FWP gets early start on hunting season talks

      Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is inviting hunters, landowners, outfitters and others to get involved earlier than ever before to help set hunting seasons for the next two years.

In years past, FWP would propose "tentative" seasons and season structures-from general regulations to types of special permits offered in specific areas-and then ask for comment on the proposals.
     This year, FWP will more formally ask hunters and landowners to list or suggest things they'd like to see changed or considered for any upcoming big game or upland game bird hunting season-before FWP develops tentative regulation proposals.
      "Montanans are passionate about hunting and they represent a vast resource of ideas, choices and preferences," said Quentin Kujala, FWP's wildlife management section chief. "We want to hear what hunters and others are thinking much earlier in Montana's hunting season setting process. It just good business to seek their suggestions before we develop proposals."
Kujala said FWP will provide the public with opportunities beginning Aug. 4 to offer suggestions online at fwp.mt.gov. A number of statewide open houses also are set for Aug. 27. The open houses will run from 6-9 p.m. at FWP's regional offices in Kalispell, Missoula, Bozeman, Great Falls, Billings and Miles City.  The open house in Glasgow will be at the Valley County Courthouse. 
     Proposals that emerge for the 2010 and 2011 hunting seasons will be presented to the FWP Commission in December with additional public comments on the proposals set for January.
"Hunters, landowners, outfitters and guides, and others have a real opportunity to help shape Montana's future hunting seasons," Kujala said. "FWP will consider any proposal to see if it's something that can or should be carried forward. Our hope is to build stronger relationships, more rewarding hunting experiences, and a better season-setting process by tapping more into some of the local wisdom of hunters and others interested in effective wildlife management."
Kujala said the quickest and most convenient way to comment on any big game or upland game bird season is to visit FWP's Web site at fwp.mt.gov Click "Season Setting Suggestions. 
     Mail written comments to: Hunting Season Setting Suggestions; Montana FWP Wildlife Bureau; P.O. Box 200701; Helena, MT 59620-0701. The comment deadline is 5 p.m., Sept. 4.
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