FWP’s bonus point system works well, audit reveals, but communication criticized

A recent audit of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ bonus point system, used to award hunters and anglers special permits, found the process working well but also noted problems with “the clarity and consistency of communications regarding” the program.

“All tests of FWP’s process confirmed bonus points behave as law and rule require,” the Legislative Audit Division noted. “Hunters, anglers, and policymakers can depend on the accurate selection of permit draw winners.”

The audit was released less than two weeks after it was revealed in a Billings Gazette news story that FWP was using newly purchased bonus points in this year’s drawings without notifying the public of the change. Prior to this year’s drawings, newly purchased points couldn’t be utilized until the following year.

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At the time, FWP told the Gazette that the 2024 regulations booklet would be updated to reflect the change. The audit didn’t specifically speak to the unannounced change by the Licensing Bureau.

Auditing the audit

The audit, “Analyzing Bonus Point Accuracy,” will be reviewed by the Legislative Audit Committee when it meets in Helena on June 8. The committee is comprised of six members of the House

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