Hunting certain animals may truly become a once in a lifetime opportunity in Big Sky Country.
Obtaining hunting permits for specific animals in various states can be incredibly difficult. Many wildlife departments only issue a handful of permits for each season, often relying on lottery systems to determine which hunters get awarded the coveted permissions.
With that being said, a new bill in Montana hopes to democratize the process by shifting to a new type of system.
Currently, the state uses a lottery to grant permits for species including moose, mountain goats and bighorn sheep. On Wednesday, The Independent Record reported that a new bill, House Bill 202, would make harvesting one of these animals a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
According to the proposed legislation, if a hunter is granted a license through a lottery but isn’t able to harvest one of the animals, they would still be eligible to enter the lottery again. If they do harvest the animal, however, they wouldn’t be able to enter the lottery for that specific hunt again.
At present, Montana has a seven-year waiting period between drawing permits, according to the Record.
Though supporters of the bill say it would make things fairer, opponents argue it could have a negative impact on conservation volunteering and support.
For example, a representative for the Montana Wild Sheep Foundation told the outlet that 30,000 hunters applied for 124 tags last year, meaning that the bill would have an inconsequential effect on the odds of drawing a permit.
State officials have yet to take action on House Bill 202.