This year's legislative session should have sportsmen and women paying close attention to the many bills regarding hunting and fishing headed their way.
While only six bills have been drafted so far, 112 stand on deck, indicating this session, much like the 63rd, is going to be geared toward many wildlife issues. Hunters and outdoorsmen alike will be paying attention to this session, as some of the bills could effect their hunting routines.
Montana's Fish Wildlife and Parks is standing behind a bill to reduce special hunting licenses, raise license fees as well as non resident fees, and change the senior discount from 62 years of age to 67. No fiscal note is attached to the bill yet, however without the increase, FWP predicts a $90 million deficit by 2026.
Republican Sen. Jennifer Fielder, Thompson Falls, has 16 possible drafts in the making regarding state takeover of federal lands. That idea is countered by some Democrats who are against the sell back, thinking it too expensive for the state to run on its own.
Other issues possibly up for debate this session are silencers on weapons, crossbows during bow season, extended senior/youth elk season, mountain bike paths, game damage laws, bison management, and whether the sage grouse bird should be banned from hunting as there is concern it may soon enter the endangered species list.