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Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting – cougar hunting rules reviewed

June 8, 2023 @ 8:30 am - 5:00 pm


UPDATE – In Montana, the commission authorized a 40% cut in lion populations over 6 years in one large area, and significant reductions elsewhere. The long timeline means there’s an opportunity to revisit this decision in coming years, but they seem firmly committed to reducing populations. The 40% reduction means nearly doubling quotas (86% up). Full meeting recording: https://fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/commission/june-2023-meeting and media coverage: https://missoulian.com/mt-to-increase-mountain-lion-quotas/article_1cf08ff3-2822-5fbe-b6eb-85a8ff1e2508.html

They may be revisiting at the August meeting –  issues of female sub-limits or how to increase hunting activity so more quotas/limits are met .


HELENA – Montana Fish and Wildlife & Parks Commission met on June 8th at the MFWP headquarters in Helena, with them meeting starting at 8:30 am. The formal comment period was open through May 11 up till just before midnight.  Commissioners at their individual e-mails, and they may read them until the day before the Commission meeting.

For information about the meeting and a place to submit on-line comments:


For discussion of proposed rule:


Changes to rule


Potential quotas,


Montana Alternatives

  • The first alternative is the status quo, which includes all aspects of the 12.5 percent reduction in the Northwest Ecoregion as adopted by the commission in 2022.
  • The second alternative would achieve a 10 percent reduction statewide within six years if the quota were achieved, although all quotas are not met currently. The quotas provided under the second alternative would have no numerical difference in the Northwest Ecoregion from the status quo alternative.
  • The third alternative would achieve a 20 percent reduction statewide within six years
  • Fourth alternative would achieve a 40 percent reduction statewide within six years.

Their justifications for these potential harvest increases are not well supported by science and are often just value statements – such as improving hunter satisfaction.

Here is Mountain Lion Foundation’s alert on Montana season proposals:

It is a pre-fab letter and you can edit it, or just hit send: Montana – Mountain Lion Foundation

They also wrote a blogpost on the issue: Breaking the Cycle – Mountain Lion Foundation


The management of lions in SE Montana is important to SD as we  have had at times  breeding populations and/or long term resident lions at the Custer National Forest lands or nearby state/private lands.  However with SD’s 365 day hunting seasons with hounds on the prairie in SD, such populations likely won’t last well on the SD side.

Custer National Forest exists in Montana and SD.


June 8, 2023
8:30 am - 5:00 pm