We are in Helena actively lobbying legislators on your behalf, but your direct input to legislators is critical.
The Montana Legislature is comprised of two chambers: the Montana House of Representatives (100 members); and, the Montana Senate (50 members).
The Legislature oversees wildlife management in Montana by enacting laws that control the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Thus, the Legislature has a significant impact on wildlife in Montana. It is therefore vital that we direct the Legislature to act for the conservation of wildlife in Montana.
key BILLs & their status
HB 372 - "Establish right to hunt in Constitution"
This bill seeks to make trapping, hunting, and fishing personal constitutional rights. Additionally, this bill will forever mandate how wildlife management is allowed to work in the state. WE STRONGLY OPPOSE THIS BILL. This bill will be heard by the House Judiciary Committee.
HB 765 - "Eliminating reimbursements for hunting or trapping wolves"
This bill will eliminate reimbursements for hunting or trapping wolves. No one should be paid money for killing wildlife. In ID, these reimbursements were first funded by a private organization, now the state taxpayers are also footing the bill for these reimbursements up to $2000 per wolf. If MT continues to allow trappers and hunters to be reimbursed for killing wolves, it's clear that MT taxpayers will begin foot the bill for these bounties. WE STRONGLY SUPPORT THIS BILL. No one should be paid to kill wildlife. Period. Tabled by the House FWP Committee.
HB 779 - "Revise FWP Commission powers to regulate wolf harvesting near national parks"
This bill will remove the provision that the Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Commission may not prohibit or close wolf hunting or trapping in areas immediately adjacent to national parks. WE STRONGLY SUPPORT THIS BILL. For the past two seasons, wolves of Yellowstone National Park have disproportionately been affected by hunters and trappers in MT. Despite lowering the quota of wolves allowed to be killed in the relatively tiny area of WMU 313 just north of YNP, wolf research has been further diminished this year by the loss of four YNP resident wolves - three of which wore radio collars. Hunting and trapping outside of the park should not continue to negatively impact YNP wolf ecology and research. Tabled by the House FWP Committee.
HB 630 - "Revise black bear hunting laws"
This bill mandates that FWP allow hound hunting for black bears in areas outside of grizzly recovery zones. There are numerous bears living in areas outside the official recovery zones, and that’s essential to continued recovery and connectivity of the existing grizzly populations. This is an awful bill that takes authority away from the Fish and Game Commission and puts it into statute. We and our partners strongly OPPOSE this bill. Voted down on the House floor.
HB 627 - "Revise wolf trapping laws"
This bill mandates that snares be allowed for trapping wolves outside of defined grizzly bear recovery and lynx protection zones. This bill removes authority from FWP to limit the snaring of wolves, no matter how many protected species are caught. As a result, more lethal snares will be on your public lands. OPPOSE. Voted down on the House floor.
HB 628 - "Revise wolf trapping laws"
This bill mandates that wolf trapping seasons start on the Monday after Thanksgiving outside of defined grizzly bear recovery zones - regardless of what FWP biologists recommend for an area. OPPOSE. Voted down on the House floor.
SB 84 - "Revise laws related to hunting and aircraft use"
This is a good bill that adds drones into the category of aircraft that cannot be used for scouting for animals, and removing fair chase. Drones are growing in popularity, and people are using them to gain advantage to kill wildlife. We will OPPOSE until wolves are added to the list of animals that cannot be hunted with aid of drones. Passed the Senate and will be heard by the House FWP Committee.
SB 85 - "Require management of delisted grizzly bears at sustainable levels"
This bill makes it clear that FWP wants to manage grizzly bears at bare minimum numbers, just like it is doing with wolves. They’re going to claim that they’re just ensuring that we don’t get them relisted but coupled with the problems with the draft grizzly bear management plan, and the many anti- wolf and bear bills passed last session, this is full of problems. This will be a tough fight, but we will OPPOSE this bill. Passed the Senate and will be heard by the House FWP Committee.
HB 104 - "Revise aerial hunting requirements"
This bill will allow nonresidents to kill from the air any animal that is thought to be causing livestock depredation. OPPOSE. Passed the House, then the Senate Ag, Livestock & Irrigation Comm., will be heard on the Senate floor.
SB 295 - "Revise laws to accommodate grizzly bear delisting"
This bill will enable livestock owners or other authorized persons to kill a grizzly bear at any time without a permit or license from FWP when a grizzly bear is attacking or killing livestock. Additional components of this bill will set up the killing of grizzly bears by livestock to be similar to what is currently happening for wolves. OPPOSE. Passed the Senate and has been transmitted to the House.
SB 139 - "Revise nonresident license laws related to harvesting mountain lions"
Allows a nonresident, when they are a "guest" of a resident, to chase/ hunt mountain lions with dogs. TABLED by the Senate Fish & Game Comm.
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