Putting the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"

FWP Comm. Stuker Threatening Closing Private Lands To Access

Let me preface here,

  • Montana conservation sportsmen have historically been cooperative with the needs of ag/livestock.
  • Sportsmen involved with a variety of the elk brucellosis issues have advocated for better cattle vaccines for the cattle industry to be better protected, looking for solutions to help protect both livestock and wildlife.
  • These sportsmen have gone on record empathizing with any difficulties that cattlemen face due to this disease and have offered ideas and recognized the need for discussions, a multi stakeholder process to protect all of Montana's resources, not just livestock.

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.

I 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 Stukers resignation.

You can contact Governor Steve Bullock:
Email: governor@mt.gov
Toll Free: 855-318-1330
FAX: 406-444-5529


Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu


Wildlife &


Bozeman, MT

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