BOZEMAN — Reports last fall of unethical conduct by hunters and landowners has resulted in a campaign to promote hunter ethics.
The campaign is being spearheaded by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 3 Citizen’s Advisory Committee.
“We just all kind of decided we wanted to do something about it,” said Mike England, one of the group’s members.
The goal is to encourage more ethical behavior and reduce conflict between hunters, outfitters and landowners.
The campaign will include a 30-second public service announcement on local television stations and additional radio, print, billboard and online advertising.
They’ve launched a website, http://www.huntrightmt.org , and a Facebook page. The group is hoping to get donations from individuals as well as sponsorships from local businesses.
England said they’ll have bumper stickers printed and will have brochures and a robust social media presence.
“Come September or October, you’re going to see ‘Hunt Right’ everywhere,” England told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
The group has about $10,000 to spend. FWP contributed $5,000 in seed money. The rest has come from grants and donations.
England said the group hopes to raise $30,000.
Last hunting season saw a great deal of conflict and unethical hunting activity that was highly publicized.
One of those instances happened on Thanksgiving morning, when a group of hunters used their cars to herd elk to an area where they could legally fill their tags.
That incident was similar to one that happened about a month earlier when hunters shot at an estimated herd of 500 elk that moved between public and private land.
That day, hunters used cellphones to tell their friends to come shoot the elk. There were also reports of hunters shooting from their cars and shooting into giant herds of elk.
These incidents soon devolved into a display of finger pointing.
Outfitters and landowners accused hunters of chasing elk to where they wanted them to go. Hunters claimed some landowners and outfitters were trying to keep elk from going on to public land.
England said the situation was very complex, and for that reason, the campaign isn’t aimed at any specific group.
“We decided that everybody needs to know what the right thing is,” England said.