Deer Hunting Regulations
- Quota ranges have been added to the hunting district specific tables for each species. These ranges are approved by the Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission and FWP can adjust annual quotas within these ranges. The annual quota adjustments are basedprimarily on survey data from our biologists in the field. Typically, these adjustments are minor from year to year.
- Hunting and fishing licenses are accessible through a secure and convenient mobile app. The Montana MyFWP app provides adigital wallet to store and display licenses and digital carcass tags, known as E-Tags, that can validate your harvest in the field. Seepage 45 for additional information.
- Photocopying or printing more than one license may constitute a violation. It is unlawful to apply for, purchase, or possess more licenses,permits, or tags than are authorized. See page 23.
- Permits for either-sex elk or brow-tined bull-antlerless elk will limit the holder to hunting for antlered elk within only the designated hunting district (HD) for the period identified on the permit. Antlerless elk hunting will not be limited by the permit. A general licensemay be used to hunt in any open district during dates outside of that identified on the permit.
- Deadline for deer/elk permits and Nonresident Combination License applications is April 1.
- Nonresidents hunting with a Montana-licensed outfitter applying for combination licenses may elect to purchase an additional outfitter preference point at the time of application.
- To prevent the spread of CWD, follow carcass disposal guidelines.
- Youth and Apprentice Hunter Information, see page 19.
- Game Damage Hunt Roster Rules, see page 29.
- License Discount Opportunities, see page 18.
- Elk hunters can purchase multiple Elk B licenses, see page 16.
- Landowners or their designees apply online or at an FWP office then submit a separate landowner preference form. Preferenceforms for deer and elk permits must be received by April 1, and forms for Elk B, Deer B, Antelope and Antelope B must be received by June 1.
- An email address is required of all applicants applying for limited licenses or permits.
How To Use These Regulations
Montana’s vast 147,164 square miles is divided into seven administrative regions, each with a main regional office. Each region is then broken down into hunting districts. Theregions are numbered 1 through 7 with the hunting districts in the region corresponding to that number. Example: Region 1 hunting districts start with 1 or 001, Region 2 starts with 2or 002 etc.
BEFORE HUNTING YOU NEED TO DETERMINE THE FOLLOWING:
What species do you want to hunt?
Where do you want to hunt? (Find the Hunting District)
Maps Pages 33-41
Maps Pages 124-128
When can you hunt?
Hunting District Regulations— Pages 46-119 Youth & PTHFV holders— Pages 120-121 Multi-district opportunities— Page 122-123
Hunting Hours— Page 143
Hunting District Regulations— Pages 129-135 Multi-district opportunities— Page 136 Hunting Hours— Page 143
How do you want to hunt?
ARCHERY (requires a BOW & ARROW LICENSE) or GENERAL WEAPON - see page 20for Laws & Rules and page 25 for Weapons Restrictions.
Required licenses or permits and deadlines? Find out what you need and how to get it!
LICENSE AND PERMIT TYPES – see pages 12-13 for descriptions of all available licensetypes, availability, deadlines and cost.
RESIDENCY - see page 14
It is your responsibility to know the legal boundaries of where you are hunting.
See Restricted Areas
Descriptions in this book and separate Legal Descriptions booklet— Pages 26-28
Complete appropriate drawing application for license/permit by deadline.
Find 5 digit code for license/permit—Pages 46-108
Find 5 digit code for license/permit—Pages 124-129
Regulations are adopted by the Fish & WildlifeCommission Regulations for season dates, structures, and restrictionswere adopted by the F&W Commission on Dec. 20, 2022, under the authority granted in MCA 87-1-301 and are valid March 1, 2023, throughFeb. 29, 2024. The F&W Commission reserves the
authority to amend the seasons, limits and regulations herein if deemed necessary for wildlife management purposes. Statutes
and other information, including other agencies’ restrictions, are provided as a courtesy and do not fall under commission authority. Henry "Hank" Worsech, Director.
Discrimination Prohibited – State and Federal laws, Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, or disability. Anyone believing he or she hasbeen discriminated against (as described above) in any FWP program, activity, or facility may write to FWP Human Resources, 1420 EastSixth Avenue, PO Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701 or Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Civil Rights, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, NW Washington, DC 20240. Any changes made to this printed publication can be found on the FWP website or byinquiring at any local FWP office.
FURBEARER or FUR-BEARING ANIMAL:
marten or sable, otter, muskrat, fisher, mink, bobcat, lynx, wolverine, northern swift fox, and beaver.
GAME ANIMAL: deer, elk, moose, antelope, caribou, mountain sheep, mountain goat, mountain lion, bear, and wild bison.
GENERAL DEER/ELK SEASON: typically, five weeks long from mid-October through late-November; see hunting districts for specific dates by species.
GUIDE: a person who is employed by or who has contracted independently with a licensed outfitter and who accompanies a participant during outdoor recreational activities that are directly related to activities for which the outfitter is licensed.
HUNT: to pursue, shoot, wound, take, harvest, kill, chase, lure, possess, or capture, or the act of a person possessing a weapon, as defined in MCA 45-2-101, or using a dog or a bird of prey for the purpose of shooting, wounding, taking, harvesting, killing, possessing, or capturing wildlife protected by the laws of this state in any location that wildlife may inhabit, whether or not the wildlife is then or subsequently taken. The term includes an attempt to take or harvest by any means, including but not limited to pursuing, shooting, wounding, killing, chasing, luring, possessing, or capturing.
LAW: also known as Statutes or Montana Code Annotated (MCA.) Enacted by the Montana Legislature.
LICENSE: License means an electronic or hard copied document issued to an individual that grants the opportunity to hunt or fish for the species of animal. See page 15 for more detail.
MIGRATORY GAME BIRD: waterfowl, including wild ducks, wild geese, brant, and swans; cranes, including little brown and sandhill; rails, includingcoots; Wilson’s snipes or jacksnipes; and mourning doves.
NONGAME WILDLIFE: any wild mammal, bird, amphibian, reptile, fish, mollusk, crustacean, or other animal not otherwise lawfully classified by statute or rule.
OUTFITTER: any person who for consideration provides any saddle or pack animal, facilities, camping equipment, vehicle, watercraft, or other conveyance, or personal service for any person to hunt, trap, capture, take, kill, or pursue any game, including fish, and who accompanies that person, either part or all of the way, on an expedition for any of these purposes or supervises a licensed guide or outfitter’s assistant in accompanying that person. This does not include a person providing services on real property that the person owns for the primary pursuit of bona fide agricultural interests.
PERMIT: Permit means an electronic or hard copied document to be used in conjunction with the proper license to hunt or fish for the specific species of animal.
PREDATORY ANIMAL: coyote, weasel, skunk, and civet cat.
RULE or REGULATION: agency regulations, standards or statements of applicability that implement, interpret, or set law or policy. Agencies are given rulemaking authority through statute.
SHOULDER SEASON: a hunting opportunity conducted before or after the five week general deer/elk season; see individual hunting districts.
SITE OF THE KILL: the location where a game animal or game bird expires and the person responsible for the death takes physical possession of the carcass.
TRAP: to take or harvest or participate in the taking or harvesting of any wildlife protected by state law by setting or placing any mechanical device, snare, deadfall, pit, or device intended to take wildlife or to remove wildlife from any of these devices.
UPLAND GAME BIRDS: sharp-tailed grouse, blue grouse, spruce (Franklin) grouse, prairie chicken, sage hen or sage grouse, ruffed grouse, ring- necked pheasant, Hungarian partridge, ptarmigan, wild turkey, and chukar partridge.
WILD ANIMAL: an animal that is wild by nature as distinguished from common domestic animals, whether the animal was bred or reared in captivity, and includes birds and reptiles.
List of Acronyms
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
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 Guide for Antelope, Deer and Elk
Buck (Horned): Any antelope with a horn or horns at least 4 inches long as measured from the top of the skull.
Doe/fawn: Any antelope with horns less than 4 inches long as measured from the top of the skull.
Definitions apply to both mule and whitetail species:
Antlered Buck: A deer with an antler or antlers at least 4 inches long as measured from the top of the skull.
Antlerless: A deer without 4" antlers, or with antlers less than 4 inches long as meas- ured from the top of the skull
CAUTION: Antlers on mule and white-tailed yearling bucks may look similar.
Montana has some elk hunting districts with special regulations governing the type of bull elk that is legal to harvest. These diagrams and definitions are intended to assist the hunter in interpreting these regulations.
Antlered Bull: Any elk having an antler or antlers at least 4 inches long as measured from the top of the skull.
Antlerless: A female or juvenile male with antlers less than 4 inches long as measured from the top of the skull.
Antler Point Measurement: Legal antler point must be 4 inches or longer.
Any elk having an antler or antlers with a visi- ble point on the lower half of either main beam that is greater than or equal to four inches long.
Any elk having antlers that do not branch or, if branched, branch is less than 4 inches long measured from the main antler beam.
A male or female animal of any age.
RESIDENT and NONRESIDENT HUNTER Prerequisites
Resident Youth andSenior
Non- resident Cost
Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention pass (AISPP)
Required in addition to a fishing license to fish in Montana. Supports the aquatic invasive speciesprevention and inspection program. Learn moreat CleanDrainDryMT.com.
Base Hunting License
Prerequisite for hunting or applying for a permit or license.
Bow and Arrow License
Required during the Archery Only Season for any species or to archery hunt in an Arch- Equip only area or hunting district.
RESIDENT License and Permit Availability Chart
or Senior (62+)
Deadline to apply
Deer Permit - Drawing only
Application fee only. Permit must be used in conjunction with General deer license. Residentsmust have current year General deer license to apply.
Deer B License - Drawing only
Deer B License - OTC
Over-the-counter. Antlerless only. Valid in specific district(s). Purchase beginning Aug. 7.
Elk Permit - Drawing only
Residents must have current year General Elk License to apply. A permit must be used in conjunction with a General Elk License.
Elk B License - Drawing only
Elk B License - OTC
Over-the-counter. Antlerless only. Valid in specific district(s). Purchase beginning Aug. 7.
900 Archery Antelope
- Drawing only
Must be first and only choice.
Antelope or Antelope B License
- Drawing only
Disabled - Drawing only
Special disabled antelope application fee required. For information, call 406-444-2950.
Includes Deer, Elk, State Lands, Upland Bird (excluding turkey) & Season Fishing Licenses. $8.00 or $4.00 Conservation License,
$10.00 fee for the Base Hunting License and $2.00 AISPP fee are also required.
Must go through certification process only at FWP offices. No cost Conservation License included.
Sportsman's with bear
Sportsman's without bear
NONRESIDENT License and Permit Availability Chart
Non- resident Cost
Deadline to apply
Nonresident Native (NR)
NR Big Game Combination License
For Montana native born with current Montana resident relative; other qualifications apply. For information, call 406-444-2950. The NR Big Game Combination includes General Deer, General Elk, Upland Bird (excludingturkey), and Season Fishing Licenses. The NR Elk Combination has everything except Deer, and the NR Deer Combo has everything except Elk.
NR Elk Combination License
NR Deer Combination License
Season Fishing License
$15 AISPP fee also required.
Conservation License and a Base Hunting License also required.
Deer B (OTC)
Elk B (OTC)
Big Game Combination: Includes General Deer, General Elk, Upland Bird (excluding turkey), and Season Fishing licenses. For information call 406-444-2950.
Big Game Combination- Drawing
Big Game Combination- Youth (12-17) - Sponsored
For information, call 406-444-2950.
Big Game Combination- College Student
Certification required for nonresident students attending a Montana college full-time. For information call 406-444-2950. License available at any FWP office after Sept. 12.
Deer Combination: Includes General Deer, Upland Bird (excluding turkey), and Season Fishing licenses. For information call 406-444-2950.
Deer Combination- Drawing
Deer Combination- Youth (12-17)- Sponsored
For information call 406-444-2950.
Deer Combination- College Student
Certification required for nonresident students attending a Montana college full-time. For information, call 406-444-2950. License available at any FWP office after Sept. 12.
Deer Permit- Drawing
Nonresidents must also apply for a Deer License when applying for a Deer Permit. A permit must be used in conjunction with a General Deer License.
Deer B- Drawing
Deer B- OTC
Purchase beginning Aug. 7.
Elk Combination: Includes General Elk, Upland Bird (excluding turkey), and Season Fishing licenses. For information call 406-444-2950.
Elk Combination- Drawing
Youth (12-17) - Sponsored
For information call 406-444-2950.
Elk Combination- College Student
Certification required for nonresident students attending a Montana college full-time. For information call 406-444-2950. License available at any FWP office after Sept. 12.
Elk Permit - Drawing
Nonresidents must also apply for an Elk License when applying for an Elk Permit. A permit must be used in conjunction with a General Elk License.
Elk B - Drawing
Antlerless elk- includes drawing fee.
Elk B - OTC
Over-the-counter. Antlerless only. Valid in specific district(s).
Archery 900 Drawing
Must be first and only choice.
Special disabled antelope application fee required. For information, call 406-444-2950.
Obtain A License Or Permit
- Only one license or permit of any type may be purchased each year, unless otherwise specified. For example, a hunter may purchasemore than one deer B license.
- Many licenses or permits may be purchased from FWP license providers, FWP offices or online licensing. Some licenses and permits are available only through a drawing.
- Refer to the Licenses Available Chart, pages 12-13, for a complete list of resident and nonresident licenses and application or purchase deadlines.
- FWP requires hunters to apply for special permits/licenses online or over the counter at an FWP office. Safeguards with these systems ensure valid applications and your information is immediately entered into the automated system and retained for future license purchases or applications.
- You may apply for permits and/or licenses and purchase many general hunting licenses from FWP Online Licensing between approximately 5 a.m. and 11:45 p.m., Montana local time, seven days a week within applicable sales dates.
- Go to ols.fwp.mt.gov and follow the instructions.
- Online purchases must be made by using a MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, or debit card.
- Montana residents can purchase their first resident licenses online through the online licensing system (OLS) or at any provider providingthey have a valid Montana driver license issued at least six months prior.
- All license purchases and applications are final and cannot be changed or withdrawn. (ARM 12.3.140)
- All applications for deer and elk permits must be submitted on or before April 1. Applications for deer B, elk B, antelope and/or antelope B licenses must be submitted on or before June 1.
- Both resident and nonresident hunters are eligible to apply for most of the licenses awarded through the drawings. By state law, nonresidentsare limited to, but not guaranteed, 10 percent of the license and/or permit quota.
- Drawings are based upon the final quotas adopted by the F&W Commission, which may differ from the quotas listed in the printed hunting districtregulations.
- For specific license/permit opportunities, please refer to the hunting district regulations for a complete list of all available hunting opportunities for each hunting district.
- In Montana, a “party” means a group of 2-5 persons applying together to obtain a license or permit. If successful, each hunter must harvest their own game.
- All party members must select the same opportunity type and bonus or preference point participation.
For online applications: The party establisher must list all party members and provide the party number to all members. Each member must apply online as a member of that party using the number assigned to the establisher.
Licenses and Permits Through a Drawing
- You may apply for a permit and/or license that allows you to hunt in an otherwise restricted area or time period. You may also decide to participate inthe bonus point system.
- Residents must hold a General Deer License before applying for a deer permit.
- Residents must hold a General Elk License before applying for an elk permit.
- Nonresidents must apply for a Big Game or Deer Combination License when applying for a deer permit.
- Nonresidents must apply for a Big Game or Elk Combination License when applying for an elk permit.
- Nonresident holders of a Landowner- Sponsored Deer Combination License are reminded that the license (including deer B licenses) entitles them to hunt deer only on the deeded lands of the sponsoring landowner. This license may not be used on leased or public land. However, thelicense is valid statewide for fishing and hunting upland game birds.
- Nonresident holders of a Landowner- Sponsored Deer Combination License may apply for a deer permit or deer B license only in the huntingdistrict where they are authorized to hunt deer.
- It is unlawful to swear to or to affirm a false statement in order to obtain an original or replacement resident hunting and/or fishing license OR to assist an unqualified applicant in obtaining a resident license (MCA 87-6-302).
Resident (MCA 87-2-102)
- To be a lawful Montana resident and eligible to purchase any Montana resident fishing, hunting, and trapping licenses, you must:
- have been physically living in Montana for at least 180 consecutive days immediately prior to purchasing a resident license;
- register your vehicle(s) in Montana;
- be registered to vote in Montana if you’re registered to vote at all;
- not possess (or have applied for any) current resident hunting, fishing, or trapping privileges in another state or country;
- file Montana state income tax returns as a resident, if you are required to file.
- Once you have established your residency, you must continue to meet all these requirements and physically reside in Montana asyour principal or primary place of abode for not less than 120 days per year (days need not be consecutive).
- A person is NOT considered a resident for the purposes of this section if the person:
- claims residence in any other state or country for any purpose; or
- is an absentee property owner paying property tax on property in Montana.
- To purchase an annual resident Conservation License, you will be required to show a valid Montana Driver’s License(MDL), a valid Montana Identification Card (MIC), or a valid Tribal Identification Card per MCA 87-2-106.
- If your MDL or MIC was issued less than six months ago, you may be required to show additional proof of residency. An out-of-state driver’s license is NOT an acceptable form of ID for resident license purchases. Contact your local FWP office for specifics.
Nonresident (MCA 87-2-506)
- Montana’s nonresident guests are eligible to purchase or apply for most Montana fishing, hunting, and trapping licenses. By state law, nonresidents are limited to, but not guaranteed, 10 percent of the license and/or permit quota for a district. The “Licenses Available Chart” provides details.
- Nonresident unmarried minors, at least 12 (by Jan. 16, 2024) but not older than 17 years of age, can hunt and fish in Montana as a resident if the minor’s parents, legal guardian, or parent with joint custody, sole custody, or visitation rights is a lawful resident ofMontana. See “Youth Hunter” chart for details.
Armed Forces (MCA 87-2-102)
A member of the regular armed forces of the United States, a member’s spouse or dependent as defined in 15-30-2115, who resides in the member’s household, or a member of the armed forces of a foreign government attached to the regular armed forces of the UnitedStates is considered a resident for Montana hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses if:
- the member is a Montana resident as listed above and continues to meet the residency criteria of income tax filing and voter registration, the member is not required to meet the other residency criteria in 87-2-102 and may hold resident licenses in another state or country; or,
- the member is currently stationed in and assigned to active duty in Montana, has resided in Montana for at least 30 days, and presents official assignment orders and a certificate verifying successful completion of an approved hunter safety course from any state or province.
Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass (AISPP) (MCA 87-2-130)
Required in addition to a fishing license if you are 16 or older. Supports the Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention and Inspection Program.Learn more at: CleanDrainDryMT.com
Base Hunting License (MCA 87-2-116)
A required prerequisite for hunting or applying for a permit or license. This is an annual fee and will be charged at the time the hunter purchasesor applies for his/her first hunting license (including upland and migratory bird).
Conservation License (MCA 87-2-201; MCA 87-2-202)
- Each new license year, a new Conservation License is required to purchase any fishing, trapping, or hunting license(s), or to apply for licenses/permits. The Montana license year begins on March 1 and runs through the last day of February of the following year.
- In compliance with the Federal Welfare Reform Laws, Montana law requires each resident and nonresident hunter, including youth, to provide the last four digits of his/her Social Security number when purchasing a Conservation License.
Hunter Education Requirements (MCA 87-2-105)
If you were born after Jan. 1, 1985, you are required to show proof of completing a Montana hunter safety and education course or an approved hunter safety course from any other state or province prior to applying for or purchasing a hunting license, whether the huntinglicense is for the rifle or archery season.
Bowhunter Education Requirements (MCA 87-2-105)
To purchase a Montana Bow and Arrow License, a hunter must:
- provide a certificate of completing the National Bowhunter Education Foundation course, or
- provide any prior year’s bowhunting/ archery stamp, tag, permit, or license from any state or province.
Bowhunter or hunter education certificates of completion for the Montana hunter education and/or bowhunter education courses may be obtained from FWP’s website at: fwp.mt.gov/education/hunter
License and Permit Types
Antelope License (either-sex)
- License holders may lawfully take antelope subject to all specifications on the license. The total number of antelope licenses an individual mayhold is three, only one of which may be an either-sex license.
- Both resident and nonresident hunters are eligible to apply for antelope licenses awarded through the drawings.
- By state law (MCA 87-2-506), nonresidents are limited to, but not guaranteed, 10 percent of the license and/or permit quota.
- Drawings are based upon the final quotas adopted by the F&W Commission, which may differ from the quotas listed in the hunting districtregulations.
- Archers must hold a valid antelope license and a bow and arrow (archery) license to hunt during the Archery Only Season.
Antelope B License (doe/fawn) - Nonresident Only
- The cost of the first nonresident antelope B license whether issued through FWP drawings, over-the-counter, or through surplus is $200. Additional nonresident antelope B license cost is $50.
900-20 Multi-Region Antelope Archery Only/ArchEquip Only License
– Drawing Only
- A limited number of licenses are available.
- License is valid for either-sex antelope.
- Hunting is restricted to ArchEquip Only.
- Archers using this license during the antelope General Season must wear hunter orange.
- Applications must be made online at ols.fwp.mt.gov no later than 11:45 p.m. Montana local time June 1, or over the counter at a FWP office by close of business June 1.
- Hunters who apply for this 900-20 multi- region antelope license must list 900-20 as their first and only either-sex choice.
- These licenses are valid in any hunting district beginning with the number 3, 4, 5, 6 and/or 7, except in HD 313.
Bow and Arrow License (MCA 87-2-708)
A bow and arrow license, plus the proper hunting license is required during: (1) the deer, elk and/or antelope Archery Only Season; or (2) toarchery hunt in an Arch- Equip only area or hunting district.
Deer Licenses & Permits General Deer License
The General Deer License is valid for one deer. Hunters may hold only one General Deer License. It can be used for deer as indicated under the “General Deer License” heading on the deer and elk hunting district pages of these regulations.
- Residents may buy a Sportsman’s License, which includes a General Deer License. Some disabled, youth, and senior hunters may qualify for discounted licenses.
- Most nonresidents cannot buy their general deer license over the counter. They must obtain a General Deer License through one of the following drawings:
- Big Game (deer and elk) Combination license (17,000 issued), or a
- Deer Combination License (4,600 issued), or a
- Landowner Sponsored License (2,000 issued).
Nonresidents can apply for only one of these combo licenses each year. All of these license types include season fishing and uplandbird licenses. Currently, demand is greater than supply, so to get a deer license, you need to apply in a random lottery drawing by April 1.
Deer B License
- Valid for one deer during a specific time period, or for a certain species and sex, and in a particular hunting district or group of districts. May be offered through a drawing or over-the-counter.
- A deer B license is usually a license for antlerless mule deer or white-tailed deer, depending on the license type and hunting district.
- The deer B license allows you to harvest a deer in addition to the deer you could harvest with your General Deer License.
- There is no particular order in which the general deer and deer B licenses must be purchased or used.
- A hunter may possess a total of seven deer B licenses in any combination. Game damage and management deer B licenses do not count toward this total.
- Most deer B licenses are available through the June 1 drawing but those with UNL quotas are available for purchase over the counter at license providers along with FWP Online Licensing beginning in August.
Single-Region Deer B Licenses for White-tailed Deer
- A hunter may purchase only one single- region deer B license for white-tailed deer per year.
- The single-region deer B license for white-tailed deer is in addition to other deer B licenses a person may obtain through a drawing orpurchase at license providers. You must designate the region in which you will use the single- region deer B license for white-tailed deer at the time of purchase. Check the hunting district in which you will hunt for specific regulations and valid dates for the single-regionlicense.
- Licenses are available beginning Aug. 7 from license providers, including FWP Online Licensing.
- Permits are valid for hunting the specified sex-age class during the time period(s) listed.
- Hunters who receive a deer permit must use it with a current General Deer License. A deer permit does not allow you to take a seconddeer.
- Hunters who receive a deer permit valid for taking an antlered buck mule deer (with their General Deer License) are restricted to taking an antlered buck mule deer only in the district or portion of district specified on the permit. They may not hunt antlered buck mule deer anywhere else in Montana even if the General Season or Archery Only Season is open to mule deer buck hunting with a general deer license. This applies to all deer permit areas, whether limited or UNL, for antlered buck mule deer.
- Deer permits are available through the April 1 drawing to residents and nonresidents. Be sure to check individual hunting district regulations for specific deer permit details. By state law, nonresidents are limited to, but not guaranteed, 10 percent of the license/ permit quota.
- Residents must hold a General Deer License before applying for a deer permit.
- Nonresidents must hold a Big Game or Deer Combination License before applying for a deer permit.
SuperTag Lottery (MCA 87-1-271)
Open to residents and nonresidents.
- Resident and nonresident hunters can buy an unlimited number of $5 chances to win a Montana hunting license for antelope, bighornsheep, bison, deer, elk, moose, mountain goat, and mountain lion.
- An individual may be successful in winning one or a combination of these SuperTags per year.
- Each SuperTag license allows one to hunt in any Montana hunting district valid for that species, even if the quota for that district has beenmet.
- Moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat seven year waiting period does not apply to SuperTags.
- Chances are sold electronically at all FWP license providers or via the online licensing system at ols.fwp.mt.gov.
- Proceeds from the sale of SuperTag chances will enhance public hunting access and boost FWP enforcement efforts.
Bonus Point System (MCA 87-2-117)
Bonus points can increase your chances to draw a license or permit.
- Bonus points essentially offer you additional drawing chances and are used for first-choice drawings only.
Exis ting bonus poin ts will be mathematically “squared” prior to the drawing. That means if you already have three “base” bonus points those will be “squared” and you’ll then have nine points going into the drawing.
- If you wish to participate in the bonus point program (to use or gain points), make sure to select “YES” on the bonus point question under each species application, the $20 (nonresident) or $2 (resident) bonus point fee for each license/permit will be added to the total.
- If you’re unsuccessful, you’ll be awarded an additional base bonus point for next year’s drawing.
- Bonus points are nontransferable; they cannot be transferred between the species drawings or individuals.
- The base bonus points for party applications are the average of their individual base bonus points rounded to the nearest whole number.
- To purchase a bonus point, applicants must be of eligible age to apply for licenses or permits. Any youth who no longer qualifies will not loseaccumulated points.
- You may purchase one bonus point per year, either at the time of application or between July 1 and Sept. 30 of the current year. For example: If you submit an application for an elk permit on April 1, you may also purchase a bonus point at that time. If you do not choose to purchase a bonus point at that time, you may not purchase one from July - September. You may, however, purchase a bonus point for a different species between July 1 and Sept. 30.
- The fee to purchase a bonus point without applying is $15 per species for residents, and the nonresident fees are $25 per species with the exception of moose, sheep, and goat, which are $75 per species. Note: You cannot apply for and purchase bonus points in the sameyear.
- Preference points prioritize a Nonresident Combination License applicant with more preference points over an applicant who holds fewer preference points.
- If you elect to purchase a preference point, select “YES” on the preference point question. The additional $100 fee will be added to your total.
- Accumulated preference points will be used during the current drawing whether you purchase an additional preference point or not. Any accumulated preference points are lost if the applicant does not apply for a Nonresident Combination License in consecutive years, or if you are successful at obtaining a combination license.
- Outfitter clients are eligible to purchase a second preference point for an additional $100 at the time of application. Licenses issued using this point are only valid for hunting with an outfitter.
- No one may hold more than three preference points.
- Those who do not apply for a combination license may purchase one preference point for $100 over the counter from July 1 throughDec. 31.
Landowner Preference (MCA 87-2-705)
- Montana landowners (resident and nonresident) may qualify for preference in the license/permit drawings for deer, elk, andantelope.
- In order to claim landowner preference for deer B, deer permit, and/or antelope drawings, a landowner must own at least 160 acres of land within the hunting district applied for. If the license/permit is only valid for a portion of the hunting district, the landowner must own land within that portion and the land must be used primarily for agricultural purposes.
- In order to claim landowner preference for the elk B license and/or elk permit drawings, a landowner must own or be contracting to purchase at least 640 contiguous acres of land used by elk. If the license/permit is only valid for a portion of the hunting district, a landowner must own land within that portion to claim preference.
- A landowner may designate his/her preference to a member of his/her immediate family (blood or marriage related), or a paid employee who has state, federal, or FICA taxes withheld from pay. Only one person may use designated preference in a partnership or corporation.
- Landowners or their designees should apply normally online or over the counter at a FWP office by the appropriate deadline and then mail in a separate landowner preference form. Preference forms for the deer and elk permits must be received by April 1, and forms forelk B, deer B, antelope and antelope B must be received by June 1.
Special 2-day Youth Deer Hunt: October 19 & 20, 2023
Youth hunters and apprentice hunters 10-15 may hunt during the Youth Statewide Two-day Deer Hunt.
Youth Deer & Elk Hunts
Some hunting districts offer special opportunities for youth ages 10-15.
Youth Elk Permits and Elk B Licenses
Elk permits and elk B licenses only for youth 12 (by Jan 16, 2024) -15 years of age to hunt elk as listed in the specific hunting district regulations have the following requirements:
To qualify, the applicant must:
- be 12 (by Jan 16, 2024) -15 years of age at time of application,
- show proof of successfully completing hunter education.
Youth that are 15 years of age at the start of the general deer and elk season are eligible to hunt in the youth areas with a generallicense even if they turn 16 years of age during the season.
Free license for terminally ill youth (MCA 87-2-805)
- Montana law allows terminally ill resident or nonresident youth under 17 years of age to receive a free one-time Deer and Elk License.
- The youth must be accompanied by a licensed outfitter or an adult who has a license to hunt in Montana.
- Minimum age and hunter education requirements may be waived for this license. For information call Licensing at 406-444-2950.
Youth Hunter Opportunity Chart
Opportunities and Special Requirements
Available To Resident & Nonresident
An apprentice hunter is a resident or nonresident certified at an FWP office. An apprentice hunter can certify as early as age 9 but cannot buy a license until age 10. This license allows the apprentice to hunt some species, while accompanied by a mentor,without first completing a hunter education course. An apprentice hunting certification is limited to two years before a person must complete a hunter education course. The apprentice hunter may not apply for or purchase a bighorn sheep, black bear, mountain lion, or wolf license or a hunting license or permit with a limited quota. Other restrictions apply. See our website for details at: fwp.mt.gov/hunt/education/apprentice-hunter
A youth 11 years of age who will reach 12 years of age by Jan. 16, 2024, may (after completing hunter education):
After Aug. 15, 2023, hunt any game species for which their license is valid during an open season.
In order to carry or use a firearm in public, a youth under 14 years of age must be accompanied by a person having charge or custody of the child; or be under the supervision of a qualified firearms safety instructor or an adult 18 years of age or older who has been authorized by the youth’s parent or guardian, as per Montana law 45-8-344.
Youth Statewide Two-Day Deer Hunt –
– During these two days, youth hunters with a general deer, deer permit or deer B license may take those deer species and sex otherwise available on their general deer, deer permit or deer B license the first day of the general firearm season in the specific hunting district the youth is hunting.
Available To Nonresident Only
Nonresident Youth Combination Licenses will be sold to nonresident youth who have an adult immediate-family member sponsor (applicant’s natural or adoptive parent, stepparent, grandparent, brother or sister who is 18 years of age or older andpossesses a current resident or nonresident deer or elk license). The youth must be accompanied by the sponsor while hunting.Applications are available from FWP’s website and may be processed at any FWP office. For further details and an application, contact Licensing at 406-444-2950.
Hunters with a Disability
- Certification for “special considerations” are lifetime certifications and do not need to be renewed annually.
- For applications, detailed eligibility requirements, and information on licenses and permits for hunters with disabilities contact any FWP office.
Resident With a Disability Conservation License (MCA 87-2-803)
- Residents certified as permanently and substantially disabled, as defined by FWP rules, who purchase a conservation license, may purchase a fishing license for half price; AISPP is also required. If they also purchase a base hunting license for $10, they may thenpurchase general deer, general elk, and/or upland game bird (excluding turkey) licenses for half price. Applications for a Resident With a Disability Conservation License are available at all FWP offices and FWP website.
- The certification is valid for the life of the holder or until changed by the Montana Legislature.
Permit To Hunt From a Vehicle (PTHFV) (MCA 87-2-803)
- Residents and nonresidents certified as permanently and substantially nonambulatory, as defined by State Law, may apply for aPTHFV.
- Specific PTHFV field regulations apply. Noncompliance may result in loss of this privilege.
- The certification is valid for the life of the holder or until changed by the Montana Legislature.
Permit To Modify Archery Equipment (PTMAE)
- Residents and nonresidents certified as permanently and substantially disabled, as defined by FWP rules, may apply for a PTMAE. ThePTMAE allows a person with a disability to use archery tackle that supports the bow, and draws, holds, and releases the string to accommodate the individual disability.
- Arrows are not exempt, and must meet requirements for the Archery Only Season.
- This permit does not entitle the holder to use a crossbow during the Archery Only Season.
- The permit only allows modification of lawful archery tackle and must be used with a valid bow and arrow license and appropriate huntinglicense.
- The certification is valid for the life of the holder or until changed by the Montana Legislature.
Certain Combat Disabled Veterans
- A veteran with certain combat–connected injuries may be entitled to half-priced licenses for deer and antelope. Up to 50 licenses will be issuedannually. Contact FWP Licensing for details at 406-444- 2950.
Licenses and/or Permits for Hunters with a Disability
- Applicants must apply on FWP-provided forms available at FWP offices or FWP website. For more information, contact Licensing at 406-444-2950.
- Elk permits
- Applicants must have a Permit to Hunt From a Vehicle (PTHFV), valid Conservation License, Base Hunting License, a General Elk License and apply on or before April 1.
- Individuals who are permanently physically disabled and nonambulatory as defined in ARM 12.3.106, may apply for an antelope license. A total of 25 antelope licenses are issued through antelope drawing. These licenses are offered in those antelope hunting districts that have a total quota of 50 or more antelope licenses. Applicants must apply on FWP- provided forms available at all FWP offices. Applications must be postmarked on or before June 1.
LAWS & RULES
Statute denoted by MCA.
- Commission Rule denoted by CR.
- Administrative Rule denoted by ARM.
Aircraft- Unlawful Use (MCA 87-6-208)
- It is unlawful for a person to shoot a game animal from an aircraft.
- It is unlawful for a person to use an aircraft for the purpose of concentrating, pursuing, driving, rallying, or stirring up any game animal.
- Aircraft may not be used to locate game animals for the purpose of:
- hunting those animals during the same hunting day after a person has been airborne, or
- providing information for another person for the purpose of hunting those animals within the same hunting day after being airborne.
Archery Equipment (MCA 87-6-401, CR)
- It is unlawful to use any chemical or explosive device attached to an arrow to aid in the taking of game animals.
- The following criteria define Archery Equipment. It is unlawful to use, while hunting game during any Archery Only Season and in Archery Equipment Only areas, archery equipment that does not meet the following criteria:
- Hunting Bow: A hunting bow for game animals shall be a longbow, flatbow, recurve bow, compound bow, or any combination of these designs.
- The bow must be a device for launching an arrow, which derives its propulsive energy solely from the bending and recovery of two limbs (includes bows with split limbs).
- The bow must be hand-drawn by a single and direct uninterrupted pulling action of the shooter. The bowstring must be moved from brace height to the full draw position by the muscle power of the shooter’s body. The energy used to propel the arrow shall not be derived from any other source such as hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical, or similar devices. These limitations shall not exclude the mechanical leverage advantage provided by eccentric wheels or cams, so long as the available energy stored in the bent limbs of the bow is the sole result of a single, continuous, and direct pulling effort by the shooter.
- The bow must be hand-held. One hand shall hold the bow, and the other hand draw the bowstring. The bowstring must be moved and/or heldat all points in the draw cycle entirely by muscle power of the shooter until release. The bowstring must be released as a direct and conscious action of the shooter, either relaxing the tension of the fingers or triggering the release action of a hand-held release aid.
Exception: Physically disabled bowhunters certified by FWP with the Permit To Modify Archery Equipment (PTMAE) are exempted from the requirement of holding or shooting the bow with their hands.
- A bow is considered lawful if it is at least 28 inches in total length.
- The nominal percent of let-off for hunting bows shall be a maximum of 80 percent as advertised by the manufacturer.
- Arrow: An arrow is a projectile at least 20 inches in overall length. The length of the arrow is measured from the rearward point of the nock to the tip of the broadhead.
- A broadhead is mounted on the fore end.
- The arrow shall weigh no less than 300 grains with the broadhead attached.
- Arrows must have broadheads with at least two cutting edges and be at least 7/8 inches at the widest point. Expandable broadheads are lawful as long as when expanded they are at least 7/8 inches at the widest point, and weigh no less than 70 grains.
- The following are not considered a hunting bow or lawful archery equipment during the Archery Only Season or in an ArcheryEquipment Only area or hunting district:
- Any device with a gun-type stock or incorporating any device or mechanism that holds the bowstring at partial or full draw withoutthe shooter’s muscle power.
- Any bow for which a portion of the bow’s riser (handle) or any track, trough, channel, or other device that attaches directly to the bow’s riser contacts, supports, and/or guides the arrow from a point rearward of the bow’s brace height. This is not intended to restrict the use of standard overdraw systems.
- Electronic or battery-powered devices attached to a hunting bow or arrow that aides in the taking or locating of any game animal or game bird. Exception: Camera devices attached to bows for the sole purpose of filming is allowed.
- Artificial Light (MCA 87-6-401)
It is unlawful for anyone to take or attempt to take any game animal or game bird with the aid of projected artificial light. Use of rifle scopes that project an artificial light to illuminate the target or project infra-red light visible only with specialized optics to illuminate the target are unlawful for the taking of game animals.
- Baiting (MCA 87-6-401, CR)
- It is unlawful for anyone to hunt or attempt to hunt any game animal or game bird by the aid of or with the use of any bait, salt lick, trap, snare,or set gun.
- Baiting shall mean the placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of food sources or salt so as to constitute a lure or attraction.
- Carcass Disposal (CR)
To prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease, all parts of the head or skull containing brain material and/or the spinal columns of deer, elk, and moose harvested in Montana must be left in the field at the kill site or, if transported for further processing including taxidermy or meat processing, must be disposed of in a class II landfill once that processing iscomplete.
- Check Stations (MCA 87-6-218)
All hunters are required by law to stop as directed at all designated check stations on their way to and from hunting areas, even if they have no game to be checked
- Disturbing Traps or Trapped Animals (MCA 87-6-601(5))– A person may not destroy, disturb, or remove any trap or snare belonging to another person or remove wildlife from a trap or snare belonging to another person without permission of the owner of the trap or snare, except that fromMarch 1 to Oct. 1 of each year a person may remove any snare from land owned or leased by the person if the snare would endanger livestock. This requirement does not apply to a law enforcement officer acting within the scope of the officer’s duty.
- Dogs (MCA 87-6-404)
It is unlawful for a person to use dogs to chase game animals. Exception: Dogs may be used to hunt mountain lions and spring black bears, see appropriate regulations for rules. Dogs may be utilized to recover or locate wounded game animals, but handlers shall maintain physical control of the dog at all times by means of a maximum 50-foot lead attached to the dog’s collar or harness.
- Evidence of Sex (MCA 87-6-406)
A person who kills a game animal in this state shall retain evidence of sex of the animal with the carcass until it is processed. The provisions of thissection do not apply to a game animal harvested using a license with which either sex of the animal may be taken. Evidence of sex does not need to be naturally attached. A person who kills a game animal in a hunting district where the harvest is limited by the animal’s antler point or horn sizeshall retain the antlers or horns until the carcass is processed.
Firearms, including rifles, handguns, shotguns with 0, 00, or slugs, and muzzleloaders; archery equipment; and crossbows are lawful for taking game animals. All other methods of take are prohibited.
- There is no rifle or handgun caliber limitation or magazine/round capacity restrictions for the taking of game animals.
- Rifle scopes with illuminated reticles, built-in range finding capabilities, and “red dot” scopes are lawful for the taking of game animals.
- See specific muzzleloader requirements on Page 25 for Weapons Restriction Areas, and on Page 24 for the heritage muzzleloaderseason.
- Glandular Scents ((ARM 12.6.1016, 12.6.1017)( MCA 87-6-101))
Artificial and Responsible Hunting Scent Association (RHSA) approved natural glandular scents may be used by hunters for the purpose of masking human odor. Urine-based and natural glandular scents are approved by the F&W Commission for the purposes of attracting game animals (except black bears) and game birds if they:
- originate from a state or province not listed below as having documented occurrences of chronic wasting disease or
- originate from a facility which is approved by the F&W Commission as certified by the Responsible Hunting Scent Association (RHSA) and displays the required marks on the product packaging.
- Hunter Harassment (MCA 87-6-215)
It is unlawful to:
- Intentionally interfere with the lawful taking of a wild animal,
- Disturb an individual engaged in the lawful taking of a wild animal with intent to prevent the taking of the animal.
Any person hunting or accompanying a hunter as an outfitter or guide must wear a minimum of 400 square inches of hunter orange (fluorescent) material above the waist, visible at all times (see the following exception).
A licensed bowhunter pursuing deer, elk, and/or antelope during the Archery Only Season or in an archery only hunting district is not required to meet the hunter orange requirement, even if there is a concurrent firearm season in that hunting district or portion of district. However, bowhunters hunting during any portion of the general (firearm) season for deer, elk, antelope, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, bison, black bear, and/ or mountain lion must always wear a minimum of 400 square inches of hunter orange (fluorescent) above the waist, visible at all times.
- Hunting Hours (CR)
Authorized hunting hours for the taking of game animals begin one-half hour before sunrise and end one-half hour after sunset each day of the hunting season. See the official Sunrise-Sunset Tables listed on page 135.
- Incidental Harvest Resulting in an Unlawfully Taken Animal
If you or a member of your hunting party shoots an animal that results in an unlawfully taken animal, you should notify an FWP gamewarden or 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668) immediately and follow their instructions.
Hunters should field dress the animal but DO NOT transport the animal until you’ve received instructions.
- Indian Reservations
- The F&W Commission has by rule, closed all lands within the exterior boundaries of Montana’s Indian Reservations to the hunting of game animals with the use of state licenses unless provided for in a cooperative agreement between the Tribal Government and the State of Montana.
- Currently, there are no cooperative agreements between FWP and any of the Tribal Governments in Montana and as such the season for the hunting of game animals, by nonmembers, with a state license is closed. Please contact FWP for further information.
- Inspection by Warden (MCA 87-1-502, 87-6-218)
Game animals, game and nongame birds, fish, and furbearers taken must be shown to FWP Enforcement personnel for inspection when requested.
- Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact (IWVC)
Montana is a member of the IWVC. Under the compact, member states recognize suspensions of hunting, fishing or trapping privileges. It is unlawful for a violator whose privilege to hunt, fish or trap is suspended to obtain or attempt to obtain a license, tag or permit in a memberstate. For more information, call 406-444-2452. Kill Site Verification (ARM 12.6.1005)
At the request of a Department Game Warden, it is required to return to the kill site of any game animal, game bird, wolf, or furbearer that has been hunted or trapped.
- Landowner Permission (MCA 87-6-415) A person may not hunt or attempt to hunt furbearers, game animals,migratory game birds, nongame wildlife, predatory animals, upland game birds, or wolves while hunting on private property without first obtaining permission of the landowner, the lessee, or their agents. Regardless of whether the land is posted or not, hunters must have permission from the land owner, lessee, or their agent before hunting on private property. For the purposes of this section, the term “hunt” has the same meaning as provided in 87-6-101 and includes entering private land to: (a) retrieve wildlife;or (b) access public land to hunt.
License and Permit Possession/Use
- License and Permit Possession/Use (MCA 87-6-304, MCA 87-6-305)
- A person may not apply for, purchase, or possess more than one license, permit, or tag of any one class or more than one special license for any onespecies. This provision does not apply to more than one license, permit or tag authorized by the commission.
- A person may not hunt in this state unless the person is carrying the required license or permit at the time.
- A person may not refuse to exhibit a license or permit and the identification used in purchasing a license or permit for inspection to a warden or other officer requesting to see it.
- A person may not at any time alter or change a license in any material manner or loan or transfer any license to another person.
- A person other than the person to whom a license is issued may not use the license.
- A person may not attach the person's license to a game animal killed by another person.
- A person commits the offense of unlawful possession of a hunting license or permit if the person knowingly carries or has physical control over a valid and unused hunting license or permit issued to another person while in any location that the species to be hunted may inhabit.
- This does not apply: to a person who is carrying or has physical control over a license or permit issued to that person's spouse or to any minorwhen the spouse or minor is hunting with that person; and when a properly obtained and validated license or permit is attached to a lawfully killed game animal.
- License Validation/Tagging (MCA 87-6-411)
When a person kills a game animal, the person shall, before the carcass is removed from or the person leaves the site of the kill, take physicalpossession of the game animal by:
- electronically validating the license or tag or
- cutting out from the license or tag the date the animal was killed and attaching the license or tag to the animal.
- A license or tag that is not electronically validated must be kept attached to the carcass as long as any considerable portion of the carcass remains unconsumed.
- A person may not fail to keep the license or tag attached to the game animal or portion of the game animal while the animal is possessed by the person unless the license or tag was electronically validated.
- A person may not tag a game animal with or electronically validate a license or tag that is restricted to a hunting district other than the hunting district where the game animal was killed.
- Littering (MCA 75-10-212, 87-6-920)
It is unlawful to dump or leave any garbage, dead animal, or other debris or refuse:
- In or upon any highway, road, street, or alley of this state;
- In or upon any public property, highway, street, or alley under the control of the state;
- Within 200 yards of a public highway, road, street, or alley or public property;
- On privately owned property where hunting, fishing, or other recreation is permitted;
- Marked or Radio-Collared Animals (CR) It is lawful to shoot game animals that have radio collars, neck bands, ear tags and/or other markers, but markers and radio collars must be returned to FWP. Please report the killing of a marked animal to the local FWP office.
- Motion-Tracking Devices (MCA 87-6-401)
It is unlawful for a person, while hunting, to use any electronic motion-tracking device or mechanism that is designed to track the motion of a game animal and relay information on the animal’s movement to the hunter.
Motion tracking devices are defined by F&W Commission as remote operated camera or video devices capable of transmitting real time information, pictures, or videos; seismic devices; thermal imaging devices; and satellite and radio telemetry devices.
A radio-tracking collar attached to a dog that is used by a hunter engaged in lawful hunting activities is not considered an unlawful motion-tracking device.
- use a motor-driven vehicle on a road or trail on state land if that road or trail is posted as closed by the land management agency. This restriction applies only to state land and not to federal land. For more information related to state school trust lands, see page29.
- use a motor-driven vehicle other than on a road or trail designated for travel by a landowner unless permission has been given by thatlandowner.
- A person may not operate, on federal public lands, a motorized wheeled vehicle off legal routes (including game retrieval). All federally approved travel plans on public lands in Montana have been adopted by the F&W Commission. Contact the appropriate land management agencies for travel plan information.
- A person may not use a motorboat or a sailboat as defined in 23-2-502 for the purpose of killing, capturing, taking, pursuing, concentrating, driving, or stirring up any upland game bird, migratory bird, game animal, or fur-bearing animal until the motor is shut off or the sails are furled and the progress of the vessel has ceased.
- It is unlawful to engage in outfitting/ guiding while not licensed.
- It is unlawful to hire an outfitter or guide not licensed by the Department of Labor and Industry. For information, call 406- 841-2300.
- hides, heads, or mounts of lawfully killed, captured, or taken game fish, birds, game animals, or fur-bearing animals, except that the sale or purchase of a hide, head, or mount of a grizzly bear is prohibited, except as provided by federal law;
- naturally shed antlers or the antlers with a skull or portion of a skull attached from a game animal that has died from natural causes and thathas not been unlawfully killed, captured, or taken or accidentally killed;
- the bones of an elk, antelope, moose, or deer that has died from natural causes and that has not been unlawfully killed, captured, or taken or accidentally killed;
- Predatory Animals are classified as coyote, weasel, (striped) skunk, and civet cat (spotted skunk).
- Nongame species are defined as any wild animal not otherwise lawfully classified by statute or regulation in Montana. Examples include badger, raccoon, red fox, hares, rabbits, ground squirrels, marmots, tree squirrels, porcupines, and prairie dog.
- It is unlawful for anyone to:
- hunt or attempt to hunt any game animal from any self-propelled (motorized) or drawn vehicle. To be lawful, a hunter must have two feet on the ground and his/her body outside of the vehicle. Holders of the Permit To Hunt From A Vehicle are the exception to this.
- use a motorized vehicle to concentrate, drive, rally, stir-up, corral, or harass game animals.
- While hunting a person may not use a motor-driven vehicle off-road on state land.
- For the purpose of assessing restitution for unlawfully taken trophy wildlife under Montana law, the following are considered “trophy”animals:
- Antelope: With at least one horn greater than 14 inches in length, as measured along the outside curve from base to tip.
- Elk: Must meet all three criteria:
Any elk with at least one six-point antler and having a gross/green Boone & Crockett score of 320 points or greater.
- Mule Deer: Must meet all three criteria:
Any mule deer with at least one four- point antler and having a gross/green Boone & Crockett score of 160 points or greater.
- White-tailed Deer: Must meet all three criteria:
Any white-tailed deer with at least one four-point antler and having a gross/ green Boone & Crockett score of 140 points or greater.
A “point” as defined in these regulations is at least four inches long for elk and at least one inch long for deer, measured from base to tip.Boone & Crockett (B&C) measuring procedures or standards are used for criteria measurement. The official measurements for thepurpose of this regulation are those that are taken at the time of confiscation or seizure of the trophy. Any B&C measurements will be considered final when taken by an official B&C scorer, regardless of drying time. If the skullcap of antlers or horns is broken in such amanner to render an official B&C score invalid, three official B&C scorers will estimate a score. The three scores will be averaged and the average score used to determine trophy status in accordance with Montana law.
Sale of Game Animals (MCA 87-6-206)
A person may not purposely or knowingly sell, purchase, or exchange all or part of any game fish, bird, game animals, or fur- bearinganimals, except that a person may sell, purchase, or exchange:
- Hides, heads, or mounts of game fish, birds, game animals, or fur-bearing animals that have been lawfully killed, captured, or taken,except that the sale or purchase of a hide, head, or mount of a grizzly bear is prohibited, except as provided by federal law.
- Naturally shed antlers or the antlers with a skull or portion of a skull attached from a game animal that has died from natural causes and that has not been unlawfully killed, captured, or taken or accidentally killed; for additional exceptions, see 87-6-206 MCA. Sale of meat is not allowed.
Simulated Wildlife (MCA 87-6-217)
It is unlawful to discharge a firearm or other hunting implement at a simulated wildlife decoy in violation of any state statute, ARM, or F&WCommission rule regulating the hunting of the wildlife being simulated.
Transport of Wildlife
- An individual other than the license holder may transport lawfully taken, properly tagged game animals that comply with the “Evidenceof Sex Requirements.”
It is a violation of the Federal Lacey Act to transport an unlawfully taken game animal across state boundaries.
If you are transporting lawfully taken wildlife (including parts and/or products of live or dead animals) between the United States and any foreigncountry, you must complete a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declaration form. For further information, contact the USFWS wildlife inspector at 406-335-4350 or www.fws.gov.
Questions concerning carcass transport may be directed to FWP Enforcement at 406-444-2452 or to your home state’s wildlife division.
Traps (MCA 87-6-601)
It is unlawful to destroy, disturb, or remove any trap or snare belonging to another person or remove wildlife from a trap or snare belonging toanother person without permission of the owner of the trap or snare.
Two-way Communication (ARM 12.6.1010)
The use of two- way elec tronic communication is prohibited:
While in the act of hunting game animals or wolves to aid in the taking or locating of live animals.
While in the act of hunting mountain lion or bobcats with dogs, beginning when the dogs are placed or physically released on tracks or a scenttrail.
- To avoid game check stations or FWP enforcement personnel.
- To facilitate unlawful hunting activity.
Two-way electronic communication includes, but is not limited to, the following; radios (walkie-talkies/CB), cell phones, text messages, and the useof social media or other electronic platforms, applications, or programs.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles UAV (CR)
A UAV/drone may not be used to locate game animals for the purposes of: hunting those animals during the same hunting day after a UAV/drone hasbeen airborne, or providing information for another person
for the purposes of hunting those animals within the same hunting day after the UAV/ drone has been airborne.
Waste of Game (MCA 87-6-205)
- Hunters, or persons in possession of a game animal or game animal parts, are prohibited from wasting or rendering unfit for humanconsumption, any part of a game animal that is defined as “suitable for food.”
- For game animals (excluding mountain lions), all of the four quarters above the hock, including loin and backstrap, are considered suitable for food.
The following equipment restrictions apply to Weapons Restriction Areas:
See lawful archery equipment in the “Law & Rules” section.
Lawful in weapons restriction areas unless exception noted in specific hunting district regulations.
- Are not capable of being shoulder mounted;
- Have a barrel length of less than 10
- Chamber only a straight wall cartridge, not originally developed for rifles.
- Must not be capable of being loaded from the breech of the barrel;
- May not be loaded with any pre- prepared paper or metallic cartridges;
- must be charged with black powder, pyrodex, or an equivalent;
- Must be ignited by a percussion, flintlock, matchlock, or wheelock mechanism;
- Must be a minimum of .45 caliber;
- May have no more than two barrels;
- Must only use plain lead projectiles;
- Sabots or other similar power and range-enhancing manufactured loads that enclose the projectile from the rifling or bore of the firearm are prohibited. “Skirts” or gas checks on the base of a projectile are acceptable.
Must be shouldered, breech-loaded, or muzzle-loaded firearm with a smooth bore and/or rifled barrel and/or rifled choke device designed to fire shot or slugs.
- For the purpose of assessing restitution for unlawfully taken trophy wildlife under Montana law, the following are considered “trophy”animals:
- at least six points on one antler, 2) a main beam length on each antler of at least 43 inches, and 3) an inside spread of at least 36 inches.
Off Road- Federal lands (CR)
Boats (MCA 87-6-207)
Muzzleloader Heritage Hunting Season Lawful Weapons 87-1-304(9): Plain lead projectiles and a muzzleloading rifle that is charged with loose black powder, loose pyrodex, or an equivalent loose black powder substitute, and ignited by a flintlock, wheel lock, matchlock, or percussion mechanism using a percussion or musket cap. The muzzleloading rifle must be a minimum of .45 caliber and may not have more than two barrels. Additionally, 87-6-401(1), a hunter may not use a muzzleloading rifle that requires insertion of a cap or primer into the open breech of the barrel, is capable of being loaded from the breech, or is mounted with an optical magnification device. Use of prepared paper or metallic cartridges, sabots, gas checks, or other similar power and range-enhancing manufactured loads that enclose the projectile from the rifling or bore of the firearm is also prohibited.
Off–Highway Vehicles (including ATV, UTV and dirt bikes)
Residents (MCA 23-2-804, 23-2-111) –
OHVs must be registered with the county treasurer and display a current off- highway permanent registration decal to be used for off-road recreation on public lands (trails, frozen lakes, reservoirs). To be used on roads (county, Forest Service, etc.), an OHV must be registeredwith the county treasurer and display a license plate and street-legal modifications. Resident hunters utilizing “summer motorized recreation trails” must also purchase a summer motorized recreation trail pass (decal) at a cost of $20, valid for two years and expires on Dec. 31 of the second calendar year. All decals must be affixed in a conspicuous place on the OHV.
Nonresidents (MCA 23-2-814) – OHVs that are owned by a nonresident may not be operated by a person anywhere in Montana unless a nonresident temporary-use permit is obtained. Permits are good for one calendar year, cost $35 and can be purchased from local vendors (stateparks.mt.gov/recreation/ ohvProgram.html, OHV Permits and Laws), at FWP offices or online at app. mt.gov/als. Contact Montana State Parks OHV Program at 406-444-3750.
Outfitters and Guides (MCA 37-47-301) A person may not act as an outfitter or guide or advertise or otherwise represent to the public that the personis an outfitter or guide without first securing a license.
Possession of Wildlife Parts
A person may not possess, ship, or transport all or part of any game fish, bird, game animal, or fur-bearing animal that was unlawfully killed, captured, or taken, whether killed, captured, or taken in Montana or outside of Montana. “Possess” includes the act of killing, capturing, or taking a game fish, bird, game animal, or fur-bearing animal regardless of whether the person takes or retains physical possession of the fish, bird, oranimal
This section does not prohibit the possession, shipping, or transportation of:
Vehicle Killed Wildlife Salvage Permit (MCA 87-3-145) (ARM 12.3.186)
Carcasses and parts of elk, deer, antelope, and moose killed in vehicular collisions may be taken and possessed but only with a Vehicle-Killed Wildlife Salvage Permit. No other game animals may be salvaged by this permit.
Recovery and possession of horns and skulls from mountain sheep that died of natural causes (MCA 87-3-315)
A person may recover and possess the horn or horns and attached skull, or portion thereof, of a mountain sheep that died of natural causes and was not purposefully or accidentally killed, captured, or taken, including due to being struck by a vehicle.
Horns and skulls recovered pursuant to this section must be reported to the department within 48 hours and presented to the department for inspection and placement of a permanent pin in a horn within 10 days. The fee for the pin is $25.
This section does not allow the recovery or possession of horns and skulls found in state parks.
Predatory Animals and Nongame Hunting
Predatory animals and nongame species can be hunted in Montana year-round without a license by both resident and nonresident hunters. A Conservation License, or a State School Trust lands recreational use license is required to hunt predatory animals and nongame species on State School Trust lands. Permission must be obtained to hunt predatory animals and nongame species onprivate land.
Public Roadways (MCA 87-6-403)
It is unlawful for anyone to hunt or attempt to hunt any game animal: on, from, or across any public highway or the shoulder, berm, barrow pit, or right-of-way of any public highway (the entire width between the boundary lines of every publicly maintained way when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel).
Recorded Animal Sounds
It is unlawful to use any recorded or electrically amplified bird or animal calls or sounds or imitations of bird or animal calls or sounds to assist in the hunting, taking, killing, or capturing of any wildlife except predatory animals, wolves, and those birds not protected by state or federal law.
Restitution for Unlawfully Taken Wildlife (MCA 87-6-906, CR)
Under Montana law, a person convicted, or who was charged and forfeited bond or bail, of unlawfully killing, taking, or possessing game animals shall reimburse the state. The law sets the amount of restitution for a trophy
Restricted Area Descriptions
Bad Rock Canyon WMA: Hunting by limited access permit only. Archery and general season are open Thursday through Sunday (or Monday if it is a holiday). Archery hunting is open to archery equipment for all legal species, limited to two individuals/ week awarded by lottery. Generalhunting and spring turkey seasons are open to youth ages 10–15 and hunters with a PTHFV for all legal species, limited to one party/day awarded by lottery. Closed to spring black bear hunting. Portions of the following sections in Township 30 North, Range 20W: east half of Section 9, the north half and southeast quarter of Section 10, the northwest quarter of Section 11, and the northeast half of Section 16. Area rules, maps, and the access permit application process available at FWP-R1 HQ (406-752- 5501).
BNSF right-of-way from Marias Pass to the Java Creek Bridge: Closed to hunting.
Beattie Gulch: Subject to closure of all hunting with 24 hours notice: US Forest Service lands located in the following sections north of Yellowstone National Park in Beattie Gulch, Sec. 7 & 8, T9S, R8E and Sections 12 & 13, T9S, R7E.
Bitterroot-Clark Fork Archery District Portion of HD 260: Refer to legal description of deer/elk hunting district 260.
Bowdoin NWR closed hunting of big game: Portions of T31N R31E, T31N R32E, T30N R31E, T30N R32E as posted by refuge regulations. Contact refuge at 654-2863.
Brinkman Game Preserve: Closed to the hunting of all species except deer. Except as specifically permitted by the commission for the huntingof deer, no person may carry or discharge firearms within the preserve. See current regulations. The boundary of the Brinkman Game Preserve is as follows: The S½ section 7, and E½, NE¼ section 7, and S½ section 8, and NW¼ section 8, S½ section 9, S½ and E½, NE¼ section 10. All of sections 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23,
25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 35, 36,; all in township 29N, range 7E, M.P.M., Liberty County, Montana.
CMR National Wildlife Refuge, Slippery Ann elk viewing area: Closed to all hunting per refuge regulation 406-538-8706: Portions of Section 36, T22N, R24E and Sections 31 and 32, T22N, R25E.
Charles M. Russell (CMR) National Wildlife Refuge and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: CMR National Wildlife Refuge and U.S. Army Corps ofEngineers (ACOE) regulations may differ from these regulations, to include closed or weapons restricted areas. Hunters should contact the CMR at 406-538-8706 or the ACOE at 406-526-3411.
Cree Crossing WMA: Hunting by
archery, shotgun, traditional handgun or muzzleloader only. Portions of sections 11 and 12 T32N R32E as posted.
Deckard Flats to Trail Creek: Elk Hunting Closure: Subject to closure of elk hunting with 24 hours notice. Those portions of Park County lying within the following-described boundary: Beginning at the confluence of the Yellowstone River and Little Trail Creek northwest of Gardiner, then northeasterly along Little Trail Creek up to its headwaters, then easterly to the USFS Absaroka- Beartooth Wilderness Boundary, then easterly along said boundary to the North Fork of Bear Creek, then southeasterly along said creek to its confluence with Bear Creek, then northerly along said creek to the confluence of PineCreek, then easterly along said Creek to the intersection with the USFS Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Boundary, then southerly along said boundary to the boundary with Yellowstone National Park, then westerly along said boundary to the confluence of the Yellowstone River and Reese Creek west of the town of Gardiner, then westerly along the Yellowstone River to its confluence with Little Trail Creek, the point of beginning.
East Ovando Archery Area: Restricted to ArchEquip Only for all big game hunting: Those portions of Powell County lying within the following described boundary: Beginning at the junction of State Route 200 with the North Fork of the Blackfoot River, then southwest along said river to the Ovando-Helmville Road, then northwesterly along said road to Ovando and State Route 200, then easterly along said route to the North Fork of the BlackfootRiver, the point of beginning.
Ennis Airport Weapons Restriction Area: Ennis Airport WRA Boundary Description: Beginning at intersection of Airport Rd and Hwy 287, east on Airport Rd, then continuing east along south boundary of section 32 to the USFS boundary, then north to north boundary of section 29, then west on northboundaries of sections 29 and 30, then south on west boundary of section 30, then west on north boundary of section 36 to Hwy 287, then south along Hwy 287 to point of beginning.
Flathead Weapons Restriction Area and Blasdel WPAs: Restricted to ArchEquip, shotgun, traditional handgun, muzzleloader or crossbow only: Thatportion of Flathead County lying within the following-described boundary: Beginning at the junction of State Route 35 and State Route 206, then northerly along State Route 206 to US Highway 2, then westerly along said highway onto State Route 40 to US Highway 93, then south on said Highway to RockyCliff Drive, then easterly to Demersville Road, then northerly along said road to Foys Bend Lane, then easterly along said road onto Lower Valley Road to the Bonneville Power Administration powerline at Foys Bend, then northerly along said powerline across the Flathead River to the easterly
shore, then up the most easterly shore of said river to State Route 35 (Old Highway 2 bridge), then easterly along said route to its junction with State Route 206, the point of the beginning.
Freezout Lake WMA, Teton County: Closed to hunting as posted.
Gallatin Special Management Area: Closed to all deer and elk hunting except elk hunting by special permit only: The Gallatin Special Management Area is a combination of the old Bacon Rind/Lodgepole and Buffalo Horn/Lodgepole Units. Those portions of Madison andGallatin Counties lying within the following boundary description: Beginning at the intersection of US Highway 191 and the north boundary of Yellowstone National Park, then in a northerly direction along said boundary to USFS Trail 57 at Dailey Pass, then in a northwesterly direction along said trail to the headwaters of the South Fork of Buffalo Horn, then down said creek to a posted line that goes along the south side of Cow Flats to its intersection with Buffalo Horn Creek, then down said creek to the Gallatin River, then up said river to Snow Flake Springs and the toe of Snowflake Ridge, then southerly along said ridge and the Sage Creek-Monument Creek Divide, then along Sage Creek-Snowslide Creek Divide and the Sage Creek-Bacon Rind Divide to the Gallatin Madison Rivers Divide at Redstreak Peak, then southeasterly along said divide to the Yellowstone National Park boundary, then northerly along said boundary to the point of beginning.
Gallatin Valley Weapons Restriction Area: That portion of Gallatin county beginning at the intersection of Cottonwood Road and Enders Road, continuing southeast from that intersection along Cottonwood Road, north to South 19th, then east on South 19th to Nash Road, theneast on Nash Road to Sourdough Canyon Road, then south on Sourdough Canyon Road, to the national forest boundary, then east along saidboundary to boundary of State Lands Sections 4, 3, 34, 35 and 1 to Bear Canyon Road, then northerly on Bear Canyon Road to the Bear Canyon Interchange with Interstate 90, then northerly to Rocky Creek, northwesterly along Rocky Creek to L Street, then north on L Street toStory Mill Road, then north on Story Mill Road to Deer Creek Drive, northeast on Deer Creek Drive to Lookfar Way, north on Lookfar Way to RollingHills Drive, north on Rolling Hills Drive to Sypes Canyon Road, northwesterly on Sypes Canyon Road to Summer Cuttoff Road, then Saddle Mountain Road, then east on Saddle Mountain Road to Bostwick Road, then north along Bostwick Road to Baseline East Road, then west onBaseline East Road to Walker Road, then north on Walker Road to Penwell Bridge Road, then west on Penwell Bridge Road to Wes Davis Road, then north and west on Wes Davis Road to Hamilton Road, then west and south on Hamilton Road to its intersection with Weaver Road atHighway 290, then west on Weaver Road to Highway 10, then northwesterly on Highway 10 to Heeb Road, then south on Heeb Road to Amsterdam Road, east on Amsterdan Road, to Linney Road, south on Linney Road to Cameron Bridge Road, then east on Cameron Bridge Road to River Road, thensouth on River Road to Highway 84, then east on Highway 84 to Shedds Bridge, then south up western most channel of the Gallatin River toGallatin Gateway Bridge, then east on Gallatin Gateway Road to US Highway 191, then south on US Highway 191 to Cottonwood Road, to point of beginning.
NOTE: Sourdough Exclusion Zone from SWRA within HD 309: Beginning at the intersection of Nash and Sourdough Can- yon Road, then southon Sourdough Can- yon Road to the USFS boundary, then east, north and east along said boundary in Sec- tion 8, then along said boundary inSection 8 to the intersection with State Lands in Section 9, then north along the section line of Sections 4 and 5, then west along section line ofSections 5 and 32 to the intersection with Sourdough Road, then south on Sour- dough Road, then west on Nash Road, the point of beginning.
Gardiner: Closed to all hunting. Beginning at the Junction of U.S. Hwy 89 and Little Trail Creek, then up Little Trail Creek to the posted line (approx. 1/2 mile above U.S. Hwy 89), then southeasterly along said line to the Travertine-Trail Creek Road, then easterly along said road to its intersection with the Gardiner-Jardine Road, then northeasterly along said road to Eagle Creek, then southerly down said creek to the YNP boundary, then westerly along said boundary to the intersection with Stevens Creek, then northeasterly in a straight line to the intersection with U.S. Hwy 89, then northwesterly along said highway to the junction of Little Trail Creek, the point of beginning.
Gates of the Mountains Game Preserve: Closed to all hunting. Beginning in Section 2, T12N, R3W at the southeast corner of Upper Holter Lake, then proceeding westerly along the northern shoreline of Upper Holter Lake in the Gates of the Mountains area located in Lewis and Clark County,then northerly along Stoney Point Beacon Road, then northerly along the powerline to said beacon, then along Bulldozer Road to the point of theridge in Section 23, T13 N, R3W, then northerly to the Missouri River, then easterly across said river and lake to the USFS boundary to thewilderness boundary, then south along wilderness boundary to the southeast corner of Section 1, T12N, R3W, then west back to Upper Holter Lake, the point of beginning. Intending hereby to include in said game preserve all the territory adjacent of the Gates of the Mountains area, shall be called and known as the Gates of the Mountains Game Preserve.
Grant Kohrs Ranch near Deer Lodge:
Closed to all hunting.
Helena Valley Regulating Reservoir: The Bureau of Reclamation Regulating Reservoir located in Sections 4, 5, 8, 9, 16 and 17, T10N, R2W in Lewisand Clark County of the Helena Valley as posted. This area will be open to hunting until the opening of the waterfowl season, then it will be closed to allhunting.
Helena Valley Weapons Restriction Area: That portion of HD 388 west of the following boundary: From the intersection of US Highway 12-287 andLake Helena Drive, then north on said drive to the south shore of the Causeway Arm, then north and east on said shore to Hauser Lake.
Jeffers Weapons Restriction Area: Beginning at the intersection of Highway 287 and the south access to Jeffers Loop Road at milepost 47.1, then northalong the access road until the junction with Jeffers Loop Road, then easterly along Jeffers Loop Road until its intersection with Jeffers Loop Road South, then northerly along Jeffers Loop Road until its intersection with Jeffers Road, then west along Jeffers Road to its intersection with the entrance to Valley Garden Fishing Access Site, then westerly along the south boundary of the Valley Garden Fishing Access Site to its junction with the west bank of theMadison River, then southwesterly along the west bank of the Madison River to its intersection with Highway 287, then southeast along Highway 287 untilthe point of the beginning.
Lake Helena WMA: Closed to all big game hunting except as designated under hunting regulations. Portions of the north half of Section 22 Township 11North, Range 3 West.
Lee Metcalf Refuge: Legal description, map and regulations available from the Lee Metcalf Refuge, 406-777-5552.
Libby Big Game Archery Only Hunting Area: That Portion of Lincoln County lying within the following-described boundary: Beginning at the junction of U.S. Highway 2 and Port Blvd. (the old Stimpson mill site entrance) on the south edge of Libby, then heading east on Port Blvd. to the Champion Haul Road, across Libby Creek on said road to National Forest Road #4813, then southerly on Road #4813 to National Forest Road #533, the Swede Mountain Road,then southerly along said road to the Farm- To-Market Road, then northerly along the Farm-to-Market Road to U.S. Highway 2, then northerly along U.S.Highway 2 to Port Blvd., the point of beginning.
Lincoln Closed Area: Closed to all big game hunting. Section 24, T14N, R9W, shall be closed to big game hunting. This comprises the area around the town of Lincoln.
Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge: Portions open to big game hunting per refuge regulations. Contact refuge at 406- 789-2305.
Milk River WMA Weapons Restriction Area: Hunting by archery, shotgun, traditional handgun or muzzleloader only as posted and as described under current regulations. Portions of sections 17,18,20 T32N R33E as posted.
Missouri River between the mouth of Sand Coulee Crk downstream to Great Falls city limits (this includes Park and Taylor Islands and allother unnamed islands): Restricted to ArchEquip only: Portion of HD 413 along the Missouri River between the mouth of Sand Coulee Creek downstream to Great Falls city limits (includes Park, Taylor and all other unnamed islands).
Muskrat Valley Weapons Restriction Area: Restricted to archery, shotgun, traditional handgun or muzzleloader only. That portion of JeffersonCounty lying within the following-described boundary: Beginning at Boulder, then east along Muskrat Lane to the intersection of Upper Valley Road,then north along said road to the intersection of Sloan Lane, then west along said lane to the Interstate 15 frontage road, then west to Interstate15, then south along said interstate to Boulder, the point of beginning.
Poindexter Slough FAS south of Dillon: Restricted to ArchEquip, shotgun, traditional handgun, muzzleloader or crossbow only: Sections 26, 27, 34, and 35, T7S, R9W.
Portion of the State Prison Ranch property west of Deer Lodge: Shall be closed as posted.
Prison Ranch Archery Only Area: Legal description and map available from FWP-R2 406-542-5500, in Missoula. The following MCE Ranchlands are open to hunting of big game only with Lawful Archery Equipment as outlined in the hunting regulations provided by Montana FWP: Beginning at the junction of the Old Stage Road (county road) and Elk Ridge Road (Forest Service Road 5149) in Section 22, T8N, R10W and proceeding west along the Elk Ridge Road to the power line road (prison fence line) in the southeast 1/4 of Section 22, T8N, R10W, then southalong the power line road (prison fence line) to the southwest corner of the prison fence in Section 28, T7N, R10 W, then east along the south boundary Section 28, T7N, R10W (prison fence line) to the southwest corner of Section 27, T7N, R10W, then south to the southwest corner of Section 34, T7N, R10W, then east to the southeast corner of Section 34, T7N R10W, then south to the southwest corner of Section 2, T6N, R10W, then east along the prison fence line to the Dempsey Lake Road (county road), then northeasterly along Dempsey Lake Road (prison fence line) to the southeast corner of Section 36 T7N R10W, then north along the prison fence line on east edge of Section 36 and 25, T7N,R10W to corner of the prison fence line in Section 25, T7N, R10W, then east along prison fence line in N2 Section 30, T7N, R9W to the corner ofthe prison fence line at Lake Hill Road (county road); then north approx. 1/2 mile along the east side of Sections 30 and 19, T7N, R9W to the cornerof prison fence line on the eastern edge of Section 19, T7N, R9W, then follow the prison fence west and northerly in Sections 19 and 18 T7N R9W to the northeast corner of Section 18, T7N, R9W, then follow the prison fence eastapprox. 1/2 mile along the southern boundary of Section 8, T7N, R9W, then follow the prison fence north approx. 1/2 mile to the junction of the airportfence, then proceeding northwesterly, follow the fence bordering the airport, golf course and National Guard Armory through sections 8, 5 and 6,T7N, R9W to the Old Stage Road (county road), then follow the Old Stage Road northwest through Sections 36, 26, and 22, T8N, R10W to thejunction of the Elk Ridge Road (USFS Road 5149), the point of beginning.
Rookery WMA Weapons Restriction Area: Hunting by archery, shotgun, traditional handgun or muzzleloader only.
Seeley Lake Game Preserve: Closed to all hunting: That portion of Missoula County lying within the following-described boundary: Beginning at a point where US Forest Service land and private land meet next to Boy Scout Road in Section 20, T17N, R15W, then east on the boundary between US Forest Service and private land, then north on same boundary to the section line between Sections 17 and 20, then east on said section line and east on north line of Section 21, T17N, R15W to State Route 83, then south on State Route 83 to Riverview Drive in Section 3, T16N, R15W, then west on Riverview Drive to Snowmass Drive in Section 9, T16N, R15W, then north on Snowmass Drive to section line between Sections 4 and 5, T16N, R15W, then north on said section line to Clearwater River, then north along west shore of Clearwater River toBoy Scout Road in Section 33, T17N, R15W, then west and north on said road to where USFS land and private land meet next to Boy Scout Roadin Section 20, T17N, R15W, the point of beginning.
Silver Run WMA: Closed to all hunting Dec 1-May 14.
Smith River WMA: Area map and rules available at FWP-R4 HQ 406-454-5840.
Smith Valley Weapons Restriction Area between Smith Lake Road and US Hwy 2: Restricted to ArchEquip, shotgun, traditional handgun, muzzleloader or crossbow only: Those portions of Flathead County lying within the following described boundary: From intersection of USHighway 2 West and Kila Road, west on Kila Road to intersection with Smith Lake Road to intersection with Whalebone Drive, then west on Whalebone Drive to the intersection with US Highway 2 West and finally west on US Highway 2 back to the point of beginning at the intersection of US Highway 2 West and Kila Road.
Sourdough Exclusion Zone from within HD 309: Beginning at the intersection of Nash and Sourdough Canyon Road, then south on Sourdough Canyon Road to the USFS boundary, then east, north and east along said boundary in Section 8, then along said boundary in Section 8 to the intersection with State Lands in Section 9, then north along the section line of Sections 4 and 5, then west along section line of Sections 5 and 32 to the intersection with Sourdough Road, then south onSourdough Road, then west on Nash Road, the point of beginning.
Sun River Game Preserve: Closed to all hunting. Beginning at a point on the crest of the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains, due south of thehead or source of the South Fork of the Sun River, in what will be, when surveyed, Section 8, T18N of R10W, Montana meridian, then due north from the crest of the Continental Divide to the head of the south fork of the Sun River, then northerly along the east bank of the South Fork of the Sun River (the eastern boundary of the Sun River Game Preserve) to its confluence with the North Fork of the Sun River, then northerly along the east bank of the North Fork of the Sun River (the eastern boundary of the Sun River Game Preserve) to its head or source, then due north to the crest of the Continental Divide ofthe Rocky Mountains, then along said crest southwesterly and southerly (the western boundary of the Sun River Game Preserve) to the place of beginning. Intending hereby to include in said game preserve all that territory lying between the South Fork of the Sun River and the North Fork of the Sun River on the east and the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains on the west.
Townsend Weapons Restriction Area: Beginning at the intersection of US Highway 12 and Route 284 then northerly along said route to its intersection with Riley Road, then west along said road to the Canyon Ferry Wildlife Management Area boundary fence as signed, then northerly and westerly along said boundary fence to the end of said boundary fence in Section 28, T8N, R2E, near Canyon Ferry Reservoir, then westerly across said reservoir to Hahn Road, then westerly along said road to US Highway 287, then south along said highway to its intersection with the Kimber Gulch Road, then westerly along said road to its intersection with the railroad tracks, then southerly along said railroad tracks to their intersection with Springville Lane, then westerly and southerly along said lane to its intersection with the Indian Creek Road, then southerly along the west boundary of Sections 25 and 36 in T7N, R1E to the SW corner of Section 36, then easterly along the southern boundary of Section 36 and easterly along the southern boundary of Section 31 in T7N, R2E to its intersection with US Highway 287, then southeasterly along said highway to its intersection with Lower Deep Creek Road, then easterly along said road to its intersection with Jack Farm Road, then northwesterly along said road to its intersection with Cemetery Road, then east and north along said road to its intersection with US Highway 12, then east along said highway to its intersection with Route 284, the point of beginning.
UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge: UL Bend National Wildlife Refuges and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) regulations may differ from these regulations, to include closed or weapons restricted areas. Hunters should contact the CMR at 406-538-8706 or the ACOE at 406-526-3411.
Wall Creek WMA and adjacent land as posted: Beginning at the junction of Ruby Creek and the Madison River, then southerly along east bank of said river to its intersection with Wall Creek, then westerly along Wall Creek to a posted boundary in the southwest 1/4 of Section 23,T10S, R1W, then northerly for approximately 4.5 miles along posted boundary on USFS lands (through Sections 23,14,11, 2, T10S, R1W andSections 34 and 35 T9S, R1W) to Hyde Creek, then along Hyde Creek to the Wall Creek Wildlife Management Area boundary, then northerly and westerly along the Wildlife Management Area boundary to Ruby Creek, then easterly along Ruby Creek to the Madison River, the point ofbeginning.
Warm Springs WMA: Portion of hunting district within the Warm Springs WMA restricted to ArchEquip, shotgun, traditional handgun, muzzleloader or crossbow only.
Yellowstone River Islands: Yellowstone River islands between the East Park Street Bridge at Livingston and one mile downstream of US Highway 89 Bridge restricted to ArchEquip Only.
Hunters, it is your responsibility to know where you are, to know who owns the land, and to know what access restrictions apply.
The Block Management Program is a public hunting access program in which FWP enters into contractual agreements with privatelandowners (and sometimes public land management agencies) about how free public hunting access will be permitted and managed onenrolled lands. Through the contractual agreement, a private landowner agrees to allow public hunting on enrolled lands under specified conditions, and FWP agrees to assist the landowner by enforcing the ranch rules adopted through the Block Managementcontract. FWP annually publishes a Hunting Access Guide by Aug. 15 that lists the Block Management Areas (BMAs) enrolled for thatyear and explains how to gain access to them. For general information about the program, contact FWP at 406-444-3750
Fishing Access Sites
Many of Montana’s fishing access sites (FAS) offer hunting opportunities, however certain restrictions may apply such as no-hunting safety zones and/ or restrictions on the type of hunting weapon or firearm that may be used. Refer to the fishing access site website at myfwp.mt.gov/fishMT/explore for site- specific information, opportunities, and restrictions.
Indian Reservation Trust Lands
Some reservations may offer game animal hunting opportunities with the use of tribal licenses to non-members. Please contact the appropriate tribal government. See "Contacts Outside FWP" on page 129 for contact information.
Montana State Parks
Some of Montana’s State Parks provide hunting opportunities; however certain restrictions may apply such as no-hunting safety zones and/or restrictions on the type of hunting weapon or firearm that may be used. Contact the specific park and/or refer to the Montana State Park website at stateparks.mt.gov for site specific information regarding hunting opportunities and restrictions.
Private Land Access
Montana law requires permission for all hunting on private land. See above for information on FWP’s Block Management Program.
Public Land Access
- Public lands closed to hunting include:
- National parks and other areas administered by the National Park Service.
- National wildlife refuge lands except those areas designated open to public hunting. More restrictive regulations may apply to nationalwildlife refuges open to public hunting. Please inquire at the local refuge office.
- For hunting opportunities on federal lands such as U.S. Forest Service or U.S. Bureau of Land Management, inquire at the local federaloffice.
- It is unlawful to post, place signs, or mark state or federal land other than that done by a state or federal land agency.
Railroads and railroad right-of-ways are private property and may not be hunted without permission, nor should they be used as access toother lands (private or public) without explicit permission from the railroad.
State Game Preserves
State game preserves may or may not be open to hunting. See Restricted Area Descriptions, pages 26-28.
State School Trust Lands
Additional information, including closures and restrictions, is available from the DNRC at 406-444-2074
- A Conservation License provides hunters, anglers and trappers access to lawfully accessible State School Trust lands for related activities during applicable seasons. Additional permitting is required through the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) for trapping on trust lands.
- Overnight use must not exceed the following limits: two consecutive days on leased land, 16 consecutive days within designated campgrounds or on unleased land.
- Motorized travel is only allowed on public roads or on roads designated as open. This restriction applies to all activity including game retrieval.
- Firearms may not be discharged upon trust lands within one-quarter mile of inhabited dwellings or outbuildings on state trust lands without permission of the inhabitant.
- Open fires are prohibited outside of fire pits within designated campgrounds.
Other State Lands
Obtain permission from the appropriate land management agency.
State Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) FWP’s wildlife management areas are generally open to hunting during the game animals huntingseason. WMAs with game animal winter range are closed to public entry, unless otherwise posted, from the day following the end of the generaldeer- elk season or Dec. 1, whichever is later, to noon on May 15 each year, as posted.
Exception: There are several exceptions to these guidelines. For WMA specific information, please call the Regional office on page 129 for contact numbers or visit the FWP website at: fwp.mt.gov/conservation/wildlife- management-areas
Stream Access Law
The Stream Access Law does not allow for the hunting of game animals between the ordinary high water marks of streams and rivers withoutlandowner permission.
Donate Hunting License to Disabled Military Service Member or Veteran (MCA 87-2-815)
Residents and nonresidents can donate their Montana hunting license to a disabled military veteran or disabled active duty service member who is working with an organization that uses hunting as part of the rehabilitation process. The disabled person who receives the license will be a Purple Heart recipient and have a 70 percent or greater disability rating. Visit the website for more information: fwp.mt.gov/hunt/licensingbasics
Feral Swine cause extensive damage to
domestic and native habitats, wildlife, and livestock throughout much of the United States. To prevent the introduction of feral swine intoMontana, the 2015 Legislature has prohibited the transportation, possession, hunting, trapping, or killing of feral swine. If you see or know of any feral swine in Montana, please contact the Montana Department of Livestock at 406-444-2976.
Furbearers are protected game species that may only be taken by residents with a valid Trapping License during prescribed openseasons. State classified furbearers include beaver, otter, muskrat, mink, marten, fisher, wolverine, bobcat, lynx, and swift fox.
Game Damage Hunt Roster Rules
- The game damage hunt roster is a randomized list of hunters’ names. If FWP identifies a need to implement a game damage hunt, the game damage hunt roster will be used to select hunters. Selected hunters will be contacted by FWP.
- Sign-up for the game damage hunt roster is from June 15–July 15, 2023, and only on the FWP website through MyFWP.
Montana FWP conducts an annual telephone survey to gather hunting and harvest information from Montana hunters.Telephone interviewers call mid- week evenings and weekends to speak to hunters one-on-one to get the most accurate information possible. Wildlife managers use the results to evaluate hunting seasons and set quotas, season dates, and other regulations.
Hunters Against Hunger
When you purchase a Montana hunting license, you’ll have an opportunity to make a donation of $1 or more to Hunters AgainstHunger. Contributions help pay for butchering and distribution of processed game donated to food banks.
Weed Control and Weed Seed Free Hay Montana requires use of certified weed seed free hay, grain, straw, mulch, cubes, and pelletized feed on state and federal lands. For further information, contact the Department of Agriculture at 406- 444-3144.