Tuesday, January 31, 2017

HB 289

HB 289
This bill is up Thursday, 2/2/17 at 3pm. Please work this one hard! SUPPORT
Moga is trying to beat the intent of the law by keeping “emergency” and its definition out of statute. Please help us in trying to protect the resident and non-resident sportsmen/women! Contact House F&G House Fish, Wildlife & Parks Committee
An MSA bill revising Outfitter Assistant (OA) Laws: An effort to force some credibility in the OA laws and enable the Board of Outfitters (Boo) to set rules. It puts the definition of “emergency guide” in statute and allows for Boo rule making.
Currently the OA law is being abused regularly and there has been no check on its use. It contains a provision that requires the outfitter to tell the client before the trip that they have an OA and if they have a first aid card. Is this being done?? No checking has been done.
Boo is pretty dysfunctional with MOGA controlling most votes. Clearly, they don’t want any audits on OA use.
PLEASE Support

HB 290

This is currently scheduled for Business and Labor at 8:30am Thursday 2/2/17. Please work this one hard as it is an uphill battle and we’ll lose the ability for game managers and law enforcement folks to get this data without subpoena.
House Biz and Labor Committee
marknolandhd10@gmail.com, amanda@amandaformontana.com, Rep.Vince.Ricci@mt.gov, Rep.Willis.Curdy@mt.gov, Rep.Ross.Fitzgerald@mt.gov, Rep.Moffie.Funk@mt.gov, Rep.Steve.Gunderson@mt.gov, Denleylogehd14@gmail.com, Rep.Andrea.Olsen@mt.gov, Rep.Gordon.Pierson@mt.gov, Atomicrosie@gmail.com, Rep.Casey.Schreiner@mt.gov, Rep.Sharon.peregoy@mt.gov, Rep.Jeremy.Trebas@mt.gov, Rep.Sue.Vinton@mt.gov, Rep.Daniel.Zolnikov@mt.gov

An MSA bill revising record keeping by Board of Outfitters (Boo). MOGA is trying to reduce record keeping to nearly nothing. We want and need digitalization of data and want it shared between state and federal agencies involved in oversight of outfitters or the critters they harvest.
Specifically and very simply, we need to know:
who…..name and als
what…..big game harvested reported as to sex, species, and location down to hunting district (HD)
when….date of harvest
Remember, no other license group uses public trust resources like outfitters!
We encourage the reduction in paper reporting but not at the cost of no data. What little we want is a small price to pay for harvesting public trust critters for free. The public…the owners….want this info collected.
Hunter surveys don’t collect the same data and the sample size (statistical significance) is small for outfitters. Shoulder seasons, harboring, and outfitter leasing of private and public lands require this data in order to successfully manage our big game resources.
It is ludicrous that outfitters think they can minimize all of what they report and thumb their noses at the public.
***Note*** MOGA was given a chance to work with us and declined.

HB 315 abd HB 318 OPPOSE

HB 315 and HB 318 OPPOSE BOTH
These bills are both up today at 3pm. Please work these hard. Calls and messages to House F&G. House Fish, Wildlife & Parks Committee Email Link:
Sharon Stewart-Peregoy <Rep.Sharon.peregoy@mt.gov>, Bridget Smith <repbsmith@gmail.com>, george kipp <Rep.George.Kipp@mt.gov>, tomjacobsonmt@gmail.com, Virginia Court <vcourtforlegislature@yahoo.com>, Zachary Brown <brownformontana@gmail.com>, Jean Price <jeanbigskybigwin@gmail.com>, Rep.Bob.Brown@mt.gov, Rep.Kelly.Flynn@mt.gov, winwithwhite@gmail.com, Rep.Matt.Regier@mt.gov, denleylogehd14 <Denleylogehd14@gmail.com>, Atomicrosie@gmail.com, Rep.Casey.Knudsen@mt.gov, Rep.Sue.Vinton@mt.gov, Twelch1213@gmail.com, Rep.Ray.Shaw@mt.gov
Ask for some respect for the work of the license committee. The legislature caused the 5 million in free and reduced license….the committee standardized all….and now legislators want to give special interest groups more freebees. OPPOSE VIGOROUSLY
HB 315 Essmann
Bill revising laws related to nonresident relative hunting and fishing license.
Reduces lic cost from 1/2 to 1/4.
Violates the work of the license committee and is self-serving
Please oppose and cite the integrity of the license committee who just went thru and standardized all these licenses. We had 5 million in free and reduced licenses before the committee fixed things. We can’t go back! OPPOSE
HB 318 Lavin
Bill revising nonresident college students big game combo license fee
Reduces license cost of a big game combo to $120.00 thus violating the license committee work.
Please oppose and cite the integrity of the license committee who just went thru and standardized all these licenses. We had 5 million in free and reduced licenses before the committee fixed things. We can’t go back!
The license working group was convened at significant cost to standardize free and reduced licenses.
They met many times as a collaborative working group made up of sportsmen, outfitters, business folks, landowners, etc. Why would someone want to violate all that work on reducing costs contrary to those in affect now??? OPPOSE

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Oppose HB 231


The Montana Sportsmen Alliance opposes HB 231. In its current form it proposes the sweeping, complete elimination of property posting standards, the “Orange Paint Law,” of the Criminal Trespass statute (45-6-201-(2) MCA.) It abolishes the fundamental and well-accepted means of identifying private property boundaries that provides a broadly understood method of recognition and compliance. It unravels over 30 years of success with a fair and reasonable means of sharing the responsibilities for respecting and defining private property, thus taking a giant step backward in landowner-sportsman relations in Montana. HB 231’s arbitrary 11th hour amendment was made to a bill whose original stated intent and purpose had absolutely nothing to do with posting, recreation or land issues. Added in Executive Session, there was no opportunity whatsoever for discussion beyond the immediate committee. As such, there was no testimony from the wide range of people and agencies that have legitimate stake in the bill and will be significantly impacted in numerous ways by its passage.

  1. The Way We Do Business. The “Orange Paint Law” is commonly and broadly understood, accepted and generally complied with by the overwhelming majority of landowners, recreationists and the general public. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
  2. Fair. The current “Orange Paint Law” equitably shares the responsibility of defining and respecting private property rights with landowners.
  3. Changes Intent. HB 231 in its current version had absolutely nothing to do with the bill’s stated intent as described in its original title. The introduced bill addressed only issues of residential trespass. This amendment radically and questionably changes the bill’s intent, purpose and title.
  4. Public Interest. HB231 was amended during Executive Action. There was absolutely no public testimony offered to the Judiciary Committee to help guide their decision on the amendment.
  5. Impact beyond recreation. HB 231 would affect not only recreationists but the public at large. The Criminal Trespass law applies to anyone, engaged in any activity, not just recreation, who “...enters and remains unlawfully…”, on private property. A person simply taking a short cut across unposted private land could be charged with criminal trespass.
  6. Cost. As of 1/28/17, no fiscal note was attached to this bill. That is totally erroneous. If passed, HB 231 would place a huge burden on local law enforcement, Fish, Wildlife & Parks, DNRC as well as other local, state, and federal agencies and the general public. Although the Orange Paint Law was originally designed to address recreation issues, it applies to all forms of trespass. By virtue of the resulting ambiguity and radical change in law that HB 231 would propose:
  • County law enforcement agencies would be faced with responding to increased alleged trespass complaints.
  • Montana FWP would see increased complaints that would have to be responded to by game wardens.
  • State and federal agencies would be faced with a total revamp of any and all publications that explain state regulations on trespass.
  • The costs for this change would be shouldered by the counties and to an even larger extent, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. This would divert precious resource dollars to “undoing” 32 years of a successful effort. Ultimately, the sportsmen and women of bear the burden.
  1. Ignores other laws. HB 231 completely overlooks the fact that there are other laws currently in place that synchronizes with the Orange Paint Law such as the requirement that any and all hunting and trapping on private land (from gophers and predators to big game and birds) requires landowner permission. HB 231’s impact extends far beyond the surface.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Legislative Details and Alert


We are working on many issues of importance, nominations, and the legislature.  Our legislative priorities are:  

1.  Habitat Montana; ability to purchase key parcels fee title.
2.  Increases in access to public lands

3.  Denying all attempts at transferrable tags-ranching for wildlife legislation
4.  Supporting legislation to increase penalties on public road closures.
5.  Legislation on revising outfitter assistant law…HB 289
6.  Legislation on revising outfitter reporting…HB 290

7.  And as always, watching for bad legislation, building relationships with legislators, participating in the Sporting Coalition, supporting good legislation and fighting bad.

Things to watch now:

HB 289  MSA Bill to revise Outfitter Asst. Law
     Moga advanced an Outfitter Asst. Bill in 2013.  The bill was poorly written and vague as usual.  Now they want to remove the sunset BUT, there is some glaring abuse happening.  There is no definition for Emergency Guide and no authority for the Board of Outfitters to make rules.  There is also a provision for mandatory client notice of the use of an OA and if they have a first aid card.  We have no evidence if it is being followed or not.

HB 290  MSA Bill to revise outfitter reporting law.  Moga is leading the charge on efforts to not report much of anything.  We think their harvest of public trust critters for profit entitles the public have certain info and share it digitally with both state and federal agencies involved.  We want to know what (big game) was harvested, where down to Hunting District, who harvested it, species and sex of harvested critters, and when it was harvested.  MOGA thinks we don’t deserve any info.

NOTE:  We asked MOGA if they wanted to work together on these issues and they turned us down.  We offered to work with Foam and they accepted and contributed.  We offered the FWP an opportunity to work together and they accepted and provided insight and details needed by the agency.

HB 96   *****CAUTION*****

Short Title:    Revise free elk license/permit for landowner providing free public elk hunting
Primary Sponsor:    Zach Brown  (D) HD 63

This is a PLPW bill to attempt to give more permits to immediate family members and ranch help.  It is the old HD 454 tag with some embellishments.  This is a poke in the eye of PLPW who have spent several years working on this delicate compromise.

WARNING:  Rumor has it that Kelly Flynn has an amendment to create more free licenses that can be given to the landowner to give out(sell).  ***THIS IS TRANFERRABLE TAGS!!!!***  NO AMENDMENTS ACCEPTABLE  If any amendments move forward, KILL THIS BILL.




Please call the Legislature at 406-444-4800 and tell the House FWP Committee that the Montana Legislature should oppose ANY amendments to HB 96.

Act now, because the bill could come up for a vote as early as Today!

HB 96, sponsored by Rep. Zach Brown, D-Bozeman, was a bill that the Private Land/Public Wildlife Council advanced on a consensus decision to improve an existing FWP program that gives elk permits to landowners who allow public hunting. The permits are only good on the landowner’s own land, and cannot be transferred to anyone other than a family member or employee.

HB 96 would increase public hunting by establishing a random draw for public hunters who have successfully drawn permits to hunt either sex elk.

The Private Land/Public Wildlife Committee carefully wrote HB 96 to protect this important Montana value.

Now that promise is at risk....
A proposed amendment to HB96 will let landowners give the tags to anyone, opening the door for abuse, fraud, and under-the-table deals to buy and sell tags. I oppose ANY action that could lead to turning our public wildlife into a private commodity!!

Please take a few minutes and call the House FWP Committee please tell the Montana Legislature to respect the hard work and compromise that went into HB 96 and oppose ANY amendments to HB 96.  406-444-4800  Thanks a bunch.