Friday, January 02, 1998Fish, Wildlife & Parks will conduct a series of public meetings and hearings across Montana during January to solicit public comments on tentative regulations for the 1998-99 big game, upland game bird and spring turkey hunting seasons. The Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission adopted the tentative regulations at its December meeting in Helena.
Included in the proposed regulations are:
- Hunting regulations in the southwestern portions of the state would be more liberal to allow for a reduction in elk populations.
- The number of hunting districts in northwestern Montana limited to brow-tined only bull elk hunting would increase.
- Mule and white-tailed deer season changes would generally be more restrictive in response to low populations and permit-only areas would increase.
- The validation requirement for hunting mule deer bucks in southwestern Montana would be achieved by unlimited permits through the annual permit drawings process.
- Licenses sold after the start of the spring season on April 15 would be valid only for hunting in the fall, licenses for fall hunting would have to be purchased by August 31, and a separate tag would be placed on the hide of all harvested bears.
- A statewide general fall season, like the experimental one held during 1997 in Region 1, is proposed. The season would begin on September 15 and run through the end of the general big game season.
- The season structure for mountain lions would be changed from separate hunt and chase seasons to a single season of the same overall length in which the chase season would commence once the hunt quota was reached in a district.
- Two-Way Communications: It would be unlawful to use any type of two-way electronic communication to aid in the pursuit or taking of game.
- Airplane Spotting: It would be unlawful to hunt big game or help someone else take big game on the same day he or she has been airborne. This rule would not apply to regularly scheduled commercial flights between cities.
- Use of technology: It would be unlawful to use any electronically illuminated hand gun and rifle scopes or to use night vision optics for hunting game.
- Hunter Orange: Hunter orange clothing would be required for all upland game bird hunting, except for turkey and doves.
Public meetings on the tentative regulations are scheduled for a number of Montana communities in the near future and public hearings will be held in each of FWP's administrative regions and Helena as follows:
January 10, 1998: Kalispell 9-10 am - Open House, Outlaw Inn
10 am - Public Hearing, Outlaw Inn
January 15, 1998: Missoula 6-10 pm - Public Hearing, Double Tree Inn (formerly Village Red Lion)
January 13, 1998: Bozeman 7 pm - Public Hearing, Holiday Inn
January 15, 1998: Great Falls 7 pm - Public Hearing, Heritage Hall, MSU College of Technology
January 8, 1998: Billings 7 pm - Public Hearing, Stillwater Room, Holiday Inn, 5500 Midland Road
January 8, 1998: Havre 6-7 pm - Open House, Duck Inn
7-9 pm - Public Hearing, Duck Inn
January 13, 1998: Glasgow 6-7 pm - Open House, Cottonwood Inn
7-9 pm - Public Hearing, Cottonwood Inn
January 6, 1998: Forsyth 4-8 pm - Open House, Veterans Center
January 7, 1998: Miles City 7 pm - Public Hearing, Miles City Community Center
January 14, 1998: Glendive 4-8 pm - Open House, Dawson Community Center
January 17, 1998: Helena 9 am - Public Hearing, Colonial Inn, 2301 Colonial Drive
The FWP Commission is scheduled to adopt final seasons and regulations at its February 5-6 meeting in Helena. For additional information on scheduled meetings or hearings or to obtain a complete copy of the tentatives, contact any FWP regional office or the agency's Helena headquarters. Written comments on the proposals should be sent to: Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Attn: Hunting Season Comments, PO Box 200701, Helena MT 59620-0701, by January 24, 1998.