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Billings Gazette - "Hunters Honor Attorney General"

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Location: Helena, MT


Billings Gazette - "Hunters Honor Attorney General"

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 state's hunting and fishing heritage.

"I'm 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 Hunter's Institute, along with a list of local gun, archery and fishing clubs, honored McGrath for his support of roadless areas, streamside access and the state's 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 Thursday's brief award ceremony. "He's been a diligent defender of our hunting and fishing rights."
McGrath in 2003 threw his support behind Montana's 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 nation's 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 state's big game herds and provide a five-week hunting season in the state.

Finally, McGrath defended numerous challenges to a voter-passed ban on private game farms.

McGrath said the award came as a "complete surprise."

"Defending Montana's hunting and fishing heritage is probably the best part of my job," he said after the ceremony.


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