Montanans will have a number of opportunities to review and comment on 2014-2015 hunting regulation proposals by going on online now or by attending one of 43 public meetings beginning in January.
Last summer, FWP held seven meetings across the state and received nearly 1,200 comments that led to several new hunting season proposals.
At the meetings in January, FWP will present proposals to aid the recovery of Montana's declining deer populations by reducing hunting pressure on antlerless mule deer and white-tailed deer. Wildlife managers surmise Montana's deer numbers are in decline statewide due to a number of unique circumstances—from the cyclical nature of mule deer populations to predation and disease and from drought to tough winter conditions. For the next two hunting seasons, with a few exceptions to address game damage issues, FWP proposes to: 1) convert general mule deer seasons to antlered-only; 2) eliminate most mule deer B, or antlerless, licenses; 3) eliminate white-tailed deer B licenses in Regions 4 and 6 and in most of Region 5.
Details on the proposed hunting regulations are available on FWP's website at fwp.mt.gov. Click "2014-2015 Hunting Proposals," where one can find a complete calendar of meeting times and locations, and additional information on each proposal. The proposals encompass hunting season dates and nearly every huntable species in the state, including antelope, black bear, bighorn sheep, bison, deer, elk, moose, mountain goat, mountain lion, and a variety of upland game birds.
Comments may be submitted at the local meetings, which are set for Jan 4-23, 2014 statewide, or online at fwp.mt.gov. Written comments may be sent to: FWP—Wildlife Bureau, Attn: Public Comment, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701. For questions not covered on the website, call 406-444-2612.
Comments are due by 5 p.m. on Jan. 24, 2014. The Fish & Wildlife Commission will adopt final regulations in February.