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Spring hunting: upland game bird proposed rule changes

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FWP Wire Services

Montana’s spring male turkey hunting season begins April 14 this year. Spring black bear hunting season opens April 15. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has expanded some general turkey hunting areas in western Montana.

FWP seeks public comment on proposed rule revisions that guide Montana’s Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program. The proposed revisions attempt to implement the new UGBE Program strategic plan endorsed by the FWP Commission in 2011.

The public can review the proposed rule changes on the FWP website under “Submit Public Comments.” Eight public meetings are set to discuss the proposed rules, including one in Bozeman, on April 4 at 6 p.m. at the FWP Region 3 Office. FWP will also take written comments through April 13.

FWP also approved new peregrine falcon rules in early March for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The new rules limit participation to residents and nonresidents who have general and master falconer classifications.

Properly licensed falconers annually have a limited opportunity to take wild peregrine falcons for falconry purposes. Falconers may take a limited number of nestling or fledged birds of prey from the wild to train for the hunting of small game like grouse, pheasants and ducks.

Under the new quota system for residents, falconers no longer need a permit and can take up to a total of five nestling or fledged peregrines in 2012 and five in 2013. The quota in 2013, however, will be reduced if more than five birds are taken in 2012. Any over-harvest during the total two-year take period will be considered in the subsequent year’s regulations process.

The take season will run June through August and limit take to one peregrine per year per falconer. Falconers who take a peregrine are required to wait two years before attempting to take another. Montana’s rules also prohibit the sale, barter or exchange of birds from the wild.

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