Rick Hill is a candidate for governor of the state of Montana. As part of his overall plans to run the state, Hill put together a statement for Montana sportsmen concerning the biggest and most pressing issues that face sportsmen, the state as a whole, the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the citizen commission that will oversee the department. In addition, on his website, Mr. Hill provides a policy change proposal for “Protecting Montana’s Outdoor Sporting Heritage“.

Rick Hill states:

My first priority as Governor is to comprehensively change the agenda of Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. It is essential for the future of Montana wildlife management and our culture of hunting and fishing that we rebuild a positive and productive relationship among landowners and recreationists. My newly appointed department Director and citizen FWP Commission will immediately focus on restoring this critical relationship.

There is only one way that Mr. Hill has any hope of making Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks anything like he envisions, and it begins with his selection of who will direct the department. Too often I have witnessed newly elected governors fill seats of this nature for reasons other than what is in the best interest of each department and the people they serve. If Rick Hill is elected Montana’s next governor, he must find the right person to run his fish and game department. He cannot do as so many before him have done and give the job up via crony politics and/or campaign debt payoffs.

Hill’s appointment to head the Fish, Wildlife and Parks must be someone who completely understands the mission and direction the new governor wants and preferably that person should NOT be just another politician. They need solid understanding and display crucial leadership qualities. If the new governor and his newly appointed director have and believe in the same mission and that director has the capability of taking a department staff, the majority of which he or she will inherit, and turn them around to achieve goals through a united team effort, then the rest of Mr. Hill’s proposals might become doable. Without it, it’s futile.

During the primary election, Robert Fanning, Jr., was a GOP gubernatorial hopeful. Of the many things he wrote and spoke about, wildlife management was a passion. Readers may recall that back in August of 2011, Fanning wrote of some of his plans for the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, should he become governor. You can read his eight key points by following this link. Subsequently, Fanning lost the nomination but this past August endorsed Rick Hill for governor after he gained a full understanding of Hill’s wildlife management positions. In Fanning’s words he said: “He gets it!”

I have no idea whether Robert Fanning is interested in the job of director of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, but I think he is a ready made candidate. I’ve been reading over closely Rick Hill’s proposals of what he wants for the department and where he wants to take it and it appears to me that, while both gentlemen haven’t collaborated on ideas, nothing that either man has said about wildlife management is in disagreement.

During Fanning’s campaign, he crafted a creed, “People Above Predators“, in which he made it known that the people came first. Candidate Rick Hill said his first mission is to repair the mess; the division between the government and the people and he repeats the urgency of the people of his state having their say, throughout his proposal to protect sportsmen’s heritage.

I would suggest, if it hasn’t already happened, that Mr. Fanning and Mr. Hill sit down as soon as possible and see if they can have a mind meld; a union of comparative thoughts of how Montana should proceed with fish and game management. It may or may not work but from my perspective, from at least what is written, there exists a pretty solid foundation in which to build on.