Sportsmen recognize that this is a complex issue. But, I don't
believe that they are willing to lay down while scientific wildlife
management is ignored, special interest politics dominate, eroding
Montana Game Damage Laws which require public hunter access, while
spending sportsmen's dollars for private ranchers wildlife obstructing
fencing and late season elk removals.
The working group meeting was not just
ag centric as Commissioner Vermillion stated. Helena FWP did not
work to convene a multi stakeholder work group, instead letting
the rancher working group dominate before the very first meeting.
Sportsmen were not a stakeholder the process. This was not a discussion
to find solutions, it was a special interest group demanding their
way and determined to ramrod it through the FWP Commission, which
they achieved due to politics.
have downloaded the audio of the meeting, which you can find here.
It is 2 hours 3 minutes. At the 1:59:05 mark, you will hear Commissioner
Richard Stuker (a rancher), during a commissioner meeting state,
"Now, I will tell you that if I am a producer in the Paradise
Valley and the wildlife groups, sportsmen block attempts to try
and come up with some type of solution, I'm going to close every
bit of my land, any access and I'm guessing that a lot of my neighbors
will do the same." At that point, Richard Stuker was not
acting as a commissioner, he was laying his cards on the table
as a rancher.
This is a blatant, unbiased threat
against sportsmen and our public trust wildlife, by a rancher
with the privilege of being appointed a steward of our fish, wildlife
and habitat here in Montana. Governor Steve Bullock appoints the
commissioners and should hear from the public that this behavior
is not only not acceptable of a commissioner, but warrants Commissioner
You can contact Governor Steve Bullock:
Toll Free: 855-318-1330