Support for wild bison in Montana


Disappointed Montana citizens are making their voices heard across the State regarding Governor Greg Gianforte’s recent decision to end Montana FWP’s 2020 Bison Management Plan.

The 2020 Bison Management plan was the culmination of over a decade of effort by legislators, biologists, federal and state agencies, ranchers, conservationists; Tribal Nations to advance the restoration of bison in Montana.

Here is what a few concerned citizens have to say about Gov. Gianforte’s decision:,-ADRIAN%20L.&text=When%20Gov.,stemming%20from%20the%2019th%20century.

2020 Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame

Helena Hunters & Anglers Association member, Gayle Joslin (bio below), is being inducted into the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame this year.

Congratulations Gayle!

Due to covid, the 2020 Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame will be held virtually, on Dec. 5th, 2020, beginning at 6:30 pm.

For more information & register for tickets, click here.

The full list of inductees are as follows:

  • Stewart Monroe Brandborg
  • Bruce Farling
  • John & Carol Gibson
  • George Bird Grinnell
  • Hal Harper
  • Dale Harris
  • Gayle Joslin
  • Bob Kiesling
  • Paul Roos
  • Gene Sentz
  • Richard Vincent
  • Vince Yannone

Gayle Joslin, the first woman hired as a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks wildlife biologist, was respectfully named the “First Lady of Montana Wildlife Management” by the Women’s Outdoor Wire in 2009.

She is a 32-year FWP veteran and longtime wildlife biologist for the Helena Area.

As a young woman, Gayle acquired a love of the outdoors after becoming a cook at an outfitters camp where her father guided in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. She went on to earn a degree in wildlife biology from Montana State University, under often difficult circumstances in a heretofore male-dominated profession.

After college, when grizzly bears were about to be listed as a threatened species, she began working on a two-year-long grizzly bear project for the University of Montana on evaluating habitat and population dynamics.

In 1977 FWP hired Gayle to research the effects of dams, mining, and oil and gas development on mountain goats in the Cabinet Mountains of Northwest Montana to the Rocky Mountain Front on the east slope of the Continental Divide from the Sun River to Glacier Park. That area was later part of Lewis & Clark National Forest Supervisor Gloria Flora’s banned mineral leasing on a total of 356,000 acres along the Front.

Gayle also co-authored the first Wildlife Conservation Plan for the Bob Marshall Wilderness and authored Helena’s urban deer management plan.

For the Wildlife Society, she parlayed that seemingly disparate work to coordinate 35 other biologists’ efforts to look at the effects of recreation on Rocky Mountain wildlife.

The result is “Effects of Recreation on Rocky Mountain Wildlife: A Review for Montana,” a benchmark examination of how wildlife responds to impacts from all manner of recreation – from hikes to bikes and horses to All-Terrain Vehicles.

The report, co-authored with FWP colleague Heidi Youmans, earned the Montana Chapter of the Wildlife Society’s Communications Award in 2000, and the Touchstone Award presented by the Wildlife Management Institute in recognition of advanced science for wildlife management in North America.

Since leaving FWP, Gayle volunteers to evaluate impacts to wildlife from land, travel, and recreational management proposals, advocates for protecting wildlife security on public lands, and for maintaining wildlife linkage corridors on a landscape level.

Gayle’s influence is apparent in recent challenges to U.S. Forest Service proposals to weaken Rocky Mountain elk security standards based on tree cover, and decisions to readjust proposals that would harm wildlife habitats, like the now removed military training center proposed for the Continental Divide near Helena.

When faced with more and more development, Gayle told the Helena Independent Record in 2007, one’s only hope is that more will acquire “a strong appreciation and public awareness for wildlife, so people are willing to make sacrifices to maintain the integrity of our wildlands.”

Gayle is a founding board member of Helena Hunters and Anglers Association and Orion–The Hunter’s Institute.

Gayle lives in Helena. Her husband, Jim Posewitz (MOHOF 2018), passed in July 2020.

Hunter Education – Wildlife Identification Testing

Becoming an Outdoor Woman – Riflery Classes Instructor

Letter From The President

Welcome to the Helena Hunters and Anglers (HHAA) website!

HHAA is a small but dedicated group of volunteers who care deeply about Montana’s wildlife, wild places and public lands. Our conservation focus includes an emphasis on local public land roadless areas, big game security, travel management, local Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Wildlife Management Areas and ethical hunting.

We, as twenty first century Montanans, have inherited an incredible legacy of publicly owned lands and waters that support a diverse array of wildlife, also belonging to us all. Our American system of public lands and North American Model of Wildlife Conservation are unique in the world. As hunter-conservationists we feel a profound responsibility to protect what we have inherited and improve on it, where possible. Unfortunately, there have always been, and will always be, those who seek to destroy this legacy to make a buck. We believe in constant vigilance and holding public land managers and wildlife managers to account, encouraging them toward ever better stewardship and conservation-minded management.

There is much work to be done!

Please take your time to look over our new website and consider joining our group.


Steve Platt, President


The coalition of state-based groups decries suit by property owners’ association as attempt to upend Montana’s game management, reduce public hunting opportunity

News for Immediate Release
June 1, 2022
Contacts: Katie McKalip, BHA, 406-240-9262,             
 Sonya Smith, MWF, 406-417-9909,

HELENA, Mont. – A coalition of Montana hunting and conservation groups has taken formal action to oppose the lawsuit filed in April by the United Property Owners of Montana against Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Fish & Wildlife Commission, calling it “an attack on wildlife management and Montana’s egalitarian hunting traditions.”

Composed of Helena Hunters and Anglers, Hellgate Hunters and Anglers, Montana Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Montana Bowhunters Association, Montana Wildlife Federation, Public Land Water Access Association and Skyline Sportsmen, the coalition filed a motion to intervene on behalf of FWP and the citizens of Montana. The groups represent a broad array of interests and are committed to maintaining long-term, proven management that benefits all Montanans, not just a privileged few. All have a strong record of public participation in decisions affecting Montana’s natural resources and hunting heritage.

UPOM, an organization of out-of-state and resident landowners with a history of opposing the concept that public wildlife are owned by the public in Montana, alleges in its suit that the public process for managing elk and setting hunting regulations in Montana is unconstitutional. It attempts to force FWP to act to reduce elk numbers in the state substantially – by upwards of 50,000 animals – and giving landowners authority over management practices of elk on their properties, including opportunities to sell elk tags to the highest bidder. Similar attempts by UPOM at the legislative and commission levels have been loudly opposed and soundly defeated.

“Elk are a cornerstone of Montana hunting traditions,” said Steve Platt, president of Helena Hunters and Anglers. “UPOM and its billionaire backers are trying to privatize our public elk herds for their own gain. The citizens of Montana will not let them get away with this!”

“Hellgate Hunters & Anglers is proud to join in standing up for Montana’s elk and our time-honored, science-based wildlife management practices,” said Walker Conyngham, president of Hellgate Hunters & Anglers. “Montana hunters across the state look to the department and our wildlife managers for responsible, equitable management of our big game species. We’re stepping up to protect those men and women, Montana hunters, and our elk herds from this reckless, misguided attempt to fundamentally change elk management in our state.”

“The United Property Owners of Montana would like to upend Montana’s well-established wildlife management model, as well as Montana’s public hunting traditions,” said John Sullivan, chair of Montana Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. “Regardless of our political affiliations, economic backgrounds and other views, we all have a stake in opposing this lawsuit and supporting responsive, state-based management of Montana game populations. The Montana chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with other groups who are taking action to defend elk management, as well as public hunting opportunity, in Montana.”

“We will not stand by and allow the United Property Owners of Montana to strongarm the state of Montana,” said Ken Schultz, president of the Montana Bowhunters Association. “We will stand strong along with several other groups in Montana who are stepping up to support the FWP and the state in this battle and in their efforts to manage elk populations in Montana.

“All the years of hard work by past and current state employees – and the committees that have spent hours of volunteer time to come up with a solid plan to manage the elk populations – would be for naught if UPOM succeeded in making this a ‘pay to play’ state,” Schultz continued. “This would change elk hunting for generations to come. This just can’t happen! We must unite and fight back with our fellow hunting partners in Montana.”

“The public season setting process has been used for decades,” said Chris Servheen, board chair, Montana Wildlife Federation. “To suddenly try to throw out years of hard work and wisdom from scientists, agency professionals, duly appointed fish and wildlife commissioners, and engaged citizens is simply wrong. What this lawsuit seeks to do is what UPOM has failed to do at the legislature: turn elk hunting into a rich man’s game in Montana. UPOM couldn’t get its way in the legislature or the commission, and now instead of talking with those they disagree with, they filed a lawsuit.

“Elk in Montana belong to the public, not to wealthy special interests,” Servheen continued. “Generations of public hunters have stood up for science-based elk management, and the Montana Wildlife Federation is proud to stand with our partners to fight to keep elk public for public hunters.”

“PLWA values, recognizes, and appreciates the contributions private lands and landowners continue to make to ensure Montana is home to robust, viable, and huntable populations of elk and other wildlife statewide,” said Drewry Hanes, executive director of Public Land Water Access Association. “Central to this is the legal and social construct of elk and other wildlife to be held in the public trust for the benefit of all – elk are not to be owned and sold by private interests. The UPOM lawsuit challenges this very essence and what has served Montana well for more than 100 years. We believe in and uphold the principles of public participation, science-based management, equity in opportunity, and the duty to hold our elected and appointed officials responsible and accountable.”


Keep Elk Public Coalition website:

UPOM filing in Fergus County Judicial District Court

FWP Response

Motions to Intervene: Motion | Granted

Helena Hunters and Anglers Affidavit

Court again forces feds to reconsider wolverine protections, this time using science

For immediate release
May 26, 2022

Today, a federal judge invalidated a Trump administration decision denying protections to imperiled wolverines under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (original complaint here). This is the second time a court has rejected a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to deny protections for wolverines, which number only about 300 in the contiguous U.S. Today’s court order immediately reinstates wolverines’ “candidate” status as a species proposed for listing.

“We are hoping this time is the charm and the Fish and Wildlife Service will follow the courts’ directives to rely on the best available climate science to make the right call to protect wolverines in the lower 48 states,” said Matthew Bishop, an attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center. “With climate change quickly shrinking the snowy habitat wolverines rely on to survive, there is no time for politics and further delays.”

The groups in today’s court victory defeated the Service in court in 2016, forcing the agency back to the drawing board with a directive to apply the best science. Four years later, the Service returned with the same decision to deny wolverine protective status, despite no new scientific support for such a determination.

“The science and the law could not be more clear: Wolverine are deserving of the protections of the Endangered Species Act,” said Bethany Cotton, conservation director with Cascadia Wildlands. “It’s long past time for the Fish and Wildlife Service to do its job and afford this iconic climate-impacted species with the best safeguards available.”

Wolverine rely on snow year-round. With their large paws, wolverine can travel easily over snow, and often rely on deep snow for hunting and for denning and rearing of young. Snow is also a “freezer” that permits the wolverine to store and scavenge food. One study found 98% of all wolverine den sites in places with persistent late spring snowpack.

“I hope the Biden administration will now quit defending the Trump administration decision that wolverines do not deserve to be protected from extinction now that a federal district court has now ruled that it was illegal,” said Mike Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies.

“We need to work toward keeping wolverines from going extinct instead of continuing to drive them to extinction.”

“Wolverines are trapped on the merry-go-round of extinction and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service needs to put them on the path toward recovery by protecting them under the Endangered Species Act.” said Sarah McMillan, WildEarth Guardians’ senior advisor based in Missoula, Montana. “It’s profoundly disappointing that as the extinction crisis escalates, the Biden administration has chosen to defend the Trump administration, rather than this climate-imperiled species.”

“The wolverine is dependent on snow for its survival is the canary in the coal mine with regards to climate change,” said ecologist George Wuerthner. “If the wolverine can no longer survive in the lower 48 states, it indicates that we are not doing enough to halt and reverse global warming.”

The victorious organizations include WildEarth Guardians, Friends Of The Bitterroot, Friends Of The Wild Swan, Swan View Coalition, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, Alliance For The Wild Rockies, Cottonwood Environmental Law Center, George Wuerthner, Footloose Montana, Native Ecosystems Council, Wildlands Network, Helena Hunters and Anglers Association. They were represented by attorneys with the Western Environmental law Center.

Wolverines number just 250-300 individuals in the contiguous U.S. and are dependent on high elevation habitat with deep winter snows. Imperiled by climate change, habitat loss, small population size and trapping, wolverines were first petitioned for Endangered Species Act protections in 2000. The Service found the petition did not contain adequate information to justify a listing. A federal court overturned that decision in 2006. The Service then issued a negative 12-month finding in 2008, which was challenged in court resulting in a settlement that led to a new finding that wolverines should be protected under the ESA, but that other priorities precluded the listing at that time. A landmark settlement, which resolved the backlog of imperiled species awaiting protections, then guaranteed a new finding for wolverines. In February 2013, the Service proposed listing the wolverine as “threatened” under the ESA. In August 2014, however, the Service reversed course and issued a decision not to list the species, contradicting its own expert scientists’ recommendations. In April, 2016 the court overturned the Service’s decision not to list, reinstating wolverines’ status as a candidate species and requiring a new final rule. In October 2020, the Service again decided not to list. The groups in today’s victory filed their challenge in December 2020.



-Matthew Bishop, Western Environmental Law Center, 406-422-9866,
-Bethany Cotton, Cascadia Wildlands, 503-327-4923
-Mike Garrity, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, 406-459-5936,
-Sarah McMillan, WildEarth Guardians, 406-549-3895,

PRESS RELEASE: Helena Hunters Move to Defend the Forest Service’s Divide Travel Plan

For immediate release
May 24, 2022

Steve Platt 406.202.2457
Doug Powell 406.431.3554
Gayle Joslin 406.449.2795

Today, the Helena Hunters and Anglers Association (Helena Hunters) filed a motion to
intervene on behalf of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest in defense of the Divide Travel Plan. More than six years after issuance of the Divide Travel Plan, a group of motorized interests has decided to sue the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest.
The motorized groups filed a lawsuit in February, 2022 against the Forest Service’s 2016
Divide Travel Plan for the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest maintaining some of the motorized route closures along the Continental Divide were illegal. Helena Hunters is seeking to participate in that case in order to defend the plan and route designations and protect big game habitat and security along the Divide.

“I have been very fortunate to hunt elk in the Divide area for almost fifty years and want
to ensure that others have the same opportunity” said life-long resident Doug Powell.

“Lately, all types of recreation in the area have increased so much that wildlife are being displaced to private land, especially during hunting season. So, by restricting travel routes along the divide as the travel plan does, elk and other wildlife that live there won’t be displaced to areas where hunting opportunities are less.”

Recently retired Forest Supervisor Bill Avey signed the Record of Decision for the Divide Travel Plan on March 1, 2016. The intent of forest travel planning is to provide an
adequate motorized route system while minimizing potential adverse effects to forest resources.

Forest resource values and issues of particular concern to Helena Hunters include wildlife
seasonal habitat requirements, reduction of duplicative and dead-end travel routes, minimizing erosion and sedimentation that impact water quality and fisheries habitat, and maintaining quality hunting environments.

The Divide Travel Plan established 323 miles of motorized routes within the Divide
planning area that range in use from year-long to seasonal. Helena Hunters and Anglers
Association has been actively involved in the Divide travel planning process since its inception in 2000 and continuing through multiple scoping opportunities leading to a draft Environmental Impact Statement in 2014, a final EIS in 2015, and a final Record of Decision in 2016. Concerns voiced by Helena Hunters (and largely addressed by the current Travel Plan) include maintaining critical mule deer winter range, provision of fall security for big game, protecting wildlife movement corridors along the Continental Divide, and ensuring that year-long habitats within four Inventoried Roadless Areas within the planning area remain non-motorized.

“All of our members are passionate about the Divide country. How could we not be
when we live right here along the Continental Divide?” said Helena Hunters and Anglers
President, Steve Platt.

“Few agencies have more history or meaning to us than the Forest Service with its
colorful and courageous genesis out of the corporate exploitive era of the late 1890s and early 1900s” said Helena Hunters member Gayle Joslin. “The Helena National Forest was in fact, one of Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘Midnight Forests’ – one of 21 National Forests that he and his staff created out of western public lands.” Explaining that Roosevelt himself proclaimed that these wild places would be reserved “for those yet unborn in the womb of time.” She noted, “We are those unborn souls he was referring to, and we do not believe we have the right to drop the ball or retreat from the responsibility to be involved in the future of our public lands.”

Platt noted that “HHAA members have been active participants in Helena-Lewis and
Clark National Forest planning for more than 40 years, and we plan to stay engaged for at least 40 more.”

Helena Hunters and Anglers Association is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to
conserving and restoring fish and wildlife to all suitable habitats, and safeguarding all natural resources as a public trust, vital to our general welfare. HHAA promotes the highest standards of ethical conduct and sportsmanship.

In Defense of Hunting

An article by Joseph Bullington for In These Times is an excellent and relevant piece describing the importance of hunting and creating appreciation and connections within the ecosystem in order to defend and protect against habitat destruction and unsustainable consumption of natural resources.

“Most of us grow up without any relationship to the land or the other beings who live here, without any relationship to our food or the death it depends on. To hunt is to journey out of this alienation.”

Click the link to read the full article.

Welcome To Helena Hunters & Anglers Association

Just some of our Helena Hunters & Anglers Association members smiling faces.

In 2001, as a result of the Prickly Pear Sportsmen’s Association split, the more environmentally oriented members who had a hand in creating the Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust, created the Helena Hunters and Anglers Association (HHAA).

HHAA has been part of the Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s citizen advisory board since its inception.

Our HHAA Board is a group of natural resource professionals who have lived in the Helena area for all or most of our lives and are intimately familiar with the landscape surrounding central Montana’s Continental Divide.

We believe that not only are we blessed to live in The Last Best Place, but that we as citizens and sportsmen and women have an obligation to ensure that it remains that way.  To that end, we take the time to systematically evaluate proposals that would alter wildlife habitats. And when necessary, HHAA engages in due process to affect the outcome.

We are passionate about maintaining its wild future.

We welcome you to our website, which is still being constructed. Take a look around, check out the issues and linked academic papers, our work on the ground, our events with guest speakers, and if you are interested in joining us or would simply like to contribute to our work, click on the links.

If you would like to reach out to us, click on Contact Us.

Thank you for joining us, here at HHAA.