Rehberg plan threatens Montana’s big game hunting

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation among numerous groups opposing anti-hunting bill

BILLINGS, Mont. – If Congressman Dennis Rehberg had his way, hunting in Montana would change forever.

Rehberg is pushing the unpopular H.R. 1581, a plan to open up 6.4 million acres of Montana’s best big game backcountry to road-building and development.

Dozens of Montana hunting and fishing organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, are outraged over Rehberg’s plan to threaten big game and Montana’s outdoor heritage.

“Rehberg’s bill is great for the rich guys who pay to hunt elk on private lands, for those corporations with deep pockets who find public land conservation in the way of the last dollar and for commercial elk-hunting interests on private land,” wrote Greg Munther, the Chairman of the Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. [Great Falls Tribune, 10/3/2011]

Rehberg’s plan “would jeopardize hunting and fishing by prioritizing industry’s interests over sound land management, the needs of fish and wildlife, and the interests of hunters and anglers,” wrote Joel Webster the director of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Center for Western Lands Missoula [Great Falls Tribune, 11/21/2011]

Montana farmer Jon Tester fiercely opposed H.R. 1581, calling it an “attack on the places where we find and hunt our biggest game,” and said Rehberg’s plan lets “Washington politicians decide what they think is best for our public lands.”

“Lobbyist Dennis Rehberg, who turned his former ranch into a subdivision, may not mind building roads across Montana’s best elk backcountry, but real Montanans do,” said Montanans for Tester spokeswoman Alexandra Fetissoff.  “It’s time for Montanans to end Dennis Rehberg’s tenure in Washington and his irresponsible efforts to change Montana’s hunting heritage forever.”

In 2005, Rehberg introduced another self-serving plan to develop public lands. Rehberg also sponsored and voted for a controversial plan to give the federal government unprecedented control over Montana’s best hunting and fishing areas.