Hunting District Quota Ranges and License Information

  • Quota Ranges Added

    • New quota ranges for various species added to hunting district tables.
    • Ranges approved by the Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission.
    • Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) can adjust quotas within approved ranges.
    • Adjustments based on field biologists' survey data.
    • Annual quota changes are usually minor.
  • Mobile Licensing App

    • Montana MyFWP app offers a secure method to access licenses.
    • Provides a digital wallet for license and E-Tag storage.
    • E-Tags allow for in-field harvest validation.
  • License Regulations

    • Duplicating licenses by photocopying or printing may be illegal.
    • Possessing more licenses than allowed is unlawful.
  • Specific Permits and Hunting Restrictions

    • Permits specify hunting for antlered elk in designated districts within certain periods.
    • Permits do not restrict antlerless elk hunting.
    • General licenses valid in any open district when not restricted by permit dates.
  • Deadlines and Nonresident Information

    • Application deadline for deer/elk permits and Nonresident Combination Licenses is April 1.
    • Nonresident outfitted hunters can opt for an additional outfitter preference point during application.
  • Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Measures

    • Adhere to carcass disposal guidelines to curb CWD spread.

Navigating Montana Hunting Regulations

  • Montana's Regions and Hunting Districts

    • Montana spans 147,164 square miles, divided into 7 administrative regions.
    • Each region has a main office and contains hunting districts.
    • Regions and corresponding hunting districts are numbered consecutively (e.g., Region 1 includes Hunting Districts starting with 1 or 001).
  • Pre-Hunt Checklist

    • Identify Target Species

      • Decide on species: DEER/ELK or ANTELOPE.
    • Select Hunting Area

      • Determine hunting district using maps.
    • Determine Hunting Period

      • Reference Hunting District Regulations.
    • Choose Hunting Weapon

      • Archery requires a Bow & Arrow License.
    • Know Before You Go

      • Familiarize yourself with the legal hunting boundaries in the area.
    • Regulation Adoption by F&W Commission
      • Regulations for the 2023-2024 season were set on December 20, 2022.
      • Valid from March 1, 2023, through February 29, 2024, under MCA 87-1-301.
      • The F&W Commission reserves authority and engages in season date, structure, and restriction decisions.

    Regulatory Amendments and Non-Discrimination Policy

    • Commission’s Amendment Authority

      • The Fish & Wildlife Commission can alter seasons, limits, and regulations for wildlife management needs.
      • While statutes and other agency rules are provided for reference, they aren't under commission control.
      • Henry "Hank" Worsech serves as the Director overseeing these adjustments.
    • Prohibition of Discrimination

      • Various laws including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the Rehabilitation Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination Act, and Title IX proscribe discrimination on race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, or disability grounds.
      • FWP commitment: No discrimination in programs, activities, or facilities.
      • To report discrimination, contact:
        • FWP Human Resources, Helena, MT (mailing address).
        • Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Civil Rights, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC.
    • Updates to the Publication

      • For the latest changes to regulations, visit the FWP website.
      • Inquiries about updates can also be made at any local FWP office.

    Definitions of Wildlife Categories and Hunting Terms in Montana

    • Furbearer or Fur-bearing Animal

      • Includes marten/sable, otter, muskrat, fisher, mink, bobcat, lynx, wolverine, northern swift fox, and beaver.
    • Game Animal

      • Refers to deer, elk, moose, antelope, caribou, mountain sheep, mountain goat, mountain lion, bear, and wild bison.
    • General Deer/Elk Season

      • Lasts typically five weeks from mid-October through late-November.
      • Specific dates available by species within hunting districts.
    • Guide

      • An individual employed or contracted by a licensed outfitter.
      • Accompanies a participant in activities related to the outfitter's license.
    • Hunt

      • To pursue, shoot, wound, take, harvest, kill, chase, lure, possess, or capture wildlife with a weapon or through a dog/bird of prey.
      • Includes attempts to take or harvest wildlife.
    • Law (Statutes or MCA)

      • Laws enacted by the Montana Legislature.
    • License

      • An electronic or hard copy document granting hunting or fishing opportunities.
    • Migratory Game Bird

      • Includes waterfowl (ducks, geese, brant, swans), cranes, rails, Wilson’s snipes/jacksnipes, and mourning doves.
    • Nongame Wildlife

      • Wild mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, mollusks, crustaceans, or animals not classified by law or rule.
    • Outfitter

      • A person providing hunting, trapping services, etc., for consideration and accompanies or supervises the client.
    • Permit

      • An electronic or hard copy document used with a license for specific species hunting.
    • Predatory Animal

      • Coyote, weasel, skunk, and civet cat categorized as such.
    • Rule or Regulation

      • Agency-enacted regulations implementing, interpreting, or setting the law or policy, authorized by statutes.
    • Shoulder Season

      • Hunts conducted outside the standard five-week general deer/elk season in specific hunting districts.
    • Site of the Kill

      • The location where the game animal/bird dies and the carcass is physically claimed.
    • Trap

      • The act of capturing wildlife by mechanical device, snare, deadfall, etc., under state protection.
    • Upland Game Birds

      • Sharp-tailed grouse, blue, spruce, prairie chicken, sage grouse, ruffed grouse, pheasant, Hungarian partridge, ptarmigan, wild turkey, chukar partridge.
    • Wild Animal

      • An animal inherently wild, not domestic, including those bred or reared in captivity, and also includes birds and reptiles.

    Glossary of Acronyms Related to Montana Hunting and Regulations

    • AISPP

      • Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass
    • ARM

      • Administrative Rule of Montana
    • CR

      • Commission Rule
    • CWD

      • Chronic Wasting Disease
    • DNRC

      • Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
    • F&W Commission

      • Fish and Wildlife Commission
    • FAS

      • Fishing Access Site
    • FWP

      • Fish, Wildlife & Parks
    • HD

      • Hunting District
    • HWY

      • Highway
    • LPT

      • License or Permit Type
    • MCA

      • Montana Code Annotated
    • OTC

      • Over the Counter
    • PTHFV

      • Permit to Hunt from a Vehicle
    • PTMAE

      • Permit to Modify Archery Equipment
    • WMA

      • Wildlife Management Area
    • WPA

      • Waterfowl Production Areas
    • WRA

      • Weapons Restriction Areas

    Identification Guidelines for Antelope, Deer, and Elk

    Montana Deer Hunting Laws and Regulations
    Montana Deer Hunting Laws and Regulations
    Montana Deer Hunting Laws and Regulations
    Montana Deer Hunting Laws and Regulations
    • Antelope Identification

      • Buck (Horned)
        • Antelope with at least one horn measuring 4 inches or more from the skull top.
      • Doe/Fawn
        • Antelope with horns less than 4 inches long as measured from the skull top.
    • Deer Identification

      • Applicable to both mule and white-tailed deer:
        • Antlered Buck
          • A deer with an antler or antlers 4 inches or longer from the skull top.
        • Antlerless
          • A deer without 4-inch antlers, or with antlers shorter than 4 inches.
        • Caution
          • Yearling mule and white-tailed bucks may have similar-sized antlers.
    • Elk Identification

      • Montana specifies regulations for legal bull elk harvest based on these definitions:
        • Antlered Bull
          • An elk with at least one antler 4 inches or longer from the skull top.
        • Antlerless
          • A female or juvenile male elk with antlers less than 4 inches long.
        • Antler Point Measurement
          • A legal antler point is one that is at least 4 inches long.
        • Brow-tined Elk
          • An elk with a visible point on the lower half of either main beam that is 4 inches or longer.
        • Spike Bull
          • An elk with unbranched antlers or a branch less than 4 inches long measured from the main beam.
        • Either-sex
          • May refer to an elk of either sex, regardless of age.

    Montana Hunter Education and Certification

    • Hunter Education Requirements [MCA 87-2-105]

      • Individuals born after Jan. 1, 1985, must complete a hunter safety and education course.
      • Proof of completion is required from Montana or any state/province before applying for or purchasing any hunting license.
      • Applicable to both rifle and archery seasons.
    • Bowhunter Education Requirements [MCA 87-2-105]

      • To obtain a Montana Bow and Arrow License, hunters must:
        • Hold a certificate from the National Bowhunter Education Foundation course, or
        • Present any prior year’s bowhunting/archery stamp, tag, permit, or license from any state or province.
    • Duplicate Certificates

      • Duplicates of Montana hunter or bowhunter education completion certificates can be sourced from the FWP website at: fwp.mt.gov/education/hunter.

    Montana Antelope and Deer License and Permit Types

    • Antelope Licenses

      • Either-Sex License:

        • Valid for one antelope as specified; limit of three licenses per individual, only one can be either-sex.
        • Available to both residents and nonresidents; nonresidents capped at 10% by law (MCA 87-2-506).
        • Quotas set by the F&W Commission; drawing based on final quotas.
        • Archery hunters require a valid antelope license and archery license.
      • Antelope B License (Doe/Fawn) - Nonresident Only:

        • First license: $200; additional licenses: $50 each.
        • 900-20 Multi-Region Archery Only/ArchEquip Only License (Drawing Only):
          • Limited quantity; valid for either-sex.
          • Restricted to ArchEquip Only areas.
          • Hunters must wear orange during the general season if using this license.
          • Application deadline: June 1.
          • Must be the first and only choice for either-sex antelope on application.
    • Bow and Arrow License (MCA 87-2-708)

      • Required for archery season or when hunting in ArchEquip only areas/districts.
    • General Deer License

      • Valid for one deer.
      • One license per person, used as indicated in the hunting district regulations.
      • Sportsman’s License available for residents includes a General Deer License.
      • Discounts available for disabled, youth, and senior residents.
    • Nonresident License Options:

      • General Deer License obtained through drawings for Big Game Combo, Deer Combo, or Landowner Sponsored Licenses.
      • Application deadline: April 1.
    • Deer B License

      • Valid for specific periods, species, sex, and districts.
      • Typically for antlerless deer; used in addition to General Deer License.
      • No purchase/use sequence required.
      • Up to seven Deer B Licenses allowed; does not include game damage/management licenses.
    • Single-Region Deer B Licenses for White-tailed Deer

      • One may be purchased per year in addition to other deer B licenses.
      • Specify the region at the time of purchase.
    • Deer Permit

      • Specifies sex-age class and valid periods; must accompany a General Deer License.
      • Does not allow for a second deer.
      • Restricts mule deer buck hunting to areas listed on the permit.
      • Available through the April 1 drawing.
      • Residents need a General Deer License; nonresidents need a Big Game or Deer Combo License to apply. Nonresidents limited to 10% of quota.

    SuperTag Lottery and Bonus Point System in Montana

    • SuperTag Lottery [MCA 87-1-271]

      • Eligibility: Open to both residents and nonresidents.
      • Opportunity: Unlimited $5 chances for licenses for antelope, bighorn sheep, bison, deer, elk, moose, mountain goat, and mountain lion.
      • Winning: Possible to win one or multiple SuperTags annually.
      • Benefits:
        • Hunt in any district valid for the species, regardless of quota status.
        • No waiting period for moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat.
      • Purchase: Through FWP license providers or online at ols.fwp.mt.gov.
      • Proceeds: Enhance public access and FWP enforcement.
    • Bonus Point System [MCA 87-2-117]

      • Advantage: Increases draw chances for licenses/permits.
      • Points "Squaring": Points are squared during the draw (3 points become 9).
      • Opt-In: Select "YES" for bonus point during application, with added fee ($20 nonresident, $2 resident).
      • Accrual: Unsuccessful applicants gain an extra point for the following year.
      • Transferability: Points cannot be transferred between species or individuals.
      • Party Applications: Average individual points (rounded to whole number) form party points.
      • Youth Accumulation: Points retained even if youth criteria change.
      • Annual Purchase: One bonus point per species, per year, at application or between July 1 - Sept. 30.
      • Fees: Resident $15 (without applying) per species; Nonresident $25 per species, except $75 for moose, sheep, and goat. (Cannot apply and buy points same year.)

    Montana Nonresident Combination License Preference Points

    • Purpose of Preference Points

      • Gives priority to applicants with more points over those with fewer points for Nonresident Combination License draws.
    • Purchasing Preference Points

      • Select "YES" for the preference point during the application process.
      • An additional fee of $100 is added to the total cost.
    • Usage of Accumulated Points

      • Applied in the current year's drawing regardless of buying additional point.
      • Points lost if not applying for a Nonresident Combination License in consecutive years or upon successful license acquisition.
    • Outfitter Client Additional Points

      • Outfitter clients may buy a second point for $100 during application.
      • License obtained with this point is valid only when hunting with an outfitter.
    • Point Limitation

      • A maximum of three preference points can be held by any individual.
    • Purchasing Without Applying

      • One preference point can be bought for $100 between July 1 and December 31 without submitting a license application.

    Montana Landowner Preference for Hunting Licenses/Permits

    • Eligibility for Preference

      • Applicable to both resident and nonresident landowners.
      • Available for license/permit drawings for deer, elk, and antelope.
    • Deer B and Antelope Drawings Requirements

      • Own at least 160 acres within the hunting district applied for.
      • If permit is for a specific portion, land must lie within that portion.
      • Primary land use must be for agricultural purposes.
    • Elk B and Elk Permit Drawings Requirements

      • Own or contract to purchase a minimum of 640 contiguous acres frequented by elk.
      • Land must be within the portion of the hunting district if the permit is area-specific.
    • Designated Preference

      • Can be assigned to immediate family members (by blood or marriage) or paid employees with tax withholdings.
      • In partnerships or corporations, only one preference is available per entity.
    • Application Process

      • Apply as usual online or at a FWP office before the deadline.
      • Submit a separate landowner preference form via mail.
    • Deadlines for Preference Forms

      • Deer and elk permits: Received by April 1.
      • Elk B, deer B, antelope, and antelope B: Received by June 1.

     

    Montana Landowner Preference for Hunting Licenses/Permits

    • Eligibility for Preference

      • Applicable to both resident and nonresident landowners.
      • Available for license/permit drawings for deer, elk, and antelope.
    • Deer B and Antelope Drawings Requirements

      • Own at least 160 acres within the hunting district applied for.
      • If permit is for a specific portion, land must lie within that portion.
      • Primary land use must be for agricultural purposes.
    • Elk B and Elk Permit Drawings Requirements

      • Own or contract to purchase a minimum of 640 contiguous acres frequented by elk.
      • Land must be within the portion of the hunting district if the permit is area-specific.
    • Designated Preference

      • Can be assigned to immediate family members (by blood or marriage) or paid employees with tax withholdings.
      • In partnerships or corporations, only one preference is available per entity.
    • Application Process

      • Apply as usual online or at a FWP office before the deadline.
      • Submit a separate landowner preference form via mail.
    • Deadlines for Preference Forms

      • Deer and elk permits: Received by April 1.
      • Elk B, deer B, antelope, and antelope B: Received by June 1.

    Montana Youth Hunting Opportunities and Regulations

    • Special 2-Day Youth Deer Hunt: October 19 & 20, 2023

      • Eligible ages: Youth and apprentice hunters 10-15.
      • Hunt during the designated Youth Statewide Two-day Deer Hunt.
    • Youth Deer & Elk Hunts

      • Special district opportunities for ages 10-15.
    • Youth Elk Permits & Elk B Licenses Requirements

      • Age: 12 (by January 16, 2024) to 15 at the time of application.
      • Must have completed hunter education.
      • Eligible 15-year-olds during general season can hunt even if turning 16.
    • Free License for Terminally Ill Youth [MCA 87-2-805]

      • For residents or nonresidents under 17.
      • Provided free one-time Deer and Elk License.
      • Accompanied by a licensed adult or outfitter.
      • Age and hunter education requirements may be waived.
    • Youth Hunter Opportunity Chart

      • Age 10+

        • Apprentice hunter certification for those age 9-10; can hunt without hunter education for two years.
        • Cannot apply for/purchase bighorn sheep, black bear, mountain lion, or wolf license.
      • Age 11

        • Can apply for special drawings if turning 12 by Jan. 16, 2024, after completing hunter education.
        • After August 15, 2023, can hunt game species with valid open season licenses.
      • Under 14

        • Must be accompanied by an adult or firearms safety instructor to carry/use firearms.
      • Ages 10-15

        • Eligible for the Statewide Two-Day Youth Only Deer Hunt.
        • Accompanied by adult aged 18+; follow standard hunting hours and regulations.
      • Ages 12-17 (Nonresident Only)

        • Nonresident Youth Combination Licenses sold with an adult immediate-family member sponsor.
        • Must hunt with sponsor; contact Licensing at 406-444-2950 for details.

    Montana Hunting Provisions for Disabled Hunters

    • Certification for Special Considerations

      • Lifetime certifications; no annual renewal required.
    • Resources for Disabled Hunters

      • Applications and detailed eligibility requirements available at all FWP offices.
      • Licenses and permits tailored for hunters with disabilities provided - contact FWP for information.

    Montana Resident With a Disability Conservation License

    • Discounted Licenses

      • Applicable to FWP-defined permanently and substantially disabled residents.
      • Half-price fishing licenses upon purchasing a conservation license.
      • Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass (AISPP) is required.
      • With a $10 base hunting license, eligible for half-price:
        • General deer license
        • General elk license
        • Upland game bird license (excludes turkey)
    • Application & Certification Process

      • Applications are at all FWP offices and on the FWP website.
      • Certification does not expire unless legislative changes occur.

    Montana Permit To Hunt From a Vehicle (PTHFV)

    • Eligibility for PTHFV

      • Available to both residents and nonresidents.
      • Applicants must be certified as permanently and substantially nonambulatory under State Law.
    • PTHFV Regulations

      • Specific field regulations must be followed.
      • Noncompliance risks revocation of the privilege.
    • Certification Validity

      • Lifetime validity for the certificate holder.
      • Validity remains unless altered by legislative changes.

    Montana Permit To Modify Archery Equipment (PTMAE)

    • Eligibility for PTMAE

      • Open to both residents and nonresidents.
      • Certification required for individuals with permanent and substantial disabilities as per FWP rules.
    • Accommodations for Disability

      • The PTMAE permits the use of modified archery equipment that assists:
        • In supporting the bow.
        • Drawing, holding, and releasing the string to suit the disability.
    • Regulations for Arrows and Crossbows

      • Arrows must adhere to standards set for the Archery Only Season.
      • The PTMAE does not permit crossbow usage in the Archery Only Season.
    • Permit Limitations

      • Allows modifications to legally approved archery equipment.
      • Must be accompanied by a valid bow and arrow license and the appropriate hunting license.
    • Certification Validity

      • Certification maintains validity throughout the holder's life or until Montana Legislature updates the law.

    Montana Half-Priced Licenses for Combat Disabled Veterans

    • Eligibility for Discounted Licenses

      • Veterans with specific combat-connected disabilities.
    • License Types and Limit

      • Deer and antelope licenses available at half price.
      • Up to 50 licenses awarded each year.
    • Contact Information

      • For complete details, veterans should reach out to FWP Licensing at 406-444-2950.

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    Disclaimer:

    The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.