FWP updates and briefs

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Dillon hunter ed classes

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is offering a hunter education class at the Dillon Middle School on May 7, 8, 13, 14 and 16, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. each night. The class is free and is required for most people to hunt in Montana.

In order to successfully complete the hunter education course, students must attend all five classroom sessions and pass a written test. Field exercises will be completed on school grounds, and students need to be prepared for outdoor activity in cool evening temperatures.

Students must be at least 10 years old. Class enrollment will be capped at 35 students. Adult, online students seeking a field day must make other arrangements by contacting one of the instructors listed below.

Online registration for the classes is required. Students may register at the Montana FWP website — fwp.mt.gov — and follow the links to education, “hunter education programs” and “find a class.” A parental Acknowledgment of Risk form and a Student Code of Conduct must be downloaded, completed and handed in on May 7. Students will not be admitted if the forms are not completed and handed in at the first class.

Students are required to read and answer the quiz questions of the Montana Hunter Education Manual prior to May 7. The manual can be obtained from the Dillon Middle School office or the FWP office in Dillon at 730 N. Montana St. Students will not be admitted to the class if the assignment is not completed.

Parents are welcome to attend the classes. An additional course will be offered in August.

For further information on hunter education, please call Kerry Wahl at 406-490-0956 or Craig Fager at 406-683-9305.

2019 Smith River Permit Results Now Available

The permit lottery results to float Smith River State Park in 2019 are now available online at stateparks.mt.gov. In addition to the online results, successful applicants will also be notified by mail.

Permits are required to float the iconic 59-mile stretch of the Smith River which is celebrated for its spectacular scenery, remote location and excellent trout fishing. Overall, the number of applications received was down 4.37 percent from 2018 with a total of 1,288 float permits awarded for the upcoming season.

For applicants who were unsuccessful in the regular permit drawing, Smith River Super Permit chances are available through Friday, March 15, for $5 each. One Super Permit winner will be allowed to launch on any date of their choosing. Chances may be purchased online at stateparks.mt.gov or at any Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks regional office. The drawing will be held on Monday, March 18.

The public may also call the Smith River Reservation and Information Line at 406-454-5861 beginning Monday, March 11 to request any remaining launch dates or canceled permits. The call line will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon.

March 15 deadline for Unlocking Public Lands application

March 15 is the deadline for landowners to submit applications to Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks for enrollment in the Unlocking Public Lands Program.

This program is designed to provide recreational public access to state or federal land where no legal public access exists.

In exchange for access across the private lands, landowners receive a tax credit in the amount of $750 per agreement and up to a maximum of $3,000 tax credit per year. Landowners decide how the public may cross their private property and may limit access to foot traffic only.

The Unlocking Public Lands program is a product of the 2015 Legislature, which expanded a program called Unlocking State Land passed by the previous legislature. While Montana contains nearly 31 million acres of BLM, Forest Service and state land, much of this land requires landowner permission to cross private land to reach the adjoining state or federal land.

Contracts will be awarded no later than Wednesday, May 15.

More information about the program, including enrollment criteria and the application form, can be found at http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/hunterAccess/unlockingPublicLands/.

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