The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission is seeking comment on tentatively approved hunting harvest quotas for mountain lions, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats for the upcoming hunting seasons.
FWP wildlife managers have recommended, and the FWP Commission has tentatively approved, selective reductions to lower the statewide mountain lion harvest quota from 868 in 1998 to 769 for 1999. This is the first mountain lion quota reduction in recent years. The proposed quota reductions are focused on western and central Montana. Total harvest quota for Region 1 in northwestern Montana is 216 lions, 13 fewer than 1998s quota; in southwestern Montana the total harvest quota for Region 2 is 237, down 68 from 1998; and in central Montana the total harvest for Region 4 is 117, down 16 from 1998.
"Last year, lion hunters harvested 774 lions, well below the established quota of 868. Our data suggests that after several years of increased harvest quotas and high harvest success rates, weve reached a point in some areas where the overall population has been reduced. These quotas are designed to take about 25 percent of the current lion population," said Glenn Erickson, FWPs wildlife management bureau chief.
For other big game species, proposed harvest quotas for moose have been lowered in Hunting Districts 102, 122 and 140, while increase are proposed for HDs 140 and 300. Proposed harvest quotas for bighorn sheep are up in HD 270, and 422, while reductions are proposed for HD 124, 424, 482, and 680. Proposed harvest quotas for Rocky Mountain goats are up in HD 314, 316, and 329; and reduced in HD 323.
Comments can be sent to Wildlife Division, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620. Comments must be received by June 1.