The 49th Montana State Legislature authorized the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission to auction one male sheep license each year to provide for the benefit of sheep. The 50th Montana State Legislature authorized the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission to auction one male Shiras moose license each year to provide for the benefit of moose. The 58th Montana State Legislature's provided authority for the sale of one male mule deer and one male elk auction/lottery license, and the 59th session provided authority for one mountain goat auction/lottery license.
Rules and procedures to conduct the auction have been adopted by the commission each year and have been expanded to include all five species now available. The auction/lottery license rules provide for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) to solicit proposals to conduct the auctions (and or lottery if appropriate) from conservation organizations involved in the conservation and management of these big game species. The commission reviews the proposals and selects an organization to conduct the auctions. Organizations can submit bids to conduct more than one species auction. Organizations that have been selected to auction the various species licenses for 1986-2006 are summarized in Table 1 and include the Boone and Crocket Club, Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, Mule Deer Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Montana Outfitter and Guides Association, and Skyline Sportsmen Association. Safari Club International (including the MT Chapter) has participated in the moose auction prior to 1997. The successful bidder for each of the auction licenses is allowed to hunt for a legal animal during the open season in any of the legally described species hunting districts as described in the appropriate hunting regulation.
Auction proceeds are often banked to assist efforts/purchases that are uniquely different or larger than routine efforts and expenditures. In addition to habitat conservation efforts, this includes trap/transplant, research and significant field equipment purchases.