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Private Land/Public Wildlife (PL/PW) Council
Landscape photo of bottom-land, hills, mountain range.

Next PL/PW Council Meeting


  • October 2, 2014*

During the 1993 legislative session, numerous bills related to private land and public wildlife were introduced, many of them in opposition to each other, and all of them failed. In response, the legislature passed House Joint Resolution 24, which called on then-Governor Marc Racicot to appoint a council of citizens representing the interests of hunters, landowners, and outfitters, charged with developing solutions to some of the issues raised during the 1993 session.

That first Private Land/Public Wildlife Council defined the following common goals:

  1. Achieving optimum hunter access
  2. Protecting wildlife habitat
  3. Minimizing impacts on and inconvenience to landowners
  4. Encouraging the continuance of a viable hunting outfitting industry
  5. Providing additional tangible benefits to landowners who allow hunter access

Council recommendations resulted in legislation (House Bill 195) introduced to the 1995 legislature, which passed with near-unanimous support, prompting then-Governor Racicot to refer to it as a minor miracle. HB195 created the Hunting Access Enhancement Program (significantly enhancing the existing Block Management Program), providing a wide range of incentives to landowners who allow public hunting and providing a stabilized source of licenses for the clients of hunting outfitters, with revenue from those licenses earmarked for the enhanced hunting access program.

HB195 included a sunset provision, providing a 6-year temporary authority for the new program and new outfitter-sponsored license, with a provision that required a review committee to be appointed by the Governor to report annually on the progress of the program.

Since that time, new PL/PW Councils have been appointed at periodic intervals, and the sunset provisions for the program and related elements have been extended to March 1, 2006. PL/PW Council recommendations have resulted in various bills being introduced in past legislative sessions, some of which have passed and others which have failed. Two new sources of funding for the Hunting Access Enhancement Program have been implemented as a result of past PL/PW Council Recommendations, including $55 of each nonresident upland bird license, and a Hunting Access Enhancement Fee, created in 2001, currently set at $2 for residents and $10 for nonresidents.

Governor Steve Bullock and Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks (FWP) are reviewing applications from people seeking appointment to the Private Land/Public Wildlife (PL/PW) Council. It is expected a new Council will be appointed in late August 2013.

The Council will conduct a comprehensive review of hunter access programs, including Block Management, assessing everything from the program’s funding and effectiveness, to landowner incentives, and how the programs can be more responsive to hunters’ needs.

Membership

Under 87-1-269 MCA, the Governor is required to appoint a committee of persons interested in issues related to hunters, anglers, landowners, and outfitters, with a focus on evaluating and reporting back to the Governor and legislature regarding existing hunting and fishing access enhancement programs and other issues related to private lands and public wildlife.

The PL/PW Council develops recommendations using a consensus-based decision process, requiring members who are committed to working towards broad-based solutions that consider the perspectives of all affected interest groups.

Council Charge

MCA 87-1-269 contains the entire charge as it relates to Report required - review committee. To summarize that charge, the Governor is required to appoint a committee of persons interested in issues related to hunters, anglers, landowners, and outfitters, with a focus on evaluating and reporting back to the Governor and legislature regarding existing hunting and fishing access enhancement programs and other issues related to private lands and public wildlife.

Council Process

The PL/PW Council typically meets four to 6 times annually at various locations around the state. Council recommendations are developed through a consensus process, with public input solicited during the process of developing final recommendations. Annual reports are typically issued in a December February timeframe. Meetings are open to the public, with public participation either scheduled for specific times during the meeting or accommodated through open-house sessions held outside formal meeting times. Fish, Wildlife, & Parks provides staff assistance to the Council. Current FWP staff liaison to the PL/PW Council is Alan Charles, Coordinator, Landowner/Sportsman Relations.

Draft Recommendations

Public Comment Opportunity

Public comments on the DRAFT Recommendations were accepted through Friday, September 12.

Council Meeting Schedule

*The next meeting date will be October 2, 2014, contingent upon Council members' review of public comments and determination as to whether or not a formal meeting is required to finalize recommendations. Final decision to be annunced no later than Wednesday, September 24, 2014.

Application Deadline

Application forms, accompanied by a resume (or equivalent short written summary of work, education, and/or public service experience), must be received by August 4, 2013.

Application Form

Send completed form and resume (or equivalent short summary referenced above) to:

  • Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks – Wildlife Division
  • Attn: Private Land/Public Wildlife Council
  • P.O. Box 20070
  • Helena, MT 59620-0701
  • plpw@mt.gov
  • Fax: (406) 444-4952

Council Charge

M87-1-269 MCA contains the entire charge as it relates to Report required review committee. To summarize the contents of that statute, the Governor is required to appoint a committee of persons interested in issues related to hunters, anglers, landowners, and outfitters, with a focus on evaluating and reporting back to the Governor and legislature regarding existing hunting and fishing access enhancement programs and other issues related to private lands and public wildlife. Since there are specific sunset provisions attached to these existing programs which must be addressed in the 2005 legislative session, Governor Martz specifically charged the current PL/PW Council with reviewing those programs and the attached sunset provisions and developing any necessary recommendations which the Council may deem appropriate.

Council Process

The PL/PW Council typically meets four to six times annually at various locations around the state. Council recommendations are developed through a consensus process, with public input solicited during the process of developing final recommendations. Annual reports are typically issued in a December February timeframe. Meetings are open to the public, with public participation either scheduled for specific times during the meeting or accommodated through open-house sessions held outside formal meeting times. Fish, Wildlife, & Parks provides staff assistance to the Council. Current FWP staff liaison to the PL/PW Council is Alan Charles, Coordinator, Landowner/Sportsman Relations.

Contact Us

  • Alan Charles - Coordinator, Landowner/Sportsman Relations

  • Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
  • P.O. Box 200701
  • Helena, MT 59620-0701 or
  • (406) 444-3798
  • e-mail