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I'd like to comment on the Jan. 5 guest editorial by Jim Posewitz where the author describes the long, hard struggle to bring public wildlife back from the brink of extinction.

My concern is that about the same time some boys from Texas announced the purchase of a very large ranch in central Montana and stated that one of their objectives was "wildlife management."

Hold on. This is Montana, not Texas. We have an agency called the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks that manages wildlife. Sportsmen fund this agency and we expect certain results. These include managing wildlife as a public trust resource while subscribing to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.

The model includes the requirement that allocation of hunting opportunities for game species be made by law and be democratic in nature. If you combine this with the limit of 10 percent of opportunities Montana residents have agreed to share with nonresidents, you have reached the first point where landowners can begin to assert their control over who harvests wildlife.

Landowners determine who may access their private land as well as how that land will be managed. But their management does not include wildlife. The Montana Supreme Court states that the presence of public wildlife upon the land implies no claim of ownership and is a condition of acquisition or something the buyer should have recognized at the time the land was purchased.

I hope the land buyers know this.

John Gibson

Billings

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