House Bill No. 520

Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act allowing the fish, wildlife, and parks commission to establish a fee not to exceed $10 for a block management area hunting permit; and amending section 87-1-265, MCA."

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

Section 1.  Section 87-1-265, MCA, is amended to read:

"87-1-265.   (Temporary) Hunter management and hunting access enhancement programs created -- private landowner assistance to promote public hunting access -- rules. (1) The department may establish, within the block management program established by administrative rule pursuant to authority contained in 87-1-301 and 87-1-303, programs of landowner assistance that encourage public access to private lands for purposes of hunting and may adopt rules to carry out program purposes. Rules may address but are not limited to incentives provided under:

(a)  a hunter management program as set out provided in 87-1-266, consisting of a cooperative agreement between a landowner and the department and including other resource management agencies when appropriate, that allows public hunting with certain restrictions or use rules; and

(b)  a hunting access enhancement program as set out in 87-1-267, consisting of incentives for private landowners who allow public hunting access on their lands.

(2)  The department may also develop similar efforts outside the scope of the block management program that are designed to promote public access to private lands for hunting purposes.

(3)  Participation in a program established under subsection (1) is voluntary. Programs may not be structured in a manner that provides assistance to a private landowner who charges a fee for hunting access to private land that is enrolled in the program or who does not provide reasonable public hunting access to private land that is enrolled in the program. The commission shall develop criteria by which tangible benefits are allocated to participating landowners, and the department may distribute the benefits to participating landowners. The department may by rule limit the number of licenses that can be provided as incentives.

(4) The commission may establish an annual fee for resident hunters, not to exceed $10, for a block management area hunting permit, which must be held by a Montana resident to hunt on private land that is part of the program provided for in 87-1-266, 87-1-267, and this section. The funds collected by the department must be used to:

(a) implement programs that contribute to hunting access, encourage interested and qualified landowners to participate in the block management program, and offset costs of providing benefits to landowners who participate in the program as provided in 87-1-266 and 87-1-267; and

(b) extend the benefits of the block management program to hunters. (Terminates October 1, 2001--sec. 18, Ch. 459, L. 1995.)"