Montana's Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission is seeking public comment on several important tentative proposals for the 2006 big game hunting seasons.
Tentative proposals include:
* a two-year season setting process, instead of the annual process now used, that would maintain adopted regulations for two consecutive years.
* a consolidation of most elk hunting opportunities within Montana's traditional five-week long general hunting season to bring the state's growing elk populations in line with management targets. This proposal would also eliminate most late season and early season hunts to restore general public hunting as Montana's primary big game population management tool.
* a mountain lion permit system in Regions 1 and 2, instead of the existing harvest quotas, to better manage competition among hunters in western Montana and to help prevent accidental over harvest.
* limit hunters to five antlerless deer licenses and two antelope doe/fawn licenses. This would not apply to game damage situations.
* new guidelines for transporting animal carcasses to reduce the possible spread of CWD to Montana. It would be illegal to transport into Montana the whole or carcass-parts of white-tailed deer, mule deer or elk from areas within states or provinces where CWD occurs. Only cut and wrapped meat, meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached, clean skull plates, and finished taxidermy heads could be legally transported.
* a revision of the elk trophy definition to increase restitution fines for poaching elk that meet the minimum Boone and Crockett score of 320.
* an extension of youth hunting opportunities for ages 12-14 to youngsters ages 12-17.
Details on the tentative big game quota and season changes are available on FWP’s 2006 Tentative Regulation Information web page.
FWP will host a series of 42 statewide public meeting beginning in January to discuss the tentative big game hunting regulations. Some of the scheduled meetings are listed below:
FWP will also take comment via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail addressed to: Big Game Regulations, Wildlife Division, Montana FWP, P.O. Box 200701; Helena, MT 59620-0701. Comments must be received by Jan. 27, 2006. For information contact your nearest FWP office.