Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission Approves 2018-2019 Hunting Season Structures, Regulations


February 21, 2018

Commission approves limited draw for mule deer bucks in part of HD 103

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission convened February 15 in Helena and approved hunting season structures and regulations for 2018 and 2019.

The five-member Commission is a quasi-judicial citizen board appointed by the Governor from five geographical districts across Montana.

Montana’s hunting season structures are reviewed every two years for most game species. Proposals were released for public input in December, and public meetings were organized across the state, including northwest Montana.

The Commission approved a proposal that creates a new limited draw for mule deer bucks in a section of the Fisher River in Hunting District 103 near Libby. The new permit area will take effect this year with a quota of five draw permits. Applications will be due March 15, 2018. Maps will be available at FWP’s office in Kalispell and online at under “Hunt Planner.”

“The limited draw mule deer hunt will set aside about a quarter of hunting district 103 for permit-only antlered buck hunting and you will have to apply for a permit,” FWP Region 1 Wildlife Manager Neil Anderson said. “Hunters are encouraged to review these and other changes to the hunting seasons and plan accordingly so they don’t miss opportunity this fall.”

Other decisions from Thursday’s meeting include:

The Commission denied a proposal to expand the early youth deer hunt to a 4-day opportunity and change the definition of youth to be anyone between 10 and 17.

The Commission denied the use of crossbows as a legal weapon for fall turkey hunting.

The Commission approved the creation of the Swan River Refuge Weapons Restriction Area for archery-only hunting of deer, elk, black bear, mountain lion and wolf in a portion of HD 130 (Lake County).

The Commission approve the addition of a second antlerless white-tailed deer license for HD 170, bringing the number of antlerless whitetail licenses available to a hunter to 2 for the district.

The Commission closed hunting districts 131, 132, 134, 141, 151 (Missoula, Flathead, Lake, Lewis & Clark and Powell counties) for mountain goat hunting.

The Commission approved language making it illegal to take a female mountain goat accompanying a kid or a female mountain goat in a group that contains one or more kids in FWP Regions 1, 2 and 4.

The Commission passed a resolution supporting the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, a bipartisan legislation working its way through Congress. The bill, if approved, could provide $1.3 billion in annual funds to state wildlife agencies for conserving wildlife and habitat, increasing wildlife associated recreation opportunities, and increasing conservation education programs. Funding for the legislation would come from revenue generated by existing on and off-shore oil and gas drilling as well as other energy sources developed on federal lands and would require a 25 percent non-federal match.

The Commission accepted the proposal by FWP to not propose a grizzly bear hunt this year in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and retain the states discretionary mortality allotment. The Commission also directed the department to notify the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission of the decision to retain the discretionary mortality.

The Commission approved the criteria for exception on ban on ungulate urine from chronic wasting disease (CWD) - positive states (per SB173).

For more information about the Commission meeting, visit


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