Hamilton Rep Sponsors Bill That Favors More Out of State Hunters and Outfitters
It is clear that Montana has been found. Since the pandemic has started, we have seen a huge influx of out of state folks seeking refuge in the wide open spaces of Montana. We have also seen a rise in the popularity of the state's resources. Now more than ever, people from all over the country, and all over the world are looking at Montana as a destination for big game hunting.
Now, for the states economy, this can be a good thing. Out of state hunters and anglers dump millions of dollars into our economy every year. Just think about all the hotel rooms that are booked, all the gas money, all the restaurants they eat at, all the sporting goods and ammo they purchase. It all adds up and is good for Montana. But, just because they have money to spend, doesn't mean you should turn your back on residents of Montana.
As a lifelong Montana outdoorsman, I can say from experience, that getting access to private land and even accessing public land is getting more and more difficult each year. Thankfully programs like the Block Management Program, encourage private land owners to offer public access to their property. But, the amount of private land owners that are participating in BMA is a fraction of those who refuse access.
It all comes down to "pay to play" politics with hunting anymore. Outfitters are leasing up property all over the state. Essentially gaining exclusive hunting rights on millions of acres. Only allowing for those willing to pay, the right to hunt or fish.
According to the Billings Gazette
SB 143, sponsored by Sen. Jason Ellsworth, R-Hamilton, would turn the vast majority of non-resident big game licenses offered in Montana to “outfitter sponsored” tags favoring hunters with money who use outfitters.
This could prove to be a big hit for resident hunters in Montana. Opening up more opportunities for outfitters and less for the average joe to fill his freezer.
Successful Montana Elk Hunts