October 1, 2022

Montana Hunters Speak Up on Proposed Hunting Regulation Changes

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Many hunters flocked to the WestCoast Kalispell Center Hotel for a public hearing with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks commission members, to voice their opinions about some proposals for changes in many hunting regulations.

It became apparent right away that the majority in attendance were there to object to a new plan to change how the mountain lion is hunted. In a nutshell, the way it works now is officials set quotas for how many lions they would like to have taken in each of the hunting zones. Once those quotas are filled, the season closes.

Proposed is to go to a lotto system and issue permits by numbers that would ultimately reach the same projected quotas. It was this plan that hunters and outfitters objected too. A lot of that objection had to do with the use of hunting dogs in persuit of the cat, loss of revenue by outfitters, and taking away hunting opportunities for many.

Dog owners voiced concern about not being able to hunt with their dogs while waiting perhaps several years for a chance at a permit.

Opposition to a lotto plan ran deep but suggestions for an alternative didn’t.

The hunters suggested tightening quotas or issuing lion licenses good only for particular districts to prevent hunters from going from one district to the next as quotas are met. To address the trend of younger cats being harvested, it was suggested having a lion hunting season later in the winter, when older toms tend to roam at lower elevations.

While the issues surrounding the mountain lion hunt seemed to be the hot topic, there was only limited opposition to a proposal to open up more antlerless deer permits and very little opposition to other elk and deer plans.

Tom Remington