Hunters need to know the rules and regulations to hunt in Montana


Last updated 9/29/2022 at 11:01am

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

With hunting seasons opening, and some specialty seasons underway, hunters need to remember state rules and regulations..

Montana has some of the longest hunting seasons in the West, healthy herds of game and access to millions of acres of public and private land. Montana wildlife managers structure seasons to provide a wide variety of hunting experiences with a strong emphasis on sustainable opportunity.

Following are rules and regulations people who want to get into hunting, and people already going out into the field, need to keep in mind.

Before hunting, you need to determine the following:

1. Have you completed hunter/bowhunter education or signed up as an apprentice hunter?

You’ll need to have your hunter education certification information before purchasing or applying for a Montana hunting license if you were born after Jan. 1, 1985. 

• Sign up for hunter and bowhunter education at .

The Apprentice Hunter Program allows anyone 10 or older to hunt for up to two years without completing a hunter education course. Certain restrictions apply, and anyone certified as an apprentice must be accompanied by a certified mentor. 

The program was enacted by the 2015 state Legislature, and it originally created the opportunity for youth 10-17 years of age to hunt without completing hunter education. The 2017 Legislature amended the law to increase the age limit to anyone 10 or older and prohibited an apprentice hunter from obtaining a black bear, mountain lion or wolf license.

• Download the Apprentice Hunter Program Packet at .

2. Which species do you want to hunt?

Montana manages abundant populations of game animals, including deer, elk, antelope, ducks, geese, swans, game birds and furbearers.

3. Where do you want to hunt?

Montana’s vast 147,164 square miles is divided into seven administrative regions. Each region is broken down into hunting districts. The regions 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 2 or 002, etc.

4. When can you hunt? 

Montana offers a six-week archery season; a five-week general big game season; a 101-day waterfowl season; spring and fall turkey and bear seasons; a six-month wolf season, and a liberal upland game bird season.

5. How do you want to hunt? Archery or general weapon?

Montana has seasons for archery and rifle/associated methods. Legal requirements and restrictions for various methods are described in the regulations at .

  6. Required licenses or permits and deadlines? Find out what you need and how to get it.

In Montana, there are two primary types of licenses: General licenses that can be purchased over the counter; and special limited permits and licenses that are available through drawings. The availability of special limited permits and licenses is dependent on the hunting district and/or species you want to hunt, and what you would like to hunt with, such as rifle or archery equipment. Different permits have different deadlines, listed below and on the individual species guide pages.

• Buy and apply for licenses and permits online at .

7. It is your responsibility to know the legal boundaries of where you are hunting.

It is every hunter’s responsibility to know the land ownership of the area he or she intends to hunt and any land use restrictions that may apply there. The law requires every hunter to have permission from the landowner, lessee or agent before hunting on private property regardless of whether the land is posted or not.

• Learn more about access opportunities at .

8. Familiarize yourself with the regulations.

• Learn more about the regulations at .


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