A District Court judge has ruled that an initiative to abolish outfitter-sponsored big game hunting licenses qualifies for the November ballot.
Judge Jeffrey Sherlock of Helena ruled Monday that there was no evidence to support opponents' claims that a large number of signatures gathered for I-161 were obtained illegally.
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Sherlock wrote that outfitters and others opposed to the measure needed to discredit at least 3,639 signatures out of more than 27,000 gathered. But only 801 signatures were found subject to disqualification.
I-161 would replace 5,500 outfitter-sponsored hunting licenses with an equal number of nonresident big game licenses. Fees for nonresident licenses would increase substantially.