Panel endorses opposition to elk feeding

By JORDAN SPARR/Montana State News

The state Senate Fish and Game Commitee last month approved a resolution opposing the Wyoming practice of feeding elk in winter.

Senate Joint Resolution 8 was passed unanimously to formally address Wyoming on the matters of wild elk feeding grounds. Fish Wildlife and Game of Wyoming has been feeding herds of wild elk, which has caused the spread of brucellosis and wasting disease among the 20,000 elk that feed artificially on these public lands.

The joint resolution was made to formally address Wyoming on the matter of spreading these diseases to Montana elk populations. Two major points brought up to push the bill forward were that no other state is currently practicing this method of elk support, and that it is completely unnatural.

Senate Bill 225, which allows the use of illuminated nocks on recreational bow hunting arrows, was shot down in a 4-7 vote. Nicole Rolf of the Federal Farm Bureau Federation argued for the use of lighted nocks from the point of view of the farming community, arguing that lighted nocks would enhance visibility in order to aid hunters in retrieving arrows that otherwise might end up in the tires of a tractor.

The Montana Bowhunters Association argued that the measure was unnecessary and a waste of time. Michael Perry of Sportsman Labs openly opposed the movement as he said that it had already been handled, referring to the regulations already put in place by Fish Wildlife and Game Management in Montana. In an effort to get the bill another look after getting voted down, Sen. Jebediah Hinkle moved to get the bill decision reversed and tabled, a movement which passed committee vote.

Senate Bill 314 was passed against a single dissenting vote to change restrictions on recreational vehicle laws pertaining to non-paved public highways. This bill would allow unlicensed individuals to operate recreational vehicles on public dirt roads under parental supervision with proper safety precautions in place.

– edited by Cullan Staack

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