The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission is seeking public comment on a proposal to establish fixed season dates for the opening of the deer, elk, antelope and pheasant hunting seasons.
"We're working to get the word out early that the FWP Commission is interested in gathering comments on a possible tentative proposal to establish fixed dates for several hunting seasons," said FWP spokesman Ron Aasheim in Helena. "The notion is to have a day on the calendar each year that would become the opening day for a particular hunting season."
For example, the commission may seek comment on whether a fixed season of Oct. 25 to Nov. 30 for deer and elk is preferred to the current season, which opens on the Sunday, five weeks prior to the Sunday following Thanksgiving Day.
A similar fixed-season date option for pheasant—Oct. 10 to Dec. 31—and antelope—Oct. 10 to Nov. 10—are also being considered. These seasons now respectively open on Saturday and Sunday preceding the national Columbus Day holiday, Aasheim said.
The proposal may be part of the tentative 2008-09 hunting regulations the FWP Commission will consider in December.
"Some hunters feel the consistency of a hunting season opener always occurring on the same date will help with their annual hunting-season vacation plans, as well as reduce the hunting pressure on most opening days," Aasheim said.
He noted, however, that some hunters have grown accustom to Montana's long-standing weekend-opener tradition.
"Some may feel the current method of calculating the openers offers a more equitable opportunity to hunt on opening day," Aasheim said.
Montana already has fixed-date openers for most upland gamebirds (Sept. 1); black bears (April 15 and Sept. 15); and moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats (Sept. 15).Send E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org; or mail to Fixed Season Dates, FWP Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701. Or call your nearest FWP office for more information.