Committee tables non-public land searching invoice opposed by tribes | 406 Politics
A Montana House committee on Thursday tabled a controversial bill, heard earlier this week, in which supporters urged the hunt for private land on Indian reservations, but a significant backlash from tribal leaders who viewed the bill as an affront to tribal sovereignty.
The House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee voted 13-5 for House Bill 241 to be presented by Rep. Joe Read, R-Ronan. Seven of the committee’s 12 Republicans voted with all six Democrats to submit the measure. The committee did not debate the bill until Rep. Tyson Running Wolf, D-Browning, moved to propose it and cause the vote.
Reservations generally consist of three types of land ownership: tribe-owned trust land, tribal trust land, and land with private charges, including land not owned by tribesmen. The tribes sometimes work with the state of Montana to manage fish and wildlife within the boundaries of the reserve, including obtaining hunting licenses.
The law sought to repeal a 70-year-old state rule prohibiting the use of state hunting licenses to hunt large game on fee-paying land in Montana’s seven reserves. Proponents of the law believed the rule restricted their private property rights as the tribe’s big game hunting was restricted to members of the tribe only. As non-tribal members but landowners, they had to leave the reservation to hunt instead of hunting on their own property, they said, and deal with things like crop damage.