A package of bills reforming hunting and access programs are advancing through the Legislature — the product of negotiations between outfitters and public hunter groups aimed at finding common ground.
The six bills, first announced at “Elk Camp at the Capitol” early in the session, are endorsed by the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association and Montana Citizens Elk Management Coalition. Each bill passed its respective chamber to meet procedural deadlines and remain viable this session. Now, wildlife committees in both chambers are taking those bills up as lawmakers consider whether all or some make it all the way to the governor’s desk.
In recent years Montana has seen an influx of new residents, as well as increasing demand from nonresidents coming here to recreate outdoors. In terms of hunting, that has increased pressure on public lands and private lands open to the public, leading to concerns of crowding and diminishing success and experiences.
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