• Identifying Montana hunter/rancher problems and solutions

      Swensson, E. J.; Knight, J. E. (Society for Range Management, 1998-07-01)
      A 1 year survey was developed to identify conflicts and solutions to conflicts between hunters and ranchers. A questionnaire was mailed to randomly selected groups of 1,000 hunters and 989 ranchers in Montana. One-third of the questionnaire was different for the 2 groups and consisted of questions relating to background information. The other two-thirds was identical between the groups and presented questions related to perceived problems and solutions, big game populations, importance of private and agricultural land to wildlife and hunter/rancher representation. Thirty-five percent of the hunters and 42% of the ranchers responded to the survey. The top 3 conflicts between hunters and ranchers as identified by hunters were too little access to private land, driving off roads, and trespassing. The top 3 solutions selected by hunters were greater consideration and appreciation by ranchers, better communication between groups, and better boundary identification. The top 3 problems identified by ranchers were driving off roads, trespassing, and too many hunters. The top 3 solutions selected by ranchers were stiffer penalties for violators, better communication between groups, and greater consideration and appreciation by hunters. Both hunters and ranchers ranked driving off roads and trespassing in their top 3 problems and ranked better communication and greater consideration and appreciation in their top 3 solutions. Hunters and ranchers have different (P < 0.01) views of who represents them in hunter/rancher related issues. Forty-seven percent of the hunters responding believe they represent themselves or have no representation; whereas, 57% of the ranchers responding indicated they are represented by livestock producer groups. Results of this survey indicate that hunters and ranchers have similar concerns and better communication will help alleviate conflicting interests.