BILLINGS – A special buck mule deer hunting permit that has been in place for many years for the Pryor Mountains in eastern Carbon County has been dropped for the 2019 season. The application packet for buck deer and bull elk permits, which arrived at license dealers this week, erroneously lists the permit as available for the coming year.
During past years, hunters could apply for an unlimited number of buck mule deer permits in hunting district 510. The permit – number 510-50 – allowed hunters to harvest a mule deer buck in that hunting district but precluded them from harvesting a mule deer buck elsewhere in the state. The permit was developed to maintain buck numbers by limiting mule deer buck harvest from the western flank of the Pryor Mountains.
After chronic wasting disease was discovered in eastern Carbon County in 2017, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologists and the state Fish & Wildlife Commission agreed to discontinue the permits in an attempt to maximize harvest in the area and potentially slow the spread of the disease. CWD spreads primarily from animal-to-animal and management strategies include managing for fewer bucks on the landscape.
Though the 510-50 permit type is listed in this spring’s application packet, hunters can ignore it. During the 2019 season, anyone with a general deer license will be allowed to harvest a mule deer buck in hunting district 510 without a restriction on hunting elsewhere in the state.
Applications for all special buck deer and elk permits are due by March 15. Applications are available at all license dealers and online at http://fwp.mt.gov and follow the links to “hunting” and “buy licenses & apply for permits.”