Our point of view

Jeff HagenerStill going strong after 45 years

The magazine you hold in your hands celebrates its 45th anniversary this year. In an era of increasingly electronic media, when many print magazines have gone out of business, Montana Outdoors is not only a survivor but is now more popular and successful than any time in its history.

This department launched Montana Outdoors in 1970 as a way of telling the public about the state’s fish and wildlife conservation issues, management, research, and recreation. Montana fish and wildlife
populations and habitats are too vast and diverse for FWP to manage on its own. Only with the cooperation of hunters, wildlife watchers, anglers, landowners, and others can we conserve habitat, reduce depredation, enforce game laws, recover endangered species, and otherwise fulfill our mission as stewards of this state’s remarkable fish and wildlife populations. But only if Montanans know the challenges facing fish and wildlife—and the concerns of people whose lives those resources affect—can all of us be partners in this important
conservation work.

That’s where Montana Outdoors comes in.

Over the past 45 years the magazine has covered every major conservation issue in Montana: In the 1970s these included strip mining coal, efforts to dam the Yellowstone River, stream protection legislation, and growing subdivision development. In the 1980s Montana Outdoors reported on wild trout management, stream access, endangered species conservation, steel shot, and Block Management. In the ’90s the issues included whirling disease, game farm hunting, Indian treaties, and the conflict between private land rights and public wildlife rights.

Cover timeline

During the past 15 years, the magazine has covered coal-bed methane development, Yellowstone bison, wolf and grizzly restoration, diversion dams, brucellosis and other diseases, trapping, wildlife migrations, pallid sturgeon and cutthroat trout restoration, endangered species recovery, acid mine drainage, hunting access, climate change, and hunter-landowner relations, to name several topical subjects.

And those are just the issues. Montana Outdoors also brings readers updates on wildlife research, like our elk study in the Bitterroots, and articles on habitat conservation and population monitoring. The magazine also prints entertaining and informative profiles of people, rivers, lakes, fish, and wildlife, as well as game recipes, outdoor recreation tips, and the popular annual photo issue.

Readers like what they see. Paid circulation continues to stay strong and is currently higher than ever.

Montana Outdoors has also been named by the Association for Conservation Information as the nation’s number one or number two state conservation magazine in 8 of the past 11 years.
In our fast-changing world, it’s reassuring to still be able to count on a few things. Each June salmonflies will hatch on the Big Hole. In September the mountains will echo with the sound of bugling elk. And every eight weeks, the latest issue of Montana Outdoors will arrive in your mailbox, bringing you and your family the latest information about Montana’s fish and wildlife management and recreation. That’s been happening for 45 years, and I’m hoping it continues for another 45. Bear bullet

Jeff Hagener is Director of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks