmen on guns, ammunition and fishing tackle, and they fund a big chunk of state wildlife agency budgets. The money has strict standards to ensure they benefit fish and wildlife and they have an incredible track record over the years of working to do just that.
But Zinke's brash order could screw that up. It's causing a delay of those funds, which state agencies count on. Here in Montana it could ultimately cost the FWP $20 million in lost revenue and cause us to lose the Grant Marsh habitat purchase near Hardin. These aren't regular tax dollars — these are dollars hunters and anglers have paid.
Tell that to the Navy Seal. He knows how to take orders, and he's taking them from Trump and the other cast of characters running this government. Zinke should give up his job, come home and live off his government pension before he does more damage to our public lands.
 Gary Weiss   Park City

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Legislature bows to outfitters' lobby Billings Gazette

Legislature bows to outfitters' lobby

The Montana Outfitters and Guides came into the 2017 legislative session with their big agenda of slashing regulations, giving more hunting tags to non-residents so they can sell exclusive trophy hunts and stiffing seasonal guides out of overtime and worse yet, legislation to allow outfitters to not pay them minimum wage. Unfortunately, one of the Laurel area legislators brought HB496 at the request of MOGA to remove minimum wage requirements. Is Vince Ricci, Laurel, one of the new sweethearts of MOGA?
At the same time, MOGA stood up and railed on sportsmen who sue to open public roads to public lands.
MOGA’s lobbyist blasted the Public Land and Water Access Association this session, saying they try to “force” access to public land by suing people when they gate public roads. PLWA is made up of volunteers who are very much everyday hunters and fishermen who just want to get to public land and water. They sue only when they have to, and only when someone is blatantly cutting off a public road that provides access.
On the other hand, MOGA has made it clear that it’s OK to block the public from its public waters and lands. Must have something to do with some of its members who have carefully blocked off thousands of acres of public land to sell expensive hunts on them.

MOGA has the Republican Party to do its bidding in the Legislature. Remember who’s on the side of hunters the next time you step in the voting booth.
Jason O’Rear


Ups and downs of the 2017 Legislature

Ups and downs of the 2017 Legislature

Imagine you were told, as you headed onto the field, that your team would have nearly one-third fewer players than the opposing team … and that the other team would get to set the rules that you would have to play by.
For Democrats in the 2017 Legislature, that has been our reality.
As the minority and the loyal opposition, our mission is clear: to be a voice and a vote for what is right, and to fight every day for the people who sent us here, all the while knowing that the odds are not in our favor. This session, that was ourcall, and we are proud of our caucus for answering that call with absolute resolve and determination.
In order to get good things done, Democrats worked hard to reach across the aisle and bring others on board. We did this successfully in numerous issue areas and found others who were willing to set aside political differences to pass good legislation. Together with a group of reasonable Republicans, Democrats led the way on legislation that will benefit Montanans for years to come. Here are some of the highlights:
• Criminal Justice Reform: We passed the most comprehensive package of criminal justice reform legislation in a generation -- more than a dozen bipartisan bills that give judges and prosecutors the tools to make our system smarter, save money, reduce recidivism and get people the help they need.
• Earned Income Tax Credit: One of the most progressive anti-poverty tax bills in years, the Earned Income Tax Credit will help thousands of working families in Montana keep more of their hard-earned money.
• Apprenticeships: We helped Montana workers and businesses with a tax credit for businesses that hire and train apprentices – and a double credit for hiring veterans in an apprenticeship program.
• Mental Health and Suicide Prevention: It’s imperative that we reduce the stigma around mental illness and make care and treatment more available. We established that insurance companies must cover mental health on the same level as physical health. We also dedicated $1 million for local communities and school districts to develop their own suicide prevention programs, with particular emphasis on rural areas, Native Americans and veterans.
• Early Childhood Education: We know that when we invest in kids through early education, we improve their prospects for graduating from high school and beyond. We were finally able to make some headway on this front by providing funding for preschool pilot programs across the state.
• Sexual assault: We passed a package of bills to protect victims of sexual assault by making our laws more consistent with a scientific understanding of predatory behavior and victim response. We made it a crime to coerce children into viewing pornography, and we made clear that a victim’s silence, or lack of forceful resistance, does not equate to consent in a sexual assault case.
• Foster care: We made important investments in our foster care system that put children first and address the significant challenges we are facing due to a resurgence of meth addiction in Montana.
• Protecting Public Lands: Democrats worked hard to fight off some extremely dangerous legislation that would have forced Montana hunters to compete with out-of-staters for licenses.
Although we celebrate these many successes, it is no secret that we also experienced significant disappointments this session. The number one priority of the Democratic caucus this session was to pass a comprehensive infrastructure package and get people to work on important projects across this state. Although we carried and passed several important public works bills, and supported a major roads and bridges bill that will bring a 7-to-1 federal funding match for highway repairs across Montana, we were not able to overcome Republican opposition to the most important infrastructure bill of the session.
When we approached the jobs/infrastructure package, Democrats made it clear from Day One that we were not going to pick winners and losers or pit communities against each other. Since all Montanans pay taxes, all communities should benefit from infrastructure projects and the jobs they create.
With these ideas in mind, Democrats and reasonable Republicans worked out a fair infrastructure package that would have benefitted communities across Montana, east and west, north and south, rural and urban, with critical projects: rural water and sewer systems; repairs and upgrades to dozens of schools; improvements to our MSU campuses in Bozeman, Billings and Great Falls; a needed water intake in Laurel; improvements to Makoshika State Park near Glendive; and a loan to finally build the long-planned Southwest Montana Veterans home in Butte.
This package passed out of the Republican-controlled Senate with the required two-thirds majority. But when it got to the House, we came up against the resistance of Republican House leadership, which did not want it to go forward. We gave them every opportunity to say “yes” and they took every opportunity to say “no.” At the end of the day, we couldn’t get around the fact that they were in charge and they had the ability to block progress.
We can promise you that Democrats will continue to fight for infrastructure into 2019. In the meantime, we hope the people of Montana will reach out to lawmakers and let us know what matters to you. Emails and phone numbers of all legislators are available on the Legislature’s website ( We want to hear your opinions, positive or negative. And we will work throughout the interim and beyond to make Montana a better state for all of us.
Rep. Jenny Eck, D-Helena, is the Montana House Minority Leader. Sen. Jon Sesso, D-Butte, is the Montana Senate Minority Leader.

Jim Posewitz LTE Billings Gazette

President Donald Trump ordered a review of National Monuments to see if they can be reduced or eliminated. When it comes to disposing of public lands there is apparently no hole too small to crawl through. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke is already on his knees and the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument is the target.
Montana people have been protecting the area for over a half century. In the 1960s they rejected a Corps of Engineers plan to build two dams. One below the Judith River would have flooded the valley and “breaks” backing water into the lower Marias and Teton river bottoms while topping the community of Loma. The other would flood the rest of the river from Fort Benton to Morony Dam.
Montanans resisted because of the historical, ecological and recreational values of that last stretch of wild river bottom and “breaks” habitat. Our U.S. senators stood with the people and the dam builders were rejected. Those senators were Mike Mansfield and Lee Metcalf and they were in office when the Missouri was designated a Wild and Scenic River in 1976. The mantle of protection was strengthened when President Bill Clinton elevated it to National Monument status in 2001.
Today, groups like the Friends of the Missouri River Breaks clear debris and restore cottonwood forests compromised by livestock grazing. When they plant trees their boots are in the mud and on the ground. Now the Trump/Zinke team, consistent with their political ideology to privatize whatever they can, will drag us through a costly review to see whether Montanans for the last half century were on target or not. It’s time to fight back!

Jim Posewitz

Thursday, May 4, 2017



Position Statement on Second Amendment Rights

First Adopted December 1, 2012 - Revised September 27, 2016 Situational Overview
As the oldest conservation organization in North America, the Boone and Crockett Club is often asked to comment on gun control issues and Second Amendment rights because of the close relationship between gun ownership, hunting, and wildlife conservation.

The Club believes that restricting access to firearms will directly impact participation in hunting, which is essential to the continuing success of wildlife conservation in North America, and elsewhere. The Club is concerned with any restriction on the public’s legal right to own and use firearms for hunting that could weaken or undermine our unique and successful system of wildlife conservation.
The Boone and Crockett Club supports the right of citizens to own and use firearms. The Club maintains that the diverse and abundant wildlife populations that exist in Canada and the United States today are primarily the result of more than a century of wildlife conservation. The public’s right and ability to legally own and use firearms, has been, and remains, critical to the success of this conservation system.

Public ownership of firearms was instrumental to the birth of the conservation movement in North America. This movement was initiated by sportsmen that saw the need for and supported the laws, policies, funding programs, research initiatives, expert agencies, and other delivery mechanisms that are now referred to collectively as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. A fundamental basis of this Model is that every citizen has the right to hunt for specific legal purposes, which requires the ability to own and use a firearm. Wildlife conservation would not and could not have come into existence, nor will it endure, without the public ownership of firearms.

Conservation is active and hands-on. It is a series of actions by people to maintain the integrity and continuity of nature. Hunting is one of these actions. Hunting itself is a mechanism for wildlife conservation, but most importantly it engages people in seeing the need for conservation and its results. Because of traditional outdoor activities like hunting, sportsmen have a vested interest in the security and proper management of the game species they hunt. This advocacy and stewardship extends to the habitats that support these species, which in turn benefits all wildlife—both hunted and non-hunted.

The sustainable harvest of game species is the primary means of keeping wildlife populations healthy, within the carrying capacity of their habitats, and to socially-acceptable levels. The majority of wildlife conservation programs are also largely funded through a “user pays–everyone benefits” system of licenses, permits, and excise taxes on firearms and ammunition paid by sportsmen and recreational shooters. Eliminating the right to own or use a firearm, which is the means by which the majority of game is hunted, would lead to a collapse of the very system that is responsible for wildlife and healthy ecosystems.

The Boone and Crockett Club maintains that hunting is crucial to successful wildlife conservation, that gun ownership is fundamental to hunting, and that all three are critical to one another. The Club believes the best way to ensure well-managed, well-funded and sustainable wildlife conservation programs includes the right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Shane Mahoney

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Leave Montana's national monuments alone


Guest opinion: Leave Montana's national monuments alone

Designated in 2001, the 377,000-acre Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument is subject to this review. Established the same year, Pompeys Pillar National Monument could also be scrutinized.
Flanking Trump and Zinke at the signing was a delegation from Utah: Gov. Gary Herbert, Sen. Orrin Hatch, and Rep. Rob Bishop – none of whom have been shy about expressing their contempt for national monuments and their desire to sell off public lands. Using the same overheated rhetoric these politicians use to smear monuments, public lands, and public land managers, Trump made it clear he was signing the order at the behest of his Utah allies – an affront to the 77 percent of Montanans and 80 percent of Westerners who, according to a 2017 Colorado College poll, support existing national monuments.
With this order, anti-public land extremism rooted in Utah now casts its shadow over Montana, threatening our outdoor way of life, our public lands, and the business owners and ranchers whose livelihoods depend on those lands. It also threatens our culture, history, and outdoor heritage – the parts of our national and regional identity that monuments are designated to protect.
Trump’s order comes at a time when Utah’s lawmakers and others, including Sen. Steve Daines, are pushing legislation to gut the Antiquities Act. A central pillar of Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy, this 1906 law gives U.S. presidents the authority to designate monuments – that is, to set aside and safeguard public lands with outstanding natural, cultural, historical, and scientific value to the people of this country. Over the past 110 years, 16 presidents – eight Democrats and eight Republicans – have used the Antiquities Act to designate 157 national monuments.
Trump made quite clear in his remarks that he shares his Utah allies’ contempt for this law because he claims it gets in the way of oil, gas, and mining corporations that want to exploit these places for their own short-sighted ends.
In the two years leading up to the designation of the Upper Missouri River Breaks in 2001, a series of local meetings occurred across Montana. They involved the secretary of the Interior, Montana’s governor and congressional delegation and the Bureau of Land Management. Polls and comments showed then, as they do now, that a majority of Montanans think the Missouri Breaks deserved to be protected. Its designation as a monument provides that protection while also allowing cattle grazing and maintaining the valid mining claims and oil and gas leases that existed at the time of designation. To this day, even opponents of the monument acknowledge that the designation has had no effect whatsoever on private property.
Protection of this vast landscape ensures that future generations will enjoy the same opportunity we now have to experience some of the best big game hunting in the world; to view tipi rings, rock art, and other artifacts that go back thousands of years; and to camp and hike in the same riverside spots that Lewis and Clark did in 1802. Like Pompeys Pillar, which memorializes a place on the Yellowstone River where Capt. William Clark etched his name, the Missouri Breaks and other monuments allow us to physically connect with our history and participate in our outdoor heritage – in perpetuity.
But not if Zinke and Trump kowtow to the demands of Utah’s politicians.
Montana’s three monuments, including the Little Bighorn Battlefield, are places that tell the story of where we come from and of who we are – as Native Americans, as European Americans, as Montanans. Join us in urging Secretary Zinke to stand up for our cultural heritage and leave the Antiquities Act and our national monuments alone.
Hugo Tureck, is a Montana public lands rancher and president of Friends of the Missouri Breaks. Susan Barrow is a board member of Friends of Pompeys Pillar. Shane Doyle, is an educator, Crow tribal member and supporter of Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

Guest opinion: Montanans find common ground on wildlife issues

Guest opinion: Montanans find common ground on wildlife issues

The biggest win for all Montanans is the full restoration of funding for our state’s premier habitat protection and public access program, Habitat Montana. The program takes a small portion of hunting licenses and puts it into a fund that pays for conservation easements, land purchases and fishing access sites.
Over the years, it has protected key habitat for wildlife, opened hundreds of thousands of acres for public hunting and fishing, and helped protect working farms and ranches from subdivision. The 2017 Legislature agreed to lift restrictions imposed on the program in 2015, meaning that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks can once again use the program to provide more opportunities for Montanans to enjoy the outdoors.

Victory for science

We were also successful in defeating bills that cut funding for FWP, interfered with science-based wildlife management, or tried to micromanage the work of professional wildlife managers. This session saw fewer such bills than past years, which hopefully reflects growing trust by legislators and more support for managing wildlife according to science rather than special interest politics. There were also more positive bills to address emerging wildlife threats, like the spread of aquatic invasive species and chronic wasting disease.
The Legislature passed several bills that helped address the needs of farmers and ranchers on wildlife management issues. This included the renewal of the Livestock Loss Reduction Program, a state fund that pays ranchers for livestock lost to grizzly bears and wolves. That fund also funds work to prevent attacks on livestock, which helps wildlife, ranchers and our state and federal wildlife agencies. In addition, the Legislature agreed to increase the payment that a landowner can receive for participating in the Block Management program, which compensates landowners for providing public access to private land.

Our successes on wildlife management, habitat protection and public access are the result of people being willing to roll up their sleeves and work together. Even in this tough political time, it is possible to find common ground and enact policies that protect our outdoor traditions, expand public access for hunting and fishing, protect private property, and support Montana’s farmers and ranchers.

Road blockers

Unfortunately, there are still some people who seek political advantage in drawing dividing lines between sportsmen, landowners, and other groups of Montanans. One bill that did not pass this session would have increased the fine for illegally blocking county roads that lead to public land. This bill was developed over a year of hard work and was written to protect county government authority and private property rights, while providing a concrete county-based solution to the issue of illegal barriers on established public roads. This carefully-written bill fell prey to misleading political rhetoric, leaving the issue of illegal road closures unresolved for another session.
Despite that setback, we are hopeful that Montana lawmakers see the overall successes of the 2017 session on wildlife and outdoor issues as a path forward for future compromise. When sportsmen, landowners, conservationists, and other interest groups work together we can find common ground. And when legislators put aside their own partisan political differences and advance the common ground solutions that citizens devise, it protects Montana’s heritage, our economy, and our way of life.
Bill Geer is president of the Montana Wildlife Federation.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Montana On The Ground

Sportsmen's coalition endorses Quist

It takes more than buying a bunch of game tags to represent Montana hunters, according to a sportsmen’s coalition.
With a month to go until the special election for Montana’s lone Congressional seat, the Montana Sportsmen’s Alliance has thrown its support behind Democratic candidate Rob Quist. The MSA political action committee says Quist comes closest to supporting the values of Montana’s sportsmen and women.
MSA spokesman Joe Perry said the group sent a survey to both Quist and his opponent, Republican candidate Greg Gianforte, but only Quist responded.
“We were comfortable with Rob’s stand on our issues. He shares our views on federal lands transfer and a bunch of other issues,” Perry said. “We offered the same chance to Mr. Gianforte. He was sent the survey, and we haven’t heard from him since. This is a short election and we don’t chase candidates.”
The Gianforte campaign did not return this reporter's request for comment.
The Montana Sportsmen’s Alliance is an “organic Montana sportsmen’s group,” Perry said, made up of hunters and anglers who also participate in a wide collection of groups, including Walleyes Unlimited, the Montana Wildlife Federation and various rod and gun clubs. The majority depends on public lands, lakes and streams for their pastime.
For that reason, a primary concern of theirs is keeping public lands in public hands. That concern has grown under the Trump administration, as the president has approved more resource extraction on federal land and has called for the review of recently designated national monuments. In addition, his budget would slash millions from the budgets of land management agencies, making their jobs all the more difficult.
Because Gianforte has tried to bar access to a stream running through his Gallatin Valley property, the MSA doubts he would work to keep federal land open to the ordinary people.
“Conservation needs the involvement of ordinary citizens. If you can’t involve ordinary citizens, the environment loses advocacy. It just becomes something for the rich to enjoy and the ordinary folks are not allowed to look over the fence,” said J.W. Westman of the Laurel Rod and Gun Club.
Mark Reller of Helena said he couldn’t afford to hunt if it weren’t for public lands, and public lands need regulation. So he disagrees with Republican arguments of federal overreach.
“Gianforte represents corporate overreach and lack of regulation. We need a referee in the game. We need someone to balance out that million-dollar bonus for me and other hunters,” Reller said.
With financial records showing personal assets totaling between $65 million and $315 million, Gianforte is not an ordinary citizen. He does hunt but probably doesn’t to depend on public land for his hunting access.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks records show Gianforte has bought between six and eight hunting and trapping tags every year while Quist hasn’t bought any for more than a decade, according to a April 26 Billings Gazette story.
That doesn’t faze members of the MSA. Perry said the 70-year-old Quist has had health issues that have kept Quist out of the game. But that doesn’t stop Quist from defending Montana’s resources, Perry said.
“Being a hunter or a fisherman isn’t a prerequisite, and not all of us can hunt anymore. But we’re doing it for the next generation, not ourselves,” Perry said. “It doesn’t matter whether you have a room full of trophies or not. What matters is what are you able to do for the resource.”
Rancher Steve Charter said hunters weren’t the only ones dependent on public lands – ranchers are too. Many have federal grazing leases that are far less expensive than they would be if ranchers had to buy the land or pay private landowners.
“They wouldn’t be able to afford it. Federal land transfer would be devastating to ranching in Montana,” Charter said.
A recent poll shows Gianforte with a lead in the race, although some have questioned the reliability of the poll. But should Quist lose on May 25, Perry said MSA would try to work with Gianforte to preserve Montana values.
“The idea is to work with the folks who get elected. And whether they’re your candidate or not, they’re now Montana’s representative. It’s all over when the election is over with,” Perry said.