Montana Hunting License: Here’s What You Need to Know

A Montana hunting license is mandatory for all hunting activities to ensure legal and ethical practices.

A Montana hunting license is required for all hunting activities, regardless of your level of experience. Discover key information and advice to help you follow the rules and protect wildlife and their environment. Let's start right away!

What Do You Need To Hunt In Montana?

To hunt in the Big Sky Country, make sure you are prepared with all necessary gear and apparel. Feeling overwhelmed, a beginner may find hiring a guide for assistance beneficial.

When organizing a guided hunt, it is advisable to express your needs and preferences. This will help your outfitter assist you in getting ready, obtaining all necessary items, and verifying the accuracy of all documents.

Hunter Education Certification

A Hunter or Bowhunter Education Certification to buy or apply for a Montana hunting license.

Hunter education programs teach fundamental knowledge and skills about gun safety, wildlife management, game identification, landowner/hunter interactions, ethical hunting practices, and Montana hunting regulations.

Who Needs It?

Individuals born after January 1, 1985, must finish a hunter education course provided by Montana, another state, or a Canadian province to buy or request a Montana hunting license.

It is best to sign up for a class or field day as soon as possible, as most classes and field days are full by the end of September.

Getting Certified

1. In-person, Instructor-Led Course (for ages ten and older)

Free courses are available statewide year-round for individuals aged ten and above. Hunter education courses led by instructors offer hands-on learning for new hunters and are especially helpful for those with little experience in the field or with firearms.

Volunteer instructors passionate about preserving Montana's hunting tradition lead in-person courses, teaching firearm safety, ethics, and other outdoor skills. Students opting for the in-person course must participate in all classroom sessions, attend a field day, and complete a final exam.

Children between the ages of 10 and 11 can enroll in the in-person course and participate in hunting as Apprentices, but they will only get full certification once they reach the age of 12.

  • Apprentice Hunter Program

The 2015 state Legislature introduced a program that initially allowed children aged 10-17 to hunt without completing hunter education. In 2017, the Legislature changed the law to raise the age limit to 10 or older and forbid apprentice hunters from getting licenses for black bears, mountain lions, or wolves.

The Apprentice Hunter program lets individuals aged ten or older hunt for a maximum of two years without having to finish a hunter education course. Specific limitations exist, and a certified Mentor must supervise each Apprentice.

2. Online-only Course (for ages 18 and older)

The online course allows flexibility for individuals experienced in eLearning or with a strong foundation in firearms and hunting.

Students over 18 can enroll in this course at their own pace. After becoming certified, graduates can buy or request licenses. Attending a field course in person is not required, but attending a voluntary in-person field day is highly recommended.

3. Online and Field Day Combination Course (for ages 12 to 17)

Students between the ages of 12 and 17 and those who will reach 12 by January 16 of the current license year (March - Feb.) are eligible to complete the Hunter Education course online. However, they must also complete a mandatory four-hour in-person field day to receive certification. 

Students who complete the online course and pass the written exam will get a field day qualifier certificate, which is required to participate in the in-person field day. Students must complete the online course before the field day, and they cannot reverse the order of the two course components.

The field day includes practical training and showcases real-life situations related to firearm use and safety and hunting morality.

Students should register for a field day as early as possible because spots fill up quickly after October 1 of each year. If students opt for the online course in the fall, the next field day may not occur until spring.

Participants in the field day must show expertise in the specified areas.

  • Four main rules of firearm safety 
  • P.R.O.V.E. 
  • Key points about landowner relations and hunting ethics  
  • Choosing a firearm/ammo 
  • Firearm safety, including trail caries, obstacle crossings, loading/unloading firearms from vehicles, handing off firearms 
  • Basic animal identification 
  • Shoot/don’t shoot scenarios  
  • Fire zones
  • Shooting positions 

Individuals who cannot show mastery in the mentioned subjects will fail and not receive certification. They can only go hunting once they complete a field day.

Conservation License

Accessing fishing access sites (FAS), wildlife management areas (WMA), and wildlife habitat protection areas (WHPA) on state lands requires a Conservation License. However, a conservation license is not mandatory at Montana State Parks.

In the past, individuals using Montana state trust lands had to buy a separate State Lands Recreational Use License to enter these areas. Thanks to the new law, all you need to access state lands now is a Conservation License.

Who Needs It?

All individuals 12 years of age and above must have a Montana Conservation License to hunt in most areas of the state. This license covers a variety of recreational activities, such as boating, walking, cycling, observing wildlife, and more.

Getting Your License

Applicants must provide the last four digits of their social security number and the required information for a Conservation License. You must also present a valid driver's license or photo ID to buy a license.

You can buy it through the Online Licenses Service, in person at an FWP office, or from any Montana hunting license provider.

Base Hunting License Fee

The annual Montana hunting license fee will undergo necessary assessment when you purchase or apply for your first hunting license, including upland and migratory bird licenses.

  • Availability: Over-the-Counter
  • Resident Cost: $10
  • Nonresident Cost: $15

Choose the Species You Want to Hunt

Montana's wildlife includes many animals you can hunt, including whitetail deer, mule deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, bison, black bear, mountain lion, and mountain goat. For each species, there are specific regulations and requirements you must acquire. 

Carcass Tagging

Once you have made the kill, you should never miss the initial step to tag the animal.

Placing a tag on an animal signifies that you assert ownership of the animal by correctly notching your tag and securing it to the carcass. Refer to the Montana Big Game Hunting Regulations for the correct tagging process.

Ensure you retain proof of the animal’s sex with the carcass from the field to the processing stage. For more details, you can check the detailed procedure, which is also clearly outlined in the Montana Big Game Hunting Regulations.

Montana Supertag Lottery

Annually, FWP provides a SuperTag lottery opportunity for hunters to have another chance at their hunting dreams.

Eight fortunate hunters can secure a SuperTag permit for moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, antelope, elk, deer, bison, or mountain lion. One SuperTag will win a hunting opportunity for every species. 

The SuperTag applies to all hunting zones in Montana, including the renowned trophy zones in the state.

You can win an unforgettable hunting experience through the SuperTag Lottery! Plus, it’s great to know that the income generated from selling the new SuperTag improves hunting opportunities and increases FWP enforcement efforts.

How to Buy a SuperTag?

To buy a SuperTag, you must have a valid Conservation License. You can buy as many SuperTag chances as you want for $5 each. To buy online, visit FWP's Online Licensing Service. You will receive a receipt confirming your purchase and including your lottery numbers. You can buy SuperTag opportunities at FWP offices and Montana hunting license providers.

Winning a SuperTag

If you are lucky enough to win a SuperTag and already have a license or permit from FWP's Special Permit License drawings, you must give up that license or permit before getting the SuperTag. 

FWP will return the license fee for the Special Permit or License and restore any bonus points. SuperTag winners will not have to wait seven years like those who receive a moose, sheep, or goat license through Montana's special permit drawings.

Bonus Points

In Montana, each hunter who requests a license or permit is entered once in the drawing. Extra credit allows you to increase your odds. Consider bonus points like additional entries in a raffle. 

When applying for a license or permit with no bonus points, you receive a single "raffle ticket." The more bonus points you have, the higher your chances of winning increase in the raffle drawing. Your bonus points will continue to build up until you win in the raffle.

Preference Points

Preference points give an advantage to a nonresident with more points over one with fewer in a combination license application.

75% of nonresident combination licenses go to applicants based on the order in which they purchased the most preference points. In contrast, the remaining 25% of the awards go to applicants who did not buy preference points through a random selection process.

The draw odds for applicants with zero preference points may vary compared to those who have bought preference points, depending on the number of applicants. Reviewing drawing statistics from previous years is your duty as an applicant to determine the most suitable course of action for your specific circumstances.

All preference points, whether purchased at application or accumulated, will be applied in the year's drawing, regardless of any additional purchases. Preference points you have collected apply to the current draw regardless of whether you buy another preference point. 

Suppose you fail to apply for a nonresident combination license for two years or manage to get a combination license. In that case, you will lose any preference points you have accumulated. When applying for a combination license and an elk permit, you can choose the 80% refund option. 

If you choose that option and win the combination license drawing but not the elk permit drawing, you will receive back 80% of your license fee. Your preference points will also reset to 0.

Book a Hunt with Latitudes Outfitting Co.

Ready to get your Montana hunting license and experience an excellent hunting adventure? Embark on extraordinary hunting adventures with Latitudes Outfitting Company’s expert guides!

If you are passionate about archery, rifle, or shotgun hunting, we provide various opportunities to pursue deer, antelope, elk, waterfowl, bear, and turkey. We offer youth hunts for family excursions on private and public lands, guaranteeing a memorable experience for all enthusiasts.

Our dedication to excellence is evident in our outstanding customer service and experienced guides, who are committed to making your hunting experience successful and unforgettable. We look forward to customizing hunts in states beyond Ohio and Montana, expanding your opportunities for adventure. 

Start your next hunting trip with a promise of satisfaction and exciting adventures. Book your hunt today!

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