Montana Sets Possible Wolf Hunting Season

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Montana's Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission set most of the 2008 and 2009 hunting seasons and regulations in Helena this week.

After one of the most active comment periods in recent memory—FWP received about 3,000 written comments and hundreds more from participants who attended the 44 public hearings held last month to discuss Montana's tentative hunting-season proposals—the commission adjusted and adopted a number of proposals for the upcoming hunting seasons, including:

General Seasons and Quotas · Montana's traditional general big game hunting season dates will remain in effect. The season will open Oct. 26 and end on Nov. 30, the Sunday following Thanksgiving Day.

Antelope Licenses · The once unlimited 900-series antelope archery licenses, will be replaced with 5,600 special licenses, which will be available via the annual special drawings. Hunters will be able apply for these permits as a first, second or third choice. About 5,520 of the unlimited licenses were sold to hunters in 2007.

Elk Archery Permits · In the Missouri Breaks, either-sex elk archery permits will be set at 100 percent of the three-year average and a limited number antlerless permits also will be available this year. In 2009, only 75 percent of the three-year average will be offered.

· In 24 other elk-hunting districts in central and eastern Montana, an unlimited number of either-sex elk archery permits will be available to hunters who apply for them as a first choice this year. In 2009, either-sex permits will be limited to 100 percent of the number who applied in 2008. Archery hunters will still be able to hunt antlerless elk with a general license.

Wolf Season · While any wolf season is still contingent upon federal delisting, the commission set a backcountry wolf season to run Sept.15-Dec. 31; and a general wolf season to run Oct.26-Dec. 31. In anticipation of legal challenges, wolf-hunting licenses will not be available until Montana is assured a season will occur. A wolf trapping season will not be considered until 2010.

Youth Pheasant Hunt · A youth pheasant weekend will run at the same time as the youth waterfowl weekend, which is expected to be scheduled for late September. Youngsters aged 12-15 years can participate and they must be accompanied by an adult.