Conservation permit fee increase proposed

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A $6 increase on conservation permits for non-members is being proposed by the Flathead Reservation Fish & Wildlife Board and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council.

The Fish & Wildlife Board and tribal council are seeking public input on proposed changes to the 2019-2020 fishing, bird hunting and recreation regulations.

The other proposed fee change is to approve the state fishing license Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass add-on to all reservation fishing stamps.

“The fee increases for permits and all licenses is an increase to help keep up with inflation and program management costs,” said FWRC Division Manager Tom McDonald. “It is time to update these fees; there hasn’t been a significant cost increase in license fees for many years.”

An additional proposed change to the fishing regulation is the lifting of a daily creel limit for brook trout and northern pike (no limit).

Bird hunting proposed changes include prohibiting the use of drones or any other remotely operated device to move, flush or cause migratory waterfowl and other game birds as an aid in hunting of the species.

Also being considered is the addition of special youth pheasant and waterfowl hunting days that may be scheduled annually for a two-day weekend period prior to the opening day of pheasant and waterfowl hunting and conservation.

Legally licensed youth hunters 12-15 years of age would be allowed to hunt pheasants and legally hunted species of migratory waterfowl on these dates if accompanied in the field by a non-hunting adult at least 21 years of age.

Youth hunters and accompanying adult would have to possess a valid tribal conservation permit and bird hunting stamp. In addition, youths 10 and 11 years of age would be certified as apprentice hunters under Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Apprentice Hunter Program, and who have a mentor who meets all criteria on the program, may also hunt during the special youth pheasant and migratory waterfowl days, as well as during the general hunting season for both.

Mentors must possess a valid tribal conservation permit and bird hunting stamp. All youth hunting must comply with current bag and possession limits, shooting hours, hunters education, and all other applicable regulations that apply during the regular hunting season.

The Division of Fish, Wildlife Recreation and Conservation will hold a public hearing at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29 at the division office at 406 Sixth Ave. E. in Polson.

Written comments on the proposed changes that are postmarked on or before 5:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 30. Any person who desires to present oral comment may do so at the public hearing.

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