The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission is seeking public comment on the proposed annual rule that will set the prices for outfitter-sponsored nonresident elk and deer hunting licenses in 2004. Commissioners tentatively adopted the rule in September. Oct. 17 is the deadline for public comment.

The proposed license fees for both the outfitter sponsored big game combination and the elk combination licenses would go down by $50. Fees for the outfitter sponsored deer combination, general nonresident big game, elk and deer combination licenses, and the landowner-sponsored deer combination license would remain unchanged. Here are the proposed 2004 prices:

Outfitter Sponsored      

Big Game Combination                 $975

Elk Combination                            $875

Deer Combination                          $775

The big game combination license includes elk, deer A, upland game bird, fishing and conservation licenses. The elk combination license includes elk, upland game bird, fishing and conservation licenses; and the deer combination license includes deer A, upland game bird, fishing and conservation licenses.

License fees charged to hunters who have booked a licensed Montana outfitter are set at a market rate to sell a combined average of 5,500 outfitter-sponsored big game and elk combination licenses and 2,300 outfitter-sponsored deer combination licenses each year, over a five-year period. These licenses are guaranteed to hunters who are sponsored by a licensed Montana outfitter.

For 2004, the target for sales of outfitter-sponsored deer combination licenses is unchanged at 2,300. The 2004 target for outfitter sponsored big game and elk combination licenses is 5,800, up 200 from 2003. The adjustments will help meet the five-year targeted average for sales set by the Montana Legislature.

The revenue generated by these market-based licenses funds the bulk of Montana’s popular Block Management Hunter Access Program. This program offers public hunting access to over 8.6 million acres enrolled by landowners.

To request copies of the proposed license rule, contact FWP's Licensing office in Helena at 406-444-2950, or go to the FWP web site at www.fwp.state.mt.us  under Public Notices.

Comments on the proposed rule should be sent to the FWP Special Licensing Section, 1420 East Sixth, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701, or e-mailed to: hworsech@state.mt.us by Oct. 17.