Candidates seeking seats in the Montana Legislature are being asked to participate in a series of forums this month to discuss their positions on wildlife management, public lands and hunter access programs.
Members of the public are invited to attend three forums to be hosted in Missoula, Bozeman, and Great Falls in early October. The in-person events are hosted by the Montana Citizens Elk Management Coalition in partnership with 2% For Conservation, Montana Wildlife Federation, Hellgate Hunters and Anglers, Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association, Walleyes Unlimited Great Falls Chapter and One Montana.
According to George Bettas of the Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association, the forums are an opportunity for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to learn more about their candidates’ positions on hunting and wildlife-related issues prior to Montana’s general election set for Tuesday, November 8.
“We expect wildlife policy and elk management to once again figure prominently in the upcoming 2023 legislative session,” Bettas said. “These forums will help us all learn more about our candidates’ various positions on the fish and wildlife challenges that are critically important to Montana hunters, anglers and outdoor users.”
Since 2009, over 400 bills have been introduced in the Montana Legislature seeking to change or refine how the state manages fish and wildlife.
Each candidate forum will provide participating candidates equal opportunity to respond to a series of scripted questions provided by the hosting organizations in advance of the event. Written responses will be read for those candidates that wish to participate, but are unable to attend.
Specific questions to be addressed include the use of transferable hunting licenses, changes to Montana’s Block Management program, positions on Montana’s stream-access laws, and the role of public participation in setting wildlife policy.
The forums will take place as follows:
Bozeman Candidate Forum hosted by 2% For Conservation and Montana Wildlife Federation: Tuesday, Oct. 4, 6-9 p.m., at the Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Meeting Building, 1400 S. 19 th Ave.
Missoula Candidate Forum hosted by Hellgate Hunters and Anglers, Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association: Wednesday, Oct. 5, 6-9 p.m., at the DoubleTree Hotel, 100 Madison St. in Missoula.
Great Falls Candidate forum hosted by Great Falls Walleyes Unlimited chapter and One Montana: Tuesday, Oct. 11, 6-9 p.m. at Great Falls College-MSU, 2100 16th Ave. room B101