Commission approves special mule deer hunt

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The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission last week approved a new limited draw for mule deer bucks in a section of the Fisher River in Hunting District 103 near Libby. The new permit area will take effect this year with a quota of five draw permits. Applications will be due March 15, 2018. Maps will be available at FWP’s office in Kalispell and online at fwp.mt.gov under “Hunt Planner.”

“The limited draw mule deer hunt will set aside about a quarter of hunting district 103 for permit-only antlered buck hunting and you will have to apply for a permit,” FWP Region 1 Wildlife Manager Neil Anderson said. “Hunters are encouraged to review these and other changes to the hunting seasons and plan accordingly so they don’t miss opportunity this fall.”

Other decisions from last week’s meeting in Helena include:

• The Commission denied a proposal to expand the early youth deer hunt to a four-day opportunity and change the definition of youth to be anyone between 10 and 17.

• The Commission denied the use of crossbows as a legal weapon for fall turkey hunting.

• The Commission approved the creation of the Swan River Refuge Weapons Restriction Area for archery-only hunting of deer, elk, black bear, mountain lion and wolf in a portion of HD 130 (Lake County).

• The Commission approve the addition of a second antlerless white-tailed deer license for HD 170, bringing the number of antlerless whitetail licenses available to a hunter to 2 for the district.

• The Commission closed hunting districts 131, 132, 134, 141, 151 (Missoula, Flathead, Lake, Lewis & Clark and Powell counties) for mountain goat hunting.

• The Commission approved language making it illegal to take a female mountain goat accompanying a kid or a female mountain goat in a group that contains one or more kids in FWP Regions 1, 2 and 4.

• The Commission passed a resolution supporting the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, a bipartisan legislation working its way through Congress. The bill, if approved, could provide $1.3 billion in annual funds to state wildlife agencies for conserving wildlife and habitat, increasing wildlife associated recreation opportunities, and increasing conservation education programs. Funding for the legislation would come from revenue generated by existing on and off-shore oil and gas drilling as well as other energy sources developed on federal lands and would require a 25 percent non-federal match.

• The Commission approved the criteria for exception on ban on ungulate urine from chronic wasting disease (CWD) - positive states (per SB173).

For more information about the Commission meeting, visit fwp.mt.gov.

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