During this year’s drawings for special permits, hunters who purchase bonus points had better odds of drawing. Instead of waiting a year for a purchased bonus point to be used, this year Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks allowed the new point to be utilized immediately. The change was made without notifying the public in its regulations or online help video. Montana hunter Tim Griffiths noted the change after he bought a point before the first drawing this spring. He notified FWP of what he thought was an error and was told the point wouldn’t be used. After the drawing, he saw the stats FWP posts online and noted they were utilized. Once again he called FWP so they could make a change before the next drawing, but this time was told the agency was simply following the law and had applied the bonus points to everyone’s drawing, so all was fair. This is only the latest of many FWP licensing problems.
Last year, FWP incorrectly eliminated almost 2,500 hunters who applied for certain elk permits, prompting a second drawing. The Legislative Audit Division will release a report on the bonus point system in June. To learn more, check out my story at https://billingsgazette.com/outdoors/fwp-alters-hunter-special-drawings-for-2-seasons-without-notifying-public-system-being-audited/article_37eb8ab8-e9fc-11ed-8d02-a3d9f8c421cb.html
Written by Brett French | Outdoors editor | Billings Gazette Communications