Wildlife commission OKs free elk tags for 37 landowners under revised process

BRETT FRENCH

Thirty-seven landowners will be awarded 47 free elk hunting tags only good on their property during this fall’s hunting season under a newly devised process, the Fish and Wildlife Commission agreed at its Wednesday meeting.

In return, the landowners can pick one person to hunt while the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks will pick two others for a total of 141 public hunters.

Created in 2001 and known as 454 agreements, after the bill number creating the legislation, the Elk Hunting Access Agreements were altered by the last Legislature, increasing landowner interest. In the past, landowners had to allow four hunters for every free tag they received. The Legislature dropped that to three with the landowner allowed to pick one. The landowner tags are also transferable to family or full-time employees.

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Landowners can provide additional hunters access to their land, and some have, but are required by statute to at least meet the minimum requirements.

Jason Kool, landowner-sportsman coordinator for FWP, said so far about 27 of the landowners have indicated they will provide access beyond just three hunters. It was also noted that some

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