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Public meetings set on fish and wildlife funding recommendations

Fish & Wildlife - Region 5

Tue Apr 29 08:23:20 MDT 2014

BILLINGS – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has scheduled a public meeting for Wednesday, May 28 to discuss and collect comment on recommendations from an advisory council appointed to adjust hunting and fishing licenses and fees.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at FWP’s Region 5 headquarters, 2300 Lake Elmo Dr. in Billings Heights

The Licensing and Funding Advisory Council spent the past eight months examining FWP's current license system and funding cycle for fish and wildlife management. That work resulted in recommendations to FWP Director Jeff Hagener that would provide an additional $6.25 million a year to stave off deep budget cuts to fish and wildlife management programs.

The recommendations are aimed at a simplified licensing system; standardized license discounts for youth, seniors, and disabled hunters; a revamped base price structure and other adjustments to provide a fair and stable source of revenue for the state's fish and wildlife conservation efforts.

Public meetings also are set throughout May in other areas of the state. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. and focus on explaining the council’s recommendations and getting feedback to help direct FWP's funding proposal for the 2015 Legislature. Meetings are set for:

  • May 1        Missoula         DoubleTree Hotel; 100 Madison
  • May 5        Butte               Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives; 17 W. Quartz St.
  • May 6        Glasgow          Cottonwood Inn; 45 1st Ave. NE
  • May 13     Bozeman        FWP Region 3 HQ; 1400 S. 19th Ave.
  • May 15     Great Falls      FWP Region 4 HQ; 4600 Giant Springs Road
  • May 19     Kalispell          FWP Region 1 HQ; 490 N. Meridian Road
  • May 20     Helena            Montana Wild Center; 2668 Broadwater Ave.
  • May 27     Miles City        FWP Region 7 HQ; 352 I-94Business Loop
  • May 28     Billings            FWP Region 5 HQ; 2300 Lake Elmo Dr.

The council's recommendations come at a critical time as FWP nears the end of a 10- year cycle since the last increase in resident hunting and fishing license fees. Montana's last general resident hunting and fishing license fee increase approved by the Montana Legislature came in 2005 and in 2003 for nonresidents. FWP fish and wildlife management programs are funded primarily via the sale of fishing and hunting licenses.

The call for the funding and license review came from both the 2013 Montana Legislature and Governor Steve Bullock. The Legislature passed House Bill 609, which requires the Montana Legislature’s Environmental Quality Council to conduct a study of hunting and fishing license statutes and fees, while Gov. Bullock requested that FWP begin a public effort to create FWP's budget for consideration by the 2015 Legislature.

The council's recommendations are listed on FWP's website at; click "Licensing and Funding Advisory Council".