Recently there has been an onslaught of misleading information brought forth by the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and their sister organization, Big Game Forever. The Montana chapter of this Utah-based organization seems to be taking marching orders from Utah. They are here in Montana, endorsing and supporting legislative candidates to carry their radical positions.

First, a little history. We have a wolf season in Montana due to the Simpson-Tester rider that was approved by Congress last year. Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife tried to kill that legislation in Washington, D.C. It went so far as to issue a news release blatantly misrepresenting that the National Rifle Association, Safari Club International and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation also opposed the Simpson-Tester rider, when in fact NRA, et al., supported the Simpson-Tester rider. About as low down and underhanded as it gets, but no surprise from the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife.

Subsequent to the group lying about the NRA position, the NRA issued a news release that gives the best advice you can find related to anything presented by the sportsman group. I quote from that release: “Congressional offices and members of the media should exercise caution in accepting as fact, or repeating, any claims made by Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, Big Game Forever or any person claiming to represent them. Due to the blatant misrepresentation contained in the press release circulated by these two groups, any claims they make in the future should be thoroughly investigated and independently confirmed.“ The complete press release can be viewed at www.montanasportsmenalliance.com. I encourage all voters to follow the advice of the NRA and not accept anything from the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife as fact.

On the Montana Sportsmen Alliance website listed above is an article from the Anchorage Daily News regarding the founder of the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife’s Alaska and Alaska Wildlife Division Director Corey Rossi. Rossi got his job via this organization’s political connection, then resigned in haste this January, in the face of 12 illegal hunting and outfitting violations. The article also discusses Rossi’s plan to give “landowners special hunting permits to use or sell, perhaps with special authorizations such as the ability to hunt outside normal hunting seasons on their land.” Further evidence of the damage this group has been inflicting on the western states.

Don Peay, founder, is quoted in that same article saying, “it’s time to revisit the widely accepted principle in the United States and Canada that game is a public resource” and further described “that egalitarian doctrine, found in Alaska’s state constitution and laws throughout the West, as ‘socialism’.” Make no mistake how Peay and the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife feel about public wildlife and public hunting – not the way most in Montana feel about it.

This organization is making a concerted effort to make inroads into Montana using the wolf as their rallying cry. The group has advocated wolf management positions that could result in wolf RELISTING. The wolf is the group’s “cash cow,” helping fund their efforts to privatize wildlife for the benefit of the few. All to the detriment of the average Montana hunter.

Please talk to your candidates and ask about their involvement with the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife. Ask them if they share the same radical views. If so, take the advice given by the NRA “exercise caution in accepting as fact, or repeating, any claims made by Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife.”

Vito Quatraro of Bozeman is a co-founder of Montana Sportsmen Alliance and current president of Headwaters Sportsmen Association.

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