Fielder’s Montana Legislative Update on Wildlife Bills
Rep. Paul Fielder (R-Thompson Falls) sent us an update on the wildlife related bills he is working on before the Montana Legislature.
First, he says HB 367, which would provide protections for fishing, hunting and trapping under the Montana Constitution, will be presented on the house floor next week before moving on to the state senate.
Several bills he has sponsored are either still alive in the legislative process or ready for the governor to sign, including:
HB163 to expand the FWP Commission from 5 to 7 with one for each region was passed out of the Senate and is on to the governor.
HB224 and HB225 to allow wolf snaring and lengthening the wolf trapping season were both passed out of the Senate and are on their way to the governor.
SB60 for mandatory trapper education passed through the Senate and I presented it on the House floor 2nd reading Friday where it passed 99-1 and will have 3rd reading early next week, and then onto the governor.
Rep. Fielder is also pleased to report that a couple bills by State Sen. Bob Brown (R-Thompson Falls) are seeing action, including SB 267 which would allow for reimbursement of wolf hunting and trapping expenses. SB314 would allow for additional wolf harvest methods.
Rep. Fielder's efforts aren't only limited to the wildlife related legislation. His bill to eliminate taxes on social security is now off the table for reconsideration of a 5-year phase in. He says it may pass out of House Taxation.
Thanks to Rep. Fielder for the update.
Initial Story from March 15th, 2021: Northwest Montana Legislator Talks Wolf, Bear Hunting Bills |
When I caught up with Montana's Speaker of the House Wylie Galt (R-Martinsdale) during the legislative break, I asked him about the budget, tax cuts, and a few other topics. But then I asked him, "What are you hearing about now that you're back home for the break? What's the biggest topic that folks are bringing up to you?"
Using hounds to hunt bears.
That's what the Speaker said everyone at the Mint Bar in Martinsdale wanted to talk to him about. So we tracked down the bill's sponsor.
Rep. Paul Fielder, a Republican from Thompson Falls, Montana is leading the charge in the state legislature when it comes to several bills important to sportsmen. He is also the sponsor of HB 468, which would allow hunters to hunt black bears with dogs.
Here's how he described the bill to the Helena IR's Tom Kuglin:
“In Montana, a person may take game birds, hunt mountain lions and hunt bobcats with the aid of a dog or dogs,” Fielder told the committee. “This bill simply adds black bears to the list of animals that may be hunted with a dog.”
(One quick note, in the IR piece it says that there are 33 states that allow hunters to hunt bears with dogs. Rep. Fielder informed me on the radio that 33 states have bear hunting seasons, but only 16 states allow bears to be hunted with dogs, including our neighboring state of Idaho.)
He's also the author of several other bills moving forward in the legislative session that would help the state better manage wolves, along with an effort to protect our Constitutional right to fish, hunt, and trap.
Full audio of our chat with Rep. Paul Fielder (R-Thompson Falls):