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Bill would put rancher on Wildlife Commission

HELENA, Mont. (AP)--Ranchers say they should be guaranteed a seat on the state's Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission.

Lawmakers heard their testimony Jan. 13 as they considered a bill requiring that one commissioner be actively engaged in livestock management and have an ownership stake in at least 1,280 acres of land.

The Montana Wildlife Federation, a sportsmen's group, and the Montana Bowhunters Association both oppose the new requirement.

Republican Sen. Keith Bales, a cattle rancher from Otter, introduced the bill, following up on a similar effort made during the 2007 legislative session. He said it is important that private landowners who have experience dealing with sportsmen have a voice on the commission.



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