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Hunting in Montana

Hunting in Montana is an unforgettable experience! From the magnificent Rocky Mountains to the wide-open plains, Montana has something for every hunter. The scenery is spectacular and wildlife plentiful.

Montana offers a variety of game species, including deer, elk, antelope, moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats – just to name a few. Whether you’re hunting with a rifle or bow, there are plenty of opportunities to bag your prized catch.

The hunting season in Montana usually runs from late August through early December – so make sure you dress appropriately for whatever weather may come. Have all your gear ready: warm clothing that won’t weigh you down on long hunts; reliable boots; binoculars; and most importantly an essential knife (don’t forget it!). Get out into nature this fall and find success on your hunt.

In this detailed guide, we have covered everything you need to know about hunting in Montana. You will get to know what type of animals you can hunt here, where to hunt them, hunting seasons, and license information.


Hunting in Montana

What Can You Hunt in Montana?

Big game hunting in Montana is a favorite activity for those looking to take on the challenge. Deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats are some of the varieties you’ll find across the region. Plus there’s antelope too! But before packing your gear and heading out make sure you check all local regulations as season dates may differ depending on species and area.

If small game has more appeal, then why not try grouse or pheasant? Quail, turkey, partridge, and dove can also be found throughout Montana so it pays to know what’s allowed where. Then there is waterfowl like ducks and geese that offer an exciting experience for hunters who prefer shooting from afar (or close-up).

Finally, let’s talk predators – coyote or fox anyone? If chasing these cunning animals sounds fun, then ensure you have both a valid license plus relevant tags covering each species hunted; otherwise no go! So whether it’s taking down giant elk or sniping smaller birds, Montana offers plenty of options for experienced hunters who want something different this year.

Deer and Elk

When it comes to hunting mule deer and elk in Montana, there are a number of different approaches you can take. Spot-and-stalk is an effective option for both species while calling during the rutting season can be incredibly productive as well.

Tree stands and ground blinds situated near water sources or food plots might also yield success if you’re looking for a more relaxing experience. Adding decoys into the mix can help draw animals into range too.

Before setting out on your hunt though, make sure to do some research first – understanding where these majestic creatures live and what they eat will ensure that your outing is as successful as possible.

Also, double-check any local regulations or permits before heading out – nothing ruins a hunt like running afoul of the law! With proper planning and preparation, you’ll have no trouble bagging yourself some impressive trophies from Montana’s wildlands this year.

Deer & Elk Season

Season Dates
Archery 02 Sep – 15 Oct
General 21 Oct – 26 Nov
Youth (Deer only) 19 Oct – 20 Oct
Muzzleloader 09 Dec – 17 Dec
Shoulder seasons 15 Aug – 15 Feb
Archery (Backcountry – HD’s 150, 280, 316) 03 Sep – 14 Sep
General (Backcountry – HD’s 150, 280, 316) 15 Sep – 27 Nov


Hunting antelope in Montana is an experience like no other. With its vast plains and plentiful natural cover, it’s a paradise for any hunter looking to bag some of the best game around. From late August through early October, the breeding season brings these creatures out of hiding as they search for mates – making them more visible and active than usual; perfect opportunities to take aim.

However, when hunting antelope, you must remember that these animals can be quite skittish so great caution should be taken while stalking them. Camouflaged clothing is essential as well as staying downwind in order to avoid detection or spooking away your targets before you have the chance to get off a shot. Binoculars will also come in handy when trying to spot your quarry from afar without getting too close too quickly.

Antelope Season Montana

Season Dates
General Oct 07 – Nov 12
Archery Sep 02 – Oct 06
900 series Aug 15 – Nov 12


Montana is a dream destination for any hunter looking for an epic moose-hunting adventure. During the cooler fall months, it’s prime time to spot these majestic beasts as they search for mates. To ensure your hunt goes off without a hitch, you’ll need to make sure you have all the necessary gear and know-how before heading out into the wilds of Big Sky Country.

A good quality rifle or bow should be your first step in preparing yourself for that perfect shot on one of North America’s biggest moose bulls. High-powered optics will also help when tracking them down from afar and camouflage clothing may give you better chances at sneaking up close enough to take aim. It’s important to become familiar with the terrain so that you can safely plan your approach accordingly.

For those wanting some extra assistance in luring those massive animals closer, there are plenty of proven techniques available online when it comes to calling moose – practice makes perfect! Having said all this though, don’t forget about local regulations which must be followed if hunting within certain boundaries; ignorance isn’t bliss here!

Hunting Mooses in Montana

Moose Season Montana

Species Dates
Moose Sep 15 – Nov 26

Bighorn Sheep

Hunting bighorn sheep in Montana is a thrilling challenge for any experienced hunter. These majestic creatures can be found throughout the Treasure State, usually near water sources or along rocky ridges. With their camouflage coloring and unpredictable behavior, they are difficult to spot but an incredible reward when you do.

To hunt bighorn sheep in Montana requires a special permit due to their protected status – it’s illegal not to have one. It’s important that hunters understand the animal’s habits and habitat before attempting this unique hunt; these animals must always be respected as they can become dangerous if provoked.

A successful hunting trip starts with preparation: know where you’re going, what gear you need, and how long your stay will last – all of this will help make sure your experience is both safe and enjoyable. Bighorn sheep inhabit many mountain ranges across the state such as Beartooths, Absarokas, and Bitterroots so there’s plenty of opportunity to find them if you look hard enough!

Bighorn Sheep Season

Season Dates
General Sep 15 – Nov 26
Archery Sep 02 – Sep 14


Welcome to Montana, home of the majestic bison! This state is a great destination for hunters looking to add a true trophy to their collection. With an abundance of public and private land available, you can be sure there’ll always be ample opportunities here for successful hunting trips.

Roaming through every terrain from grasslands to mountainsides, these animals are usually found in herds – so it’s important that you scout out areas first where they might graze before heading out on your hunt.

Late summer and early fall months are considered the prime time when bison get most active; making them easier targets for any hunter brave enough to take them down. However, don’t forget that these creatures pose a risk if not approached with caution – so make sure you stay safe at all times while trying your luck.

Bison Season

Species Dates
Bison Nov 15 – Feb 15

Mountain Goat

If you’re looking to hunt mountain goats in Montana, the right gear and terrain knowledge are essential. A good pair of binoculars will help you spot your prey from far away, while a set of sturdy hiking boots will keep you safe on treacherous ground. Don’t forget to bring along a suitable rifle or bow with matching ammunition for your hunt.

Before heading out, be sure to check into local regulations – hunting mountain goats has specific laws that vary depending on where and when you can do so. It’s important to get informed; consult with your game warden if needed.

Mountain goats inhabit the Rocky Mountains in North America and are commonly found throughout Montana at high altitudes like rocky cliffs and steep slopes. They tend to live alone but could occasionally be spotted traveling together in small groups too.

Mountain Goat Season

Species Dates
Mountain Goat Sep 15 – Nov 26


With hunting season in full swing, now is the perfect time to plan a Black Bear hunt in Montana. These majestic creatures can be found roaming through forests, meadows, and mountains across the state. Fortunately for hunters, their population has been thriving and there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of.

When out looking for signs of these bears, it’s important to stay alert – tracks or scat will give away their presence quickly. Make sure you come prepared with all your necessary equipment like rifles/bows with appropriate ammo/arrows – binoculars, calls (if desired), scent eliminator spray, etc. It’s also wise to brush up on local regulations before setting off into the field so that you don’t run afoul of any laws while hunting.

Black Bears typically feed on vegetation such as berries and nuts during daytime hours when they’re most active; so if you find yourself clued into one, make sure not to miss an opportunity.

Hunting Bears in Montana

Black Bear Season Montana

Season Dates
Spring 15 Apr – 31 May or 15 Jun
Spring Hound Hunting 15 Apr – 25 May
Spring Hound Training 01 Jun – 15 Jun
Fall 15 Sep – 26 Nov
Archery 02 Sep – 24 Sep

Wild Turkey

Wild turkeys are an abundant species across Montana, from its towering mountains to grassy plains. With careful management by state wildlife authorities, the turkey population is thriving in the Treasure State.

During hunting season – which typically runs from mid-April to late May and includes a special youth hunt in March – these birds can be found actively foraging or roosting early mornings and late afternoons.

When looking to bag one of these wary birds, it’s important to equip yourself with appropriate camouflage clothing and move through your chosen area as quietly as possible. Scouting ahead will also give you a better idea of where they’re likely congregating so that you don’t waste precious time when out hunting in Montana.

Turkey Season in Montana

Season Dates
Spring Apr 15 – May 31
Fall Sep 01 – Jan 01

Mountain Lion

Hunting mountain lions in Montana is an exciting and rewarding experience for any hunter. With its lush terrain and abundant wildlife, it’s the perfect place to hunt these magnificent cats. To be successful on your hunt, you’ll need more than just luck; patience and preparation are key! Knowing their habitat and movements will drastically improve your chances of getting a good shot when they come into view.

When choosing your equipment for this adventure, make sure you have a reliable rifle with enough magnification power to get long-range shots off accurately. Binoculars or spotting scopes also become essential tools so you can identify the cat before drawing too close – camouflage clothing doesn’t hurt either.

Utilizing all five senses (including sight, hearing & smell) while keeping alert can help give hunters that extra edge needed to land their prey successfully.

Mountain Lion Season

Season Dates
Archery (without dogs) 03 Sep – 16 Oct
Fall (without dogs) 22 Oct – 27 Nov
Winter 01 Dec – 14 Apr
Resident Dog Training Season 02 Dec – 14 Apr

Wolf Season

Season Dates
General Sep 15 – Mar 15
Archery Sep 02 – Sep 14
Trapping Nov 27 – Mar 15

Beaver Season

Hunting Beavers in Montana

Season Dates
Trapping Districts 1, 2, 3 Nov 01 – Apr 15
Trapping Districts 4, 5, 6, 7 Sep 01 – May 31

Bobcat Season

Season Dates
Trapping Districts 1, 2, 3 Dec 01 – Feb 15
Trapping Districts 4, 5, 6, 7 Dec 01 – Mar 01

Swift Fox Season

Species Dates
Swift Fox (Trapping Only) Trapping District 6 Nov 01 – Jan 15

Mink Season

Species Dates
Mink (Trapping Only) Nov 01 – Apr 15

Muskrat Season

Species Dates
Muskrat (Trapping Only) Nov 01 – Apr 15

Otter Season

Species Dates
Otter (Trapping Only) Nov 01 – Apr 15

Fisher Season

Species Dates
Fisher (Trapping Only) Dec 01 – Feb 15

Marten Season

Species Dates
Marten (Trapping Only) Dec 01 – Feb 15

Mountain Grouse Season

Hunting Mountain Grouses in Montana

Species Dates
Mountain Grouse Sep 01 – Jan 01

Sage Grouse Season

Species Dates
Sage Grouse Sep 01 – Sep 30

Ring-necked Pheasant Season

Species Dates
Ring-necked Pheasant Oct 07 – Jan 01
Ring-necked Pheasant (Youth Hunt) Sep 23 – Sep 24

Sharp-tailed Grouse Season

Species Dates
Sharp-tailed Grouse Sep 01 – Jan 01

Falconry Season

Species Dates
Falconry Sep 01 – Mar 31

Dove Season

Species Dates
Mourning Dove Sep 01 – Oct 30

Partridge Season

Hunting Partridges in Montana

Species Dates
Partridge Sep 01 – Jan 01

Ducks & Mergansers Season

Season Dates
Pacific Flyway Oct 01 – Jan 13
Central Flyway Zone 01 Oct 01 – Jan 05
Central Flyway Zone 02 Oct 01 – Oct 09, Oct 22 – Jan 17
Pacific Flyway Falconry Oct 01 – Jan 13
Central Flyway Falconry Zone 01 Sep 21 – Jan 05
Central Flyway Falconry Zone 02 Sep 21 – Oct 09, Oct 22 – Jan 17

Coot Season

Season Dates
Pacific Flyway Oct 01 – Jan 13
Pacific Flyway Falconry Oct 01 – Jan 13
Central Flyway Zone 01 Oct 01 – Jan 05
Central Flyway Zone 02 Oct 01 – Oct 09, Oct 22 – Jan 17
Central Flyway Falconry Zone 01 Sep 21 – Jan 05
Central Flyway Falconry Zone 02 Sep 21 – Oct 09, Oct 22 – Jan 17

Goose Season

Season Dates
Pacific Flyway Oct 01 – Jan 13
Pacific Flyway Falconry Oct 01 – Jan 13
Central Flyway Zone 01 Oct 01 – Jan 13
Central Flyway Zone 02 Oct 01 – Oct 09, Oct 22 – Jan 25
Central Flyway Falconry Zone 01 Oct 01 – Jan 13
Central Flyway Falconry Zone 02 Oct 01 – Oct 09, Oct 22 – Jan 25

Sandhill Crane Season

Hunting Sandhill Cranes in Montana

Season Dates
Special Drawing License Sep 01 – Oct 30
OTC License Oct 01 – Nov 27

Snipe Season

Species Dates
Snipe Sep 01 – Dec 16

Montana Hunting License Information

Ready to get your Montana hunting license? Whether you’re an experienced hunter or a beginner, here’s everything you need to know.

First, figure out which type of license fits what kind of hunt: Big game like deer and elk require the annual big game permit, while small game needs a separate one for grouse and pheasant. If you plan on doing both types, then there are combo licenses available too.

Next up is applying for it – online at the Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks website or at any sporting goods store near you! Resident adult base license costs $10 whereas non-residents will have to shell out $15 – but double check as additional permits may be needed depending on the animal and area hunted in.

Make sure that all paperwork is accurate before submitting so that processing can happen without delays. Lastly, abide by state laws when out in the field – this includes wearing blaze orange clothing during hunts plus never shooting from public roads or highways. Be aware of safety regulations and practice conservation measures responsibly.

Where Can You Hunt in Montana?

If you’re a hunter looking for the best places to hunt in Montana, look no further! Boasting over 25 million acres of public land and countless guided private hunting opportunities, there’s something here for every outdoorsman. From elk and deer to upland birds and waterfowl, avid hunters can find their prey with ease.

National forests, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas, state wildlife management spots – whatever your preference is, there are plenty of public lands available. For those who seek a more personalized experience or access to exclusive species not found on publicly owned land; private ranches offer guided hunts and leases to these coveted properties.

Public Hunting Places in Montana

Yaak Valley

The Yaak Valley is a mecca for hunters of all ages and abilities. Whether you’re just starting out or have been hunting for years, there’s something here to suit every taste. The diverse terrain provides plenty of cover for game animals like deer, elk, moose, and bear. You can even find some water sources that attract even more creatures to the area!

When it comes to finding the right time to hunt in this spectacular spot in Montana, fall is definitely your best bet. Cooler temperatures mean more activity from wildlife as they migrate through the valley – so keep an eye out! With luck on your side, you might be able to spot herds of deer and elk roaming around or maybe get lucky enough glimpse of a majestic moose or bear wandering by.

Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest

The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest provides some of the best big game hunting in Montana. From August to November, you can hunt elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, antelope, black bear, and wolves – all found within this area. And don’t forget about upland birds like grouse and turkey which are available year round.

This forest is also a great spot for fishing enthusiasts as well. Rivers here are full of trout that promise an amazing day on the water regardless if you’re after a trophy fish or just looking to have some fun with friends and family. All in all it’s an outdoor experience unlike any other.

Gallatin National Forest

The Gallatin National Forest is a great place to hunt for game of all sizes. Elk, deer, antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain goats and moose are just some of the animals that roam here. You’ll find terrain ranging from rolling hills to towering mountains and deep valleys – perfect spots to wait in ambush.

Before you start your hunt though, make sure you’re up-to-date with local regulations – you need a valid license plus any necessary tags or permits depending on what kind of animal you plan on hunting. Get an understanding of where different species usually hang out too; knowledge can be key when tracking down prey.

Custer National Forest

Custer National Forest is home to an array of wildlife, such as elk, deer, antelope, and bighorn sheep. With its sprawling open spaces and ample fauna, it’s a perfect spot for hunters seeking adventure.

The landscape ranges from rolling hills to rugged mountainsides, offering plenty of places to seek cover while on the hunt. Streams and rivers dotting the area provide ideal habitats for game animals too.

When it comes to hunting in Custer National Forest, you have various options – rifle or bow hunting, muzzleloader hunting or still-hunting/stalking are all viable choices here.

Just remember that getting a valid license with tags is essential before starting your journey into this terrain – so make sure you look up local regulations beforehand! It’s also important to stay safe at all times during any excursion here as well.

Beaverhead–Deerlodge National Forest

Beaverhead–Deerlodge National Forest is an ideal destination for any hunter! Boasting a variety of big game animals, such as elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats – the forest offers something unique to each hunting style.

Plus there are plenty of upland birds like pheasants and grouse too. As well as small game including rabbits and squirrels. On top of that, you’ll find great waterfowl hot spots for ducks and geese.

With so much public land available, this forest is sure to provide the perfect hunting experience for everyone looking forward to exploring their passion for wildlife adventure.

Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge

At Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, hunters of all levels can explore over a million acres of public land for their game. With terrain ranging from rolling hills to rugged mountains and canyons, the challenge awaits! Deer, elk, antelope, and bighorn sheep are just some of the species available for hunting here.

In addition to hunting trips, this refuge has so much more to offer – such as camping beneath starry skies or fishing in crystal clear waters; hiking on trails that take you past breathtaking views or wildlife viewing opportunities like no other; whatever your adventure may be it is sure to leave lasting memories!

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Welcome to Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, a stunningly beautiful and incredibly exciting hunting spot! With its diverse wildlife, breathtaking scenery, and endless opportunities for adventure, this is the perfect place for any hunter.

The canyon houses an array of game animals such as mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, and wild turkeys. Plus there’s small game like rabbits and squirrels too. All hunting activities must comply with state regulations so make sure you have all the necessary licenses before heading out.

When it comes to terrain at Bighorn Canyon – there’s something for everyone! From majestic mountainsides to sprawling grasslands – you can find your prey in almost every corner of this paradise.

Private Hunting Places in Montana

When hunting in Montana, there are several aspects to consider. First off, decide which species you’d like to pursue – from deer and elk to antelope and bighorn sheep, the possibilities abound.

Next up is finding a spot that meets your needs; while public lands are available for hunting in the state, private hunting places in Montana offer more seclusion and potential. Do some research on online forums or talk with locals who may be able to point you toward great spots – just remember that permission must always be obtained before entering someone else’s property.

Ensure safety remains top of mind throughout this process: familiarize yourself with all applicable rules and regulations for the area you plan on visiting to avoid putting yourself at risk. With these tips in mind plus some planning ahead of time, nothing should stop you from having an amazing hunt!