The Montana Master Hunter Program will develop a network of highly skilled, ethical, safe hunters that will serve as an example to others and help establish positive relationships with private landowners. RMEF is proud to support this innovative program.
-Blake Henning, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation chief conservation officer.
Below is a news release from Montana Master Hunter, a program sponsored in part by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
One Montana’s Master Hunter Program is accepting applications October 1, 2020 – November 30, 2020 for our 2021 classes.
Since 2018, the Master Hunter Program has been offering sportsmen the opportunity to further their depth and understanding of various hunting topics. The Master Hunter program is an advanced hunter education program for hunters who understand that hunting is a lifelong skill and want to continue to add to their knowledge and skills.
One of the primary goals of the program is to build trust and working relationships between landowners and sportsmen and women. The program provides hunters the opportunity to learn from landowners about the challenges they face on a daily basis and specifically how wildlife impacts them. Secondly, the program seeks to help landowners and the state with their wildlife management goals. By working with landowners, Master Hunters also help to change false perceptions about both hunting and agriculture, and ultimately work to increase access opportunities for future generations.
Graduates of the program belong to a network of other ethical and effective hunters who hunt together, keep each other informed, and are knowledgeable voices on issues affecting sportsmen across MT. Many of our graduates are mentors for youth and new hunters.
In the words of one graduate, “I am eternally grateful for the opportunity this course has given me. The information packed into the short period of time we have is so valuable. The presentations have been interesting, thought provoking and helped me improve my mindset and skills…. That’s why it is so important to me to portray the Master Hunter title in a way that shows landowners my respect and gratitude.”
The program includes classroom and online instruction, and fieldwork. The course covers wildlife management, history of conservation, hunting culture and ethics, private land stewardship, shooting accuracy and precision, lead-free ammunition, and hunting skills to name a few. Our instructors have a wide diversity of knowledge and perspectives and include ranchers, farmers, university faculty, professional shooting instructors, wildlife managers, and wildlife biologists, and MT Fish Wildlife and Parks personnel, among others.
To date, 165 hunters have successfully completed our course, and we’ve opened more than 200,000 acres to hunting access. This growing network of other like-minded hunters stretches from Whitefish to Miles City. Fellow graduates are eager to share experiences and knowledge to help each other be more successful in the field.
Locations for classes in 2021 will be offered in Bozeman (February), Great Falls (March), Kalispell (April), and Miles City (May). Each class will consist of three 2-Day weekends, except Miles City will have a two 3-Day weekend format. A weekend rendezvous in June is also required for qualifications, field exercises, and the final exam.
Applications will be accepted beginning October 1, 2020 through November 30, 2020 with selection being announced by the end of the year. The program cost is $375, due by February 1, 2021. A limited number of scholarships are available through a separate application process.
The program is led by One Montana (1MT), a nonprofit located in Bozeman, MT that works to sustain a vibrant Montana by connecting our urban and rural communities. 1MT implements creative programs that maintain agriculture and working lands, support private land stewardship, and preserve our cultural heritage.
The program is supported financially by private foundations, nonprofit organizations, trade associations and industry partners such as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Grain Growers Association, Montana’s Outdoor Legacy Foundation, Montana Wild Sheep Foundation, Mystery Ranch, Sitka Gear, and others.
Go here to learn more about the program.
(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)