Montana Proposes More Confidentiality for Hunters and Trappers

Montana wildlife officials will propose legislature in 2015 that would protect the identities of hunters and trappers who have killed an animal in the state—information that is currently available to the public under the state’s right-to-know act. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) spokesman Ron Aasheim says the move is “a result of some public concern” that right-to-know information is being used to threaten and harass sportsmen.

This new proposal would expand on restrictions already in place, which prohibits FWP from disclosing identifying information about hunters of bears, wolves and mountain lions. Similar privacy legislature was passed in 2013 protecting the previously public information of those with concealed weapons permits.

Aasheim said that the confidential information covered by the legislature would only include hunters who have taken an animal in Montana. This means that the information for those who are registered for hunting licenses would not be covered. He maintains that the 2013 bill did not have an impact on the push for hunter privacy.

Aasheim did confirm that there have been complaints from some hunters that their information was being used to harass them, according to the Associated Press. "There was not a lot, but some hunters and trappers expressed a concern that it potentially—well, it made them uncomfortable," Aasheim said. "So we decided we would pursue this."