The Montana Wildlife Federation (MWF) has called for the end of all elk shoulder seasons for the 2019-2020 hunting season so state wildlife biologists can evaluate how they’re working in their third season of wide-spread use.
MWF in its comments to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said if the shoulder seasons are meant to properly address elk management, they must meet the criteria that ensure we are getting a strong elk harvest during the five-week general season.
“When MWF supported the establishment of elk shoulder seasons we did so based on the premise they would be a temporary action to reduce elk numbers to proposed objectives and to improve the distribution of elk on the landscape,” MWF President Bill Geer said in the letter. “We also agreed that we would evaluate the season’s effectiveness at the end of three years based on specific performance-based criteria.”
MWF called for gathering the data from this year’s elk shoulder hunts and putting out an addendum to the hunting regulations in August for the hunting districts that are meeting the criteria. In addition, MWF recommended a larger discussion of elk management through a structured decision-making process to revamp our state elk management plan and look at whether the elk objectives set in it are out of date.
MWF is committed to working with our landowner partners and FWP for better wildlife management.