In an attempt to help populations of deer recover in areas where the winter of 1996-97 caused unexpectedly high population losses, the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission has adopted the following changes to the general deer hunting season in 1997:
Either-Sex Whitetail Hunting Periods
Change: Hunting for either-sex whitetails in most of the region now will be allowed only during the first week of the 1997 season (Oct. 26-Nov. 2). Hunting under general regulations during the remainder of the season will be for antlered bucks of either species only. Hunting districts affected: all districts beginning with the numeral 1, except backcountry hunting districts 150, 151 and 170. See pages 19-21 of 1997 Big Game Hunting Regulations. Contact: Kalispell FWP--752-5501.
Libby Special Management Area
Change: Over-the-counter licenses for taking antlerless whitetails will not be sold. Hunting districts affected: 100 and 103. See page 19 of 1997 Big Game Hunting Regulations. Contact: Kalispell FWP--752-5501.
Antlerless Whitetails in HD 132
Change: The Sept. 6 - Nov. 30 antlerless whitetail season for holders of Deer A and Deer B licenses in the foothill portion of HD 132 will not be held. Hunting districts affected: 132. See page 21 of 1997 Big Game Hunting Regulations. Contact: Kalispell FWP--752-5501.
Antlerless Whitetails in HD 170
Change: The number of B licenses that can be purchased by an individual from the Kalispell FWP R-1 Headquarters for antlerless whitetails in HD 170 has been reduced from two (2) licenses to one (1) license.Hunting districts affected: 170. See page 21 of 1997 Big Game Hunting Regulations. Contact: Kalispell FWP--752-5501.
REGIONS 6 AND 7
Multi-district Antlerless Whitetail Licenses
Change: Over-the-counter multi-district antlerless whitetail licenses will not be sold. Hunting districts affected: 600, 630, 640, 641, 650, 651, 652, 670, 690 and 703. See page 16 of 1997 Big Game Hunting Regulations. Contact: Glasgow FWP--228-3700; Miles City FWP--232-0900.
In addition to these changes, a statewide deer license validation requirement now is in effect. In an effort to reduce the mule deer buck harvest and improve buck/doe ratios in southwestern Montana, the Commission has adopted a requirement that ALL hunters who purchase a Deer A license must decide where in the state they would like to hunt during the general season -- either in any one of eight individual Hunting Areas in southwestern Montana, collectively referred to as the "Southwestern 8," OR in the remainder of the state -- and that their licenses be validated according to their decision. Those who choose to select a Hunting Area from among the Southwestern 8 must confine their hunting of mule deer bucks to those hunting districts comprising that individual Hunting Area of southwestern Montana ONLY; they cannot hunt mule deer bucks during the general hunting season anywhere else in the state. Conversely, those hunters who choose NOT to select an individual Hunting Area within the Southwestern 8 are NOT permitted to hunt mule deer bucks within the Southwestern 8.
The restrictions will not be in effect during the archery-only hunting season from September 6 - October 19 and they will not apply to hunting for white-tailed deer. In other words, those hunters who plan to hunt solely during the archery-only season or only for white-tailed deer will not be affected in any way by the restrictions put in place for the 1997 seasons. Nevertheless, their Deer A licenses will still need to be validated in some fashion.