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Hunting Regulation Proposals Considered
January 12 Hearing in Kalispell
by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
January 4, 2008

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will hold a northwest Montana hearing on the 2008-9 tentative hunting regulations at the Red Lion Hotel, Kalispell Center Mall, on Saturday, January 12, 2008. FWP Commissioner Vic Workman, who represents western Montana on the Commission, will be present to listen to the comments of northwest Montana hunters on the tentative regulations. Other informational meetings may be scheduled in other towns, but this is the main hearing for collecting public comment from hunters across Region One. The aim of the hearing is to explain the tentative hunting regulations, answer questions, and provide opportunities for public comment. The FWP Commission will adopt final regulations at its Feb. 20, 2008 meeting in Helena.

Region One FWP Supervisor Jim Satterfield notes that the schedule calls for an open house to be held from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. FWP biologists and managers will be on hand to explain information on wildlife populations and proposed regulations. Satterfield urges all interested persons to attend the open house before the meeting so that their questions can be answered. The actual hearing will begin at 10 a.m. Each member of the public who wishes to speak will have a time allotment for each tentative regulation.

According to FWP Region One Wildlife Manager Jim Williams, several changes are proposed that will affect hunting regulations both statewide and in Region One.

Statewide Tentatives:
--2008-2009 big game hunting season dates: alternatives include a choice between Montana's traditonal five-week season that ends the Sunday following Thanksgiving Day—and fixed-date seasons that would open and close on the same dates each year;

--Antelope Licenses replacing the unlimited 900-series antelope archery licenses with 4,500 licenses available via the annual special drawings; allowing hunters to purchase up to three surplus antelope licenses;

--Elk Archery Permits: adjusting elk archery to limited elk archery permits where elk rifle permits are currently limited. Hunting Districts include 410, 417, 620, 621, 622, 700, 701 (Missouri River Breaks) and 401, 403, 411, 412, 420, 425, 426, 441, 447, 450, 455, 500, 502, 510, 511, portion of 520, 530, 570, 575, portion of 580, 590, 702, 704 and 705. In addition, these areas are proposed to have area-specific unlimited antlerless elk archery permits available through the drawing. In many of the Missouri River Breaks districts, archery is currently available via unlimited permit. In the other areas, archery is currently available on only a general license;

--Creating a wolf hunting season contingent upon federal delisting;

--Youth Pheasant Hunt: creating a youth pheasant season for the weekend prior to the general pheasant opener.

Region One Tentatives:
--Deer, Elk, Bear, Moose, Sheep, Goat, and Lion: No major season structure changes proposed in Region One Hunting Districts;

--Convert all antlerless mule deer permits in Region One to antlerless mule deer B licenses;

--Establish a season-long either sex whitetail deer opportunity for disabled hunters holding a “Permit to Hunt from a Vehicle” issued by a physician;

--Hunting District 170: boundary adjustments; raising the number of over-the-counter antlerless whitetail deer licenses to 5 per hunter; and eliminating the Old Steel Bridge and Stillwater Game Preserve FWP Commission closures;

--Create 10 bighorn sheep ewe permits for Hunting District 121 near Thompson Falls;

--Initiate a Libby area special big game archery hunting only area east of town;

--R-1 mountain lion permits: implement a preference point system for R-1 mountain lion permits;

--Adjustments to R-1 turkey hunting permits: fall over-the-counter either-sex licenses for Lincoln County; 400 gobbler permits for the spring season; and create a west and east Sanders County season for turkeys, including over-the-counter either-sex fall licenses in West Sanders County.

Details on all the tentative proposals are available on the FWP website 2008-09 Tentative Hunting Regulations. For information on the wolf season proposal, and opportunity to comment, see Montana Wolf Season. Interested persons may pick up a copy of the tentative regulations at the FWP Headquarters on North Meridian Road in Kalispell and comment in writing. FWP will also take comment via email at fwpwld@mt.gov, or by mail addressed to: Big Game Regulations, Wildlife Division, Montana FWP, P.O. Box 200701; Helena, MT 59620-0701. Comments must be received by Feb. 1, 2008. For more information contact your nearest FWP office.

FWP Commissioner Workman invites all hunters and interested persons to attend the meeting and present their views on proposed changes.

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