Big Sky Roundup

FWP to engage hunters, landowners on elk management plan

By: - February 18, 2022 8:39 am

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay | Public domain).

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said it will use the guiding principles that the Elk Management Plan Initial Guidance Citizens Group developed in 2020 to engage with hunters and landowners to create an Elk Management Plan that will be the foundation for elk management across the state, according to a news release from FWP on Wednesday.

“We heard from so many people during our season setting process, and many of them had good ideas,” said FWP director Hank Worsech in a statement. “We are now looking at ways to look at those ideas and see what can help us address some of the challenges we face.”

While the new plan is being developed, FWP said it will continue work with the Private Lands Public Wildlife Council (PLPW) to evaluate elk hunting access agreements (454 agreements) and other statutory programs that direct FWP’s work with landowners to enhance public access. The PLPW will also review hunter/landowner stewardship programs and help FWP develop outreach to landowners and hunters to help improve relationships and access, the news release said.

FWP is also creating an Elk Management Citizen Advisory Group. FWP said this advisory group will be a citizen-led effort to develop recommendations to address elk management challenges such as over-objective elk herds, new disease concerns, calls for more access, reports of crowded public lands and more people than ever coming to the state.

The advisory group’s effort, along with the work of PLPW, will be reflected in the final elk management plan, which should be done by the summer of 2023, the news release said.

“We do have a lot of work ahead of us, and I hope people will continue to follow what we’re doing and stay engaged,” said Worsech in a statement.

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