The Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission is now seeking public comment on a draft of the annual rule that will set the prices for nonresident elk and deer hunting licenses in 1998. Commissioners tentatively adopted the rule at their October 10 meeting in Libby.
The proposed rule would permit nonresident hunters to purchase a Big Game Combination License that does not include a deer license. Senate Bill 394, passed by the 1997 Montana Legislature, allows the Commission to separate the deer license from the Big Game Combination License to adjust the way elk and deer licenses are currently sold to nonresidents and, thereby, enable more flexibility in deer management. It also gives the Commission the authority to set the prices for any deer licenses separated from the Big Game Combination License, as well as for the Elk Combination Licenses that result.
Presently, 17,000 Big Game Combination Licenses are available to nonresident hunters. A Big Game Combination License consists of an elk, deer, upland game bird, and full-season fishing license. This is the only license with which a nonresident can legally hunt elk in Montana. Therefore, under the current licensing procedure all nonresident elk hunters also must purchase a deer license.
In August, an advisory committee including hunters, outfitters and landowners made a number of recommendations to the Commission regarding how elk and deer licenses should be allocated for the 1998 big game season. Based on those recommendations, the management objectives of FWP and comments from sporting groups, outfitters, landowners and the general public, the following schedule of proposed prices and license numbers was adopted:
|Big Game Combination*||$475|
|Outfitter Sponsor (Market Based)|
|Big Game Combination||$835|
** The Elk Combination License includes elk, upland game bird, fishing and conservation licenses.
*** The Deer Combination License includes deer A, upland game bird, fishing and conservation licenses.
Included in the tentative annual rule is a discussion of how separated deer licenses are to be reissued.
Persons desiring complete copies of the proposed license rule should contact FWP's License Section in Helena at 444-2950.
Comments on the proposed rule should be sent to the License Section, 1420 East Sixth Ave., PO Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701 by November 21, 1997.