Veto Needed of HB 265 To Protect Habitat Montana

Pronghorn Antelope roaming in the Horse Creek Easement

Montana Wildlife Federation and our partners in the Montana Sporting Coalition are asking Governor Bullock to veto HB 265, a bill that re-injects politics into Habitat Montana, Montana’s premier access and conservation program. Hunters, anglers and all recreational users made our strong opposition to HB 265 (Rep. Kerry White, R-Bozeman) clear. Our members, alongside members of numerous hunting, angling, and conservation groups showed up to oppose the bill throughout the process.

We also sent in thousands of emails, made phone calls and wrote letters to oppose the bill. Unfortunately, the Legislature didn’t listen. It passed HB 265 regardless of our opposition.

Now MWF and the Montana Sporting Coalition are asking Gov. Bullock to spare Habitat Montana conservation easements from the same unnecessary bureaucracy that we saw last year. That was when the state Land Board indefinitely delayed the Horse Creek Complex conservation easement near Wibaux. This easement not only permanently opened 20,000 acres of excellent habitat to public hunting for mule deer, antelope, and game birds, it ensured that future generations of ranchers can operate this ranch as viable cow/calf operation.

Simply put, Habitat Montana works. It works for landowners, for wildlife, for habitat, and for hunters. It has for 30 years. We want to keep it that way, and a veto of HB 265 by Gov. Bullock will allow Montana FWP to continue working with landowners to build good projects without the fear of political interference while continuing to build better partnerships between Montana’s hunters and landowners.