FWP Looks For Members To Represent Mule Deer Advisory Council

HELENA – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is forming an advisory council to help begin the process of developing a new statewide mule deer plan.

The Mule Deer Citizens Advisory Council (MDCAC) will consist of 10 to 12 people and will identify expectations for the new mule deer plan, which could include expectations for development process, management actions and goals, and results.

“As we begin the process of developing a new mule deer plan, we are really open to taking a different approach, if that’s what the public wants,” said FWP Director Dustin Temple. “I know landowners and hunters alike have concerns with the trajectory of Montana mule deer populations. This council will help put us on the right path to a fresh plan that addresses these concerns and others.”

In the past few years, the concern over mule deer numbers and management has grown due to a few factors, including mule deer population declines in areas of Montana, the expansion of chronic wasting disease (CWD), and proposed harvest regulations in some areas to address CWD. The Fish and Wildlife Commission has adjusted regulations in many areas to protect mule deer herds, but a more comprehensive approach is needed.

The MDCAC will represent a variety of stakeholders from around the state. The meetings will be facilitated to ensure they’re productive and efficient. The facilitator will look to reach consensus among members. The meetings will be public and have opportunity for public comment.

Potential members should be able to travel to two or more multi-day meetings between February and May of 2024. Mileage, lodging and meal costs associated with the meetings will be reimbursed by FWP. In selecting members, Director Temple will not give preference to any group or individual. Rather, he is looking for members who have various perspectives and a willingness and ability to work with other members toward consensus.

Once the council identifies expectations for a new mule deer plan, FWP staff will work on developing the plan through an expansive public process that will include scoping, ample public comment and other public engagement opportunities. The goal is to have a new plan completed by the end of 2024.

Anyone interested in serving on the MDCAC can contact the FWP Wildlife Division office at 406-444-3940 or email FWPWLD @mt.gov. Applications must be received no later than Jan. 31.

 

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