FWP holds community meetings on proposed big game seasons

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will start the new year by hosting public meetings around the state to gather input on the proposed changes to the big game season structure for the 2012 and 2013 hunting seasons.

FWP will take public comment on the proposed changes through Jan. 23. The agency is holding meetings across southwest Montana, including one in Ennis Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Ennis Fire Hall. A meeting in Dillon will be held Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Search and Rescue Building.

Many of the changes to the deer season structure in hunting districts in and around Madison County are primarily focused on antlerless mule deer tag quotas.

For elk, the major changes are proposed for the Madison Valley. These changes were worked on by the Madison Valley Elk Working Group, which is a group of ranchers, sportsmen and FWP officials who meet a few times a year to discuss issues surrounding elk management.

The proposal the group developed would apply to hunting districts 360 and 362. It would make a general elk license valid for only brow-tined bulls. To hunt antlerless elk in the districts, hunters would have to draw one of 450 antlerless elk permits that would be spread over the two hunting districts and the five-week season. The idea is the antlerless elk permits would be good for one week during the season. So there would be 50 permits for the first week of the season and then 100 for each of the remaining four weeks. These permits would only be valid on private land within the district.

The proposed permits would be different than the B licenses currently issued, which in some cases allow hunters to harvest two elk. The permits would allow hunters to shoot either a brow-tined bull or antlerless elk during the time the permit is valid.

To view a copy of the proposed changes, go on to FWP’s website. Or call the regional office in Bozeman at 994-4042.

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