But elk are a political weapon, and in these hyper partisan times I don't see that changing unless more equitable or balanced, bipartisan solutions are presented and used. Even then....And again and most importantly, elk as a political weapon wasn't a thing until around 2008 & the 23 limited entry permit bundled districts in the Breaks. That took away a massive cash cow from landowners & outfitters who had control, in some districts, of 90% of the bull harvest. Only then did the objectives become an issue for some and that's when we saw the rise of groups like UPOM who spend their time, money and energy working to eliminate public hunting opportunities in favor of landowner/outfitters owning it all.
As to the issue of dissolving the commission, I would disagree. Commissions are still viable tools to ensure the best management oversight. Some Governors will be political in whom they appoint. Gianforte virtue signaled his politics loud & clear with Robinson (UPOM supporter), Cebull (oil and gas industry) & Tabor (Outfitters). I still think KC Walsh is a good person and can become a solid commissioner, but folks will need to work with him to help him understand the issues at play, and what honest solutions look like.
This isn't to say that Bullock or Schweitzer were nonpartsian peaches, as I long felt the commission was not a priority until it was time to fill a seat and then there was a mad scramble to find someone "appropriate" to ensure the Governor got what he wanted. But as far as commissions being appropriate oversight, it worked well for darned near 100 years, and if we hold our elected officials accountable for these decisions, then it can work again. Balance is never easy to make happen, and this commission is tilted against the DIY hunter who doesn't own a few sections to be sure, but it's not a reason to abandon a successful model.
But all it takes is another organized landowner movement, the right Governor with the appropriate timing, and a controlling portion of those commission seats are flipped, add in another Worsech type appointment and all that potentially great work could be undone. We already know that the side that wants to exploit, monetize, exterminate elk are willing to say or do whatever they can to get what they want, only to come back a little while later and move the goal posts again (see shoulder seasons). Why make it easy? That commission is the easiest body for them to control and they can actually get on the commission if they know the right people. Chuck and the likes have very little chance of becoming an influential bio for big game management within the FWP....and that's where the decision making should rest.
At another time, with a different political environment I'd say there might be hope for that commission. I just don't see it now. Even if they next Governor doesn't turn it into a political arm, the one after him/her can do so easily. Montana can't afford to keep chasing its tail on these issues. A political body with self-interest and industry interest on a contentious and popular public resource is a recipe for disaster.