----- Original Message -----
From: Gary Marbut-MSSA
To: mssa@mtssa.org
Sent: Friday, March 20, 2009 5:28 PM
Subject: HB 443 hearing - next Tuesday
Dear MSSA Friends,

HB 443 slipped out of the House when we weren't looking and is now in the Senate, scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Fish and Game Committee next Tuesday, March 24th.

HB 443 basically authorizes FWP to manage EVERY form of wildlife they don't yet manage, huge mission creep for them. It gives FWP authority to manage "any wild mammal, bird, amphibian, reptile, fish, mollusk, crustacean, or other animal ..." This authority is sought by a run-amok agency that will not even admit that wolves are ravaging our elk herds. Now they want to "manage" (spend money on) mice, snakes and snails. Actually, HB 443 is a stealth attempt for FWP to once again gain regulatory authority over Prairie Dogs. FWP drools over the idea of being able to regulate a species as widespread and plentiful as Prairie Dogs.

I HIGHLY recommend that you send messages to the Senate Fish and Game Committee members asking them to oppose and simply table HB 443.

Just FYI, I'll paste below my comment already sent in to SF&G committee members concerning HB 443.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, president
Montana Shooting Sports Association
Montana Shooting Sports Association
author, Gun Laws of Montana
Gun Laws of Montana

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Dear Senator Xxxxx,

In HB 443, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks seeks the
most significant leap in mission creep in its history. Actually,
this mission leap request is a stealth effort in FWP's quest to sweep
Prairie Dogs into its regulatory net, at least that's the view of the
FWP-supported Prairie Dog Working Group.

MSSA opposes regulation of such a plentiful and widespread species as
Prairie Dogs, as former sessions of the Legislature have agreed.
Under HB 443, FWP would have authority to regulate ("manage")
not only Prairie Dogs, but EVERYTHING, the absolute dream of every
regulatory bureaucracy.

And, the fiscal note is a joke. Isn't it interesting that if the
Legislature requires something simple of FWP that FWP doesn't want to do,
the FWP-generated Fiscal Note will run millions of dollars and require
busloads of new FTEs? But when FWP wants management authority over
every form of wildlife yet unregulated, there is no cost - only
"staff time."

Under HB 443, FWP would not only assume management of millions of Prairie
Dogs, but of mice, shrews, gophers, magpies, snakes, lizards and who
knows what else. In order for FWP to properly manage all these
animals, it will need to embark on years of biological studies that will
absorb thousands or tens of thousands of man-hours. This is not how
hunters and anglers wish their contributions to FWP spent. This
Legislature may not see the request for more money buried in the current
FWP budget, but you can bet that future sessions will see demand for
endless funding for development and implementation of the Montana Mouse
Management Plan.

Please table HB 443. FWP doesn't need more mission. FWP needs
to focus on existing missio