At its meeting in Helena on December 10 and 11, the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission took final action on FWP's rules for selling nonresident combination licenses in 1999 and the rules concerning refunds requested by nonresidents who have purchased those licenses.
Commissioners also adopted tentative 1999 spring turkey and spring black bear quotas, as well as tentative 1999 hunting seasons and regulations for deer, elk, mountain lions and black bears.
In FWP administrative Region 3, the number of A-7 antlerless elk licenses will increase. Antlerless mule deer quotas will generally be more restrictive, as they have been since 1997, in an attempt to continue to help mule deer numbers improve. Antlerless whitetail deer licenses will also be more restrictive. A proposal to adopt an expanded general fall season for mountain lions, similar to that held in Region 1 for the past two years, also was tentatively adopted. In addition, a new permit-only lion season is proposed in Region 1.
The nonresident license rule, with one exception, keeps the prices for the various nonresident "combination" hunting licenses at the same amounts they were for 1998. The one exception is that a Deer Combination License in the "outfitter-sponsored, variable-priced" category will cost $745 in 1999, an increase of $25 over the cost of these market-based licenses in 1998.
The refund policy approved by the Commission sets the guidelines by which license fees are refunded to nonresident hunters who find themselves unable to use the licenses they purchase. Under the revised policy, 100 percent of the cost of a license would be refunded in the event of the death of the purchaser. Ninety percent of the purchase price would be refunded in the event of medical emergencies or the death of family members, and 80 percent of the cost would be refunded to a hunter for any reason who requests the refund prior to August 1. After August 1 and until the opening of the general hunting season, refunds of 50 percent of the license purchase price would be granted for reasons other than death and medical emergencies.
The Commission also took action on several FWP lands-related matters, including acquisition of a fishing access site at Duck Creek on the Yellowstone River near Billings, approved FWP's "Fisheries Beyond 2000" strategic planning document and tentatively adopted commercial fishing regulations for 1999.