HELENA – Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) officials are reminding hunters that they must obtain landowner permission before entering private lands.
“There’s no doubt that Montana has an abundance of prime land for hunting,” said FWP spokesperson Greg Lemon, “But hunters need to always ask for access.”
FWP currently works with landowners across the state in a number ways to provide hunting opportunities, land access and more.
More than 1,000 landowners have enrolled 7.3 million acres of land for the Block Management program for the 2018 season, which helps landowners manage hunting activities and provides the public with free hunting access to private land or isolated public lands.
Landowner participation in block management is voluntary and Lemon believes that can be changed if bad hunters damage those relationships.
The most common FWP hunting violation Failure To Obtain Landowner’s Permission For Hunting (87-6-415).
Failing to obtain landowner permission can result in a fine and even the forfeiture of hunting, fishing or trapping privileges in Montana.
A Great Falls hunter was fined for Failure To Obtain Landowner’s Permission For Hunting — a misdemeanor — on October 21.
The hunter pleaded guilty to the charge and said he shot a whitetail deer buck on public land before it ran onto private land. The hunter then stated he crossed over onto private land to retrieve the animal.
FWP officials said the best thing to do if again try to contact the landowner to gain permission to enter the property or contact FWP if the owner is unavailable. FWP always advocates for ethical hunting practices.
“When you pull that trigger you can’t take it back,” said Lemon. “People need to take a breath before pulling the trigger and make sure what they’re doing is right. Ethical hunting ultimately makes access to private land easier for everyone.”
More information about block management programs and other partnerships can be found by visiting the FWP website.