Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on a tentative hunting season and regulations for bison in southwestern Montana.
In 2003, Montana's Legislature passed a law giving the FWP Commission authority to establish a bison hunt. At its Oct. 7 meeting in Helena, the commission tentatively approved FWP’s environmental review and plan for a proposed hunt, authorizing 25 bison-hunting licenses for use Jan. 15-Feb. 15, 2005. The final bison season quota will be set at the Dec. 16 Commission meeting. In subsequent years, more or fewer hunting licenses could be authorized for a season that would run from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15.
Hunting licenses would be awarded via a special drawing at a cost of $75 for residents and $750 for nonresidents.
The intent of the law authorizing the hunt is to allow Montana hunters to harvest wild, free-roaming bison under fair chase conditions and to reduce damage to private property by altering bison behavior and distribution. The proposed hunt is not expected to substantially regulate bison populations. Population regulation will continue to be achieved through the Interagency Bison Management Plan approved by state and federal authorities several years ago.
Public bison hunts are established in several western states, including Alaska, Arizona, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. In Montana, the last public bison hunt took place in 1991.
The tentative bison hunting regulations are available for review on the FWP homepage at www.fwp.state.mt.us under Hot Topics. The commission will take final action on the tentative regulations on Dec. 16.
Comments should be mailed by Nov. 26 to: Bison Hunt Regulations, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 1400 S. 19 th Ave., Bozeman, MT 59718, or via e-mail .