HELENA, Mont. -

Bureau of Land Management officials say they likely won't complete a proposed land exchange between the federal agency and owners of a Fergus County ranch.

The BLM had planned to swap 12 parcels totaling 4,900 acres within the Wilks Ranch Montana Ltd. property in exchange for 5,200 acres.

The Great Falls Tribune reports 1,600 residents signed a petition opposing the deal.

Hunters want continued access to 2,700 acres in the Durfee Hills area that would have become private property under the swap.

They can reach the land by airplane to access the state's second-largest elk herd.

Stan Benes of the BLM says the agency is awaiting a response from the ranch owners, but negotiations are likely over if they don't want an exchange that excludes the Durfee Hills parcel.