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Montana Hunting

Everything you need to plan your Montana hunting trips, from maps and regulations to season dates, game animals, quotas, and hunting districts. Plus much more! Start your research right here.

State Overview

Known For

Montana is known for its healthy populations of big game animals, tens of millions of acres of public lands, and ample private properties available to hunters through programs like Block Management (BMA). In Montana, hunters can pursue elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, antelope, black bear, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and moose.

Terrain

Montana has all kinds of terrain, including high alpine mountains, canyons, river valleys, forests, grassy plains, prairies, badlands, and caverns. Its land area covers more than 147,000 square miles, making Montana the fourth largest state in the nation, just behind the size of California.

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Montana Hunting Seasons

Filter By:
Season
Start Date
End Date
Antelope
Aug 15, 2023 – Nov 12, 2023
Antelope – Archery (900 Series)
Aug 15, 2023
Nov 12, 2023
Antelope
Sep 20, 2023 – Oct 6, 2023
Antelope – Archery
Sep 20, 2023
Oct 6, 2023
Antelope
Oct 7, 2023 – Nov 12, 2023
Antelope – General
Oct 7, 2023
Nov 12, 2023
Bear
Apr 15, 2023 – Jun 15, 2023
Bear – Spring
The end date may vary by unit (May 31 – June 15). Check unit-specific regulations for closing dates.
Apr 15, 2023
Jun 15, 2023
Bear
Sep 15, 2023 – Nov 26, 2023
Bear – Fall
Sep 15, 2023
Nov 26, 2023
Bison
Nov 15, 2023 – Feb 15, 2024
Bison
These dates represent the “general” season dates. Check the individual hunting district regulations for the most accurate season dates and regulations.
Nov 15, 2023
Feb 15, 2024
Bobcat
Dec 1, 2021 – Feb 15, 2022
Bobcat (Western/Southwestern)
Quota dependent.
Dec 1, 2021
Feb 15, 2022
Bobcat
Dec 1, 2021 – Mar 1, 2022
Bobcat (Central/Eastern)
Quota dependent.
Dec 1, 2021
Mar 1, 2022
Coyote
Jan 1, 2022 – Dec 31, 2022
Coyote – Hunting
No limit. No closed season.
Jan 1, 2022
Dec 31, 2022
Sandhill Crane
Sep 1, 2023 – Oct 30, 2023
Sandhill Crane
Special permits.
Sep 1, 2023
Oct 30, 2023
Sandhill Crane
Sep 30, 2023 – Nov 26, 2023
Sandhill Crane
Over-the-counter. 3 daily and 9 in possession. Persons wishing to hunt Sandhill Cranes in the Central Flyway outside of the special license drawing areas must obtain a free permit available from all statewide Fish, Wildlife & Parks offices and license providers.
Sep 30, 2023
Nov 26, 2023
Deer
Sep 2, 2023 – Oct 15, 2023
Deer – Archery
Sep 2, 2023
Oct 15, 2023
Deer
Sep 15, 2023 – Nov 27, 2023
Deer – Backcountry General

Hunting Districts (150, 280, 316)

Sep 15, 2023
Nov 27, 2023
Deer
Oct 19, 2023 – Oct 20, 2023
Deer – Youth Two-Day Hunt
Oct 19, 2023
Oct 20, 2023
Deer
Oct 21, 2023 – Nov 26, 2023
Deer – General
Oct 21, 2023
Nov 26, 2023
Deer
Dec 9, 2023 – Dec 17, 2023
Deer – Muzzleloader

Check regulations for more details

Dec 9, 2023
Dec 17, 2023
Dove
Sep 1, 2023 – Oct 30, 2023
Mourning Dove – Central and Pacific Flyway
15 daily and 45 in possession
Sep 1, 2023
Oct 30, 2023
Duck
Sep 30, 2023 – Dec 24, 2023
Ducks – Pacific Flyway

Daily bag limit: 7 ducks; shall not include more than 2 hen mallards, 1 pintail, 2 redheads, 2 canvasbacks, and 2 scaup. 

Please note Pacific Flyway exceptions.

Sep 30, 2023
Dec 24, 2023
Duck
Sep 30, 2023 – Jan 4, 2024
Ducks – Central Flyway – Zone 1

Bag limit: The daily bag limit is 6 ducks or mergansers. The daily bag limit may contain no more than 5 mallards of which no more than 2 may be hens, 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 2 hooded mergansers, 1 pintail, 2 canvasbacks, and 1 scaup. During the first 9 days of the regular duck season in both Zones (Sept. 30 – Oct. 8), the daily bag may include 2 additional blue-winged teal. The possession limit may not exceed three times the daily bag limit of any species and sex.

Sep 30, 2023
Jan 4, 2024
Duck
Sep 30, 2023 – Oct 8, 2023
Ducks – Central Flyway – Zone 2

Bag limit: The daily bag limit is 6 ducks or mergansers. The daily bag limit may contain no more than 5 mallards of which no more than 2 may be hens, 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 2 hooded mergansers, 1 pintail, 2 canvasbacks, and 1 scaup. During the first 9 days of the regular duck season in both Zones (Sept. 30 – Oct. 8), the daily bag may include 2 additional blue-winged teal. The possession limit may not exceed three times the daily bag limit of any species and sex.

Sep 30, 2023
Oct 8, 2023
Duck
Oct 21, 2023 – Jan 16, 2024
Ducks – Central Flyway – Zone 2

Bag limit: The daily bag limit is 6 ducks or mergansers. The daily bag limit may contain no more than 5 mallards of which no more than 2 may be hens, 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 2 hooded mergansers, 1 pintail, 2 canvasbacks, and 1 scaup. During the first 9 days of the regular duck season in both Zones (Sept. 30 – Oct. 8), the daily bag may include 2 additional blue-winged teal. The possession limit may not exceed three times the daily bag limit of any species and sex.

Oct 21, 2023
Jan 16, 2024
Duck
Dec 25, 2023 – Jan 12, 2024
Ducks – Pacific Flyway

Daily bag limit: 7 ducks; shall not include more than 2 hen mallards, 1 pintail, 2 redheads, 2 canvasbacks

Standard bag limit excluding scaup. Please note Pacific Flyway exceptions.

Dec 25, 2023
Jan 12, 2024
Elk
Aug 15, 2023 – Feb 15, 2024
Elk – Shoulder Seasons
Dates vary, please check regulations.
Aug 15, 2023
Feb 15, 2024
Elk
Sep 2, 2023 – Oct 15, 2023
Elk – Archery
These dates represent the “general” season dates. Check the individual hunting district regulations for the most accurate season dates and regulations.
Learn More
Sep 2, 2023
Oct 15, 2023
Elk
Sep 15, 2023 – Nov 27, 2023
Elk – Backcountry General

Hunting Districts (150, 280, 316)

Sep 15, 2023
Nov 27, 2023
Elk
Oct 21, 2023 – Nov 26, 2023
Elk – General
Oct 21, 2023
Nov 26, 2023
Elk
Dec 9, 2023 – Dec 17, 2023
Elk – Muzzleloader

Check regulations for more details

Dec 9, 2023
Dec 17, 2023
Fox
Nov 1, 2021 – Jan 15, 2022
Swift Fox District 6
Quota dependent.
Nov 1, 2021
Jan 15, 2022
Goat
Sep 15, 2023 – Nov 26, 2023
Mountain Goat
Some districts vary; check regulations for more information.
Sep 15, 2023
Nov 26, 2023
Goose
Sep 23, 2023 – Sep 24, 2023
Goose – Pacific Flyway (Youth)

Only licensed youth ages 15 and under; Standard bag limits apply

Sep 23, 2023
Sep 24, 2023
Goose
Sep 23, 2023 – Sep 24, 2023
Goose – Central Flyway (Youth)

Only licensed youth ages 15 and under; Standard bag limits apply

Sep 23, 2023
Sep 24, 2023
Goose
Sep 30, 2023 – Jan 12, 2024
Goose – Pacific Flyway

Daily limit: 20 white geese (Snow, Blue, Ross’s) and 5 dark geese (all other geese). The possession limit is three times the daily bag limit.

Please note Pacific Flyway exceptions.

Sep 30, 2023
Jan 12, 2024
Goose
Sep 30, 2023 – Jan 12, 2024
Goose – Central Flyway – Zone 1

Daily limit: 20 white geese (Snow, Blue, Ross’s) and 5 dark geese (all other geese). The possession limit is three times the daily bag limit.

Sep 30, 2023
Jan 12, 2024
Goose
Sep 30, 2023 – Oct 8, 2024
Goose – Central Flyway – Zone 2

Daily limit: 20 white geese (Snow, Blue, Ross’s) and 5 dark geese (all other geese). The possession limit is three times the daily bag limit.

Sep 30, 2023
Oct 8, 2024
Goose
Oct 21, 2023 – Jan 24, 2024
Goose – Central Flyway – Zone 2

Daily limit: 20 white geese (Snow, Blue, Ross’s) and 5 dark geese (all other geese). The possession limit is three times the daily bag limit.

Oct 21, 2023
Jan 24, 2024
Grouse
Sep 1, 2023 – Jan 1, 2024
Mountain Grouse


Sep 1, 2023
Jan 1, 2024
Grouse
Sep 1, 2023 – Sep 30, 2023
Sage Grouse


Sep 1, 2023
Sep 30, 2023
Grouse
Sep 1, 2023 – Jan 1, 2024
Sharp-Tailed Grouse


Sep 1, 2023
Jan 1, 2024
Moose
Sep 15, 2023 – Nov 26, 2023
Moose
These dates represent the “general” season dates. Check the individual hunting district regulations for the most accurate season dates and regulations.
Sep 15, 2023
Nov 26, 2023
Mountain Lion
Sep 3, 2023 – Oct 16, 2023
Mountain Lion – Archery without dogs
Sep 3, 2023
Oct 16, 2023
Mountain Lion
Oct 22, 2023 – Nov 27, 2023
Mountain Lion – Fall without dogs


Oct 22, 2023
Nov 27, 2023
Mountain Lion
Dec 1, 2023 – Apr 14, 2024
Mountain Lion – Winter (with hounds)
Hunters need to check harvest closure information frequently, for updated information.
Dec 1, 2023
Apr 14, 2024
Pheasant
Sep 23, 2023 – Sep 24, 2023
Pheasant (Youth)
Legally licensed youth ages 15 and under when accompanied by a nonhunting adult at least 18 years of age. Mentors for Apprentice Hunters must be at least 21 years of age.
Sep 23, 2023
Sep 24, 2023
Pheasant
Oct 7, 2023 – Jan 1, 2024
Pheasant – General


Oct 7, 2023
Jan 1, 2024
Sheep
Sep 15, 2023 – Nov 26, 2023
Bighorn Sheep – General
These dates represent the “general” season dates. Check the individual hunting district regulations for the most accurate season dates and regulations.
Sep 15, 2023
Nov 26, 2023
Turkey Game Type
Apr 15, 2022 – May 31, 2022
Turkey – Spring
Male Wild Turkey. Shotgun/Archery only.
Apr 15, 2022
May 31, 2022
Turkey Game Type
Apr 15, 2023 – May 31, 2023
Turkey – Spring

Male Wild Turkey. Shotgun/Archery only.


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

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

Region 2 Turkey License: Valid in Missoula and Ravalli counties

Region 5 Turkey License: Valid in Wheatland, Sweet Grass, Stillwater, Carbon, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Yellowstone, and Bighorn counties.

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 of HWY 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, 2023
May 31, 2023
Turkey Game Type
Sep 1, 2023 – Jan 1, 2024
Turkey – Fall

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

  • Either-sex Wild Turkey. Not valid in Region 4.

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

  • 199-00 Either-sex Wild Turkey. 199-01 Female or beardless Wild Turkey.

Region 2 Turkey License: Valid in Missoula and Ravalli counties

  • 299-00 Either-sex Wild Turkey. 299-01 & 299-02 Female or beardless Wild Turkey. 299-02 also valid in Mineral County.

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 of HWY 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.

  • 799-00 Either-sex Wild Turkey.
Sep 1, 2023
Jan 1, 2024
Upland Bird
Sep 1, 2023 – Jan 1, 2024
Partridge

(except for portion of Carbon County, where it is Sept. 1 – Jan. 10)

Sep 1, 2023
Jan 1, 2024
Wolf
Sep 15, 2023 – Mar 14, 2024
Wolf – General Rifle


Sep 15, 2023
Mar 14, 2024
Wolf
Nov 28, 2023 – Mar 15, 2024
Wolf – Trapping

Season open date may vary by HD. Please see the regulations for further details

Nov 28, 2023
Mar 15, 2024

Research. Draw. Hunt.

Hunt Research Tools is designed to help hunters research, plan, and apply for hunts and tags every year.

  • Build a successful strategy with easy-to-understand, accurate data
  • Covers all 12 Western states and all major big game species
  • Simple and powerful filtering sorts answers quickly
  • Compare across states, species, weapons, dates, and hunt types
  • Free with onX Hunt

Montana Draw Specifics

MONTANA – ALL SPECIES

Point System

  • For elk and deer, Montana has 2 primary license types that each use a different point system
  • There are General Deer, General Elk, and General Deer/Elk combo licenses, commonly referred to as General tags
    • You need a General tag to hunt elk or deer in Montana
    • For nonresidents, the General tag drawing uses a Preference Point system
    • Residents can buy a General tag over the counter
    • The nonresident General tag drawing has some complexity and can be confusing; read this for a full description of how it works
  • There are also Permits. Permits are limited entry tags for a specific unit or units. There are elk and deer permits that you can apply for, as well as permits for all other big game species.
  • The drawing for Permits in Montana uses an optional Bonus Point system
  • Bonus Points are like raffle tickets – the more you have, the more “chances” you have in the draw
  • You get one chance for your current application, and then your current Bonus Point total is squared and you get that many more chances in the drawing (so with 4 points, you’d get 17 chances, 1 + [4*4] )
  • If you apply for a tag and are unsuccessful, you will be awarded a Bonus Point for that species if you paid the optional Bonus Point fee at the time of your application
  • Or you can also choose to buy a Bonus Point Only each year during a separate application period to accumulate Bonus Points
  • If you draw your 1st choice on a limited-entry permit application your Bonus Point total will be purged to 0 for that species

Tag Allocation

  • For limited entry elk, deer and antelope permits, up to 10% of the total tags for each hunt code can be issued to nonresidents
  • For moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats, up to 10% of the total tags in each respective region can be issued to nonresidents
  • Residents and nonresidents are all in the same random drawing, where each applicants Bonus Point total is applied when determining your total number of “chances”
  • Once the 10% nonresident quota max is hit, no further nonresident tags will be issued for that hunt code or region

Understanding the Draw Odds

  • In Montana, we include 1 draw odds column in our List View
  • Draw Odds: For elk and deer, we also include supplemental General Tag information at top: Nonres. General Tag Pref. Pt. Draw Odds

Other Tips

  • Montana’s application process is notorious for confusion and misunderstanding. If you are new to it, call Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to make sure you understand the process. But don’t wait – do it early in the application period to avoid the last minute rush. The application period for Elk and Deer typically begins in mid February and ends April 1.
  • Bighorn sheep, moose and mountain goat tags are generally very difficult to draw anywhere. Consider steering clear of the very hardest to draw hunts and focus on the lower ⅔ if you want to increase your chances of drawing in your lifetime. It may not seem like a big difference between .10 % odds and .05% odds, but consider that is actually 1 in 1000 against 1 in 2000. If you are late to the game in accumulating points, you’ll need all the luck you can get to overcome the odds.

Montana Licenses, Permits, and Regulations

Montana hunting licenses, permits, and regulations for resident and non-resident hunters can be purchased on the Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks official website. Click below to view the website.

Hunting GPS Maps

Every hunter in Montana should have hunting GPS maps on hand. Montana hunting maps are available from onX Hunt. With a paid membership you can access Satellite, Topo, or Hybrid Basemaps, over which you can view GMU maps, along with BLM, Forest Service, and other public and private property boundaries. You can view trails and roads, and even download maps to the Hunt App for use offline. Click below to get onX Hunt for Montana.

Hunting Districts

Montana is divided into different hunting districts, organized by region. The hunting district boundaries correspond to specific regulations for each game animal and hunting season. A Montana hunter must be aware of the governing quotas and regulations in place for each district, as well as where the boundaries are. Click below to view Montana’s hunting district maps for all major species in more detail through an interactive map.

Hunting Layers

MT Private Lands Preview

MT Private Lands

Over 540,000 parcels mapped by the onX team, this layer helps you know who the property owners are in Montana. Tap any parcel to learn more info about the owner and acreage.

MT Gov Lands Preview

MT Gov Lands

onX has the most accurate maps of Gov Lands, covering over 40,000,000 acres in Montana. Not all Gov Lands offer access opportunities, check regulations before recreating.

SUBLAYERS (17) Expand Sublayers
MT Hunting Districts Preview

MT Hunting Districts

Antelope, Bighorn Sheep, Bison, Bear, Deer/Elk, Fisher, Wolf, Moose, Mountain Goat, Trapping, Turkey, Migratory Bird, Upland Bird, and Swan Hunting Districts.

Includes 17 Sublayers

  • Antelope Hunt District
  • Bighorn Sheep Hunt District
  • Bison Hunt District
  • Black Bear Hunt District
  • Deer / Elk Hunt District
  • Fisher Mgmt Unit
  • Gray Wolf Hunt District
  • Moose Hunt District
  • Mtn Lion Mgmt Unit
  • Mtn Goat Hunt District
  • Trapping Districts
  • Spring Turkey Hunt District
  • Fall Turkey Hunt District
  • Migratory Bird Hunt District
  • Swan Hunt District
  • Upland Game Bird Hunt District
  • Blackfeet Tribal Hunt Zones
MT Possible Access Preview

MT Possible Access

onX has mapped 1,100,000 acres of possible access lands in Montana including timber companies and land conservation groups. Research rules on these private lands before recreating.

MT Block Management Preview

MT Block Management

The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Block Management. All hunters are expected to know the rules of the program. Please hunt responsibly and have a safe legal hunt.

SUBLAYERS (10) Expand Sublayers
MT Hunting Districts Portions Preview

MT Hunting Districts Portions

Montana Hunting District Portions are a sub unit of the hunting district that has its own given tag or special regulations compared to the corresponding hunting district.

Includes 10 Sublayers

  • Bison Portions
  • Elk Portions
  • Mtn Goat Portions
  • Mule Deer Portions
  • Upland Bird Portions
  • Whitetailed Deer Portions
  • Furbearer Portions
  • Migratory Bird Portions
  • Black Bear Portions
  • Bighorn Sheep Portions
MT Upland Game Bird Project Preview

MT Upland Game Bird Project

The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Upland Bird Game Projects (Open Fields program). All hunters are expected to know the rules of the program.

SUBLAYERS (11) Expand Sublayers
MT Game Distribution Preview

MT Game Distribution

Montana Various Game Winter and General Distributions

Includes 11 Sublayers

  • Whitetail Deer
  • Mule Deer
  • Elk
  • Mountain Lion
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Spruce Grouse
  • Sharptail Grouse
  • Hungarian Partridge
  • Sage Grouse
  • Dusky Grouse
  • Turkey
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