Public Hunting on Private Lands
In Montana, the Private Land/Public Wildlife (PL/PW) Council is seeking public comment on a draft proposal to authorize Fish, Wildlife, & Parks (FWP) to issue non-transferable complimentary landowner licenses or special permits to landowners who allow public hunting access under certain conditions. According to Council chairman Tom Hougen, "This plan has potential to open up some new opportunities in special permit areas where landowners can't ever seem to draw a permit to hunt on their own land."

Under the draft proposal, FWP would receive authority to issue non-transferable complimentary resident or nonresident hunting or fishing licenses, or non-transferable complimentary limited draw tags or permits, to landowners providing non-commercial public hunting opportunities to non-family members under the following criteria:

  • Hunting opportunity afforded to the public must be no more restrictive than regulations adopted by the FWP Commission;
  • The quality and quantity of public hunting opportunity must be at least equivalent to any commercial hunting occurring on the property.

The Council proposes that FWP Commission rules stipulate:

  • Complimentary licenses, permits, and tags would not be transferable by gift or sale;
  • Only a landowner, designated family member, or tax-paying ranch employee would be eligible to receive a complimentary license, tag, or permit;
  • Complimentary tags or permits would be valid only on property owned or leased for agricultural purposes by the landowner to whom the tag or permit is issued;
  • Complimentary tags or permits issued under this proposal would be in addition to quotas established for general drawings, and the FWP Commission must determine that issuance of complimentary tags in a hunting district will not reduce hunting opportunity for the general public;
  • For nonresident landowners allowing public hunting access, no more than 100 (total, in aggregate) complimentary B-10 or B-11 nonresident combination big game licenses (including those issued under the Block Management Program) may be issued in any license year, and these would be in addition to any quota already established under statute or rule;

People wishing to comment should submit comments by Wednesday, October 11th, either by mailing them to : PL/PW Council, FWP - Field Services, PO Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620; or by e-mailing them to: or by leaving a phone message at (406) 444-3798. For more information, contact Alan Charles, FWP Council liaison, at the numbers/address listed above, or contact any Council member.

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