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Friday, January 24, 2003
New Game Bird Farm and Shooting Preserve Guidelines In Place
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Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has proposed new guidelines to manage the state’s game bird farms and shooting preserves based on a detailed environmental study of the facilities. Changes include: simplified licensing procedures, changes in annual fees, and tighter controls to protect native upland game bird populations.

“The environmental impact statement process we went through over the past two years helped us to find a balance between support for the game bird farm and shooting preserve industry and maintaining and protecting wild populations of upland game birds,” said Tim Feldner, FWP commercial wildlife permit manager.

Among the proposed new guidelines are provisions that:

game bird farm permits may be issued without an environmental assessment;
new shooting preserves may need to take measures to protect native upland game bird populations in the area;
annual license fees will be increased for shooting preserves. The current fee structure is $50 for the first 160 acres plus $20 for each additional 160 acres in the preserve. The proposed new fee structure is a $100 flat fee plus .50 cents for each acre over 320 acres.
game bird farm annual license fees would increase from $15 to $50;
a minimum of 100 birds of each species identified on the preserve permit must be released during the season and pheasants must be at least 14 weeks old when released;
birds released on shooting preserves must be marked and records kept of native and captive-reared birds harvested;
turkeys may no longer be released on shooting preserves;
upland game birds must come from National Poultry Improvement Program certified sources.
FWP has proposed the legislative and regulatory changes needed to put these guidelines in place. For details on the changes call 406-444-4039.

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