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Letter to the Editor - Tell FWP to suspend hunting season


September 11, 2017


I wrote this letter to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. I ask you to do the same.

Dear Montana FWP,

I am writing to ask that you close the 2017 hunting season until there is sufficient rain or snow across our state to alleviate the dry conditions.

Make no mistake; I am an avid deer and elk hunter. Like many Montanans, I look forward to our hunting season every year and I even drew a cow elk tag for the Bears Paw Mountains this season. This year, however, we are in a precarious situation with our drought, wildfires, and stress on the wildlife that these conditions have caused.

Last Friday, Sept. 1, the day before bow season opened, I personally witnessed many hunters drive down the county road to the remote region of the Missouri River Breaks. The temperatures that day, and throughout the weekend, were in the mid-to-high 90s. As the weekend progressed, I noticed many of them left the area, but not before I saw vehicle tracks in areas of high grass and sage brush. We can’t afford more wildfires, and it is actions like this in these extreme conditions that cause sparks or ignition from vehicle exhausts to start a fire.

As someone who spends a lot of time outdoors watching wildlife, I’ve also seen the stress on the animals these last few months. The deer look haggard and where there are normally elk, there hasn’t been any since June due to the extreme heat and lack of food and water.

The Fish, Wildlife and Parks department is supposed to care for our wildlife. It is your duty to provide for the stewardship of our wildlife, as you clearly state in your mission statement. I ask that you work with Gov. Steve Bullock to effectively and efficiently put our hunting season on hiatus.

I will close by saying that I am not the only person who feels this way. Most of my family and friends, all who are as passionate as I am about our hunting heritage, agree that the 2017 hunting season needs to be shut down until we have adequate moisture to alleviate the stress on the wildlife and the drought conditions plaguing our state.

With respect,

Mary Heller,

Montana resident and hunter



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