Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials remind hunters applying for moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat licenses that they will see changes in fees as a result of state legislation adopted last year.
In past years, hopeful resident hunters were required to submit $75 with their application for a $125 license, plus pay a $5 drawing fee. This year, resident hunters need only submit a nonrefundable $10 application fee per license and then pay the full license fee of $125 if successful.
"The 2013 Montana Legislature adopted the new fee system as a more efficient business model," said Ron Aasheim, FWP spokesman in Helena. "Once a hunter is awarded the license he or she will then pay the entire fee, which also saves FWP considerable accounting time, including the cost to cut thousands of refund checks and send them back through the mail to unsuccessful applicants."
In a typical year, FWP offers about 370 moose licenses, 430 bighorn sheep licenses and 290 mountain goat licenses through the special drawings—and would usually sent refunds to more than 57,000 unsuccessful applicants.
While more hunters may apply this year as a result of the fee change, Aasheim said those who applied in past years, and who also participated with "bonus points" to increase the chance of being awarded a license, will still have a leg up.
"Hunters with existing bonus points have them arithmetically 'squared' to further increase their chances of success in the drawing," Aasheim said.
For instance, a hunter who applied for but wasn't drawn for a bighorn sheep license for the past five years, and who also participated in the bonus point system each year, will have 25 additional chances to be drawn in 2014.
Nonresidents are also included in the new fee arrangement. In past years, nonresident hunters were required to submit $750, the entire cost of a moose, bighorn sheep or mountain goat license, plus pay a $5 drawing fee. This year, nonresident hunters need only submit a nonrefundable $50 application fee per license and then pay the full license fee of $750 if successful.
Residents and nonresidents can participate in the bonus point system. Bonus points are $2 per species for residents and $20 per species for nonresidents.
May 1 is the deadline to apply for Montana's moose, bighorn sheep, bison and mountain goat licenses available through a special drawing. The next big deadline is June 2 to apply for antelope, deer B and elk B licenses.
Applying for drawings for special big game hunting permits and licenses is a lot easier these days for hunters who apply early and online at fwp.mt.gov .