Bill seeks landowner preference for bison tags as big hunting season continues outside Yellowstone

Montana lawmakers on Tuesday afternoon heard testimony in favor of and against a bill that would allocate 15% of the state’s special bison hunting licenses to private landowners near Yellowstone National Park.

House Bill 522, sponsored by Rep. Marty Malone, R-Pray, would direct Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to make 15% of special wild bison tags available to people who own or are contracting to purchase 20 or more acres in areas where the animals roam.

Emily Cooper, licensing bureau chief for Montana FWP, spoke as an informational witness at Tuesday’s hearing. The department issues a maximum of 85 wild bison tags to state hunters annually. If HB 522 passes, approximately 13 of those would be prioritized for area landowners.

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