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Landscape Photography

Legislation and Policy Issues

Bad Bills for Tourism in Wildlife-related Legislation

Montana’s legislative session is in full swing and there are several wildlife related bills that are in draft or under consideration in which we hope you engage.

LC0925 would dramatically limit the population and distribution of grizzly bears in Montana, is focused on livestock interests, and does not consider the interests of the larger tourism industry.

LC3410 would require FWP to allow use of snares in addition to wolf trapping. This bill attempts to further remove decision-making power from biologists at FWP.

LC3411 would establish a law that the commission must open a wolf trapping season the first Monday after Thanksgiving until March 15th, without the commission being able to adjust dates. This is another attempt to further remove decision-making power from FWP and place it in the hands of politicians.

LC3404 enshrines trapping in the Montana constitution and requires that the state shall give preference to hunting, fishing and trapping by citizens as the primary means of managing fish and wildlife. These are not the only or most effective ways of managing wildlife and will certainly lead to unfavorable outcomes for humans and wildlife. Any old-timer can tell you how dangerous it will become to recreate in areas where grizzlies have been shot at or wounded.

Helpful websites:


Basic Legislature info:

  • “It’s the job of the Legislature to help find common ground among different opinions and ideas. It’s also the job of the Legislature to pass laws that benefit the largest number of people possible.” Pg. 6 from the guide

  • The Legislature meets in regular session for up to 90 working days of every odd-numbered year. Each session begins, or convenes, at noon on the first Monday in January unless that is New Year’s Day. In that case, the session convenes on the following Wednesday.

  • Montana has a citizen Legislature. Members have a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. They may be parents, students, teachers, lawyers, farmers, doctors, or businesspersons. Each member’s expertise and personal experiences influence the kinds of bills he or she sponsors, and supports or opposes. They are not necessarily trained experts on the topics that they have to make decisions on.

  • Once a bill is introduced, legislators gather in the House and Senate chambers during floor sessions to debate and vote on bills. But first, they hold committee meetings where they can listen to the concerns and recommendations of the public, lobbyists, and other legislators. Every bill that the House and Senate considers is first assigned to a committee based on its subject matter. Wildlife-related bills typically are assigned to the Senate Fish and Game committee and the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks committee (see list of current committee members at the end of this document). You can view the basic process by which a bill becomes law in the graphic at the end of this document. The final stage is signature by the Governor.


How to engage:

Testify and send comments to the committees that are considering key bills of interest

  • You can testify in person or virtually during the hearings to communicate with the committee members/legislators about the specific bills on their agenda.

  • To testify virtually, sign up on this webpage, which also has the guidelines and directions on virtual testimony:

  • Typically, you must sign up to testify by 12:00pm the day before the hearing.

  • You can choose to submit written comments AND/OR register to testify virtually at the hearing through the link above. The written comments can include more detail and evidence to back up your testimony, which will be somewhat more limited in length.

  • Once you register to testify, you will receive a zoom link to join the hearing at the scheduled time. This is different than simply live streaming the hearing from the Legislature’s webpage. When the committee opens the floor for public comment, they will generally start by asking for all proponents of the bill to speak, followed by opponents. When your group is called, you must “raise your hand” in zoom (or hit *9) to let the coordinator know you are present and would like to testify. Then you will be called on to unmute (or *6 on a phone) and share your testimony.


Tips for comments and testimony or public comment:

  • Be civil and courteous, even if you hear offensive comments from others. Avoid ALL CAPS in any written comment.

  • Keep written comments and verbal testimony short and sweet. Use a personal story, if possible.

  • Always begin any testimony by greeting the Chairman or Chairwoman of the committee and its members, and introduce yourself clearly, and spell out your last name (for example, “Good afternoon Mr. Chairman/Madam Chair and members of the committee. My name is X, spelled xxxx, I am from X, and I oppose/support this bill because …). Try to limit your comment to ~1-3 minutes.

  • If you are a hunter or angler, please indicate that (that means you’ve directly given money to the Dept. of FWP via purchase of a license.)

  • Here are some additional tips from Montana Wildlife Federation.

  • Other ways to engage:

  • Send messages through the website: you can send a web message directly to a single legislator or to a committee at any time using a web form. 

  • Call (406) 444-4800 and you can leave a message to be delivered to a legislator. Or, you can find an individual legislator’s direct email and phone number on the legislature’s website here: 

  • See this webpage for more tips on contacting a legislator:

  • Write an op-ed or Letter to the Editor to share your views more broadly with the public and educate others.

  • If a bill has already passed both chambers, the final opportunity to weigh in is the Governor’s office. You can contact the Governor directly to ask that he veto a bill. Governor’s Telephone: (406) 444-3111 or via the web at:

Tourism in the Greater Yellowstone:
Wildlife Watching's Growing Importance

Whether it's for consumptive purposes like hunting, or partially-consumptive like wildlife-watching, people enjoy being in nature, especially places with abundant and diverse wildlife. It's no wonder then that people pay to experience the outdoors, as the below summary of our 2022 economic study reveals.

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