FWP Seeking Public Comment on 2016-17 Hunting Regs.
The following information is from Ryan Rauscher, Wildlife Biologist for the Montana FWP:
The department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks is taking public comment on proposed hunting regulations for the 2016‐2017 hunting seasons. The process of collecting and analyzing data to inform hunting season proposals is an all‐year, every‐year job for FWP wildlife biologists, who also draw upon the observations and experiences of game wardens, FWP front office staff, and everyone with an interest in the outdoors. But, hunting season regulations are formally reviewed and adjustments proposed every two years, beginning in the year preceding the affected hunting season, and concluding in the following February. January 2016 is when FWP Region 4 biologists will hold evening public meetings in 10 cities and towns around the region to collect and discuss public input for the 2016‐2017 biennium.
The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission—a 5‐person, citizen board appointed by the Governor—sets hunting seasons and regulations on a biennial basis. Richard Stuker currently represents the public in my area and much of Region 4 on the Commission. FWP biologists make hunting season recommendations to their respective wildlife manager in each FWP Region. In turn, regional wildlife managers seek concurrence from their regional supervisors, who forward approved proposals to the State Wildlife office in Helena, then to the FWP Director’s Office and the Commission. The Commission reviewed FWP’s hunting season proposals at its monthly meeting on December 10, 2015. In consideration of public comment received prior to and at the December meeting, the Commission approved the tentative hunting regulations for the 2016‐17 biennium and opened a public comment period. Tentative hunting regulations are available for public viewing and comment on FWP’s website online, and the Commission will consider and approve final biennial hunting regulations at its monthly meeting on February 11, 2016. All proposed items will be accepting public comments until January 22nd at 5 p.m.
Comments will be accepted online HERE ; in writing sent to: Wildlife Division, PO Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701; and by email to . Comments will also be taken at public meetings in both oral and written form. I do suggest that comments are submitted in written form to be sure your words are heard.
A complete list of all the proposed changes and public meetings can be found HERE.
For your convenience, following is the schedule of public meetings for my area.
Cut Bank – Tuesday, January 5, Glacier Electric Bldg., Hospitality Rm., 7 PM
Chester – Wednesday, January 6, High School Auditorium, 7 PM
Conrad – Wednesday, January 13, Community Center, 311 S. Virginia, 7 PM
Great Falls – Tuesday, January 19, Paris Gibson Education Center cafeteria, 25th St./Central, 7 PM
Note that current regulations are proposed to carry forward for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The only changes to the current regulations are the tentative proposals. Those tentative proposals specific to my area are listed below:
HDs 401 and 403: Eliminate 900-00 B Licenses. It is redundant, undersubscribed, underused, and doing so would simplify the regulations.
In 23 of 36 R4 districts – HDs400/401/403/404/405/406/410/411/412/413/417/419/421/422/423/426/432/442/444/445/447/450/471: Change from antlered buck mule deer to either-sex. HDs 422, 423, and 442 for outside National Forest lands only.
HD 401: 401-00 B-license reduction, 200 to 100, and establish quota range 100-500
HD 403: 403-00 B-license (valid for either species) reduction, 175 to 75, and establish quota range 25-300
HD 406: Change 406-00 B-license to MD only & reduce from 200 to 100 with range 25-500.
HDs 406/441/450: Establish 495-00 B license (quota 300, range 100-800) valid in all 3 HDs. HD 406 closes 11/13/2016. HDs 441 and 450 close 11/27/2016.