The elk archery issue in northeastern Montana has surfaced at the Legislature again this year. SB 151, sponsored by Sen. Jim Peterson, R-Buffalo, would send archery elk permits back to the 2007 level and keep the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission from reducing the number of archery elk permits in 30 hunting districts unless the elk population in a district drops below 85 percent of objective.
The regulations limiting archery elk permits in the districts was implemented as a quality and equality issue, FWP’s wildlife chief, Ken McDonald, told the Senate Fish and Game Committee at a Tuesday hearing on the bill. The quality measure was to limit the number of hunters which had led to overcrowding. The equality side of the move was to limit archery hunters in areas where rifle hunter numbers were already regulated.
Landowner, outfitter and business groups have supported the bill while sportsmen’s groups have opposed it.
Also this week in the Legislature, the House Judiciary Committee tabled a bill that would have allowed hunters to cross at the corners of property where they had permission to be. The backers of HB 235 have vowed a fight, planning a rally outside the capitol on Feb. 18 at 10 a.m. followed by an attempt to “blast” the bill to the full House floor for a vote later that day.
This post was written by BRETT FRENCH, Outdoors Editor of the Billings Gazette