Montana Adds New Opportunities for 2010 Season

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Long time Montana hunters will notice a slightly new format in the state's 2010 big game hunting regulation booklet and find several new opportunities for deer, elk and antelope for the upcoming season.

The opening pages of the 2010 big game regulations outline the hunter's legal responsibilities afield, followed by hunting district maps, regulations and legal descriptions of each hunting district. The final pages of the regulations contain information on licenses and general items of interest to hunters.

"We made the changes in response to requests for a simpler and easier way to access the array of information in Montana's hunting regulations," said Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim. "We hope that most find the regulations easier to read and the information more accessible."

In addition, there are several new opportunities for hunters in 2010. Here's a summary:

  • New Opening Day— Antelope, deer and elk seasons will open on a Saturday for the first time in recent memory. The general season for antelope will open Oct. 9. The general deer and elk season opener is set for Oct. 23. In past years, most general big game hunting seasons opened on a Sunday.
  • Deer Youth Hunt at Fall Break— A youth hunt for deer limited to youngsters between the ages of 12-15 was approved for the Thursday and Friday preceding the Saturday opener. That's Oct. 21-22 and coincides with Montana's annual two-day teachers' convention, which are no-school days for most public school students. FWP will evaluate the program over the next two years.
  • "Party" Applications for Elk and Deer Hunters— For the first time ever, deer and elk hunters who enjoy hunting with friends and family can now apply for special licenses and permits as a "party" of up to four applicants. Be sure to follow application directions carefully.
  • ELK B Licenses— Elk B licenses (formally called "A9" or "B12" licenses), which allow taking a second elk, have replaced antlerless elk permits in several hunting districts. The change seeks to conform to deer and antelope "B" license classifications that provide hunters an opportunity to purchase a second license. An added benefit to hunters is the ability to use their special permit drawing application for a special bull-elk permit, instead of an antlerless permit. The change also provides additional opportunities for wildlife managers to increase antlerless elk harvest in areas where elk exceed population objectives.
  • Black Bear and Mountain Lion Archery— For the first time, Montana will offer black bear and lion archery-only seasons, which will open along with the general big game archery season on Sept. 4. To participate one must have a valid archery license.
  • New Antelope and New Deer and Elk Applications for Residents— Due to additional opportunities, residents now have one application for deer and elk and another for antelope. Each application requires a $2 Bonus Point fee.
  • Bonus Points— New this year, bonus points are also available for Elk B, Deer B and Antelope B licenses through the special drawings. The price to participate is $2 for residents and $20 for nonresidents per application.
  • Bison Hunting Districts— The deadline to apply for Montana's special license drawing for bison is May 1. Hunters should note, as indicted on the application, that the West Yellowstone hunting district is 395 and the Gardiner hunting district is 385. Montana's annual big game hunting regulations and drawing applications are now available on the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Web site at fwp.mt.gov and from most FWP offices and license providers.

The deadline to apply for moose, bighorn sheep, bison and mountain goat licenses available through a drawing is May 1; the deadline to apply for deer, elk licenses and permits and antelope licenses available through a drawing is June 1.