FWP to hold public hearing on proposed changes to rules pertaining to field trial regulations, game bird dog training and game bird farms | Business

The 2019 legislature enacted House Bill 29, which changed the legal requirements for certain activities relating to field trials and the training of dogs using captive-reared upland game birds. In addition, HB 29 made some of FWP’s existing administrative rules contrary to the new law, or confusing, or redundant. Upon passage of HB 29, FWP undertook a collaborative scoping process, including outreach to constituent groups, to better understand how training activities are conducted. This included input from representatives of most major sporting dog training organizations in Montana. Additionally, the department did an internal process review for dog training, field trials, and captive reared game bird farm management. These processes recognized unneeded and cumbersome permitting requirements as well as potential rule changes because of the new statutes.

The department is proposing to amend and repeal rules which outline a permitting process that is not being used as a management tool and therefore is unnecessary. The department is also proposing to amend and repeal rules which attempt to regulate activity that appears not to be congruent with current rulemaking authority.

The department is proposing to adopt new rules which would require retention of proof of purchase for birds, which would allow department staff to make sure birds being used for training can be differentiated from wild birds. Additionally, the department is proposing that birds be obtained from an NPIP certified flock, which would ensure that captive-reared birds used in the field are screened for disease.

Public comment will be taken during the public hearing. Written data, views or arguments may also be submitted to: Phil Kilbreath, FWP Enforcement Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, Montana, 59620-0701; or e-mailed to pkilbreath@mt.gov. Comments must be received no later than Dec. 18, 2020.

To participate in the telephonic public hearing, call 1-646-558-8656, enter the meeting number: 988 8864 1013, followed by the password: 809105.

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