Glasgow Courier: County Joins Bison Lawsuit

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The Valley County commissioners voted 2-1 Tuesday to join other plaintiffs in a lawsuit aimed at halting  Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ transfer of quarantined Yellowstone Park bison to the Fort Peck and Fort Belknap reservations.

The lawsuit alleges that FWP violated Montana law by enacting a bison translocation plan without a having a management plan and without adequate analysis of the impacts upon the human environment. SB 212, passed by the legislature in 2011, establishes multiple requirements for FWP in the management of bison that the lawsuit alleges are not being observed.

There are 15 plaintiffs, including Jason and Sierra Stoneberg Holt and Rose Stoneberg, who ranch on Timber Creek south of Hinsdale. Also listed are people representing Citizens for Balanced Use, United Property Owners of Montana and Missouri River Stewards, plus some ranchers in Blaine County. The defendants are FWP director Joseph Maurier, Montana FWP and the FWP Commission.

Helena IR: Bill takes aim at elk archery season again

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For the third time since restrictions on archery elk permits were enacted in northeastern Montana in 2008, a bill has been introduced in the Legislature to try to reverse the controversial action of the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission.

The sponsor of Senate Bill 151, Sen. Jim Peterson, R-Buffalo, told the Senate Fish and Game Committee during a hearing on Tuesday that he sees the legislation as a way to move landowner, sportsmen and outfitter relations forward on a “very sticky issue.”

Peterson and other supporters of the bill — which included farm and ranch groups, outfitters and guides and the Chamber of Commerce — also cited the bill as a way to increase revenue for communities in rural areas, boost hunter opportunity and reduce elk populations where they are above FWP’s management objectives.

Western Ag Reporter Letter to the Editor: One Good Man!

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Photo credit: Terry Shuck, CC

A good man who will stand up against the crowd for what he believes in is rare; one who can do it with grace and humility, even rarer.

A few years back Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks started pushing the boundaries on private property rights in Central Montana, and one such man came forward.  His name was Don Proue, and he was instrumental in founding United Property Owners of Montana, Inc.; the leading advocacy group working solely for property rights in Montana today.  Don’s wisdom and calm demeanor were good compliments to the youth and fire of Toby Dahl, and a examples to aspire to for Mark and Deanna Robbins.  Together, these ranchers took the reins of forming an organization dedicated only to preserving property rights; as they understood that the very essence of our freedom to use and enjoy our land depends upon those rights and those rights alone.   Don’s unquestionable integrity was always the barometer for making sure that what we were doing was not only just, but right.  He has never failed us.

Hunting land: FWP too demanding

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Landowners in central and eastern Montana received a letter from Fish, Wildlife and Parks last week that essentially threatened them with extortion.

Since 2008, FWP has restricted hunting opportunity in these specific areas, with a goal of coercing more access to private land for hunting. FWP mistakenly assumed that a landowner would bargain away private property rights for the price of an elk permit. Instead, the limit has been directly responsible for millions of dollars in lost tourism revenue to the surrounding communities, as well as less access to private land for public hunting.

Missoulian: Property rights, conservation groups join Montana stream access lawsuit

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Photo credit: Spring Creek by  photogramma1, CC

Conservative property rights groups and conservation organizations have become involved in the bitter, eight-year legal fight over access to Montana streams from bridges.

Two conservative groups – the United Property Owners of Montana and the Political Economy Research Center – have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the case between a sportsmen’s group and Madison County. In addition, Montana Trout Unlimited has entered the fray on the other side to support the Public Lands Access Association in the case.