Staff Sergeant Nathaniel Shurter was honored last week for his military service and sacrifices for our country.

Big Hearts Under the Big Sky and the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association gathered together to honor the veteran.

Around a dinner table at the Montana City Grill and Saloon Tuesday night, Shurter, his wife Olivia and outfitters and guides that are part of the Big Hearts Under the Big Sky program shared stories from their Montana adventures.

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​Mac Minard

(406) 449-3578


(Helena, Mont.)—Mac Minard, Executive Director of Montana Outfitters and Guides Association (MOGA), and chairman of Professional Outfitters and Guides of America (POGA), have been invited to present a paper entitled Economic Value of Outfitter Donated Trips at the 14th Annual National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses – Legislators Summit being held in Traverse City, Michigan.  The theme of this year’s summit is Celebrating the American System of Conservation Funding: 80 Years of Success. 

“This is a terrific honor and a unique opportunity to share the role Outfitters play in funding wildlife and fisheries conservation in the United States.  I doubt most people know just how much popular conservation organizations like Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Safari Club International depend on outfitter donations to underwrite their important activities.  This forum, because of the theme, and the presence of many State Legislators, provides an excellent opportunity to share that information,” said Minard.

The paper Minard will present summarizes results of a recent study that demonstrates Outfitters, as a group, are the largest donor block to Conservation organizations in the nation.  Results from an eight-state survey of 4,000 Outfitter businesses showed that in 2016, 90% of Outfitter businesses surveyed donated hunting or fishing trips to 44 Conservation organizations and the retail value of those donations exceeded $25 million dollars US.

The National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) serves as the single source of information on a broad number of sportsmen’s issues for the 48 state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses. The NASC also serves as the unifying entity for these caucuses which allows for interaction and idea exchange among state legislators. Additionally, NASC functions as a liaison between the state caucuses, governor’s offices, and numerous industry representatives and corporate partners by facilitating their interaction and by providing forums for information and idea exchange.

Minard will be presenting on behalf of the Professional Outfitters and Guides of America.


(Helena, Mont.) –Big Hearts Under the Big Sky partnered with the Helena Trap Club to host a trap shoot fundraiser on Sunday, August 13. Every skill level was welcomed to join and participants were invited to attend a barbecue luncheon afterwards.

“The proceeds from this event support the Big Hearts Under the Big Sky program so we can continue to provide one of a kind outdoor experiences at no cost to those who have provided extraordinary military service or who are battling a life threatening illness,” said Mac Minard, the Executive Director of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association. “The Big Hearts program is about making a difference one family at a time, and the trap shoot reflected that mission by bringing together families and community members to support this great program.”

Big Hearts under the Big Sky is the ‘giving-back’ arm of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association (MOGA). The Big Hearts program works to provide fully guided and outfitted outdoor trips, at no charge, to children diagnosed with life threatening illness, women suffering from breast cancer, and military veterans who have provided extraordinary service to our country.

For more information visit To see more coverage of the Big Hearts under the Big Sky Trap Shoot by KXLH, click here.


(Helena, Mont.)— Montana Outfitters and Guides Association Members have joined the relief efforts directed to the victims of wildfire in Garfield County by making cash donations to a special foundation for that purpose.

As of this writing, Disaster Emergency Services (DES) reports that the Lodgepole Fire Complex, located 52 miles W/NW of Jordan and 15 miles east of Winnett, has burned more than 200,000 acres and is still not contained.  It was started as a lightning strike.

According to on the ground reports as many as five ranches have suffered complete losses.  Help is needed now and will continue to be needed in the future.

MOGA members have expressed an interest in helping their fellow Montanans during this time of crisis.

According to Wagner Harmon, MOGA President-Elect, “This is one of the driest years on record and outfitters and landowners are in desperate need of help now and in the future”.

“Many MOGA members are ranchers and farmers as well as outfitters.  As members of these communities we have always stood with those in need and.  I am asking the MOGA membership, across the state, to stand with the folks of Garfield County in their time of need” said Harmon.

The Garfield County Fire Foundation has been set up to receive cash donations.  According to Rex Phipps with the Garfield Bank, 100% of the donations will be applied to fire relief.  Distribution of the finds will be overseen by a local committee to ensure the money goes where it is needed most.

To Make a Donation

Please send checks to:

Garfield County Fire Foundation

c/o Garfield County Bank

PO Box 6

Jordan, MT  59337

Questions about donating may be directed to Rex Phipps

at the Garfield Bank at (406) 557-2201

High water temperatures and low stream flows have prompted Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to implement “hoot owl” restrictions on several rivers in Southwest Montana starting Wednesday.

The following sections of rivers will be closed to fishing daily from 2 p.m. to midnight until conditions improve effective Wednesday:

  • – Big Hole River from Saginaw Bridge on Skinner Meadows Road to the Mouth of the North Fork Big Hole River;
  • – Big Hole River from Notch Bottom Fishing Access Site to the confluence with the Beaverhead River;
  • – Lower Beaverhead River from Anderson Lane to confluence with Big Hole River;
  • – Lower Madison River from Ennis Dam to the mouth;
  • – Lower Gallatin River from the confluence with the Madison River at Three Forks to Sheds Bridge (Hwy 84) near Four Corners;
  • – East Gallatin River from Spring Hill Road Bridge (Hwy 411) to the confluence with the Gallatin River;
  • – The entire Jefferson River

These restrictions come two weeks later in the year than the first restrictions seen in 2015 and 2016.

Regional Fisheries Manager Travis Horton said, “We’ve been fairly fortunate so far this year with flows in general, but temperatures are high and could stay that way for a while.”

Additional restrictions are possible on other stretches of these or other southwest Montana rivers in the coming weeks.

For up-to-date information on restrictions related to drought, visit

Are you one of the MOGA Member Outfitters who has NOT taken advantage of the help MOGA can provide to protect you, your business, and your family from unnecessary risk?  If so, please take a few minutes and take the steps necessary to get the protection MOGA fought hard to attain for you and your business. (read more…)

Contact:   Mac Minard
Executive Director


MOGA applauds the News of Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Delisting

HELENA – (June 22, 2017) – Montana Outfitters and Guides Association released the following statement in response to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s announcement that the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear is being delisted under the Endangered Species Act (ESA):

“The Montana Outfitters and Guides Association stands in full support of the action taken by Secretary Zinke and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear,” noted Mac Minard Executive Director of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association. “Delisting of the Grizzly Bear has been a priority of the association for years and we are delighted that the ESA delisting process worked.” Like many we believe the science of management is fully consistent with the delisting action and that this action represents a critical first step for the State of Montana to regain management of the bear population.”

MOGA has supported the delisting efforts directed at the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) population of grizzlies and supported management of this recovered population of bears be returned to the state agencies. Montana is part of the GYE population which also includes portions of northwestern Wyoming, southwestern Montana and eastern Idaho. Conservative estimates are that approximately 700 bears are now within the GYE.

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(Helena, Mont.)—The Big Hearts Under the Big Sky program—the “giving back” extension of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association (“MOGA”)—presented the Montana Community Foundation with a $10,000 gift for the Big Hearts endowment fund. The contribution, which is the result of money earned during the Greater Helena Gives Campaign, is the first installment to the Big Hearts Endowment.

Big Hearts under the Big Sky is a charitable partnership program that provides military service men and women who have provided extraordinary service to our nation, children who face the challenge of a life-threatening illness, and women who are battling breast cancer the opportunity to enjoy a Montana outdoor adventure at no cost. Big Hearts primary objective is to coordinate fully outfitted and guided trips to meet the dreams and needs of carefully screened, qualified participants for the purpose of recognizing and honoring their service and assisting others to cope with the stresses of a loved one facing a life-threatening illness.

“It is with great honor and humility that on behalf of the Big Hearts under the Big Sky program we present this $10,000 endowment gift to the Montana Community Foundation,” said Mac Minard, MOGA’s Executive Director. “We are proud to be working with the Montana Community Foundation to ensure that through the generosity of so many others that Big Hearts under the Big Sky mission will continue to make a difference one family at a time.”

Mary Rutherford, Executive Director of the Montana Community Foundation emphasized the importance of the services provided by the Big Hearts program to veterans and families of those with terminal illnesses.

“This program is one of many that we are proud to work with and we look forward to helping the Big Hearts program continue to support those in need,” stated Rutherford. “It is so important that charitable organizations like Big Hearts under the Big Sky have a reliable funding network that they can depend on and we believe the contribution made to the Montana Community Foundation for the Big Hearts Endowment will help ensure that Big Hearts has the resources it needs to continue to grow and help even more people who need their helping hand. We are incredibly excited for the opportunity to work with them.”

Mike Garcia, Chairman of the Big Hearts Program, thanked those in the Helena community for their generosity and steadfast support of the organization.

“Our community has a record of strong support for this program; from the volunteers who help coordinate the trips and events, to the gift of time and talent from Capital High School students who have produced beautiful auction items,” said Mike Garcia, Chair of the Big Hearts program. “We are tremendously thankful to the members of our community who, through their generous contributions as part of the Greater Helena Gives event last May, have enabled us to make this gift to the Big Hearts endowment.”

With 2017 marking 10 years of service, the Big Hearts program continues to be a national model in serving those who have provided extraordinary service to our nation and those who face a life-threatening illness. The program continues to have profoundly positive impacts on those families served and those involved in the program. Since 2008, the Big Hearts program has served 65 families/groups totaling 388 people, involving 45 MOGA Outfitter businesses and accounting for $463,000 in donated Montana Outdoor adventures.

For more information about the Big Hearts under the Big Sky program visit

Crucial 2 Conservation (C2C) is a broad coalition of stakeholders from around the world who share a passion to support wildlife and habitat conservation by promoting management policies and best practices that help ensure a diverse ecosystem for generations to come.

Montana Outfitters and Guides Association is pleased to present their 2017 Executive Summary.

C2C Executive Summary

May 30, 2017

(Helena, Mont.)—Governor Steve Bullock announced the appointment of Todd Earp to the Montana Board of Outfitters. Earp, owner of White Mountain Outfitters, has been outfitting for 25 plus years and operates exclusively on public lands and operates out of the Bitterroot Valley.

Earp will replace Pat Tabor who served two full terms on the Board of Outfitters representing the Big Game seat and had been actively engaged in the process for years prior to that.

The new appointment comes on the heels of the Governors nominee Robin Cunningham being rejected by the Senate Fish and Game committee during the last session. This action was supported by MOGA because of possible conflict of interest issues related to a paid Executive Director serving on the Board of Outfitter. It is unknown if this was retribution for MOGA’s position on that issue or a desire for new blood on the Board.

Of the appointment, Mac Minard, Executive Director of MOGA said “We will miss Pat’s presence on the Board of Outfitters and his dedication to the process and investment in helping craft responsible regulations governing the industry. Throughout his service as a Board member Pat distinguished himself as always being prepared and willing to do the work needed on behalf of the Administration and the industry.”

“I have spoken with Mr. Earp and he expressed his commitment to working hard on behalf of the industry. He was particularly concerned that the industry is now faced with license drawings that effectively place the possible success and failure of the outfitting industry in the luck of a draw rather than the quality of service provided” said Minard.

There will be more changes in the make-up of the Board coming soon as the Governor is yet to announce a replacement for Robin Cunningham, a Fishing Outfitter, and will have to replace Tim Aldrich, a public member, who has been tapped by the Governor to serve on the FWP Commission.

Mac Minard
406-449-3578 (office)
406-439-2059 (cell)



5 Microwave Hill Road Suite I
Montana City, MT 59634
Ph: (406) 449-3578 / Fax: (406) 449-9769