A law requiring hunters to obtain permission for ALL hunting that occurs on private land went into effect July 1. Alan Charles, FWP's Landowner/Sportsman Coordinator, reminds hunters of the change and encourages all hunters to begin securing permission from private landowners as early as possible.
Since 1965, only big game hunters have been required by law to have landowner permission, unless the private land was posted with signs or orange paint. Now, no matter whether hunters are pursuing upland game birds, coyotes, gophers, or any other wildlife, hunters must have permission from the landowner before hunting takes place on private property.
Charles said landowners can grant permission in a number of ways, including face-to-face, by telephone, in writing or by posting signs that explain the type of hunting allowed and under what conditions.
To assist hunters, FWP has developed a "Directory of Montana Maps" that describes which maps are currently available and how to obtain them. Every county in the state has some sort of landownership map available, Charles said. While some of these are outdated or available only by viewing at the county courthouse, others are current, well formatted and inexpensive.
FWP has also developed hunter/landowner "Access Courtesy Cards." These pocket-sized booklets contain perforated cards that serve as a handy means of exchanging information between hunters and landowners. Hunters can complete portions of the cards prior to approaching a landowner to seek permission, with the landowner completing the card and retaining a portion for his records. Hunters can retain the remainder of the card as proof of permission and a convenient record for sending thank-you cards after the hunting season.
Map directories and access courtesy cards are now available at all FWP regional headquarters or can be secured by writing to FWP, 1420 East Sixth Avenue, PO Box 200701, Helena MT 59620-0701, or by calling (406) 444-3798.