HELENA, Mont. (May 3, 2021) – The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA), the Montana Public Lands Council (MPLC), and the Montana Association of State Grazing Districts (MASGD) submitted joint comments on Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ proposed Montana Elk Management Plan Guiding Principles. In the comments, the groups commended the citizens advisory group and their work in crafting the guiding principles. MSGA member Ed Fryer, of Melstone, was one of the 14 citizens chosen to serve in the advisory group.
In the comments, the groups stated their support of the principles outlined. Furthermore, highlighting the importance of minimizing transmission of brucellosis to livestock, recognizing landowners for providing elk habitat, and minimizing impacts on agricultural products, private rangeland, and infrastructure. The comments also emphasized the need for collaboration with landowners and maximizing partnerships between landowners and agencies and discouraged a blanket increase of population objective levels.
“My primary goal participating in the process was to elevate landowner concerns regarding populations, disease, depredation on rangeland and crops, and damage to infrastructure,” shared Ed Fryer. “The group focused on the need for more transparency within Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ decision making and more management flexibility to address localized issues. I urge everyone to stay involved.”
“Our organizations have had a long-standing history of interest in elk management, due to their substantial impacts on ranching families. We believe regular updates and management of population objectives are necessary as well as continued use of hunting as a primary tool for elk population management,” explained Raylee Honeycutt, MSGA Director of Natural Resources. “Since 1884, our organizations have been dedicated to finding proactive solutions for Montana’s ranching families and Montana’s diverse wildlife and will continue to be diligent in doing so.”
Following the 30-day comment period, the Fish and Wildlife Commission with review comments. If adopted, the Fish, Wildlife, and Parks department plans to build upon the Elk Management Guiding Principles to develop a more specific elk management strategy and actions in Montana’s Elk Management Plan.
View MSGA, MPLC and MASGD’s full comments here.