Rep. Wylie Galt introduced HB505 a few weeks ago. The bill’s hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, March 9th. The bill is looking to give large landowners 10 nonresident elk permits per landowner. The landowners then could distribute the permits as they see fit.
Sportsmen associations from across Montana were quick to point out issues with the bill. Firstly, it privatizes wildlife, which belongs to all Montanans. It sets up a system that is unfair to some nonresidents and is prone to corruption.
Hunting groups also state that the bill would take science out of wildlife management. The elk tags could be used for either bulls or cows. Because the tags numbers are set in the law biologists would have zero chance of adjusting the number of tags nor could they change the hunting season.
“Sooner or later, this type of legislative bill will result in total loss of our wildlife and hunting heritage. Make no mistake about it. Greed is the driving force behind HB 505.” – Butte hunter Harold Johns wrote in the Missoula Current
Another issue the bill creates is that it would award bonus points to hunters that harvest cow elk while on private land. This creates an unfair advantage for hunters that have access to private land, while public land hunters get no extra bonus points.
Some groups have also questioned the motive of the bill’s Sponsor. Rep. Wylie Galt is part owner of the 71 Ranch. The ranch controls over 248,000 acres of land. This has led many to believe that Galt and his business partners stand to gain upwards of 50 elk permits if the bill passes.
Concerned parties can contact the house of representatives by clicking here.
As of 03/11/2021, according to Montana Bill Track, the bill is currently being amended.
So, what are your thoughts on HB505? Do you support the bill or are you against it? Let us know in the comments!