New Law Reignites Debate Over Money’s Role In Hunting Opportunities

A last-minute addition to a Montana fish and wildlife bill signed into law on Friday reinvigorated a long-running debate over the role of money in hunting in Montana.

House Bill 637 is sprawling; it affects game wardens, block management, hunting with dogs and taking turkeys, along with other fish and wildlife management issues in the state. But during the last day of the legislative session, it was amended to include language that boosts the odds of nonresidents with outfitters getting deer and elk permits in Montana.

Nonresidents who want to hunt in Montana enter a lottery system. Under the old model, everybody has the same odds of drawing a permit, whether or not they’re hunting with an outfitter. Mac Minard, executive director of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, explains the process.

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