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Shoot for the Cure

From left, Joshua Bishop, Benjamin Bishop, John Bishop, and their father, Patrick Bishop, pull arrows from a pink-painted ram target at Shoot for the Cure event in 2016.

Shoot for the Cure Montana

The Shoot for the Cure Montana 3D archery shoot is scheduled for July 13-14 near Townsend, at 589 Gurnett Creek Road. All proceeds will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. In addition to the 3D archery shoot, there are novelty shoots, a silent auction, raffles and a cribbage tournament. Archers from all over Montana and some from other states take part.

Over the past 10 years a total donation of $101,200 has been made to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Registration starts at 8 a.m. and runs all day. For more information go to www.shootforthecuremontana.com/.

FWP reminds boaters of hazardous river conditions

Boats swamped

A canoe and a paddle boat both became stuck in a log jam on the Gallatin River last week. 

Two recreationists were caught in a hazardous spot on the Gallatin River in separate incidents last week where a cottonwood tree recently fell into the river. Both boaters were uninjured, but their watercrafts — a canoe and a paddle boat — became stuck in the log jam.

This hazard is new and appeared recently between Logan and Missouri Headwaters State Park. But similar hazards exist in all rivers across the state and, like this one, are altered by constantly changing river flows.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reminds boaters to use caution everywhere they recreate. Boating, while enjoyable, is inherently dangerous. Boaters and other people who recreate on Montana’s waterbodies do so at their own risk.

Historically, boating accidents are not uncommon in Montana. Between 1998 and 2018, 134 people died in boating accidents in the state. Of those fatalities, 71 occurred on a river. And in 73% of Montana’s drowning deaths, the victim was not wearing a life jacket.

Here are several recommended precautions boaters can take to avoid accidents and injury:

  • Always wear a life jacket. Make sure the type of life jacket is appropriate for the activity. Montana law requires that children under age 12 wear a life jacket when they are in any boat shorter than 26 feet.
  • Avoid downed trees and other visible hazards in the water. Practice situational awareness and know that dangerous conditions can appear and evolve without warning.
  • Abide by Montana’s boating regulations. A copy of these regulations can be found online at fwp.mt.gov or at any FWP regional office.
  • Follow vessel safety checklists provided by FWP and the U.S. Coast Guard, including an inventory of necessary rescue equipment. These checklists can be found online at fwp.mt.gov/recreation/safety/boating.
  • Consult the U.S. Geological Survey for daily streamflow conditions. Avoid recreating on rivers during high flows.

Montana 2019-20 waterfowl and ‘webless’ migratory bird regulations released

Waterfowl and webless migratory bird regulations are complete for the 2019-20 hunting seasons. The regulations are online at http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/regulations, and hard copies will be available soon at license providers.

Of special interest to some hunters will be the upcoming deadlines for applying for special licenses for sandhill cranes and swans. There are two changes this year. The deadline for both crane and swan applications is July 26. For swans, this is a month earlier than in past years. Another change is that no paper applications will be accepted by mail this year. An application will be available on the website for your use or to be taken to an FWP office to be entered over-the-counter. Check the regulations for application details.

Sandhill Crane, Mourning Dove and Snipe (webless migratory bird) regulations

Mourning dove season dates will be unchanged, Sept. 1 - Oct. 30, with the same bag limits as last year, while snipe season will be Sept. 1 - Dec. 16. For sandhill cranes, the over-the-counter permit season in the Central Flyway (CF) will be Sept. 28 – Nov. 24. For crane seasons regulated under special drawing permits, season dates will be Sept. 1 – Oct. 27.

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Waterfowl regulations

The hunting seasons for ducks, geese, swans, and coots have been set as well, for both the Pacific Flyway (PF) portion of the state (roughly the western half) and the Central Flyway (CF) portion (the eastern half). Regulations will be similar to last year, but one important change is that the daily pintail bag will be decreased from 2 to 1.

In the PF a split season for both ducks and geese, with dates of Sept. 28 - January 5 and January 11-15, will allow an additional weekend of hunting. PF swan season dates, for those areas open to swan hunting, will be Oct. 5 – Dec. 1.

In the CF, for Zone 2 (Big Horn, Carbon, Custer, Prairie, Rosebud, Treasure, and Yellowstone Counties), duck season dates will be Sept. 28 - Oct. 6 and Oct. 19 – Jan. 14, with goose season dates Sept. 28 – Oct. 6 and Oct. 19 – Jan. 22. Zone 1 (the remainder of the CF) will have a duck season Sept. 28 – Jan. 2 and goose season dates of Sept. 28 - Jan. 5 and Jan. 11-15. The CF tundra swan season will be Sept. 28 – Jan. 2.

Other than the decreased pintail daily bag, duck and goose bag limits in both the PF and CF will be identical to last season. In the CF, a "bonus teal" bag will allow two additional blue-winged teal in the daily bag for the first nine days of the season, Sept. 28 – Oct. 6.

Special Youth Waterfowl Hunt

Youth 10 to 15 years old may participate in a special statewide two-day early hunt for waterfowl Sept. 21-22. This is a great time to get the kids out, when they're the only ones who can shoot, as well as giving your retriever a tune-up prior to the regular season. Consult the regulations for details.

Waterfowl Outlook

Record or near-record duck numbers the last two years meant that a lot of ducks returned to breed this spring. Ducks found excellent water conditions in nearly all of Montana this spring, the best in several years, and there will be a lot of ducks produced in Montana this year. Another reason the water in Montana is great news for waterfowl hunters is that there will be more areas to hunt, as the water in many places is likely to last into the fall, more so than in most years. Some major duck production areas in southern Saskatchewan and Alberta have been quite dry this spring and summer, which will decrease duck production in those areas. Canada goose numbers remain high in Montana and surrounding areas.

By about mid-August, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website (http://fws.gov/birds) will have the Waterfowl Status Report (based on the May breeding duck surveys) giving the overall duck estimates and estimates by species. Survey results will also be found on the Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl websites when they are available. These survey results are anticipated by duck hunters and will be used in setting regulations for next year.

Fish and Wildlife Commission accepting public comments

At its June 19 meeting, the Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed to adopt an administrative rule pertaining to two-way communication while hunting, an administrative rule pertaining to animal kill site verification, and proposed to repeal administrative rule 12.6.301 pertaining to tagging of carcasses.

On July 30 at 6 p.m., a public hearing will be held at the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Headquarters, 1420 E. 6th Ave., on the proposed adoption of a new rule pertaining to two-way electronic communication while hunting. Based on recommendations from the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Review Working Group, the commission is proposing to add clarifying language from what was previously adopted to describe the circumstances where the use of two-way communication is prohibited. The proposed language clarifies when and how this rule applies to hunters.

On July 31 at 6 p.m., a public hearing will be held at the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Headquarters, 1420 E. 6th Ave., on the proposed adoption of a new rule pertaining to animal kill site verification. Based on recommendations from the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Review Working Group, the commission is proposing to add clarifying language from what was previously adopted to make it clear that this rule applies to animals that are hunted and/or trapped. The proposed language also clarifies when and how this rule applies to hunters and trappers.

The commission is also proposing to repeal ARM 12.6.301 pertaining to tagging carcasses, as the penalty language of the rule is outdated and unnecessary. In addition, the requirement that tags on animals must be visible is not entirely clear as tags are often not immediately visible due to the tape used to affix the tags and the position of the animal. Further, the rule will not be applicable when the use of electronic tagging begins.

Details of these proposed administrative rules and the opportunity to comment online are available on the News – Rules section of the FWP website. Written comment can be submitted to Ron Howell, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, 1 Airport Road, Glasgow, Montana, 59230; or e-mail rhowell@mt.gov. All comments must be received no later than Aug. 2.

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