Starting July 1, people using Montana fishing access sites and wildlife management areas who don’t already have a conservation license with their fishing or hunting license are supposed to buy one under a new law passed this legislative session.
The change made by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Greg Gianforte means that people who are using a Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks fishing access site only to float the river, hike, birdwatch, or picnic, for instance, will have to purchase a conservation license, which costs $8 for most residents. The license is $4 for Montana children ages 12 to 17, as well as for Montanans ages 62 and up. Nonresident licenses are $10.
But anyone out at those public lands last weekend for the holidays was unlikely to face any ramifications yet if they don’t have one, as the state plans an educational period before getting into enforcement, and a first violation carries only a warning.
During the legislative session, lawmakers passed House Bill 521, which made the changes to law, with fairly heavy bipartisan support in the end despite some initial discomfort with the bill.