Hunting groups honor attorney general

The Montana Standard

HELENA Amid the blaring of traditional 15th century hunting horns, a group of hunting and angling groups gave Attorney General Mike McGrath an unexpected award for supporting the states hunting and fishing heritage.

Im a little surprised and speechless, frankly, McGrath said after the horns had died down. I appreciate this very much.

The groups, including Montana Trout Unlimited, the Montana Wildlife Federation, Orion: The Hunters Institute, along with a list of local gun, archery and fishing clubs, decided to honor McGrath for his support of roadless areas, streamside access and the states voter-passed ban on private game farms, said Chris Marchion, president of the Montana Wildlife Federation.

Mike has always stepped up to the plate, Marchion said in an interview after Thursdays brief awards ceremony. Hes been a diligent defender of our hunting and fishing rights.

McGrath in 2003 threw his support behind Montanas stream access law after a group of landowners tried to challenge the measure. Montana law holds that the state owns all state waters and any citizen may access those waters so long as they stay within the high water mark and do not trespass access the waters.

McGrath supported the nations so-called roadless rule, which aims to maintain roadless areas in their undisturbed state. In defending the rule, McGrath mentioned the importance of unbroken habitat to support the states big game herds and provide a five-week hunting season in the state.