News Briefs

Montana FW Commission approves 2018-2019 hunting season structures, regulations
The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission convened February 15 in Helena and approved hunting season structures and regulations for 2018 and 2019.
The five-member Commission is a quasi-judicial citizen board appointed by the Governor from five geographical districts across Montana.
Montana’s hunting season structures are reviewed every two years for most game species. Proposals were released for public input in December, and public meetings were organized across the state, including northwest Montana.
The Commission approved a proposal that creates a new limited draw for mule deer bucks in a section of the Fisher River in Hunting District 103 near Libby. The new permit area will take effect this year with a quota of five draw permits. Applications will be due March 15, 2018. Maps will be available at FWP’s office in Kalispell and online at fwp.mt.gov under “Hunt Planner.”
“The limited draw mule deer hunt will set aside about a quarter of hunting district 103 for permit-only antlered buck hunting and you will have to apply for a permit,” FWP Region 1 Wildlife Manager Neil Anderson said. “Hunters are encouraged to review these and other changes to the hunting seasons and plan accordingly so they don’t miss opportunity this fall.”
Other decisions from Thursday’s meeting include:
The Commission denied a proposal to expand the early youth deer hunt to a 4-day opportunity and change the definition of youth to be anyone between 10 and 17.
The Commission denied the use of crossbows as a legal weapon for fall turkey hunting.
The Commission approved the creation of the Swan River Refuge Weapons Restriction Area for archery-only hunting of deer, elk, black bear, mountain lion and wolf in a portion of HD 130 (Lake County).
The Commission approve the addition of a second antlerless white-tailed deer license for HD 170, bringing the number of antlerless whitetail licenses available to a hunter to 2 for the district.
The Commission closed hunting districts 131, 132, 134, 141, 151 (Missoula, Flathead, Lake, Lewis & Clark and Powell counties) for mountain goat hunting.
The Commission approved language making it illegal to take a female mountain goat accompanying a kid or a female mountain goat in a group that contains one or more kids in FWP Regions 1, 2 and 4.
The Commission passed a resolution supporting the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, a bipartisan legislation working its way through Congress. The bill, if approved, could provide $1.3 billion in annual funds to state wildlife agencies for conserving wildlife and habitat, increasing wildlife associated recreation opportunities, and increasing conservation education programs. Funding for the legislation would come from revenue generated by existing on and off-shore oil and gas drilling as well as other energy sources developed on federal lands and would require a 25 percent non-federal match.
The Commission accepted the proposal by FWP to not propose a grizzly bear hunt this year in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and retain the states discretionary mortality allotment. The Commission also directed the department to notify the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission of the decision to retain the discretionary mortality.
The Commission approved the criteria for exception on ban on ungulate urine from chronic wasting disease (CWD) – positive states (per SB173).
For more information about the Commission meeting, visit fwp.mt.gov.

Miss Montana seeking contestants, everyone wins a scholarship
Montana young women and teens have the opportunity to earn college scholarships and learn leadership skills by entering the Miss Montana Scholarship Program or Miss Montana’s Outstanding Teen competition for teens age 13-17 June 14-16 in Glendive.
Contestants are judged on interview, talent, evening gown and fitness in swimwear, or as teens, fitwear.
Applications are available to download at www.missmontana.com and are due by March 15 along with the $200 sponsor fee. This year each contestant will receive a swimsuit from sponsor Kandice Pelletier.
Miss Montana contestants, age 17-25 receive $850 for competing but have the opportunity to win additional scholarship money for community service, academics, being in the top five and a variety of other areas. More than $300,000 in cash and applied scholarships is available. Teens 13-17 earn at least $150 for competing. A contestant must be a resident of Montana or if from another state must be enrolled full time at a Montana college.
Cara Mund, Miss North Dakota, said she had earned $45,000 in scholarships from her years of competing before winning the title of Miss America 2018.
Sweet Home Miss Montana week begins June 10 at noon when the contestants check in at DCHS in Glendive. Their drivers for the week escort them to their host homes before rehearsals begin.
“You are treated like royalty during the week by the community of Glendive with service clubs sponsoring meals and events including a “Show Us Your Shoes” Parade Friday where contestant wear shoes decorated to represent their hometown or their platform,” said Jan Holden, Miss Montana Executive Director. “The leadership skills and friends you make during the week are an added bonus to the scholarships.”
The three nights of completion are Thursday, June 14 preliminaries; Friday is the crowning of Miss Montana’s Outstanding Teen. Saturday the top contestants are announced and competition begins anew culminating in the crowning of Miss Montana 2018.
Miss Montana will advance to compete in Miss America in Atlantic City in September. During her year as Montana’s ambassador, Miss Montana shares her community service mission with students on her Crown to Classroom Tour. Miss Montana’s Outstanding Teen goes on to compete as Miss America’s Outstanding Teen in Orlando in early August.
The Miss America organization is the largest provider of scholarship assistance to young women in the United States. For more information, contact Jan Holden at holdenmissmt@gmail.com, 406-939-5708, www.missmontana.com or Miss Montana Scholarship Program on Facebook.

Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness seeks scholarship entries
Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness (FSPW) offers an annual scholarship for the best essay written by a graduating senior on the theme “A most memorable Wilderness experience.” This scholarship is offered in ten different schools around the Scotchman Peaks, including Sandpoint, Pend Oreille Alternative, Forrest Bird Charter, Priest River and Clark Fork High Schools in Idaho and Noxon, Thompson Falls, Libby, Libby Alternative and Troy High Schools in Montana. The best essay for each school receives a $300 scholarship to be spent in any manner the recipient wishes. The best essay overall receives an extra $300.
There are no scholastic or community requirements for this scholarship. The application can be downloaded at http://bit.ly/FSPWScholarship2018 or ask the school counselor office for a copy.
The deadline for essay entries is April 13, 2018.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act influences economic growth in rural areas
Senator Daines issued a request in a letter sent to Governor Bullock on Feb. 22 to encourage him to nominate 25 low income Montana communities for the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”
The act signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017 outlines the opportunity zone program and can provide much needed relief in cities with little or no new economic development.
Senator Daines asked the Governor to consider Lincoln, Sanders and Mineral counties saying, “The counties continue to confront environment litigation that stifles job opportunities and wages” Lincoln county is currently included in a superfund site due to asbestos mining.
The act would attract investment capital allowing for the temporary deferral of inclusion in gross income for capital gains reinvested in a qualified opportunity fund. The act would allow for economic growth and increasing wages for those businesses who invest at least ninety percent of their assets in a qualified opportunity zone, such as Lincoln county.