HELENA, Mont. – Montana Governor Steve Bullock issued the following statement after Montana’s Fish Wildlife and Parks Commission voted to approve elk shoulder seasons during the 2016-2017 hunting season.
“Montana’s elk are a cherished icon that belongs to all Montanans. We need to make sure they remain as priceless assets on our landscapes. Parts of our state are dealing with issues related to the growing numbers of elk and our tolerance for them, challenging our ability to manage them and straining relationships between sportsmen and private landowners.
We should be open to trying new approaches and are just beginning to understand the impacts of shoulder seasons and whether they can help us better manage our elk populations. Any tool that we use to manage elk numbers must be based on science and data-driven evaluation. While we’re encouraged, we also know that this is just one of many tools in the box and it won’t be appropriate in every situation.
I recently appointed several new members to my Private Land Public Wildlife Advisory Council. I will be asking them to review the impacts of shoulder seasons on the relationships between sportsmen and private landowners and provide a report to the Fish and Wildlife Commission no later than May 5, 2016.”