SB 127 is a bill recently introduced in the state of Montana. If passed, the bill will make it illegal to sell information or coordinates revealing the location of game animals. The point of this bill is to support fair chase hunting. The bill prevents people from paying large sums of money to kill a trophy class animal someone else found on public land. SB 127 is not about habitat or animal populations; it is about ethics. It is a sad state of affairs when hunting becomes about the highest bidder paying not to hunt but to kill for a living room decoration.
Please do not misinterpret me: I love hunting and tagging out on a trophy class animal. However, horns or antlers of magnitude—only found on wise, seasoned beasts—should be achieved by skill and work ethic. In the book Elkheart, David Peterson describes the heart of a true hunter better than I have yet heard:
…I’ve evolved an unshakable belief that the essence—and thus the moral justification and greatest reward—of so-called “sport” hunting lies in challenge, in woodcraft, in humility, in respect (if not love) for the animals we hunt and the country we hunt them in, evidenced by an eager willingness to protect and propagate both.
Public land hunting is for anyone willing to put the work in to be successful. SB 127 supports the right of all to pursue game animals through fair chase. Paying for GPS coordinates leading to a trophy animal takes the hunt out of hunting and turns it into a rich man’s sport. Unfortunately, high fence game farms already exist. I implore our society not to use dollars as a way to turn our public lands into high fence game farms as well.
Currently, there are petitions available to support this bill. Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) has one at:
View the bill here: leg.mt.gov/bills/2019/billpdf/SB0127.pdf