HELENA – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on several proposals slated to go to the Fish and Wildlife Commission in October. Under the new commission process, FWP is taking public comment on these proposals now through Sept. 22.
Commissioners can offer amendments to the proposals as they see fit. The proposals and supporting documents, commissioner amendments and collected public comment will be available on the FWP website two weeks prior to the commission meeting, Oct. 6.
The commission will make a final decision on these proposals at its Oct. 20 meeting.
Danford Pond Wildlife Viewing Area Easement Acquisition and Construction
FWP is proposing an easement for public wildlife viewing at the Danford Pond Conservation Easement. The easement would be a no cost easement and FWP would construct a parking area and wildlife-viewing area using funds from the Nongame Tax Check-off account.
Fleecer Mountain WMA Grazing Lease Renewals, Region 3
FWP is proposing the Fleecer Mountain WMA leases for a nine-year term beginning in May 2023 to include the EOU, cash grazing, and EOS leases as presented. This comprehensive approach would help achieve habitat objectives for the WMA while benefitting local livestock producers.
2023/24 Fishing Regulations
FWP is proposing a suite of regulation changes for the 2023/24 fishing regulations.
Bad Rock Canyon Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Hunting Regulations
FWP is proposing hunting regulations for the Bad Rock Canyon WMA that include hunting by limited access permit only. Archery season is open Thursday through Sunday (or Monday if it is a holiday) to archery equipment for all legal species, limited to two individuals/week awarded by lottery. General hunting and spring turkey seasons are open to youth ages 10–15 and hunters with a PTHFV for all legal species, limited to one party/day awarded by lottery. Closed to spring black bear hunting. Area rules, maps, and the access permit application process are available at FWP’s Region 1 Headquarters, 406-752-5501.
2023 Annual Work Plan for Elk Management in Areas with Brucellosis
FWP is proposing substantiative recommendations from the brucellosis working group that differ from the 2022 plan, including:
- Allow the use of elk management tools within the DSA and in other specific areas where brucellosis-exposed elk have been confirmed.
- Add the exploration of new hazing techniques based on the efficacy of past efforts and new research findings. New hazing techniques could include the use of drones, dogs, remote cameras that alert landowners to elk presence, hazing even when elk are not present, or hazing at night. The work group recommends implementing at least one new technique in 2023 followed by an analysis of efficacy.
- Add the expanded opportunity to use fencing that reduces the ability for elk to cross into or use high-risk areas, such as calving pastures. This fencing was previously authorized for use only in the Paradise Valley.
- Add the target of implementing at least one habitat manipulation project that encourages elk to stay away from high-risk areas in 2023 followed by an analysis of efficacy.
- Remove the annual cap of $2,500 per landowner for fencing material.
City of Havre Urban Deer Management Plan
FWP is proposing the commission approve the City of Havre Deer Management Action Plan. The plan contains strategies that can effectively remove urban deer.
To comment and for more information on these proposals, go online to https://fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/commission/october-2022-meeting.