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Why Elk Hunters Need PLWA

They need public land access more than anyone


What game animal is the “top if the mind” symbol of Montana? Elk – without a doubt! The grizzly bear is our state animal, but the elk should be. (No one ever sees a grizzly bear.) FWP believes there are something like 150,000 elk in the state. 125,000 elk licenses are sold. (17,000 go to non residents.) Pickups have elk decals all over them or rocky Mountain Elk Foundation license plates. Elk heads hang in most small town bars and I’ll bet we have the highest per capita incidence of elk heads on home walls of any state in the union. Real men are elk hunters. Both in and out of state hunters generate quarts of testosterone just thinking of a Montana elk hunt. In the fall the question “did’ja get your elk yet” hangs in the air. Families depend on elk for winter subsistence. Sales of monster 4x4 pickups and magnum rifles treble before elk season. The debate on wolves largely turns on their effect on elk populations. You get the drift.

OK, so you decide to hunt elk. You’ve put in for all the drawings , got the truck, the gun , the Gore-Tex suit, the camp stuff, the wad of permits and licenses for you and the boy, but now what ? Where do you go? The rancher down the road has some, but he is probably saving that for his friends or clients of his “outfitter”- or he may be a “rolex rancher” who just likes to look at the elk. So you go where most of the elk live – in the national forest or on BLM land. (It is estimated that 80% reside on public land all or part of the year.) You get up at 2 am and drive 200 miles to the spot you what are you likely to find? Increasingly, a gate padlock or big sign on your old favorite road that says “no trespassing or hunting”.

So now you have some choices:

1/ Saw off the lock or disregard the sign and proceed with your hunt. (Maybe not to good an idea to saw off the lock and most folks are stopped by signs – even illegal signs.)

2/ Go to the nearest bar, get loaded and then go home and sulk the rest of hunting season and all winter – includes futile bitching and commiserating with your buddies who had the same experience. (May upset your marriage and neither will do much good in the long run. )

3/ Start investigation and legal action on your own. Not a real bad idea but only if you have the time and expertise to see it to the end. (May require quitting your job to find the time.)

4/ Join other Montana hunters and outdoor advocates in the relentless pursuit of access to public land, water and ELK by joining and contributing generously to the Public Land / Water Access Association. We are the only private Montana non-profit organization devoted exclusively to the cause and the only one to take direct legal action to stop illegal closures.


related articles

Ruby River Stream Access Victory
( 07/01/2016 )   7/1/2016PLWA, once again, has been victorious in the battle for the public's stream access on the Ruby River, from the Seyler Lane Bridge, likely the original stagecoach route from Salt Lake City, north to Virginia City and Helena.It has been over a decade that PLWA (formerly known as PLAAI) has been involved in a lawsuit over public access to the Ruby River from Seyler Lane and the Seyler Bridge, a public prescriptive easement right-of-way in Madison County.

"Dark Money" Brought to Light
( 07/01/2016 )   The June-July, Newscasts section of Fly Fisherman reported on the recent investigation by Montana's Commissioner of Political Practices, Jonathan Motl, into a dark money campaign that could overturn Montana's Stream Access.Fly Fisherman recounted the Montana Growth Network's campaign contributions to District Judge Laurie McKinnon's run for our Montana Supreme Court.

public land issues

Seyler Lane Update
9/24/2015Seyler Bridge Easement - More Than Just RecreationUpdate - Kennedys attorney requested a postponement of the September 21 hearing.

Tenderfoot - Four Years and Counting
9/24/2015Tenderfoot Creek is a tributary of the Smith River, joining the Smith a mile or so north of Camp Baker.

    18 more public land issues

Public Land/Water Access Association Inc. or PLWA, is a citizen group organized and operated under the Montana nonprofit corporation act.

Articles and Information on this site represent the opinion of the writer and are not intended as legal advice. Legal counsel may be needed in dealing with specific access situations and issues.
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