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HOUSE BILL NO. 454
INTRODUCED BY P. CLARK, FUCHS, GOLIE, HEDGES, NEWMAN, TRAMELLI
AN ACT ENCOURAGING ADDITIONAL FREE PUBLIC HUNTING ON PRIVATE LAND BY ALLOWING THE ISSUANCE OF AN EITHER-SEX OR ANTLERLESS ELK PERMIT TO THE PUBLIC AND TO CERTAIN LANDOWNERS WHO MAKE THEIR PRIVATE PROPERTY AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC FOR FREE PUBLIC ELK HUNTING THROUGHOUT THE HUNTING SEASON; SETTING THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE LANDOWNER EITHER-SEX OR ANTLERLESS ELK PERMIT; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE AND A TERMINATION DATE.
WHEREAS, landowner stewards provide important habitat that beneficially contributes to elk herd numbers and health; and
WHEREAS, certain landowners close their land to public hunting, preventing any harvest of big game, while other landowners allow limited hunting access and harvest, creating a problem of uneven distribution of big game; and
WHEREAS, restricted access to private property for public hunting prevents the department from managing big game population numbers and distribution.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Either-sex or antlerless elk permit for landowner who offers free public elk hunting -- terms, conditions, and issuance of permit. (1) In addition to any elk permits offered for sale, the department may, for wildlife management purposes, issue an either-sex or antlerless elk permit at no cost to a landowner who provides free public elk hunting on the landowner's property and who otherwise meets the conditions of this section. The department may issue elk permits to the public, at regular cost and in the number authorized in subsection (3), for hunting on the property of a landowner who opens property for public elk hunting for wildlife management purposes pursuant to this section.
(2) To be eligible for a permit pursuant to this section, a landowner:
(a) must own occupied elk habitat that is large enough, in the department's determination, to accommodate successful public hunting;
(b) may not have been issued a Class A-7 landowner license pursuant to 87-2-501(3) during the license year;
(c) must have entered into a contractual public elk hunting access agreement with the department that allows public access for free public elk hunting on the landowner's property throughout the regular hunting season and that includes public hunting by permitholders using permits that are valid for the hunting district;
(d) may not receive cash payments under 87-1-267; and
(e) may not charge a fee or authorize a person to charge a fee for hunting access on the landowner's property.
(3) Not more than 20% of permits issued pursuant to this section may be issued at no cost to a landowner, an immediate family member of a landowner, or an authorized full-time employee of a landowner. The remaining permits must be issued to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis.
(4) A permit issued pursuant to this section:
(a) is nontransferable and may not be sold; and
(b) may only be used for hunting conducted on property that is opened to public access pursuant to this section.
(5) The department may prioritize distribution of the permits according to the areas the department determines are most in need of management.
(6) If the department determines that a landowner or landowner's designee has not abided by the restrictions and conditions of a permit issued pursuant to this section, that landowner or landowner's designee is not eligible to receive another permit pursuant to this section during any subsequent license year.
(7) The department, through the commission, may authorize the issuance of permits under this section to a landowner who enters into a contractual public elk hunting access agreement with the department that defines the areas that will be open to public elk hunting, the number of public elk hunting days that will be allowed on the property, and other factors that the department and the landowner consider necessary for the proper management of elk on the landowner's property.
Section 2. Codification instruction. [Section 1] is intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 87, chapter 2, part 5, and the provisions of Title 87, chapter 2, part 5, apply to [section 1].
Section 3. Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.
Section 4. Termination. [This act] terminates March 1, 2006.
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Latest Version of HB 454 (HB0454.ENR)
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Status of this Bill | 2001 Legislature | Leg. Branch
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