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Commission Seeks Comment On Proposed 2003


December 26, 2002


Commission Seeks Comment On Proposed 2003 Tentative Seasons and Quotas

The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission is seeking public comment on tentative 2003 deer, elk, and spring turkey seasons and quotas; spring black bear quotas, and game damage permit authorizations.

Comments may be made by attending one of the regional public meetings scheduled around the state, or by submitting written comments to the Wildlife Division, Montana FWP, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT, 59620-0701. Written comments on the tentative regulations will be accepted through Jan. 24, 2003. The FWP commission will discuss final regulations during its Feb.12, 2003 meeting.

Here is a brief summary of some regulation changes tentatively adopted by the FWP commission:

Proposed General Regulation Change:

Revise the definition of an antlered deer "trophy" used to determine restitution for an unlawfully taken big game animal.

Proposed Deer Season Changes:

Extend the either-sex whitetail season for the first two-weeks of the season in hunting districts 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 109, 110, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 130, 132, 140, and 141.
Create a single antlerless white-tailed deer B license valid during archery season in the 200 series hunting districts.

In hunting district 260 authorize 300 B licenses valid Sept. 6-Jan. 15 for either sex whitetail using only archery equipment. Five hundred permits would be valid from Dec. 1—Jan. 15 for antlerless whitetail using only a shotgun, traditional handgun or muzzleloader. Up to five antlerless whitetail B licenses would be available per hunter.

In hunting district 319 establish unlimited permits for antlered buck mule deer.

In hunting district 340 retain the current general season for antlered buck mule deer or either sex white-tailed deer; or change to unlimited permits for antlered buck mule deer to be obtained only through the June 1 drawing.

In hunting district 404 and 450, the Teton Spring Creek Bird Preserve, issue special B licenses for anterless either-species deer for the archery season. Successful applicants would also be able to purchase up to two additional antlerless, either species B licenses for the same area.

In hunting district 621 and 622 change the general and archery deer season from antlered buck mule deer to either sex mule deer.

In the 700 series hunting districts, for residents only, add 2,000 antlerless mule deer B licenses and 1,000 antlerless whitetail B licenses, available from FWP license providers.

Proposed Elk Season Changes:

Include hunting districts 204, 240, 250, 261, and 270 in the youth elk hunt general season.
In hunting district 260 issue 50 antlerless elk permits for shotgun, traditional handgun or muzzleloader. Change the archery season from either sex elk to brow-tined bull or antlerless elk.

In hunting district 310, the Gallatin closed area, issue five either sex elk permits valid for the general and archery season.

In the south half of hunting district 321 establish an unlimited special permit to hunt elk during the archery season and require hunters to make it their first and only choice.

In hunting district 401 reduce six special season types to three.

In hunting district 455 consolidate five special antlerless permit seasons into one and reduce either sex elk permits from 85 to 75.

In hunting districts 413, 416, 418, 432, 446*, 448, 452, and 454—the general season for either sex elk for the last nine days of the season would be valid only outside the National Forest boundary.

In hunting district 510 establish a general elk season for antlerless elk Oct. 26-Nov. 2 west of Highway 310 only, and allow 520 and 502 permits to be also valid in that portion of 510.

In hunting district 600, 610, 611, 640, 641, 650, 651, 652 and 670 establish both a general and an archery season for either sex elk.

Proposed Moose, Sheep and Goat Quota Changes:

Reductions were proposed for moose quotas in hunting districts 319, 325, and 341 and the either sex bighorn sheep quota would go from 2 to 1 in hunting district 250. An increase from 8 to 12 licenses was proposed for either sex bighorn sheep licenses in hunting district 482. The either-sex goat quotas would go from 2 to 1 in hunting districts 213 and 270.

Proposed Turkey Season Changes:

Spring turkey proposals included closing the spring turkey season in Toole and Pondera counties and establishing a general spring gobbler turkey season in Ravalli County.

The 2003 hunting seasons for other game species, except upland bird and lion, were set by the FWP commission in February 2002. The 2003 upland bird and lion seasons will be established this coming spring.

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