Hunters reminded of Elk B License opportunity

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As surplus licenses went on sale Aug. 12, hunters are reminded that, according to the 2019 regulations, they are allowed only one Elk B License, despite legislation passed during the recent Montana Legislature.

In the 2019 legislative session, House Bill 497 was passed providing hunters the opportunity to harvest up to three elk. However, this legislation doesn’t change the regulations for this year, which state: “Each hunter may possess only one Elk B License per year in addition to a General Elk License.”

“For the 2019 hunting season we will follow the regulations as approved previously by the commission,” said John Vore, game management bureau chief for FWP. “We will seek to address the harvest possibility of up to three elk through the biennial season-setting process this fall for the 2020 hunting season.”

Hunters should note that the rule of no more than one Elk B License does not preclude the possibility of a hunter harvesting up to three elk between Aug. 15 and Feb. 15 if a hunter was authorized for a game damage hunt.

“Our game damage hunts and management hunts fall outside the purview of the season-setting process, and this new harvest opportunity could create the potential for a hunter to take up to three elk should an additional game damage license opportunity be provided to the hunter who is selected from the Hunt Roster,” Vore said.

For more information, contact the FWP Wildlife Division office at 406-444-2612 or contact a regional FWP office.

Questions and answers on three-elk harvest opportunity:

Q: What is the new three elk discussion? I thought I could only harvest two elk per year.

A: Partially true. In the 2019 legislative session, HB497 created the opportunity for a hunter to harvest up to three elk. However, our current 2019 Deer, Elk and Antelope regulations, as passed by the Fish & Wildlife Commission in February of 2018, indicate, “Each hunter may possess only one (1) Elk B License per license year in addition to a General Elk License.”

As a result, for the 2019 hunting seasons, hunters will still only be allowed up to one B Elk License and the harvest of only two elk. This includes the surplus licenses.

However, in compliance with the new law, those hunters who are selected for a Game Damage Hunt, Management Hunt or Supplemental Game Damage License Hunt where an additional hunt-specific Elk B License or Supplemental Game Damage License is authorized, hunters may possess multiple Elk B licenses and thus legally harvest up to three elk in a given license year — only one of which may be antlered. This only applies to those hunters selected and authorized on game damage hunts where a new or additional damage hunt license opportunity has been created. The three-elk limit applies to the total harvest for any one person between the general hunting season and any game damage circumstance.

Q: I’ve not been selected for a damage hunt, but surplus licenses are available in a district I want to hunt. Can I pick up multiple B licenses through surplus and harvest three elk this fall?

A: No. Hunters must follow the current 2019 regulations of only one Elk B License per license year.

Q: I’ve been selected for a damage hunt, supplemental game damage license hunt or management hunt. Can I use my unused Elk B License and purchase another one?

A: Possibly. It depends on how the hunt was set up locally. Some hunts authorize the use of any unused Elk B License and some damage hunts require a new additional license that a hunter must purchase. See the hunt permission letter that you received when you accepted the hunt or contact your local FWP regional office.

Q: When will I be allowed to harvest up to three elk?

A: As a part of the 2020-2021 biennial season-setting process starting this fall, some regions may offer additional harvest opportunity of up to three elk if approved by the Fish & Wildlife Commission.

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