MISSOULA, MONT. – The Western Montana Fish and Game Association (WMFGA) celebrates its 100th year this year and urges all hunters to consider and celebrate Montana’s Hunting Heritage Week, beginning September 19th.
A state law enacted in 1991 sets aside the third week of September as Montana’s official week to celebrate our cherished heritage of hunting.
1-1-226. Official observance of Montana’s hunting heritage. The week beginning the third Monday in September is an official week of observance in Montana to commemorate this state’s valued heritage of hunting game animals. During this week, all Montanans are urged to:
(1) reflect on hunting as an expression of our culture and heritage;
(2) acknowledge that it is our community of sportsmen, sportswomen, and hunters who have made the greatest contributions to the establishment of current game animal populations; and
(3) celebrate this culture and heritage in all lawful ways.
The WMFGA was founded in 1911 to foster huntable populations of big game animals sufficient to allow hunting and harvest by Montana residents. This included imposing bag limits, hunting seasons and state-level game management. Prior to those efforts, large game animal populations had been consumed by commercial meat hunters supplying railroad, timber and mining camps.
In celebration of its centennial year, the WMFGA will hold a Centennial Ball on November 11th at the University Center, open to the public but with limited tickets available. The Centennial Ball will include dinner, and social and dance activities. Numerous door prizes will be available. More information about the WMFGA Centennial Ball is available at wmfg.org.
When celebrating Montana’s Hunting Heritage Week, it is significant to remember that existing state law acknowledges that it has always been sportsmen and women who have been at the forefront of fostering wildlife populations. Hunters are the original conservationists, a term that is recently applied even to some people who actually seek to prevent hunting of game animals. Montana is known as a wildlife wonderland primarily because of a century of effort, activity and funding by hunters, and organizations of hunters such as the WMFGA.