Montana hunters are in the heart of the general deer and elk season. Over the course of the year, hunters have been getting ready by sighting in rifles, organizing gear, and scouting areas to find a place with a chance to punch a tag.
Of course that critical element – a place to go – is vital for a successful hunt. Montana is blessed with millions of acres of public land, including national forests, Bureau of Land Management and state Wildlife Management Area lands that are open to the general public. Montana is also blessed with thousands of generous landowners who welcome hunters to their properties. Many landowners choose to open their gates through the popular Block Management program. A model throughout the country, Block Management has opened up more than 7.5 million acres across the state. Through the program, landowners allow public hunters onto their lands.
In return, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (through fees paid by hunters) provides services including enforcement, hunter management, and proper signage to help out landowners. The landowners also receive payments to help offset some of the impacts of hunters, including weed management. Each area has its own rules, and hunters need to check with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for information on specific Block Management Areas. Block Management is mentioned by hunters throughout the West as a great partnership. Residents and non-residents alike have come to rely on these areas throughout the state. The program not only opens up private lands but in many cases also provides access to adjoining public lands. It’s been a huge success and one that the Montana Wildlife Federation strongly supports. If you get out on a Block Management area this fall, be sure to thank the landowner. Hunters are still guests on these areas, and without them, we’d have less hunting opportunity.