Bozeman elk symposium seeks management solutions

Brett French

In an attempt to find solutions to the controversial issue of elk management in Montana, a new group is holding a symposium on Saturday in Bozeman.

“The biggest thing we’re hoping for is a robust conversation,” said Marcia Brownlee, a member of the leadership committee of the Montana Citizens Elk Management Coalition, which is sponsoring the gathering.

Over the past year, talks have become heated at Fish and Wildlife Commission meetings, despite the fact that landowners, hunters and outfitters share a lot of common ground, she added. Then in May, United Property Owners of Montana filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn hunting regulations and require the state’s wildlife agency to reduce elk populations.

The coalition is hosting the free forum at the Rialto Theater and has invited a variety of speakers, from landowners and biologists to outfitters and state legislators. Online registration is required to attend, although the program will also be livestreamed. More information can be found at montanaelk.org/elk-management-symposium.

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The coalition was formed last year out of concern over the direction of the Republican-dominated Montana Legislature.

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