|Montana's 57th Legislature addressed many issues of interest to hunters and landowners. Here is a brief summary of new legislation associated with the resources FWP manages.
Cooperation Among FWP, Landowners, and Hunters
HB 454 Authorizes non-transferable elk permits for landowners who enter hunting-access agreements with FWP and directs FWP to issue four permits for public use on that land.
SB 304 Clarifies the scope of and revises the funding criteria for the Upland Game Bird Habitat Enhancement program.
SB 437 Authorizes supplemental game-damage licenses when FWP and a landowner agree to the need. Allows a landowner to designate up to 75 percent of the resident license recipients with the remainder to be offered in a manner determined by FWP.
Funding to Enhance or Maintain Programs for Hunters and Anglers
HB 554 Increases nonresident hunting and fishing license fees to bring Montana's fees in line with other Western states and to reverse a revenue decline that would otherwise force cuts in services and staff.
SB 285 Creates a hunting-access enhancement fee of $2 for residents and $10 for nonresidents for Montana's Hunting Access Program and increases incentives for landowners in the Block Management Program.
FWP Management Authority and Responsibility
HB 142 Grants the FWP Commission authority to adopt rules limiting the number of nonresident mountain lion hunters in northwestern Montana's Region 1.
HB 492 Authorizes FWP to manage the prairie dog on public land as a nongame species, while still allowing the Department of Agriculture to manage the prairie dog as a pest, to reduce the potential for its listing under the Endangered Species Act.
SB 163 Removes the wolf and lynx from Montana's list of predators to maintain or regain FWP's management authority, rather than having management authority exercised by the federal government. It further allows a landowner to protect livestock from active grizzly bear attacks.
SB 431 Provides that certain nongame wildlife may not be taken for commercial purposes without FWP authorization.
Revisions, Amendments and Special Projects
HB 451 Revises regulations for hunting by persons with disability requirements for permits to hunt from a vehicle.
SB 104 Amends four enforcement statutes: 1) clarifies that loss of privileges may be a penalty for waste of game; 2) allows wardens to cite dog owners when the dog chases deer or elk; 3) prohibits intentionally, or negligently continuing, to feed bears; and 4) requires identification on all traps.