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Turkey Hunting Regulations

Highlights/ Reminders

  • Hunting and fishing licenses are accessible through a secure and convenient mobile app. The Montana MyFWP app provides a digitalwallet to store and display licenses and digital carcass tags, known as E-Tags, that can validate your harvest in the field.

Regulations Adopted by Fish & Wildlife Commission

Regulations for season dates, structures, and restrictions were adopted by the F&W Commission on Feb. 4, 2022, under the authoritygranted in MCA 87-1-301 and are valid March 1, 2023, through Feb. 29, 2024. The F&W Commission reserves the authority to amend theseasons, 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, TitleII 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 has beendiscriminated 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 the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Civil Rights, U.S. Department of theInterior, 1849 C Street, NW Washington, DC 20240. Any changes made to this printed publication can be found on the FWP website orby inquiring at any local FWP office.


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.

Hunt: to pursue, shoot, wound, take, harvest, kill, chase, lure, possess, or capture, or the act of a person possessing a weapon, as definedin 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.

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.

Obtain A License Or Permit (MCA 87-2-401 - 405)

Licenses are available at all Fish, Wildlife & Parks offices, license providers throughout the state, and online at The license isvalid March 1 through Feb. 29 of the following year.

Limit – A turkey hunter may hold up to 11 wild turkey licenses per year. This may include:

  • 1 General Turkey License valid statewide for male turkey in the spring and for either-sex turkey in regions 1–3 and 5–7 in the fall;
  • 1 Regional Turkey License in each of Regions 1, 2, 5 & 7 valid for male turkey in the spring and either-sex turkey in the fall (Region 5license only valid in the spring);
  • 1 Female or Beardless Turkey License in Region 1;
  • 4 Female or Beardless Turkey Licenses valid in Missoula and Ravalli counties;
  • 1 Female or Beardless Turkey License valid in Missoula, Rav- alli and Mineral counties;

License Chart





Base Hunting License



Prerequisite for hunting or applying for a permit or license.


$4 Ages 12-17, 62+

$8 Ages 18-61years



Upland Game Bird

$7.50 Ages 18 - 61

$110 Ages 18 and over

$3.75 Ages 12-17*, Senior (62+) or Disabled

$55 Ages 12-17*


$6.50 Residents mus t ha ve an Upland G ame Bird License topurchase a Turkey License.

$57.50 with an Upland Game Bird License, OR

$115 without anUpland Game BirdLicense.

3-day Upland Game Bird License


$ 50: 3-day license for nonresidents. The license is not valid for sage grouse at any time or for ring-neck pheasants during the opening week of the season.

3-day Shooting PreserveLicense


$20: Alt erna tiv e to an Upland Game Bir d Lic ense f or nonresidents who wish to hunt only on shooting preserves (private).

Resident Flathead Reservation Use Permit

A valid “Resident of the FlatheadReservation Use Permit” with a validFlathead Reservation Bird Stamp will behonored by the state wherever huntingfor upland or migratory game birds islawful in Montana. Check with FlatheadReservation at 406-675-2700 ext 7200 for details.

* Some 10- and 11-year-olds are also eligible. See YouthHunting Opportunities for license requirements.

Residency (MCA 87-6-302)

  • It is unlawful to swear to or to affirm a false statement in order to obtain an original or replacement resident hunting and/or fishinglicense OR to assist an unqualified applicant in obtaining a resident license.

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 as yourprincipal 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 MontanaIdentification Card (MIC), or a valid Tribal Identification Card (TIC).
  • 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’slicense is NOT an acceptable form of ID for resident license purchases. Contact your local FWP office for specifics.

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.

Licensing Youth Hunting Opportunities

A resident or nonresident youth 12 years of age or older may hunt any game species for which their license is valid. Those who will reach12 years of age by Jan. 16, 2024, may hunt any game species, for which their license is valid, after Aug. 15 of the 2023 license year. Proof ofhunter education must be presented at the time of purchase.

An Apprentice Hunter is a resident or nonresident at least 10 years of age, certified at an FWP office. This allows the apprentice to hunt somespecies, while accompanied by a mentor, without first completing a hunter education course. The Apprentice Hunter may not purchase amountain lion, black bear, or wolf license or apply for a bighorn sheep license or a hunting license or permit with a limited quota. TheApprentice Hunter may not purchase an elk license if he/she is under 15 years of age. Other restrictions apply. See our website for apprentice-hunter

In order to carry or use a firearm for any reason, a youth under 14 years of age must be accompanied by a person having charge or custody ofthe youth, 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, MCA 45-8-344.

Laws & Rules

- Statute denoted by MCA.

- Commission Rule denoted by CR.

Aerial Spotting (MCA 87-6-208)

  • It is unlawful for a person to shoot a game bird 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 bird.

Artificial Light (MCA 87-6-401) - It is unlawful for anyone to take or attempt to take any game bird with the aid of projected artificial light. Use of rifle scopes that project an artificial light to illuminate the target or project infrared light visible only with specialized optics to illuminate the target are unlawful for the taking of game birds.

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 means the placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of food sources or salt so as to constitute a lure or attraction.

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.

Hunter Orange - Shooting another hunter while swinging the gun on an upland bird is the leading cause of hunting-related accidents in Montana. Although not required, it is strongly recommended that all bird hunters wear at least a hunter orange hat or cap to reducethe chance of an accident.

Hunting Hours (CR) - Authorized hunting hours for the taking of upland game birds begin one-half hour before sunrise and end one-half hour after sunset each day of the hunting season. See official sunrise-sunset tables in these regulations.

Indian Reservations (CR) - The F&W Commission has, by rule, closed all lands within the exterior boundaries of Montana’s Indian Reservations to the hunting of upland game birds with the use of state licenses unless provided for in a cooperative agreement between the Tribal Government and the State of Montana. The State of Montana and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribeshave entered into a cooperative management agreement on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Please check for upland game bird regulations specific to the Flathead Reservation. For information call the Kalispell FWP office at 406-752-5501 or the Tribes in Pabloat 406-883-2888 ext. 7200. Exception: State upland game bird regulations apply to deeded “fee” land within the exterior boundary of the Crow Indian Reservation.

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 permissionof the landowner, the lessee, or their agents. Regardless of whether the land is posted or not, hunters must have permission from thelandowner, 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 (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 speciallicense for any one species. 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 toa 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 physicalcontrol 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 anyminor when the spouse or minor is hunting with that person; and when a properly obtained and validated license or permit is attached toa lawfully killed game animal.

License Validation and Tagging of Turkeys (MCA 87-6-412) A person who kills, captures, or possesses a wild turkey by authority of any turkey tag or permit may not:

  • Fail or neglect to attach the tag to the turkey in compliance with instructions on the tag or to electronically validate the tag in accordance with rules adopted pursuant to 87-2-119 prior to the person leaving or the turkey being removed from the site of the kill;
  • Fail to validate the tag either electronically or by not filling out or punch marking the tag as required;
  • Unless the tag was electronically validated, fail to keep the tag attached while the turkey is possessed by the person; or
  • Tag a turkey with or electronically validate a license or tag that is restricted to a hunting district other than the hunting district where the turkey 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.

A holder of a Montana resident or nonresident fishing or hunting license or camping permit convicted of littering campgrounds, public or private lands, streams, or lakes while hunting, fishing, or camping shall forfeit any current hunting, fishing, or trapping license issued by this state and the privilege to hunt, fish, camp, or trap in this state for a period of one year from the date of conviction.

Means of Take (CR) - Upland game birds may only be taken by hunting (firearms, archery, or falconry). See individual species regulations for species specific restrictions.

Motorized Vehicles (MCA 87-6-405)

It is unlawful for anyone to:

  • Hunt or attempt to hunt any game animal or game bird from any self-propelled (motorized) or drawn vehicle. To be lawful, a huntermust 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.
  • 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 page 6.
  • Use a motor-driven vehicle other than on a road or trail designated for travel by a landowner unless permission has been given by that landowner.

Off Road- Federal lands (CR)

  • A person may not operate, on federal public lands, a motorized wheeled vehicle off legal routes (including game retrieval). Allfederally 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.

Boats (MCA 87-6-207)

  • 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 isshut off or the sails are furled and the progress of the vessel has ceased.

Nontoxic Shot - Hunters are reminded that nontoxic shot is required for the hunting of upland game birds on federal refuges or waterfowlproduction areas. Only federally-approved nontoxic shot may be used on these areas. Specific questions regarding this regulation shouldbe made through local offices of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

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 person is an outfitter or guide without first securing a license.
  • 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.

Possession Limit while in the Field (CR) - No person shall possess more than one daily bag limit while in the field, or while returning from the field to one’s vehicle, hunting camp, home, etc.

Possession Limit (CR) - The number of birds that may be possessed at any time in any form: fresh, stored in freezers or lockers,salted, smoked, dried, canned, or preserved.

Public Roadways (MCA 87-6-403) - It is unlawful for anyone to hunt or attempt to hunt any game bird: on, from, or across any publichighway or the shoulder, berm, barrow pit, or right-of-way of any public highway (the entire width between the boundary lines of everypublicly maintained way when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel). Recorded AnimalSounds (MCA 87-6-401) - It is unlawful to use any recorded or electrically amplified bird or animal calls or sounds or imitations of bird oranimal 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.

Shooting Preserves (Private) (MCA 87-4-504) - To hunt upland game birds on a private shooting preserve, resident hunters must possess a valid upland game bird license and nonresident hunters must possess either a valid Upland Game Bird License or a 3-dayShooting Preserve License.

Evidence of Sex for Pheasants and Turkey (MCA 87-6-406, CR) It is unlawful to possess or transport within the state any pheasant orany turkey taken during the spring (male) season unless one leg and foot are left naturally attached for evidence of sex. The leg and footshall remain attached at all times while being transported from the place where taken until it has arrived at the permanent residence of thepossessor.

Evidence of Species for Upland Game Birds (MCA 87-6-406, CR)

  • No person shall transport within the state any sage grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, mountain grouse, or partridge unless one fullyfeathered wing is left naturally attached for species identification. The wing shall remain attached at all times while being transported from the place where taken until it has arrived at the permanent residence of the possessor.
  • If a hunter puts or leaves any game birds at any place or in the custody of another person, the birds should be tagged by the hunterwith the following information: 1) the hunter’s ALS number; 2) the hunter’s signature; 3) the hunter’s address; 4) the total number of birdsinvolved, by species; and 5) the dates such birds were killed. Game birds should be tagged if the birds are being transported byanother person for the hunter, or if the birds have been left for cleaning, storage (including temporary storage), shipment, ortaxidermy services.
  • The following are upland game bird parts “suitable for food:”
  • all birds that fall into the size category of the partridge or smaller, only the breasts must be retained;
  • all birds larger than a partridge and up to the size category of, and including, pheasants and sage grouse, the breasts and the thighs must be retained;
  • all turkeys: the breasts, thighs and wings must be retained.
  • For migratory birds, “suitable for food” means the breast meat.

Waste of Game (MCA 87-6-205)

It is unlawful to waste any part of any game animal, game bird, or game fish suitable for food.

  • The following are upland game bird parts “suitable for food:”
    • all birds that fall into the size category of the partridge or smaller, only the breasts must be retained;
    • all birds larger than a partridge and up to the size category of, and including, pheasants and sage grouse, the breasts and the thighs must be retained;
    • all turkeys: the breasts, thighs and wings must be retained.
  • For migratory birds, “suitable for food” means the breast meat.

Other Species Information California and Gambel’s Quail

These non-native species are now found throughout portions of Montana. The Montana F&W Commission has designated California and Gambel’s quail as prohibited species, which means:

  • possession, sale, purchase, exchange, or transport of live birds in Montana is prohibited;
  • feral California and Gambel’s quail may be taken without license, season, or limit.
Eurasian Collared Doves

This non-native exotic species is now found throughout much of Montana, especially in and near cities and towns.

  • The Montana F&W Commission has designated them as an unprotected species that may be taken without license, season, orlimit.
  • They are different from a mourning dove in that they are larger, have a rounded tail rather than a pointed one, and they have a black ringaround the back of the neck.

Hunter Land Access

Hunters, it is your responsibility to know where you are, to know who owns the land, and to know what access restrictions apply. BlockManagement - The Block Management Program is a cooperative effort among private and some public landowners, FWP, and hunters. The program seeks to: 1) maintain public hunting access to private and isolated public lands; 2) help landowners manage public hunting and provide benefits to offset impacts like increased road maintenance and weed control; and 3) help FWP manage wildlife. Each FWP region administers the Block Management Areas (BMAs) for its portion of the state. If you are interested in hunting a BMA,contact the regional office in the area you wish to hunt. The BMA hunting access guide lists current information on lands enrolled in the program statewide. These are available annually on Aug. 15. The earliest date to reserve access to a BMA is Aug. 22.

Federal Land Access

  • National Parks Service: National parks are closed to hunting. For other lands administered by the National Park Service, please contact thespecific site managers for additional information.
  • National Wildlife Refuges – More restrictive regulations, including species specific restrictions and closures, may apply to national wildlife refuges open to public hunting. Contact the specific refuge and/or visit for additional information.
  • U.S. Forest Service: Area-specific closures or restrictions may apply. Inquire at the appropriate regional Forest Service office.
  • Bureau of Land Management: Area specific closures or restrictions may apply. Inquire at the appropriate BLM field office.
  • Other federal lands: Area specific closures or restrictions may apply. Inquire at the local federal land management agency office. UnlawfulPosting of State or Federal Land (MCA 45-8-115): It is unlawful for a person to knowingly post land that is under the ownership or control ofthe state or federal government to restrict access or use of state or federal land.

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 webpage at for site specific information, opportunities and restrictions.

Indian Reservations

Some reservations may offer hunting opportunities with the use of tribal licenses to non-members. Please contact the appropriate tribalgovernment. See “Contacts Outside FWP” on page 12 for contact information.

Montana State Parks - Some of Montana’s state parks provide hunting opportunities; however certain restrictions may apply such asno-hunting safety zones and/or restrictions on the type of hunting weapon or firearm that may be used. Contact the specific parkand/or refer to the Montana State Park website at 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.

Railroad Access - Railroads and railroad rights-of-ways are private property and may not be hunted without permission, nor shouldthey be used as access to other lands (private or public) without explicit permission from the railroad.

State Game Preserves - See Closed or Restricted Areas. State School Trust Lands - Additional information, including closures andrestrictions, 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 designatedcampgrounds 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.

State Wildlife Management Areas - FWP’s wildlife management areas (WMA) are generally open to hunting during the game animalhunting season. WMAs with game winter range are closed to public entry, unless otherwise posted, from the day following the end of thegeneral deer-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 (see page8 for contact numbers) or visit the FWP website at:

Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program (UGBEP) - Provides technical and financial assistance to enhance and conserve upland game bird habitats on lands open to public upland game bird hunting. Partnerships are formed between FWP and

  • private landowners, 2) government agencies, 3) conservation organizations, or 4) a combination of the various partners. Hunters can order the annual Projects Access Guide, which includes project specifics, area maps, and the method used to request permissionto hunt on private lands enrolled in UGBEP. Visit to order your guide. Obtaining landowners’ permission to hunt upland gamebirds is required prior to hunting or entering any private land project area.

Wild Turkey Hunting Area Map

Wild Turkey Hunting Area Map

Hunting Season Information


Wild turkey may be taken with: a shotgun not larger than a 10 gauge; a long, recurve or compound bow and arrow; a rifle, handgun or crossbow may be used during the fall season except in areas with weapons restrictions limiting their use; an airrifle: fall turkey may be taken with an .177 caliber air rifle shooting a performance ballistic alloy pellet at least 1250 feet persecond as specified by the manufacturer or with an .22 caliber air rifle shooting a performance ballistic alloy pellet at least950 feet per second as specified by the manufacturer. (MCA 87-6-401, CR) All other means of taking are prohibited.


Licenses Per Hunter

Season Dates


Opportunity specific details

General Turkey License

Over-the-Counter valid in General Hunting Areas (see map).

Turkey License


Apr. 15 - May 31

Male Wild Turkey. Shotgun/Archery only.

Sep. 01 - Jan. 01

Either-sex Wild Turkey.

Not valid in Region 4.

Regional Turkey Licenses


Region 1 Turkey License

NOTE: Turkeys in Region 1 are mostly on private land. Hunters must get permission.



Apr. 15 - May 31

Male Wild Turkey. Shotgun/Archery only.

Valid in Lincoln, Flathead, Sanders, andLake counties and those portions of Sanders and Missoula counties within Region 1. Not valid on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

Sep. 01 – Jan. 01

Either-sex Wild Turkey.



Sep. 01 – Jan. 01

Female or beardless Wild Turkey.

Region 2 Turkey License

NOTE: Rifles are not allowed in Deer & Elk HD 260.



Apr. 15 - May 31

Male Wild Turkey. Shotgun/Archery only.

Valid in Missoula and Ravalli counties

Sep. 01 – Jan. 01

Either-sex Wild Turkey.

Valid in Missoula and Ravalli counties


Up to 4

Sep. 01 – Jan. 01

Female or beardless Wild Turkey.

Valid in Missoula and Ravalli counties



Sep. 01 – Jan. 01

Female or beardless Wild Turkey.

Valid in Missoula, Ravalli and Mineralcounties.

Region 5 Turkey License

Valid in Wheatland, Sweet Grass, Stillwater, Carbon, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Yellowstone, and Bighorn counties.



Apr. 15 - May 31

Male Wild Turkey. Shotgun/Archery only.

Region 7 Turkey License

Valid in that portion of Garfield County south and west of Fort Peck Reservoir, west of Big Dry Creek and south of HWY 200, Rosebud County, Treasure County, Prairie County, Custer County, Powder River County, that portion of Richland County south ofHWY 200, that portion of Dawson County south of HWY 200, that portion of McCone County south of HWY 200, Wibaux County,Fallon County, and Carter County.



Apr. 15 - May 31

Male Wild Turkey. Shotgun/Archery only.

Sep. 01 – Jan. 01

Either-sex Wild Turkey.


Tips on how to prepare for safe outings.

  • Inquire about recent bear activity in the area.
  • Carry and know how to use bear spray.
  • Let someone know your plans and time frame.
  • Travel in groups of three or more people when possible.
  • Stay on trails or rural roads.
  • Watch for signs of bears such as bear scat,diggings, torn-up logs and turned over rocks, and partly consumed animal carcasses.
  • Make your presence known by making noise - talking, singing, carrying a bell - especially when near streams or in thick forest where visibility is low. This can be the key to avoiding encounters. Most bears will avoid humans when they know humans are present.
  • Don't approach a bear; respect its space and move off.


Bears have expanded to areas where they previously may not have not been. They can now be found throughout Western and Central Montana.

Be aware that the act of hunting puts you at risk of encountering bears and that elk bugling, game calls and cover scents may attract bears.

When hunting, the golden rule is "get the elk or deer out of the area as quickly as possible." The longer a carcass remains lying on the ground, hung up in hunting camp, or in the back of a truck, the more likely it will be discovered by a bear. The sooner elk and deer are taken home the better.

If you must leave the carcass, hang it, in pieces if necessary, at least 10' above the ground. Leave the carcass where you can see it from a distance, and when you return, observe the carcass with binoculars before approaching. If a bear has claimed the carcass, leave the area and report the incident to the proper authorities. It's not worth risking your safety or the bear's safety.

Bears are opportunists and change their behavior in order to take advantage of new food sources. So if you are hunting always assume that bears are in the area and make sure your camps, cabins and homes are bear proof, and that bear attractants are unavailable or contained.

Closed or Restricted Areas – Upland Game Bird and Falconry

Bad Rock Canyon WMA: Hunting by limited access permit only. Archery and general season are open Thursday through Sunday (orMonday if it is a holiday). Archery hunting is open to archery equipment for all legal species, limited to two individuals/week awarded by lottery. General hunting 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. Area rules, maps, and the accesspermit application process available at FWP-R1 HQ (406-752-5501).

Gates of the Mountains Game Preserve: Closed to all hunting: Beginning in Section 2, T12N, R3W at the southeast corner of UpperHolter Lake, then proceeding westerly along the northern shoreline of Upper Holter Lake in the Gates of the Mountains area located inLewis 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 the ridge in Section 23, T13 N, R3W, then northerly to the Missouri River, then easterly acrosssaid river and lake to the USFS boundary to the wilderness boundary, then south along wilderness boundary to the southeastcorner 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 theMountains Game Preserve.

Helena Valley Regulating Reservoir (Lewis and Clark County): Open to upland game bird hunting up to the opening day of the waterfowl season at which point it is closed to all hunting.

Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area (Teton County): Open to upland game bird hunting until the opening of the general waterfowl season, then it will be closed to all hunting in the following described portion of the Wildlife Management Area: SW 1/4 Section 19, Sections 29 and 30, T22N, R3W, W 1/2 Section 12, W 1/2 of E 1/2 Section 12, and that portion of Sections 13 and 24within the posted boundary of the Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area, T22N, R4W. The area closed will reopen November20.

Stay Safe When Hunting Turkeys

Turkey hunters routinely sit camouflaged and motionless near a turkey decoy while calling with a mouth or hand call. Other hunters may not recognize you as a fellow hunter and could accidently fire their weapon at you or in your direction. To avoid this circumstance:

  • Don’t wear turkey colors; avoid white, red, black and blue.
  • Select a calling position in relatively open cover. Never move, wave, or use a turkey call to alert another hunter; remain still and verbally announce yourself.
  • Pay attention to the wildlife behavior; they may help you detect an approaching hunter.
  • It’s a good idea to wear hunter orange when carrying a turkey out of the field.

Lethality Table

The Lethality Table below is intended to help hunters select the most appropriate nontoxic shotshell load for the type of hunting theyintend to do. It provides field-tested data collected and analyzed by Tom Roster and the Cooperative North American ShotgunningEducation Program. Montana was an active member of this program. The database is comprised only of birds taken with one shot atknown ranges under normal hunting conditions. All birds were necropsied and X-rayed from two angles. Hunters can find information in the table on shot-size selection, maximum effective range for various pellets on different sized birds, and the pattern density needed toachieve a lethal load and cleanly kill a bird. It takes a combination of penetration and pattern density to effectively harvest a bird. Testingby Tom Roster showed that pellets need to pen- etrate at least ⅔ to ¾ of the way through a bird’s body in order to result in a clean kill.The pellets need to strike a lethal area (heart, lungs, spinal column, brain). Also required is a pattern density that, when placed on thefront half of a bird, will result in sufficient pellets striking those areas. Developing the shooting skills needed to consistently hit thetargeted bird in the front half of the body is a responsibility of an ethical hunter.


Proven Nontoxic Loads For Waterfowl, Doves, & Upland Game Birds1

Vel. Range Tested: 1,225 – 1,700 FPS


Observed Hunters’ Typical Shooting Range During Activ- ity (Yards)

Most Effective Nontoxic Shot Size(s)For Birds

Listed Under ACTIVITY At TheDistances Listed InThe Second Column

Minimum Load Weight (Ounces)

Minimum Pellet Hits Needed on Lethal Ar- eas for Clean Kills

Minimum Pattern Count Needed at Any Distance for Clean Kills (# of Pel- lets in 30” Circle)

Most Effective Choke(s) at Distance (Given n Lead Shot Choke Designations)

NOTE: The pellets in the steel shotloads listed in this table were traditional,highly spherical ball-shaped pellets of ~7.86 g/cc density and90- 95 DPH hardness.The HEVI- Shotpellets were of 12.0g/cc density and are harder than traditional steel pellets.

Ring-Necked Pheasants



Steel 3 to 2

HEVI-Shot 6 to 4







I.C. (20-30 Yds), Mod. (30-50 Yds)

I.C. (20-30 Yds), Mod. (30-50 Yds)

Turkeys (Head and Neck Shots)


Steel 4; HEVI-Shot 6




Full or Extra Full

Mourning Doves



Steel 8 to 7 HEVI-Shot 7½

⅝ -¾ 3/4





IC-8’s/LM-7’s (20-30 Yds);Mod>30 Yd

I.C. (20-30 Yds); Light Mod (30-45 Yd)

Northern Bobwhite Quail


Steel 8 to 7

⅝ -¾



Imp. Cyl., Light Modified

Swatter Load For Wounded Birds


Steel 7 to 6




Improved Modified, Full

This table summarizes Tom Roster’s analyses to date of the lethality data bases for certain of the 16 U.S. steel vs lead waterfowl & dove shooting testspub- lished between 1968 & 2014 & one steel-only pheasant shooting test (1999) plus lethality data bases owned by ammunition companies for birdstaken with nontoxic shotshell loads Roster tested for them & the CONSEP Org.

Note: Steel #BBB (.190”) & HEVI-Shot #2 (.150”) have exhibited the best all-around performance for taking geese; steel #3 (.140”) & HEVI- Shot #4 (.130”) the best all-around performance for taking ducks; steel #2 & HEVI-Shot #4 (.130”) the best all-around performance for taking ring-necked pheasants; & steel 7’s (.100”) the best all-around performance for taking doves.

1 These findings are derived from testing 2¾” 28 gauge; 3” 20 ga.; 2¾”, 3” & 3½” 12 ga.; & 3½” 10 ga. steel loads; plus 2¾” 28 ga.; 2¾” & 3” 20 ga.; and 2¾” & 3” 12 ga. HEVI-Shot loads.

© Copyright 2016 by Tom Roster. For answers to questions on this table contact: Tom Roster, 1190 Lynnewood, Klamath Falls, OR, USA 97601. [email protected]