FWP news and briefs: Proposed changes to deer hunting regulations, hunting closures

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FWP proposing changes to deer hunting regulations

Wildlife managers are requesting to change white-tailed deer regulations in two hunting districts in northwest Montana.

FWP Region 1 biologists have submitted a request to the Fish & Wildlife Commission to limit hunting opportunity to antlered bucks only in hunting districts 122 (the Thompson River area in Sanders County) and 130 (the Swan area in Lake and Missoula counties).

For the last three years, hunters have been able to harvest a white-tailed deer of either sex during the first week of the general hunting season, as well as the last week of the season on private lands only.

The commission will review the proposal at its Wednesday, Feb. 13 meeting in Helena. The commission will accept public comment on the proposal before taking final action. If approved, the changes would take effect this fall.

Commission meetings are streamed live via video to FWP regional headquarters. The FWP Region 1 headquarters is located at 490 N. Meridian in Kalispell. Meetings are also audio streamed online at fwp.mt.gov. Members of the public can comment at FWP regional headquarters during the meetings.

Hunting season regulations are reviewed and adopted every two years, but requests can come forward in between the formal season-setting process when wildlife biologists and managers demonstrate a need for a mid-cycle change.

“Our area biologists reviewed several factors, including decreased fawn recruitment in deer populations after the last two winters and the big game check station data from this fall. We also spoke to numerous sportsmen,” said Neil Anderson, FWP Region 1 wildlife manager.

“We felt these changes were warranted in an effort to help white-tailed deer populations rebound after appearing to decline.”

FWP regional staff recently hosted four meetings across northwest Montana – in Kalispell, Libby, Trout Creek, and Eureka -- and presented information about deer population trends and harvest data, and discussed deer management with sportsmen. The overall crowd at these meetings totaled nearly 150 people and generally expressed support for the tentative antlered-buck only proposal.

Several factors can contribute to the health of game populations, including winter weather that impacts fawn recruitment, predation, habitat changes and hunter pressure. Northwest Montana experienced two recent winters with heavy snowfall that persisted well into early spring.

For a list of reports detailing wildlife populations and more in northwest Montana, visit http://fwp.mt.gov/regions/r1/.

Mountain lion hunting closed in HD 140

The hunting of all mountain lions in northwestern Montana hunting district 140, which includes a portion of Flathead County, closed one-half hour after sunset on Jan. 22.

The closure notice came shortly after Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials received word that the pre-established harvest quota in the district had been met.

For more information, visit FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov , click on “Hunting” then choose “Drawing & Quota Status”, or call the toll-free number at 1-800-385-7826.

Mountain lion hunting closed in several HDs in Regions 2 and 3

The hunting of all mountain lions in portions of Powell and Lewis & Clark counties, hunting districts 280, 281, 284, 293 and 298 East, closed at one-half hour after sunset on Jan 21.

The hunting of all mountain lions in portions of Lewis & Clark and Jefferson counties, hunting districts 339, 343 and 388 closed at one-half hour after sunset on Jan. 21.

The order halting the hunts came shortly after Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials received word that the pre-established harvest quotas for lions in the districts listed above had been met.

For more information, visit FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov., choose “Hunting”, then “Drawing & Quota Status”, or call the toll-free number at 1-800-385-7826.

Mountain lion hunting closed in several HDs in Regions 4 and 6

The hunting of female mountain lions in northcentral Montana hunting districts 405, 447 and 471, which includes portions of Cascade, Chouteau, Judith Basin, and Fergus counties, closed at one-half hour after sunset on Jan. 20.

The hunting of all mountain lions in central Montana hunting districts 416, 446, 449, 451, 452 and 454, which includes portions of Broadwater, Cascade, Lewis and Clark, Meagher and Judith Basin counties, closed at one-half hour after sunset on Jan. 20.

The hunting of all mountain lions in north eastern Montana Region 6 except HD’s 680 and 690, which includes portions of Hill, Garfield, Blaine, Phillips, Valley, Daniels, Sheridan, Roosevelt, McCone, Dawson and Richland counties closed at one-half hour after sunset on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019.

The order halting the hunts came shortly after Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials received word that the pre-established harvest quotas for lions in the districts listed above had been met.

For more information, visit FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov., choose “Hunting”, then “Drawing & Quota Status”, or call the toll-free number at 1-800-385-7826.

Mountain lion hunting closed in HDs 317 and 560

The hunting of all mountain lions in southwestern Montana hunting district 317, which includes portions of Park County, will closed one-half hour after sunset on Jan. 23.

The hunting of all mountain lions in south-central Montana hunting district 560, which includes portions of Park and Sweet Grass counties, will close at one-half hour after sunset on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019.

The closure notices for the hunt came shortly after Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials received word that the pre-established harvest quota for the district had been met.

For more information, visit FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov, click on Hunting, then choose Drawing & Quota Status or call the toll-free number at 1-800-385-7826.

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