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Montana Auction License Accounts

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.

Table 1. License Auction Sales History - Bighorn Sheep
Year Org Bid Amount
97 FNAWS 238,000
98 FNAWS 300,000
99 FNAWS 130,000
00 FNAWS   95,000
01 FNAWS 100,000
02 FNAWS  90,000
03 FNAWS 132,500
04 FNAWS 160,000
05 FNAWS 160,000
06 FNAWS 115,000
07 FNAWS 140,000
08 FNAWS  195,000
09 WSF 245,000
10 WSF 275,000
11 WSF 290,000
12 WSF 300,000
TOTAL   $2,965,500
Table 1. License Auction Sales History - Moose
Year Org Bid Amount
97 RMEF 17,000
98 MOGA 14,000
99 SSA 10,000
00 SSA 11,000
01 MOGA 15,000
02 RMEF 20,000
03 RMEF 19,000
04 SSA 17,250
05 BCC 15,000
06 BCC 13,000
07 FNAWS 20,000
08 FNAWS 12,500
09 RMEF 14,000
10 RMEF 11,000
11 RMEF 16,000
12 RMEF 13,000
TOTAL   $237,750
Table 1. License Auction Sales History - Mule Deer
Year Org Bid Amount
04 MDF 6,250
05 MDF 6,700
06 MDF 13,000
07 MDF 15,000
08 MDF 13,000
09 MDF 8,500
10 MDF 9,000
11 MDF 18,000
12 MDF 22,500
TOTAL   $111,950
Table 1. License Auction Sales History - Elk
Year Org Bid Amount
04 RMEF 20,000
05 RMEF 23,000
06 RMEF 36,000
07 MDF 27,000
08 MDF 17,000
09 MDF 16,000
10 MDF 12,000
11 MDF 19,000
12 RMEF 23,000
TOTAL   $193,000
Table 1. License Auction Sales History - Mountain Goat
Year Org Bid Amount
06 RMEF 13,500
07 RMEF 9,000
08 RMEF 9,000
09 WSF 10,000
10 SCI-GF 17,000
11 SCI-GF 11,500
12 SCI-GF 23,500
TOTAL   $93,500

 

  • BBC = Boone & Crockett Club
  • FNAWS = Foundation of North American Wild Sheep
  • MDF = Mule Deer Foundation
  • MOGA = Montana Outfitters & Guides Association
  • RMEF = Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
  • SSA = Skyline Sportsmen's Association
  • WSF = Wild Sheep Foundation (formerly FNAWS)

Revenues for bighorn sheep and Shiras moose auction licenses have fluctuated over time but remain very competitive with other western states, especially the bighorn sheep license. Revenues for both the mule deer and elk auction licenses increased in the most recent year and the extensive opportunity afforded to the elk license holder in particular may help further increase those revenues over time. The mountain goat license was auctioned for the first time in 2006.

Budgeted Allocations and Expenditures

As prescribed by enabling legislation, funding is to be used for the beneficial management of the identified species. Funding is typically allocated for specific survey work to deal with localized issues, capture and relocation efforts, research efforts, habitat enhancement and herd health issues or in the case of bighorn sheep, a portion of the funding is allocated to a capital account for habitat protection. For FY10-11, funding by species was allocated as follows:

Table 2. Big Game Auction Expenditures FY10 - FY11 Biennium
  FY10 FY11 TOTAL
Bighorn Sheep Auction - Field Work 86,404 115,118 201,522
Bighorn Sheep Auction - Capital
Bighorn Sheep Auction - Commission 27,500 29,000 56,500
TOTAL $113,904 $144,118 $258,022
       
Moose Auction - Field Work
Moose Auction - Commission 1,100 1,600 2,700
TOTAL $1,100 $1,600 $2,700
       
Mule Deer Auction - Field Work
Mule Deer Auction - Capitol 48,000 48,000
Mule Deer Auction - Commission 900 1,800 2,700
TOTAL $48,900 $1,800 $50,700
       
Elk Auction - Field Work 17,965 17,965
Elk Auction - Commission 1,200 1,900 3,100
TOTAL $1,200 $19,865 $21,065
Mountain Goat Auction - Field Work
Mountain Goat Auction - Commission 1,700 1,500 2,850
TOTAL $1,700 $1,500 $2,850

Accomplishments

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.

Bighorn Sheep

Moose

Bighorn Sheep Capture and Herd Health

2010: Net-gunning was used to capture 40 Bighorn Sheep (BHS) from Wild Horse Island; 16 of these sheep were released on the Kootenai Falls Wildlife Management Area in northwest Montana, while 24 sheep were released on Berray Mountain in northwest Montana. Both releases were augmentations to existing populations. Due to a lapsed vendor contract, the Montana Wild Sheep Foundation (MWSF) handled the capture contract logistics and paid for ~60% of capture costs; Utah FNAWS and Midwest WSF covered the remaining 40%. All BHS were tested for herd health parameters. Auction dollars were used to collect biological samples from captured sheep and to pay for other capture logistics. Auction dollars and financial assistance from MWSF was also used in Montana's effort to cull pneumonic BHS and collect samples during population die-offs.

2011: Net-gunning was used to capture 50 Bighorn Sheep from Wild Horse Island; these sheep were released onto portions of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Lands in northwest Montana. An additional 46 sheep were captured from the Missouri River Breaks; these sheep were released near the Missouri River in Cascade County, central Montana. Both releases were augmentations to existing populations, with all BHS tested for heard health parameters. Auction dollars were used to capture, test and transport sheep for both releases.

During the biennium, approximately half of the auction proceeds were set aside for sheep habitat conservation. No significant BHS project proposals needing these dollars were forwarded, so the funds are being banked for future conservation efforts.

Moose

Photo of Moose

No authorized capital or field expenditures in either year. Moose funds are being banked to fund a research study into moose population declines in western Montana.

Mule Deer

Photo of Mule Deer

FWP mule deer auction dollars were used to purchase mule deer habitat represented by an 80-acre addition to the Beckman Wildlife Management Area (WMA) near Denton.

Elk

Moose

A portable ultra-sound imaging machine was purchased. This machine has been used to measure elk body fat as an integrative and relative measure of elk habitat quality in studies of brucellosis and predator-prey interactions in eleven elk herds across southwest and western Montana. More than 300 elk have been examined with this machine to date, with several hundred more elk captures scheduled for the current fiscal year.

Mountain Goat

Moose

Expenditures were for transplant efforts.