How could Initiative 161 have passed with such a large margin of votes when it was not openly endorsed by a single candidate from either party or any major newspaper in the state, and opposed by most statewide and national organizations claiming to represent sportsmen? Can you say disconnect? Of all the statewide and national outdoor organizations, only the Montana Wildlife Federation supported I-161. Maybe hunters should remember this the next time they are asked to contribute. Who is really on our side?
The fact is, Montana hunters looking for a place to hunt know what they see when they go afield. It's more orange paint every year along with more roads closed and sometimes verbal harassment. They can see that the more money profiteers make from selling public deer and elk, the more difficult it is for the average hunter to find a suitable place to hunt.
Initiative 161 takes some of the profit out of the game. No longer will a hunt club formed back east be able to find an outfitter who will act as broker and guarantee a license for those club members who wish to hunt the following season. No longer will the Flying X be able to guarantee licenses to those non-residents willing to pay $14,000 for a bull elk. All non-residents will have the same chance to win a license in the random draw.
Politicians had better not try to change what has been accomplished by I-161. We are watching.