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Montana Legislature Evaluates Hunting Bills

Joe Riekers

Several proposed laws related to hunting are in various stages of the legislative process.

Three specific hunting bills were recently proposed in the Montana legislature.

First, hunters in Montana might be able to choose whether or not to wear hunter orange. “Hunter orange, in some situations, is a really good idea. In other situations, I don’t think it’s applicable. I just feel we should let adults be adults and make the decision for themselves,” Sen. Scott Sales, R-Bozeman, said.

Joe Riekers
Joe Riekers

 

Hunters are now required to wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange, however if the proposed bill becomes law, hunters over 18 will be able to decide for themselves whether or not to wear it. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials noted a reduction in hunter-shooting fatalities since the hunter-orange became a requirement in 1972.

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Second, hunters may be able to use suppressors on rifles if House Bill 250 becomes law. Suppressors are sometimes erroneously called silencers. They don’t eliminate the noise from a firearm. They merely reduce noise to where it is less likely to cause immediate harm to the shooter’s hearing. This bill did passed House and is not waiting for a vote in the Senate.

Finally, a bill to allow crossbow hunting during archery season was introduced in the House, but it failed to gain enough support to move to the Senate. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim said, ““That’s come before the session a number of years. We have a six week archery season with 43,000 hunters. Crossbows have greater range and accuracy than traditional bows and arrows. Passage of a crossbow bill would mean many more hunters participating, hunting during the elk rut when they’re more vulnerable.”

Hunters can still use crossbows during the general rifle season.

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Montana Legislature Evaluates Hunting Bills