Another spurious sportsmen organization expected to oppose SB397 is the so-called Montana Hunters & Anglers Action, or whatever they're calling themselves these days. This group tends to be little more than a facade of a sportsman based organization for the Montana Wildlife Federation. One of the founders of this bogus sportsman group is Land Tawney, of Missoula - who just also happens to be a Senior Manager for the National Wildlife Federation, working out of the organization's Missoula regional office. Montana Wildlife Federation is simply a state chapter of the National organization, which is a major proponent of expanding the numbers and range of wolves and grizzly bears.
MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks is often accused of working way too closely with these groups, which do not represent the wants and needs of the state's sportsmen. Nor has the state wildlife agency really placed any priority on ever taking control of the predator problem. Senate Bill 397 would establish that priority for FWP, concentrating on the needed reduction of wolves, bears and lions in order to halt the continued decline of big game populations, and begin the recovery of wildlife in those hunt districts which are now in dire need of emergency predator control measures. The provisional seasons and less restrictive regulations governing these hunts may be the only salvation for bringing back huntable numbers of big game throughout most of Western Montana.
On Tuesday, March 26, SB397 is scheduled to be scrutinized at a Senate Fish and Game Committee hearing at the State Capitol in Helena. A large turnout of both proponents for and opponents of the bill are expected to be on hand to testify. Things could get more than a little heated. Hanging in the balance of whether SB397 passes or not is very likely the future of big game hunting in Montana.
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