Outdoors Briefs: Deer and elk deadlines near, birding meeting slated

Resident and nonresident license and permit applications to hunt deer and elk in Montana are due Wednesday. 

According to a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) news release, hunters must possess or apply for a General Deer license in order to apply for a deer permit.

To apply for an archery-only permit hunters must  first purchase an archery hunting license.

The news release noted some changes for Regions 1, 2, 3 and 6.

Elk B Licenses previously offered in Region 1 are now “antlerless elk permits.” And, elk hunting in many HDs or portions of HDs in Regions 2, 3 and 6 now offer “antlerless elk permits” instead of, or in addition to, elk B licenses.

To harvest an antlerless elk in those districts hunters need to apply for an antlerless permit by March 15. The deadline to apply for elk B licenses is June 1.

Other deadlines for big game licenses in Montana are:

— June 1 for Deer B, Elk B, Antelope and Antelope B license applications.

— May 1 for moose, sheep, goat and bison applications.

For more information, view the 2017 Deer, Elk and Antelope Regulations at fwp.mt.gov. Licenses can also be purchased online.

Birding Meeting

A meeting for persons interested in joining an outdoors/birding group is set for Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in Room 106 at Miles Community College, according to an FWP news release.

Prior to the meeting, those interested can meet at Wibaux Park, located a block from the college in Miles City, at 5:30 p.m. to view birds.

Binoculars and birding books will be provided, the news release noted.

Members of the Yellowstone Valley Audubon Society of Billings will attend the meeting, and plan to do some birding before and after.  They’ll visit Pirogue Island State Park north of Miles City for about an hour before the Wibaux Park visit on Thursday. They’ll visit the Isaac Homestead Wildlife Management Area near Hysham on their way back to Billings Friday morning. To join the group on their outings, contact Steve Regele at smregele@gmail.com.

“Depending on their interests, members of this new outdoors group would participate in activities such as outings to view birds or other wildlife, educational nature talks and possibly service activities,” the news release noted.

Brandi  Skone, Miles City meeting coordinator and non-game biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 7, will report on the results of a questionnaire from the first meeting that asked about group interests and activities.

She will also seek volunteer for committees to plan group outings, the news release said.

Also during the meeting, Region 7 wildlife biologist Jesse Kolar will talk to the group about eBird, a tool that can be used on a cellphone, tablet or computer to keep track of local birds and find local hot spots.

For more information contact Skone at 234-0900 or bskone@mt.gov.

Rule Changes

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking comment on proposed new regulations to contain, detect and prevent the spread of invasive mussels and other aquatic invasive species, according to an FWP news release.

 The proposed rule amendments include:

— prohibiting the transportation of lake and river water.

— requiring that live bait and fish be transported in clean domestic water where allowed in current fishing regulations. Upon leaving Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoirs, where invasive mussels have been found, bait and fish must be transported without water.

— mandatory inspections of out-of-state watercraft prior to launching.

— mandatory inspections of all watercraft traveling across the Continental Divide into the Columbia River Basin in Montana.

— mandatory inspections of all watercraft leaving Tiber and Canyon Ferry reservoirs.

— removing drain plugs. If the watercraft doesn’t have drain plugs, “reasonable measures” must be taken to dry or drain all compartments, including bilges.

For more information or to comment visit fwp.mt.gov, click on the “News” tab, and then click on rules or click “Public Notices.”  Comments on the proposed rule amendments are due by March 17. 

Comments can also be emailed to fwpexotics@mt.gov, or mailed to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.