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Block Management Program information available

Hunters will be able to obtain 2018 Block Management Area information from the Block Management page of the FWP website and in FWP regional offices beginning at 8 a.m. on Aug. 10.

Guides also will be shipped this week to those who have already ordered one.

In prior years, the Hunting Access Guide and BMA maps were not available until Aug. 15. However, FWP was able to move up the date up this year as a few BMA properties are open on Aug. 15.

“Hunters must look at the information in the 2018 Block Management Hunting Access Guide to determine when public hunting will be allowed on a specific BMA,” said Jason Kool, FWP Access Bureau Chief.

The earlier date also gives hunters more time to review the guide before making a BMA reservation, which they can do starting on Aug. 22 for areas that accept reservations, according to Kool.

The 2018 BMA Hunting Access Guide is a compilation of all enrolled BMA properties, but hunters must also secure an individual BMA property map and the associated rules prior to hunting. Each region has its own policy regarding distribution of individual BMA maps and distribution information can be found in each of the regional sections of the 2018 Hunting Access Guide.

“The easiest way to obtain all of the individual BMA property maps is to obtain them from the FWP website,” Kool said.

Most of these maps feature georeferenced capabilities, and by using a geospatial PDF viewer on a smartphone or tablet, hunters can view their position in the field relative to features in the map, such as roads, without cell coverage.

“Since cell and internet coverage are often unavailable in the field, it is recommended individual BMA maps be downloaded or printed at home before heading out,” Kool said

FWP urges Montana hunters to extend their thanks to all partners who collaborate on access opportunities that benefit wildlife and hunters. The Block Management program, through partnerships formed with private landowners, government agencies and conservation organizations will provide nearly 7.3 million acres of hunting access on over 865 BMAs for the 2018 hunting season.

Game bird projects guide available

Hunters and their gun dogs have less than a month before the upland game bird season begins, so it’s a good time to dig into this season’s hunting access guide.

To get started, hunters can refer to the Projects Access Guide, published annually by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program. The guide includes project maps that depict boundaries of private lands enrolled in the UGBEP. Once hunters have obtained the landowner’s permission to hunt, the maps with access boundaries can be an invaluable tool for hunters to locate UGBEP project areas.

The UGBEP Projects Access Guide also contains information on habitat enhancement work done on public lands, Open Fields, habitat management leases, pheasant release sites and the method used to obtain permission in order to hunt upland game birds.

Project maps have been created with “georeferenced capabilities,” a fancy way of saying hunters can download the maps from the FWP website to most smartphones and tablets. Once loaded on a device, georeferenced maps can allow hunters to dynamically view their position on the map relative to important features such as roads and access boundaries.

Beginning Aug. 15, hunters can find the new guide and the maps online at fwp.mt.gov. Click UGBEP Projects Access Guide.

Printed access guides will be available at FWP headquarters and regional offices late August. Hunters can also request a copy of the access guide via FWP’s website. FWP will begin mailing guides to hunters the week of Aug. 20.

FWP urges Montana hunters to extend their thanks to all partners who collaborate on habitat conservation and access opportunities that benefit wildlife and hunters. These programs, through partnerships formed with private landowners, government agencies and conservation organizations provide nearly 355,000 acres of enhanced upland game bird habitat while providing nearly 645,000 acres of access to upland game bird hunters.

For more information, contact Debbie Hohler at 406-444-5674, or by e-mail to dhohler@mt.gov.

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