Migratory Birds Seasons in Montana

Statewide - Snipe, Mourning Dove, and Sandhill Crane

Common (Wilson’s) Snipe

  • Season Dates: Sept. 1 - Dec. 16
  • Bag Limit: 8 daily and 24 in possession

Mourning Dove

  • Season Dates: Sept. 1 - Oct. 30
  • Bag Limit: 15 daily and 45 in possession
  • Note: Shooting mourning doves resting on utility lines or fixtures adjacent to those lines is unlawful.

Sandhill Crane Special Drawing License

Special Drawing Licenses are required for specific areas:

  1. Warm Springs portion of Deer Lodge County (280-01)

    • Quota: 5
    • Season Dates: Sept. 1 - Oct. 30
    • Bag Limit: 1 sandhill crane
  2. Ovando-Helmville area (284-01)

    • Quota: 40
    • Season Dates: Sept. 1 - Oct. 30
    • Bag Limit: 2 sandhill cranes
  3. Beaverhead, Gallatin, Jefferson, and Madison counties (380-01)

    • Quota: 120
    • Season Dates: Sept. 1 - Oct. 30
    • Bag Limit: 2 sandhill cranes
  4. Broadwater County (390-01)

    • Quota: 25
    • Season Dates: Sept. 1 - Oct. 30
    • Bag Limit: 2 sandhill cranes
  5. Cascade and Teton counties (480-01)

    • Quota: 20
    • Season Dates: Sept. 1 - Oct. 30
    • Bag Limit: 1 sandhill crane
  6. Golden Valley, Wheatland, Meagher counties, and portion of Sweetgrass County north of I-90 (586-01)

    • Quota: 70
    • Season Dates: Sept. 1 - Oct. 30
    • Bag Limit: 2 sandhill cranes
  7. Carbon County (599-00)

    • Quota: 30
    • Season Dates: Sept. 1 - Oct. 30
    • Bag Limit: 2 sandhill cranes

Sandhill Crane Over-the-Counter Permit

  • Season Dates: Sept 30 - Nov. 26
  • Bag Limit: 3 daily and 9 in possession
  • Exceptions apply for specific areas, including Carbon County with the 599-00 license and Golden Valley, Wheatland, Meagher counties, and portion of Sweetgrass County north of I-90 with the 586-01 license.

Statewide - Waterfowl

Special Two-Day Youth Waterfowl Season

  • Dates: Sept. 23-24, 2023
  • Special opportunity for licensed youth ages 15 and under, allowing hunting of ducks, mergansers, geese, and coots statewide.

Pacific Flyway - Waterfowl

Ducks (including Mergansers)

  • Sept. 23 - Sept. 24 (Only licensed youth ages 15 and under)
  • Sept. 30 - Dec. 24 (Standard bag limit; exceptions apply)
  • Dec. 25 - Jan. 12 (Standard bag limit excluding scaup; exceptions apply)

Coots

  • Sept. 23 - Sept. 24 (Only licensed youth ages 15 and under)
  • Sept. 30 - Jan. 12 (Exceptions apply)

Geese

  • Sept. 23 - Sept. 24 (Only licensed youth ages 15 and under)
  • Sept. 30 - Jan. 12 (Exceptions apply)

Falconry: Ducks, Coots, and Geese

  • Sept. 30 - Jan. 12
  • Bag limits and exceptions apply.

Swan-Hunting by Drawing Only

  • License: 481-20
  • Quota: 500
  • Season Dates: Oct. 7 - Dec. 1
  • Bag Limit: 1 swan
  • Hunting by special permit in specific areas; requirements and reporting obligations apply.

Central Flyway - Waterfowl

Ducks (including Mergansers)

  • Zone 1: Sept. 23 - Sept. 24 (Only licensed youth ages 15 and under)
  • Zone 2: Sept. 23 - Sept. 24 (Only licensed youth ages 15 and under)
  • Zone 1: Sept. 30 - Jan. 4
  • Zone 2: Sept. 30 - Oct. 8
  • Zone 1: Oct. 21 - Jan. 16

Coots

  • Zone 1: Sept. 23 - Sept. 24 (Only licensed youth ages 15 and under)
  • Zone 2: Sept. 23 - Sept. 24 (Only licensed youth ages 15 and under)
  • Zone 1: Sept. 30 - Jan. 4
  • Zone 2: Sept. 30 - Oct. 8
  • Zone 1: Oct. 21 - Jan. 16

Geese

  • Zone 1: Sept. 23 - Sept. 24 (Only licensed youth ages 15 and under)
  • Zone 2: Sept. 23 - Sept. 24 (Only licensed youth ages 15 and under)
  • Zone 1: Sept. 30 - Jan. 12
  • Zone 2: Sept. 30 - Oct. 8
  • Zone 1: Oct. 21 - Jan. 24

Falconry: Ducks, Coots, and Geese

  • Zone 1: Sept. 20 - Jan. 4
  • Zone 2: Sept. 20 - Oct. 8
  • Zone 1: Oct. 21 - Jan. 16 (Exceptions apply)
  • Zone 2: Oct. 21 - Jan. 24

Swan-Hunting by Special License Only

  • License: 684-20
  • Quota: 500
  • Season Dates: Sept. 30 - Jan. 4
  • Bag Limit: 1 swan
  • Application requirements and deadlines apply; surplus licenses available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information on regulations, exceptions, and licensing, visit Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

Sign Up for Huntlink!

Huntlink is a free program that will allow us to send you state regulations to your email for the states you hunt in. The benefits of this are:

1. PDF Format - Downloadable

2. Able to be read with or without reception

3. Delivered right to your email with no ads

And much more!

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.