At least a few Montana hunters who were unintentionally awarded bighorn sheep and moose permits in the most recent Fish, Wildlife & Parks drawing will be happy.
The agency has decided to allow the extra licenses issued to five either-sex bighorn sheep applicants in Hunting District 482-20 and two moose hunters in HDs 270-50 and 341-50.
“With these three instances, the extra licenses will have no impact on the population,” said Ken McDonald, chief of the Wildlife Division at FWP, in a statement. “In the remaining circumstances where licenses were over-drawn, awarding additional licenses could detrimentally affect populations.”
The other 55 bighorn sheep applicants in HD 482-30, 622-30 and 680-31, along with two moose hunters who thought they had tags in HD 322-00, will still have their hopes for a hard-to-get-hunt crushed.
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FWP spokesman Greg Lemon said the decision was made to award some of the tags as drawn was based on the fact that they were within the quota range approved by the Fish and Wildlife Commission and that the extra hunting pressure wouldn't be biologically harmful to the wildlife.
The announcement came a day after FWP announced the Licensing Bureau had incorrectly entered quota numbers in seven hunting districts for bighorn sheep and moose. The quotas are manually entered based on recommendations from regional biologists, Lemon said.
The drawing occurred on May 11 and the department realized the mistake on May 16.
The Licensing Bureau put a block on the ability for successful applicants in the affected districts to purchase their license. FWP staff are removing successful applicants based on their place in line in the original drawing. Once the system completes the corrections, the affected hunters will be notified by phone and email, and their MyFWP accounts will be updated. After that is completed, successful applicants will be able to purchase their licenses.