If you haven’t yet read gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill’s “Sportsmen’s Policy” at rickhillforgovernor.com you should. Hill boldly states his positions on Montana’s wildlife and its management. Hill is clear that shortcomings in FWP leadership need to be addressed and the department needs to embrace their original mission of serving hunters, anglers, landowners and the recreating public.
Hill is clear that FWP needs to develop a large predator management plan and start addressing predator issues immediately. Hill simply says that FWP will manage wildlife to improve populations based on the best available science, not politics.
Elk and deer numbers in some parts of the state have been decimated due to purely political decisions, and a failure to realize the ramifications of those decisions. It wasn’t bad biology or poaching that reduced these herds, it was politics pure and simple. While voices at meetings and committee hearings grew louder and more frustrated, those in charge ignored the obvious as game numbers plummeted and predator numbers grew exponentially.
A basic premise in wildlife management is that hunters get the opportunity to harvest surplus animals in excess of an areas carrying capacity. High predator numbers have reduced or eliminated those surpluses in many areas of the state. If you are an anti-hunter, maybe these are signs that the world is righting itself on its axis and hunting will no longer be needed as a management tool. If you are a hunter, an outfitter or a business owner who relies on sportsmens’ dollars, it may seem more like the world is coming to an end.
I applaud Rick Hill for his brave move to keep Montana the “Last Best Place” and to keep our hunting heritage alive. As a hunter, I am voting for Rick Hill.