2021 Legislature attacks on wildlife, habitat and public access

Hunters, anglers, and outdoor recreationists had the toughest legislative session in over two decades this year.

The 2021 Montana Legislature included numerous bills that worked to put into state law elk management, restrict public access to public lands, curtail land conservation efforts, and write special hunting seasons into law. It was the most difficult session in over two decades, and many bad bills passed.

Still, through hard work, we were able to beat back some of the worst bills. It took a broad coalition of sporting and outdoors advocates to kill these bills, through heavy engagement by hunters, anglers, and other outdoors enthusiasts.

The Montana Wildlife Federation is thankful to our members, volunteers, and conservation partners who all rallied to make their collective voice heard. It was especially important this session when public participation was far more limited because of the Covid 19 pandemic. Our Legislative Action Team was vital to getting the public engaged in the process, and we’re working to build on that effort.

We’re working to learn from this session, develop a proactive conservation agenda and we are asking the advocates we partnered with to continue with us as we engage the Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Gianforte Administration, as well as prepare for the 2023 Legislature. We must continue to develop our broad coalition of conservationists to advance positive policies that benefit our public wildlife, habitat, and access. Several of these bad bills are likely to come back, and we need to be prepared.

Here is the complete list of the dozens of bills that came forward this session, both good and bad.


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Alec Underwood

Federal Conservation Campaigns Director

Alec is responsible for developing and implementing MWF’s federal conservation advocacy and policy campaigns to protect Montana’s fish and wildlife. He spends most of his free time hunting big game and fly fishing Montana’s cherished trout rivers. He also enjoys backpacking, skiing, photography, and woodworking.