Birdtail Conservation Easement Protects Key Wildlife Habitat

Hunter-landowner Partnership Enhanced With Project

Photo by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks

The strong partnership between hunters and landowners is the foundation of why Montana has incredible public wildlife resources along with a strong agricultural sector of the state’s economy.

Hunters know that landowners provide private habitat that benefits wildlife and landowners need hunters to manage wildlife numbers. It works – and it has been that way for decades.

The Birdtail Conservation Easement is an excellent example of this working relationship. The project will protect 3,980 acres of the Rumney Cattle Company ranch northwest of Cascade. This quality habitat consists of mountain foothills grasslands with mixed in shrublands and riparian areas. It includes a mile and a half of Birdtail Creek, as well as the Birdtail and Lionhead buttes. It’s excellent for mule deer, elk, white-tailed deer, and sharp-tailed and mountain grouse. This week the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission unanimously approved the project.

The easement protects the land from subdivision and development. It also includes a hunter access component, which will provide quality hunting opportunity for the public.

Habitat Montana hunter license dollars are funding the $2.35 million easement. This program uses a small portion of hunting license fees to pay for conservation easements, fee title purchases, and fishing access sites. It’s Montana’s premier conservation program, and it helps bring in matching federal and private dollars to fund projects.

Birdtail is an exemplary project that will benefit the landowner, hunters, and wildlife. It’s exactly what Habitat Montana is meant for, and the Montana Wildlife Federation is proud to support this project. 

Nick Gevock is the conservation director for the Montana Wildlife Federation.