Montana moves forward with changes to elk management

Montana moves forward with changes to elk management

Photo credit: Dreamstime

Last week the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved changes to the state’s elk management strategy following recommendations made by the Elk Management Plan Initial Guidance Citizen’s Group (EMPIGCG). The six changes, which are more like “guiding principles,” will help Montana develop new guidelines for managing elk, the Billings Gazette reports. 

“We felt we need to maintain hunting as the primary tool for elk population management, that does not mean it has to be done exactly as it is done now,” said Ed Fryer, who is a member of the 14-person EMPIGCG. “We think there are some other scenarios that could be developed over time.”

According to the Billings Gazette, the strategic principles can be summarized as the following:

  • Maximize collaborative opportunities for stakeholders to be involved in the decision-making process both in transparently formulating and implementing the Elk Management Plan.
  • Maximize the integration of the best available peer-reviewed scientific data into the elk management decision-making processes.
  • Maximize coordination between predator and elk management plans.
  • Maintain public trust management of elk.
  • Maintain FWP’s primary role in the management of elk.
  • Ensure regular review and update of management and population objectives.

The full plan can be found HERE.

“[T]he principles are foundational to what the group would like to see accomplished,” said group member Marcus Strange. And, according to Lindsey Parsons, who has been hired to by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to write the new elk management plan, “The next step is to use the principles to construct broad concepts” and update the state’s plan, which was adopted in 2005. 

This means that, potentially, the commission could change seasons and dates and set new population objectives based upon current science and data. Public feedback will also be part of the process and could “determine how long before the new plan is finished,” said Parsons.

Stay tuned to goHUNT for further updates.

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