Private Property Rights and Hunter Access Under Attack

HB 265, sponsored by Rep. Kerry White, R-Bozeman, would require the state Land Board approve conservation easements under the Habitat Montana program. This program has protected more than 880,000 acres of crucial habitat including winter range for big game and opened those lands to permanent public hunting access. Lands projects go through extensive review by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, independent appraisers, and finally through the Fish & Wildlife Commission.

Last year the Land Board injected politics into the program and indefinitely delayed the Horse Creek easement near Wibaux. That put at risk 20,000 acres of excellent mule deer, antelope, and bird hunting and threatened the future of a Montana ranch family to stay on their land.

The state Supreme Court ruled easements don’t require Land Board approval, and are complete when the Fish and Wildlife Commission approves them. HB 265 would undo that, and re-inject politics into wildlife management & private property rights decisions. The bill passed the House and is now going to the Senate.

Please contact the Senate and tell them to Vote NO on this bad bill for landowners, hunters, and all Montanans. Send a custom message and tell them to protect Habitat Montana, our best state conservation and access program. You can click here to send an email, or call the state switchboard at 444-4800.