Updates from FWP commissioners

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Guest speakers for the final FWP Citizen’s Advisory Committee for 2016-2017 were Tim Aldrich and Kevin Podruzney.

Tim Aldrich, of Missoula, a former three-year University of Montana Grizzly basketball player, is a newly appointed member of the Fish and Game Commission.

Among Aldrich’s comments:

•Non-resident fees now provide 70 percent of the Department’s license revenue.

•We know anglers feel they are carrying the financial burden of recently enacted AIS measures (referring to the $2 add-on fee). We need to find a way for non-fishers like paddlers and floaters to contribute their fair share.

•I hope FWP will be more receptive to state needs now that we are operating on a 4-year budget cycle, rather than the former 10-year cycle.

•Elk shoulder seasons allow hunting outside the regular season, when elk are still accessible. Elk are hiding on private land during the general season. Landowners like damage hunts because they get to pick 25 percent of the hunters, which are usually family and friends.

•The Quiet Waters petition, which prohibited motorized boats on many state waters, generated over 1,800 pages of public comment, and was eventually killed.

Kevin Podruzney, from FWP in Helena, spoke on the hunter survey by telephone.

Some of Podruzney’s comments:

•Fifty callers in Helena and 30 in Bozeman annually call 60 percent of the deer and elk hunters who purchased licenses for the general season. In special hunts, all hunters are called.

•Some states have a mandatory reporting system where a hunters cannot purchase a new license until they report their success for the previous year. FWP feels a phone interviewer is more likely to get reliable information with a personal call.

•The phone survey provides information for wildlife biologists. Information from surveys back to 2004 is available at www.fwp.mt.gov.

•Starting in fall 2017, some hunters will be able to self-enter their data on the above website.

Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

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