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FWP To Devise Preference System For Big Ticket Hunting Licenses
Fri Jul 24 00:00:00 MDT 1998
Headlines
This news release was archived on Mon Jul 01 00:00:00 MDT 2002

(See the Fact Sheet immediately following this story)

Twelve Montanans and a commissioner from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have been selected to serve on Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks' Preference 2001 Advisory Committee. The group will develop a preference system for hunters who apply for Montana's strictly limited hunting licenses, which are awarded only through annual special drawings.

"The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission told the department it wants to change the selection method for issuing licenses that are currently issued via a random drawing," said Dave Mott, chief of FWP's Administration and Finance Division. "Right now, every hunter has an equal chance to draw one of these licenses. The FWP Commission, however, wants to see a system that could provide a preference to previously unsuccessful applicants who continue to apply for a special hunting license." The FWP Commission voted last fall to seek legislative approval to establish such a preference system, Mott said.

Montana offers a variety of special hunting licenses via an annual drawing. Each year FWP receives more than 200,000 resident and nonresident applications for licenses to hunt moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, antelope, and some elk and deer through the special drawings. Chances of drawing one of these big game hunting licenses range from a low of less than 1 percent for some bighorn sheep licenses to a high of 100 percent for some antelope and elk permits.

Mott said the the Preference 2001 Advisory Committee will consider all special license and permits awarded through FWP's annual drawings. The committee could create a preference system based on earned points that could refer to the number of years one has applied for a license. The committee could similarly consider methods designed to limit previously successful applicants from entering the drawing. The committee, which will be chaired by FWP Commission Chairman Stan Meyer, includes:

  • Charles Buus--Whitehall--Jefferson Valley Sportsmen's Association, Inc.
  • Larry Descheemaeker--Lewistown--Montana Stockgrowers Association
  • Charles Decker--Libby--FWP Commissioner
  • Doug Dreeszen--Ballantine--Foundation for North American Wild Sheep.
  • Dean Lydig--Spokane, Wash.--Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission.
  • Chris Marchion--Anaconda--Montana Wildlife Federation.
  • Rick Miller--Colstrip-- Montana Bowhunters Association.
  • Randy Newberg--Bozeman--Headwaters Sportsclub.
  • Chad Schearer--Great Falls--Central Montana Outfitters.
  • Pat Simmons--Bozeman-Hunter-at-Large
  • Joe Thornbrugh--Hamilton--Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association.
  • Jack Wells--Bozeman--Montana State Representive (R-Bozeman).

Mott said committee members were selected primarily based on their group affiliation. "Dean Lydig, a Washington Fish and Wildlife commissioner, was asked to serve because he offers a unique perspective as a commissioner from a state that has adopted a type of preference system and as a nonresident interested in hunting in Montana," Mott said.

At its first meeting, the Preference 2001 Advisory Committee will review Montana's current and past preference systems as well as systems in place in surrounding states. Draft recommendations are expected in October, with final recommendations delivered to the FWP Commission in November. The FWP Commission will then make recommendations to the 1999 Legislature in January. If legislative approval is received, FWP will develop computer programs and fully implement the preference system in 2001.

The council's first meeting is set for August 22 in Helena at the FWP headquarters, 1420 East Sixth Avenue.


PREFERENCE 2001 ADVISORY COMMITTEE

FACT SHEET

    Who?

Twelve Montanans and a commissioner from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will serve on Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks' Preference Advisory Committee. The group will develop a preference system for hunters who apply for particular hunting licenses whose sales are strictly limited and awarded only through annual special drawings.

The members represent the FWP Commission, Central Montana Outfitters, Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, hunters-at-large, Headwaters Sportsclub, Jefferson Valley Sportsmen's Association, Montana Bowhunters Association, Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Wildlife Federation, the Montana State Legislature, Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association, and the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission.

    What?

A preference system typically provides a hunter who is unsuccessful in obtaining a special hunting license through a lottery or drawing with an enhanced opportunity to obtain the license in subsequent years. Such a system could, for instance, award points based on the number of years one has applied for a license, or it could be designed to limit previously successful applicants from entering a license drawing.

    When?

The Preference 2001 Advisory Committee will meet at least three times through September studying various preference systems and taking public comment on preference-system options. The first meeting is set for August 22 at FWP headquarters in Helena. Draft recommendations are expected in October, with final recommendations delivered to the FWP Commission in November. The FWP Commission will then make its decision concerning preference systems in December.

Any system must be approved by the Montana Legislature. Such approval could come by April 1999. Upon legislative approval, FWP would then draft and implement Administrative Rule changes. The preference system would then be incorporated into FWP's Automated Licensing System computer design and become fully implemented by March 2001.

    Why?

Each year, FWP receives more than 200,000 resident and nonresident applications for licenses to hunt moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, antelope, and some elk and deer through the state's annual special drawings. Chances of drawing one of these big game hunting licenses range from a low of 1 percent for bighorn some sheep licenses to a high of 100 percent for some antelope and elk permits.

Last fall, the Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks Commission voted to establish a preference system for hunters who enter the random drawings for the state's coveted moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, and perhaps for antelope, elk, and deer licenses and permits. Traditionally, every hunter has an equal chance to be drawn for one of these licenses or permits. The FWP Commission, however, wants to create a system that could provide a preference to previously unsuccessful applicants who continue to apply for a special hunting license. The Preference 2001 Advisory Committee has been formed to produce the goals and major operational components of the proposed license-preference system.

    How?

The committee will gather information from other states that have a hunting-license preference system in place, conduct an extensive review of existing preference systems, and take comment in a variety of ways, including fax and over the Internet. Faxes can be sent to FWP at 406-444-4952. Written comments can be mailed to Preference 2001; Montana FWP; P.O. Box 200701; Helena, MT 59620-0701. Comments can also be submitted via FWP's Internet site at: fwp.mt.state.us.