Private landowners in Montana now have another option when considering how to integrate hunting into their land management operations and stewardship strategies.
The Montana Hunter Advancement Program promotes safe, ethical, and responsible hunting through its focused “Master Hunter” certification program, offered in partnership with forward-thinking private landowners across the state. This landowner-driven program matches certificated hunters who complete the course with private landowners who seek competent hunters who share the values that are core to program.
Though the major goal of the program, to educate and train a group of thoughtful, skilled hunters who are dedicated to their craft, is directed towards hunters, the program provides a huge benefit to landowners as well. Beyond providing landowners with a vetted pool of well-trained hunters to draw from when considering who to allow on their property, the program minimizes the "hassle factor" of dealing with hunter inquiries on a daily basis and provides landowners the opportunity to more specifically communicate with hunters, have more control over the process, mitigate the risks associated with allowing hunters on the farm or ranch, and better manage their land for specific wildlife and ecological outcomes through hunting. In addition, the curriculum helps raise the general level of consciousness around working lands. Finally, the program implements an online reservation program, which allows landowners to determine which days they choose to allow hunting, as well the species which may be hunted, sex of species which may be harvested, specific ranch rules related to weeds, driving, walk in areas, etc., to help landowners manage hunters on their properties.
The program was developed by a working group called Common Ground, which is a partnership of One Montana, Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Grain Growers, Montana Wildlife Federation, Montana Bowhunters Association, Montana Sportsmen’s Alliance, Montana’s Outdoor Legacy Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Western Landowners Alliance, and several individual outfitters and ranchers.