Block management provides for all.
FWP is giving high priority to building hunter-landowner relationships, as they are a critical element in maintaining conservation efforts and allowing hunter access to private lands.
Hunter-Landowner Stewardship Project
Hunting plays a key role in wildlife management, and so do private landowners. Private lands provide important habitat for large numbers of deer, elk, and antelope. The Hunter-Landowner Stewardship Project aims to promote the shared goal of conservation and ethical hunting practices through an interactive online program testing a participant’s knowledge of responsible hunter behavior and good hunter-landowner relations. Those who successfully complete the program may present their certificate of completion for a free ball cap and bumper sticker. For more info, visit fwp.mt.gov and select Education from the menu, then Hunter Education, then Hunter-Landowner Stewardship Project.
FWP’s Block Management Program also relies on good hunter-landowner relations and provides the public with free access to private land during the hunting season. In return for providing this access, landowners receive compensation and reimbursement for damages to livestock or property. In southwest Montana, there are 85 Block Management Areas (BMAs) ranging in size from 100 acres to thousands. Enrolled landowners consult with FWP to decide on specific rules for each BMA. For instance, some BMAs require a hunter to reserve their hunting spot in advance, while other simply require hunters to sign in at the individual BMA entrance. Landowners can also specify which species and which sex may be hunted on the BMA. These rules can be found in the hunting access guides available each year on August 15. Download Region 3 hunting access guides under the hunting page at fwp.mt.gov. Hunters can get maps of individual BMAs—limited to five maps at a time—by stopping in a regional office or by request from [email protected].
Respecting the Land
When a private landowner provides public access, it’s essential to treat the property with respect. Remember that this may be where someone lives, so please read all signs carefully and obey the rules. Other common-sense behaviors include leaving gates as you find them, not littering, staying on established roads, awareness of fire danger, and always being sure of the target you’re shooting at and beyond.
Andrea Jones is the FWP Region 3 Information and Education Program Manager.