In Montana, there are reasonable accommodations to modify traditional archery equipment for use by hunters with disabilities. Hunters can also use crossbows at the start of elk shoulder season in September, as well as during rifle season, the later shoulder seasons and bear season in the spring, FWP staff noted.

Christensen also wrote that the four men had “shown that archery hunting without a crossbow can be” uncomfortable or difficult, but not beyond their abilities.[,]’and therefore the accommodation they requested’ could be reasonable but not necessary ‘.

Senator Brad Molnar, R-Laurel, demonstrates how to cock a crossbow at a meeting of the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission at the State Capitol Thursday.

THOM BRIDGE, Independent Disc


Joel Peden, executive director of the Montana Independent Living Project, disagreed with Christensen’s decision.

“It is not a question of hunting,” he said. “It’s a question of civil rights. It is not a question of popular opinion, but of federal law.

The lawyer representing the four men told commissioners the judge made a mistake and promised to continue the legal battle.

Several archery hunters have testified against allowing permits, noting that Molnar did not pass a law in the last legislative session that would have allowed crossbows during archery season, especially because the Montana public strongly opposes it.

Bozeman’s archery hunter Liberty Brown accused Molnar of “abusing his position” by continuing to apply for permits after failing in the legislature, the FWP and the courts.