Screenshot of Montana HB 417 that impacts elk, deer and antelope special permit hunts.
02/23/2021 Update: HB 417 has officially been withdrawn.02/17/2021 Update: The scheduled hearing for 2/18 has been canceled.
Another bill was recently introduced that has huge implications on hunting in Montana. House Bill 417 was recently introduced by Josh Kassmier. The bill progress can be found here and the full text of HB 417 can be read here.
This bill would eliminate special permit limits in all of the hunting districts where animals "exceeds the sustainable population number." This has a huge implication on special draw elk permits in the Missouri River Breaks and other highly coveted permit districts in Montana. Those hunt districts would then become a free for all in a sense.
"(8) The commission may not limit the number of permits available for a species in a hunting district where the population of that species exceeds the sustainable population number established pursuant to 87-1-323."
It is worth noting that 87-1-323 is for elk, deer and antelope and so this bill would impact all three of those species in special permit hunt districts. Note: it seems that bighorn sheep, moose and mountain goat hunt districts would not be impacted by this bill.
The first hearing on this bill by the House Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee will be on February 18, so submit your comments early.