Our Impact: Hunting

HHAA engages regularly in the biennial hunting season setting process, encouraging season types that: 

  • Promote equity in hunting opportunity, 
  • Accommodate life-cycle needs of hunted species,
  • Encourage hunter participation in setting responsible hunting seasons by providing hunt-specific information to MFWP through data-driven hunter reporting,
  • Support the North American Model of Fish and Wildlife Conservation:
  • Seven Tenets of the North American Model:
    • Wildlife as Public Trust Resources
    • Elimination of Markets for Game
    • Allocation of Wildlife by Law
    • Wildlife Should Only be Killed for a Legitimate Purpose
    • Wildlife Are Considered an International Resource
    • Science is the Proper Tool for Discharge of Wildlife Policy
    • Democracy of Hunting

The Wildlife Society: North American Model of Wildlife Conservation

In Defense of Hunting

In Defense of Hunting by Joseph Bullington, published in, 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.”

Hunting Seasons

Montana’s biennial hunting seasons define how, when, where, and specific sex and age class of animals that may be harvested by hunters.   HHAA weighs in on many proposals issued by the MFWP Commission.  The basis for hunting in North America, is the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.

Considerable comment foreshadowed release of the 2023 Montana Elk Plan. 

In November, 2023 MFWP released the 2023 Montana Statewide Elk Management Plan

See MFWP for Hunting information.

Shoulder Seasons

Elk Shoulder Seasons were created in 2015 to reduce elk numbers on private lands where elk numbers were over Elk Plan objective. Such seasons were to be managed based on criteria that participating landowners would adhere to. HHAA has consistently commented that ethical hunting cannot be accomplished over a six month period, particularly when the season runs into late stages of elk pregnancy.

Elk Shoulder Seasons are a controversial topic.  Over the past several years, HHAA has consistently commented on this “experiment” that was to have taken three years.  See attached commentary detailing HHAA position.

Mandatory Reporting

HHAA feels strongly that data from mandatory hunter reporting can enhance our ability to manage Montana’s wildlife populations in a changing environment and time.  More comprehensive hunter and harvest data will help us to better understand hunter numbers, harvest rates and timing, means of hunting, and game population age structures and sex ratios.  Better data can also help us to depoliticize discussions between MFWP, hunters, landowners, land managers, outfitters, and other special interest groups.