Halfway through Montana’s big game hunting season is seeing many hunters getting anxious. But being a responsible hunter is key as the pressure to harvest game mounts.
Most Montana hunters understand their responsibility when chasing game in the fall, but every year stories abound about bad hunter behavior.
“It’s a minority of hunters that are causing problems out there, but they do make a big impact. So, it takes just one person to tear up a road, or to drive someplace they shouldn’t be, retrieve game on a road that has been closed to cause a problem for everybody,” said Jason Kool with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
A new public campaign aims to remind hunters about the importance of responsible hunting behavior.
“We are just encouraging hunters to not only report to TIP MONT some negative behavior — if you got somebody driving off trail or places they shouldn’t be,” Kool explained.
“But also, just to remind hunters to ask the landowner for access, but then take it one step further and treat the land and the landowner with respect,” he added.
Bad hunting behavior leads to a loss of access and could cost hunters more in the long term.
“It directly costs hunters hunting access and places to go, but it also costs them money. For example, we have the Block Management Program where we are replacing boxes. We are replacing signs every year because they are shot or torn down,” Kool said.
“We’ve got road issues, where roads are signed, and people aren’t supposed to drive off-trail and they do it anyway. It just creates a negative interaction where the landowner has that experience and really shut the gates down and says ‘no, I’m not going to allow public access anymore’,” he added.
FWP is providing free stickers to promote good hunting behavior. Montana’s big game hunting season ends on November 25.
-Winston Greely with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reporting for MTN News