Hunting in Montana and other places is being ruined by non-ethical hunters, poachers, and loss of access to public and private lands. Years ago, Montana was a hunter friendly environment. You could knock on private landowner doors and be granted access to hunt.
The older landowners have passed, and their families and relatives often do not want to be farmers or landowners. The value of the land is more appealing. Inheritance means an opportunity to sell the land for a huge profit. Nonresidents with huge bankrolls buy the available land and post it. No more hunting allowed.
Many of these newer landowners were never hunters and do not understand the Hunter Gatherer lifestyle. Stories about poachers, law breakers, and non-ethical hunters discourage them from allowing any access. These criminals are not hunters. They ruin access for ethical hunters.
What private landowners fail to understand is that Ethical Hunters are a valuable resource. True hunters are stewards of the land. They are willing to help landowners in any way that they can during hunting season and throughout the year. Ethical hunters share in the harvest and help to manage and maintain a healthy population of wildlife. Hunting is a priceless management tool that landowners can access for free.
Wildlife areas that do not allow hunting will eventually overpopulate and destroy available habitat and food sources. If landowners do not take responsibility for managing their land and wildlife, Nature will. This often means disease will control the wildlife herd. Now the resource goes to waste and spreads to other wildlands. Evidence of this can be seen in Blue Tongue, CWD, Brucellosis, and other diseases that result from lack of smart land and wildlife management.
Great hunters make personal choices to be ethical hunters. They are not governed by regulations and laws; they choose to do the right thing. When these hunters are afield, they are protecting the land from illegal poaching and exploitation. Ethical Hunters are security and partners in making private lands healthier and better for all.
The Corner Crossing law in Montana prohibits access to over half of our available public State Lands. If landowners have landlocked public land, they should allow legal, right of way, access to these blocks. Only wealthy landowners, that lease their land to outfitters, private groups, or just block access benefit from these public hunting areas. Again, landowners should recruit ethical sportsmen to help manage and protect their lands.
Hunting on private lands is a tradition in Montana. Access is a privilege. Responsible hunters can be a wonderful asset for these landowners. Please consider offering access and educating yourself about ethical hunting and smart wildlife and habitat management.
Hunt smart, honest, and legal.