A recent announcement that Weyerhaeuser may buy out Plum Creek Timber has Montana hunters worried that access to around 700,000 acres in Western Montana may not be as easy next hunting season. Backcountry Hunters and Anglers CEO Land Tawney says that hunters have a good relationship with Plum Creek.

"Plum Creek has been such a great partner," said Tawney. "I've hunted land all over Western Montana that Plum Creek owns and have had access to that, kind of unfettered access. It has been almost de facto public land.  I think hunters, like myself, have appreciated the open door policy that Plum Creek has had.

Plum Creek participates in block management programs with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and allows hunters to access lands without charging a fee, but Tawney says that is not the case for Weyerhaeuser land in other states.

"We have members in Oregon and Washington, and when Weyerhaeuser took over private timberland that had previously been open to the public and started charging an access fee, that definitely got the hackles up of our members in those states," Tawney said. "While we were disappointed in what happened in Washington and Oregon, Montana is a new day and hopefully we can negotiate something else here."

Tawney says that if Weyerhaeuser does acquire the land, he hopes that they can negotiate a “new model for Montana.”