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Good News and Bad News About the Montana Bison Hunt

The good news is that on September 6, 2007, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks finally posted the regulations for the 2007 wild bison hunt.

The bad news is that there are not very many tags, and draw odds, especially for those of us who don't live in Montana, are going to be very steep.

Applications, which can be submitted online, are due on October 4th. License cost is $750 for a nonresident. The draw will be held in "mid-October". You'll also need to front a non-refundable $10 fee for a conservation license (if you haven't alread applied in Montana this year) and a $5 application fee.

There are only 44 either-sex tags this year, plus up to 100 cow/calf licenses. Of the 44 either-sex tags, 16 will be allocated to Tribal members. That leaves only 28 either-sex tags available for the general draw ... not very many. If a similar number of hunters apply in 2007 as in 2006, we're looking at 1 in 250 draw odds.

Even worse, though, non-residents are limited to a maximum of 10% of the region's license quota. So, at most, only 4 tags would be available to non-residents.

If you're open to shooting a cow, you can request to be assigned a random number and added to a wait list as your 2nd choice. If sufficient numbers of bison migrate out of the park, you may be called if you're ranked as one of the top 100 on the wait list.

Regulations are available at: http://fwp.mt.gov/content/getItem.aspx?id=29412

You can apply online at: http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/licenses/default.html

Read Montana Game, Fish and Parks announcement of regulations availability at: http://fwp.mt.gov/news/article_5979.aspx

Tough draw odds for a tough winter hunt. But as one of the very few opportunities in the West to hunt wild, free-range bison, it's well worth considering.