Another successful year for Region 7 Block Management Program

At the Miles City Block Management Appreciation Dinner, the winner of the Mule Deer Henry Golden Boy, .22 LR donated by the Baker Black Gold Chapter of the Montana Mule Deer Foundation, was Dane Castleberry.

By Marla Prell,

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

The Block Management Program, which provides public hunting access to more than two million acres of land throughout Region 7, is still going strong.

To thank the people who make that possible, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks invited more than 300 landowners and their families who participate in the program to two appreciation dinners in mid-February – one in Miles City and one in Glendive. The Miles City event drew 187 people, and 100 participated in Glendive.

The Colstrip Sportsman’s Club, a supporter of the Block Management cooperator event for more than 20 years, donated prizes for participants. For the Mule Deer Foundations, the Black Gold Chapter of Baker and the Badlands Bruisers chapter of Glendive both donated Henry Golden Boy .22 long rifles for raffles at each dinner.

Block Management by the numbers

Region 7 Hunting Access Coordinator Travis Muscha summarized for attendees how the Block Management Program has fared in recent seasons.

“It’s been a pretty stable program here for the past five years,” Muscha said. “Obviously, we’d like to see this trending upward with more cooperators and more Block Management Areas.”

For the 2018 season, there were 319 cooperators and 262 Block Management Areas. The total acreage was 2,195,247 million – 1,612,499 of those private and 582,748 state and federal acres. Region 7 is the largest Block Management Program in the state, accounting for a good chunk of the total 7.2 million enrolled acres.

The amount of acreage has dropped slightly in recent years, but Muscha was pleased to see an additional 15,300 acres in 2018.

A whole lot of hunters

Southeastern Montana played host to 43,532 hunters in 2018 just through Block Management. Of those, 27,425 were Montana residents and 16,107 were non-residents. An additional 2,000 non-residents visited last year compared to 2017.

Overall, hunters are spending more time afield in Region 7. Since 2014, hunter days have increased by almost 14,000. In 2018, 78,413 hunter days were recorded. Residents accounted for 50,184 days and non-residents spent 28,229 days.

“Hunter satisfaction is very consistent, right at or above 90 percent every year,” Muscha said.

Based on a little over 3,000 comment cards returned from hunters in 2018, 73 percent of hunters observed game and 28 percent harvested animals. Breaking it down, success rates were 34 percent for antelope, 22 percent for deer, 3 percent for elk, 29 percent for upland birds and 63 percent for waterfowl.

Landowners are even more satisfied with the access program than hunters, with 99 percent voicing their approval. Ninety-five percent are satisfied in their experience with hunters. Ninety-one percent intend to participate in the upcoming season, while 9 percent have not decided.

      



One thought on “Another successful year for Region 7 Block Management Program

  1. As a non resident hunter from Washington State I sure would like to thank all landowners who participated in the block management program. Because of your generosity I have had some of the most memorable hunts of my lifetime and the privilege of meeting some of nicest down to earth folks . I look forward to coming back to S.E Montana each year
    Thank you so much Gary Simpson

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