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2020 MT TWS Annual Conference

February 3, 2020 - February 7, 2020

Free – $215.00

This Year’s Montana Chapter Annual Conference:


Private Lands Conservation: Where it Has Gone and Where it is Going

Click here for Day-by-Day Conference Schedule (click and scroll to bottom)

Our conference theme this year revolves around the multifaceted approach to habitat conservation on private lands and exploring the successes and failures from the past, what is currently working, and how those will help guide us into the future. Nearly two thirds of Montana is privately owned and working lands cover a large portion of that footprint, as agriculture and ranching/livestock production are continually the lead economic industries within the state. Additionally, Montana is home to a wide array of wildlife and habitats. These factors serve as perfect building blocks to work across private lands for the shared goal of conservation. Whether we are working on a grass restoration project, incorporating grazing infrastructure into expiring CRP to keep grass-based agriculture on the ground, modifying or removing fences to increase permeability of the landscape for migratory species, or layering a conservation easement on a working ranch, we need to effectively work with private landowners. Given the constant constraints on wildlife and wildlife conservation, it is important that we continually work together to keep our systems intact and improve where we can.  This will ensure that we continue to keep our traditions alive and habitat viable in the “The Last Best Place”.

Feb 3 – 7, 2020, Butte, MT

“The Montana Chapter of the Wildlife Society sponsors a winter conference each year. The conference provides a forum for invited speakers and member presentations. Topics focus on those issues of particular importance or interest to Montana wildlife professionals. The 2020 Annual MTTWS Conference is set for February 3 – 7, 2020 at the Copper King Hotel & Convention Center, Butte, Montana.


Copper King Hotel & Convention Center
4655 Harrison Ave
Butte, MT  59701
406-565-5001 tel

Full Conference Registration for Members and Non-Members, as well as Student Registration, include:

  • Student/Professional Mixer (hors-d’oeuvres and refreshments) – Wednesday night
  • Awards Banquet Dinner -Thursday night
  • Lunch – Thursday

Additional Mixer or Banquet tickets may be purchased separately.

Retired Member and Single-day Registrations do NOT include:

  • Student/Professional Mixer
  • Awards Banquet Dinner
  • Mixer or Banquet tickets may be purchased separately


Book reservations online using this link: Hotel Booking Link.  Make sure you update the reservation dates to find available rooms. Please send us an email at mttws.treasurer@gmail.com if you have problems using this link.

A block of 110 rooms has been set aside and is available for conference attendees at the block rate of $96/night, single occupancy, and $111 double occupancy, plus tax. These rooms are available on a first come, first serve basis, and will be held until January 15, 2020. After this date reservations will be based on availability and priced at the regular hotel rate. If you’d prefer to use the phone to make your reservation, call 406-565-5001 (mention “Montana Chapter of The Wildlife Society”).”

Sorry, the Copper King is all booked!

The Hampton Inn will be offering us the discounted rates until January 28, 2020. 

20 Double Queen Rooms at a rate of $96 (plus tax)

Guests can reserve a room in one of two ways:

  1. By calling the hotel direct, 406/494-2250, and asking for a room from the Montana Chapter of Wildlife Society block.

2. Online, as follows:

      • www.butte.hamptoninn.com
      • Enter desired arrival/departure dates on home page – then – drop down and click on the bar that reads ‘Add Special Rate Codes’
      • This will open a box just below that with the header Group Code
      • In the Group Code box, enter  MCW
      • This will bring up the Montana Chapter of Wildlife Society (MCW) block on the next page, and will require a credit card guarantee to book.

The drop-date for the block is January 28, 2020.  Anyone booking after that time would not be guaranteed a room, and if rooms were still available, would be paying the going regular rate for those dates.

The stay includes our delicious On the House! Hot breakfast buffet; Hampton’s Clean and Fresh Bedding; the comfort of our newly remodeled Perfect Mix Lobby; 24-hour access to our recently built Jump Start fitness center; pool and spa; 24-hour shuttle service; 24-hour coffee and tea in the lobby; high-speed internet access throughout the hotel; and much more!



* Early-Bird Registration ends Jan 15th ($135 members, $185 non-members); registration rates increase after this date ($165 members, $215 non-member).

* Registration for students and retired members stay at $55 and $65, respectively.

You may also renew your annual MT TWS membership – just add the correct membership to the cart before you check out.

*Payment via PayPal allows you to pay with a logged in user Paypal account, or with a credit or debit card without a PayPal account.

Submit An Abstract

Workshop Information

**NEW** Getting the Lead Out

Instructors: Kate Stone and Mike McTee, MPG Ranch

Date:  Wednesday, Feb 5, 2020, 10am – 12pm

Are you curious about the movement toward non-lead products in hunting and fishing? Would you like to do more personally and professionally to forward this concept? Our instructors will facilitate a workshop to discuss current non-lead educational efforts in Montana, highlight recent research, and brainstorm how we might boost capacity for this effort as members of The Wildlife Society. Mike and Kate have both spent the past few years working on educational and research efforts to promote the voluntary switch to non-lead materials for hunting and fishing. They urge TWS members to refer to our very strong position statement that includes advocating for the replacement of lead-based ammunition and fishing tackle with less toxic products wherever possible. 

The main purpose of this workshop is to network, provide information, and define action items. The format will include a broad discussion and potentially break-outs groups to discuss ideas. Please bring questions and action items you would like to work on in the next year. Maybe you’d like to see all game wardens using non-lead to dispatch animals? Or, you’d like to increase the availability and visibility of non-lead fishing tackle at sporting goods stores? Perhaps you’d like to organize a “day at the range” to demonstrate the performance and characteristics of lead vs. non-lead in big game hunting. All ideas are on the table. We will also dedicate a portion of time to tackling the use of lead in prairie dog and “gopher” shooting. 


Mineral Rights and Private Lands Conservation

Instructor: Zachary Zipfel, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Date:  Tuesday, Feb 4, 2020, from 1-5pm

While we are all aware of the issues and opportunities surrounding land conservation, mineral ownership and mineral development are often overlooked. Join us as we describe what the mineral estate is, how it came to be, and the implications for habitat conservation. Developing land and habitat conservation strategies without considering the mineral estate is truly only addressing half of the landscape. We will provide a basic overview of the Montana Mineral estate and familiarize participants with some basic tools for identifying mineral owners and participants.


Conservation Programs Training

Instructors: Catherine Wightman, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Abby Dresser, Ducks Unlimited

Date:  Wednesday, Feb 5, 2020, 8am – 12pm

Number of Attendees:  Unlimited

In association with the Montana TWS annual meeting Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks and Ducks Unlimited are once again partnering to offer a workshop for natural resource professionals working with private landowners. Join us for a ½ day refresher that will include presentations from state, federal and non-profit agencies delivering conservation programs on private lands.  This year’s focus will be on new and improved conservation opportunities.  ​

This workshop continues on the foundation it built a few years ago and will provide a refreshing overview of how to utilize conservation programs with private landowners and provide new updates on existing programs as well as what has been rolled out over the last two years.

Banquet Speaker – Ryan “Cal” Callaghan

Ryan “Cal” Callaghan is Director of Conservation at MeatEater and host of the weekly podcast Cal’s Week in Review. Callaghan studied history and anthropology at the University of Montana before becoming a hunting and fishing guide on the outskirts of Glacier National Park, the Missouri breaks, the Frank Church and Bob Marshall wilderness areas. Callaghan was the first employee of the now MeatEater-owned technical hunting apparel company First Lite, where he established the brand’s conservation ethos which they are known for today. Callaghan is a member and national board member of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.


Plenary Speakers

For the plenary session this year we are proud to say that we have put together a group of individuals who are leading the charge in conserving Montana’s many habitats through some very novel approaches.  Through scientific, holistic approaches that work cooperatively with private landowners the members of the plenary session are continually moving the conservation needle forward.  We hope that you will join us as we hear about their individual approaches, what has worked and what has not, and where they think habitat conservation is heading in the future!

Bob Sanders – Ducks Unlimited (Manager of Conservation Programs for Montana)

Brian Martin – The Nature Conservancy (Montana Grasslands Conservation Director)

Leo Barthelmess – Rancher Stewardship Alliance (President)

Rick Northrup – Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (Wildlife Habitat Bureau Chief)

Greg Neudecker – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (MT State Coordinator)

Damien Austin – American Prairie Reserve (VP and Reserve Superintendent)

Montana TWS Conference Welcome Reception

Tuesday, Feb 4th, 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Wild Movie Night

Tuesday, Feb 4th, 9 – 11 PM

DEER 139

“Deer 139” follows University of Wyoming research scientist Sam Dwinnell and two friends as they hike, ski, and pack raft the path of the collared mule deer known as #139 for 85 miles through western Wyoming and learn to see the world differently in the process.

Go to https://www.deer139film.org/ [deer139film.org] for more info! Just in: Sam Dwinnell will be in attendance to talk about the ongoing deer research and answer all your questions! 



Wednesday, February 5th, before and after the Student/Professional Mixer


“On The Shoulders of Giants” is a 21-minute film celebrating the vision and passion behind four decades of private land conservation in Montana. Produced in 2016 by Eric Ian in association with the Montana Association of Land Trusts, the film marks the 40th anniversary of Montana’s first conservation easement and the state’s dynamic private land conservation achievement. Since 1976, Montana landowners have partnered with land trusts and agencies to conserve 2.4 million acres of private land throughout the state benefiting wildlife, agriculture, clean water and a strong outdoor economy. Given ongoing economic and population trends the role of Montana private land conservation will become even more important in the future.


The latest documentary feature from the award-winning team at Zero Point Zero Films, STARS IN THE SKY: A Hunting Story is an examination of the lives and minds of hunters in America that opens the door to an honest exploration of the controversies, emotions, and traditions that are inherent to this most primal human activity. It is not a one-sided story.

Directed by acclaimed writer Steven Rinella and framed around a rugged hunt in the Alaskan wilderness, STARS IN THE SKY explores the experiences and belief systems of modern day hunters in America. These individuals are reflections of ourselves, connected by their love of nature, an intimate experience of gathering food, and the familial ties that come from a tradition passed from generation to generation. Throughout the film, a group of experts weigh in on the history, sociology, ethics, and contradictions of hunting. It is a fresh and unexpected look at a discipline that grows increasingly controversial every year.

STARS IN THE SKY is held to ambitions as lofty as the title: to be the most impactful and definitive piece of hunting content ever created. By bridging the gap between hunters and non-hunters to help us better understand the heart of a hunter, this feature length documentary will, among other things, help us better understand ourselves and our complex relationship with the wild. As with any good story, it is about who we are, and how we ended up at this very moment in time.



Do you like to doodle during classes or student chapter TWS meetings? Do you supplement your work-study income as a world-famous tattoo artist with her own show on cable TV? Do you like money and free stuff?

IF SO, please consider designing the cover for our 2020 Annual Conference program! It doesn’t HAVE to incorporate this year’s conference theme, but it’d be a lot cooler if it did. If we choose your submission, you’ll get $100 (WHAT) as well as free conference registration!

STUDENTS ONLY! Submit your masterpieces to mttws.preselect@gmail.com.




Sorry, the deadline has passed. But if you’ve already got ideas for next year, you can check out the list of awards (Click Here!) [mttws.org] .


February 3, 2020
February 7, 2020
Free – $215.00
Event Category:


Brett Dorak


Copper King Resort
4655 Harrison Avenue
Butte, MT 59710 United States
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