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(1) Damage hunts are carried out according to the following policies and procedures:

(a) during the season-setting process, the department requests that the commission tentatively approve a specified number of antlerless deer, antlerless elk, and doe/fawn antelope licenses for potential game damage occurring between August 15 and February 15; and

(b) if the regional supervisor determines that a damage hunt is necessary before, during, or after the general hunting season, the regional supervisor must obtain approval of the commissioner in whose district the game damage hunt is proposed prior to implementing the hunt. If the commissioner is not available, then the regional supervisor must obtain approval from the chair of the commission or, in the chair's absence, any other commissioner.

(2) The following conditions apply to game damage hunts:

(a) damage hunts may only occur between August 15 and February 15;

(b) damage hunts may be authorized when there are enough animals involved on the landowner's property to justify the use of public hunting, but numbers of animals and size of affected area does not qualify for implementation of a management hunt, as outlined in ARM 12.9.1101;

(c) damage hunts may be authorized when hunting will occur only on property where public hunting during the general season qualifies the property for game damage assistance under 87-1-225, MCA, and ARM 12.9.803 and on approved adjacent or nearby legally-accessible state or federal land;

(d) damage hunts may be authorized when the game damage is a recurring problem and animals causing the problem are normally unavailable during the general hunting season;

(e) a game damage hunt roster must be established in accordance with ARM 12.9.804A for use in identifying some or all of the hunters eligible to participate in game damage hunts. Eligible hunters may be identified through the game damage hunt roster, or the department may identify eligible hunters through other established means of hunter selection, including first-come, first-served advertised opportunities, unsuccessful special license or permit applicant lists, or lists of names supplied by landowners;

(f) if the department determines that it may be effective in helping achieve the objectives of the hunt, the department may request a list of names supplied by a landowner to use in addition to selecting hunters from the hunt roster or other established means of hunter selection;

(g) if the department chooses to use a list of names supplied by a landowner, no more than 25% of the total number of hunters authorized to participate in the hunt may come from the list;

(h) unless stated otherwise, participants in a damage hunt shall possess a valid unused license, permit, or damage hunt license or permit for the species being hunted;

(i) a person who is contacted by the department for the purpose of a damage hunt may waive the opportunity to participate, but may not be considered again until all other interested persons have been contacted;

(j) any weapons restrictions or area closures that apply during general hunting seasons to areas included in game damage hunts will also apply to hunting conducted during game damage hunts in those same areas;

(k) damage hunts may include the harvest of male and female game animals; and

(l) if harvest of antlered animals is authorized, lists of names supplied by landowners shall not be an authorized means of hunter selection.

History: 87-1-225, MCA; IMP, 87-1-225, MCA; NEW, 2006 MAR p. 1867, Eff. 7/28/06; AMD, 2015 MAR p. 2138, Eff. 12/11/15.

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