Livestock shootings near Lennep, Montana are threatening hunter access. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials are looking for information regarding who has been shooting cattle in the area. Between Sept. 20 and 23, someone shot a Red Angus cow and calf with multiple arrows. The fact that both the cow and calf were shot multiple times cast doubts on this shooting being accidental. The incident occurred on a private cattle ranch in Meagher County just south of the Castle Mountains. Officials responded to the landowner’s call soon after the rancher found the cattle. Both the cow and calf had been hit with multiple arrows with broadheads. However, the cow and calf were expected to live barring infections.

Lost Trust

Montana ranchers and landowners have no obligation to allow hunters access to their lands. The landowners in the incident listed above are apart of Montana’s Block Management Program. This program allows hunters access to prime wildlife habitat that private landowners control. Likewise, FWP officials work closely with landowners to get them to join the Block Management Program. This incident could also harm landowner-hunter relations far beyond the cost of a cow and a calf. Montana FWP is worried that if these kinds of incidents continue to happen, landowners may be less willing to provide access to hunters. Consequently, FPW officers are hoping hunters can keep an eye out for this type of crime in the future.

Report Livestock Shootings

Montana FWP officials ask that if any hunters were in the area and saw anything suspicious that they report it to them at 1-800-TIPMONT or contact Sgt. Andersen at 406-366-2447. Callers can remain anonymous and a cash reward may be available as well. For more information check out the FWP website.

“These ranchers are hard-working folks who allow free public hunting. It’s a shame that the actions of the criminals who did this unfairly misrepresent hunters as a whole. Not to mention the potential loss for the landowners. The beef market is tough right now. My hope is that someone will come forward with information so we can make sure this doesn’t happen again. Here are landowners who allow bow-hunting free of charge in a high-quality big game area. In my experience incidents like this threaten public access for everyone. I have heard of and seen cows shot before and you have to wonder if it was by accident. I have never seen a cow and her calf shot with this kind of malicious intent or otherwise.” – Kyle Andersen, game warden for Montana FWP

The Block Management Program is a great tool that provides hunters with access to quality hunting land. It would be a shame if incidents like this cause the loss of access for law-abiding hunting.

What are your thoughts on this livestock shooting in Montana? Have you ever found a livestock animal wounded by someone? Let us know in the comments!

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