How Much Is a Montana Hunting License: Fees Breakdown

Have you ever wondered how much is a Montana hunting license? For both seasoned game hunters and those just beginning to explore the great outdoors, understanding the fees and application process is vital.

Montana, with its rich wildlife and diverse landscapes, offers a hunting experience like no other. But before you venture into the wilderness whether public or private lands, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of hunting license fees and the somewhat complicated application process.

Applying for a hunting license in Montana is a digital affair, with the state only accepting online applications for all big game draws. As you navigate the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks website, you’ll find that license fees must be paid for at the time of application.

In this article, we’ll break down the different types of hunting licenses in Montana, their associated fees, and the specific requirements for each. From resident to nonresident, youth to disabled, and even the intriguing refund policies, we’ll cover it all.

Whether you’re planning a solo hunting trip or looking to introduce your kids to the sport, understanding the costs and options available is the first step. So, if you’re ready to embark on your next hunting adventure in Montana, keep reading to ensure you’re fully prepared. 

7 Key Takeaways on Montana Hunting License Fees

  1. Montana hunting license fees vary in age, game type, and difference in resident and nonresident prices.
  2. Planning, considering age-related discounts, and purchasing specific game tags are essential for a successful and legal hunting trip.
  3. Montana residents can enjoy additional perks like the Sportsman license, but separate fees and application tests may apply.
  4. From high-rolling big game packages to heartwarming “Come Home to Hunt” initiatives, Montana offers a variety of hunting options for non-residents.
  5. Special licenses with reductions in price cater to youth, disabled individuals, and even terminally ill youth, reflecting Montana’s inclusivity.
  6. Montana allows refunds under specific conditions, including medical emergencies, military deployment, and the loss of an immediate family member.
  7. Nonresident hunters can receive refunds of up to 80% if they return their license by specific deadlines, providing a safety net for unexpected circumstances.

Montana Hunting License Fees

A woman goes over a list of Montana hunting license fees

As you gear up for your Montana hunting adventure, you’ll need to get acquainted with the state’s hunting license fees. From resident to non-resident, the cost varies based on your age, residency, and the type of game you’re aiming for. 

While the cost of a hunting license might seem like a small detail in the grand scheme of your hunting trip, it’s an essential part of the experience. By understanding the fee structure and ensuring you’re properly licensed, you’re not only abiding by the law but also contributing to the sustainable management of Montana’s diverse wildlife.

1. Basic License Fees

When it comes to hunting in Big Sky Country, there are a few basic licenses you’ll need to get started. Here are the prerequisites when hunting in Montana:

  • Conservation License – This is like your hunting passport, required for all resident and nonresident hunters. You can get this over-the-counter, and it’s valid for the entire season.
  • Base Hunting License Fee – This is your foundational hunting license, covering general hunting activities. It’s also over-the-counter and this is usually the first license you’ll need to purchase or apply for, and it includes upland and migratory bird licenses.
  • Bow and Arrow License and Bowhunter Education – If you’re into archery hunting, you’ll need a bow and arrow license, which is over-the-counter. Additionally, if you’re an archery hunter of any age, you must complete a bowhunter education course. 
  • Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass (AISPP) – If you’re planning to fish in Montana as well, you’ll need this pass in addition to your fishing license. It supports the state’s aquatic invasive species prevention and inspection program.

Now, let’s break down the costs for Montana’s hunting prerequisites:

PrerequisiteResident CostResident Youth and Senior CostResident Disabled CostNon-resident Cost
Conservation License$8.00$4.00$8.00$10.00
Base Hunting License Fee$10.00$10.00$10.00$15.00
Bow and Arrow License$10.00$10.00$10.00$10.00
Aquatic Invasive Species
Prevention pass (AISPP)
(ages 16+)
(ages 16+)

Remember, these are just the basic license costs. Additional fees may apply depending on the specific hunting type you’re interested in. But don’t let the paperwork and fees scare you off; the experience of hunting in Montana’s breathtaking landscapes is worth every penny.

2. Resident Licenses Fees

A hunter is about to sign his resident hunting license

If you’re a Montana local, you’re in for a treat. Resident hunting licenses are a steal, and they come with some fantastic add-ons. Let’s break it down:

  • All Sportsman licenses include a season fishing license and an upland bird license.
  • The Sportsman license is the real MVP here, covering general elk, general deer, season fishing, and upland game bird licenses.
  • However, it’s important to note that the conservation license, base hunting license fee, and Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass (AISPP) must be purchased separately.
  • Don’t forget, in addition to the specific species fees, all applications require a nonrefundable $5 application fee. But if you’re aiming for moose, sheep, goat, or bison, that application fee bumps up to $10.
  • If you’re a first-time license buyer, you’ll need to ace the Black Bear Identification Test before you can make your purchase.

Now, if you’re ready to dive into the wilderness, let’s talk about some non-resident options next. After all, everyone should have a chance to experience the magic of Montana’s outdoors.

3. Nonresident Licenses Fees

Montana’s got a hunting package for every kind of non-resident hunter, from the high-rolling big game enthusiast to the nostalgic former Montana resident. Here are the main nonresident hunting packages and some individualized combinations you can opt for:

Hunting PackagesCost
General Deer Combination$724
General Elk Combination$1048
General Big Game (Deer & Elk) Combination$1242

If you’re eyeing a General Combination license, remember you can only apply for one. But here’s a pro tip: you can increase your chances of drawing a Combination license by accumulating Preference Points.

Other Individualized Combination Opportunities:

Hunting CombinationsCost
Landowner Sponsored Deer License$704
Come Home to Hunt License Big Game Combo$621
Come Home to Hunt License Deer Combo$362
Come Home to Hunt License Elk Combo$524
Nonresident Native License Big Game Combo$621
Nonresident Native License Deer Combo$362
Nonresident Native License Big Elk Combination License$524

The Come Home to Hunt License is a heartwarming initiative encouraging nonresidents who once called Montana home to “come back and hunt” with their families. It’s a way of keeping Montana family traditions alive by offering substantially reduced prices to former residents.

The fees and quotas for Come Home to Hunt Licenses in Montana are:

Big Game Combo (Deer & Elk)$604500
Elk Combo$509500
Deer Combo$352500

If you were born in Montana and now live out-of-state, have previously purchased hunting or fishing licenses as a resident, and have an immediate family member who is currently a resident, you may qualify for the Nonresident Native Hunting Licenses at reduced prices.

The fees and quotas for Nonresident Native Hunting Licenses in Montana are:

Big Game Combo (Deer & Elk)$604Unlimited
Elk Combo$509Unlimited
Deer Combo$352Unlimited

Remember, all applications require a nonrefundable $5 application fee, except for moose, sheep, goat, and bison which have a $50 application fee.

So whether you’re a nonresident with a resident family member or just looking to bag a once-in-a-lifetime big game, Montana’s got a plan and a price for you.

4. Youth Hunting Licenses Fees

If you have a young one itching to join you on your hunting escapades, Montana has some great options for youth hunting licenses.

The state law is pretty straightforward – any resident or nonresident youth aged 10 or older can hunt during an open season with a valid license, but of course, there are a few restrictions to keep things safe and fair.

If your young hunter is 12 or will turn 12 by January 16, 2025, they can hunt any game species with a valid license after August 15, 2024. The catch? They need to complete a hunter education course, which is a small price to pay for their safety and the safety of others.

Now, let’s break down the cost of licenses for our budding hunters:

  • Youth Trapping License – This one’s a steal – available over the counter at FWP Offices for a total of $0.
  • Resident Youth Combination – This is available only to Montana residents aged 12-17 and costs $31.
  • Nonresident Youth Combination – If your young hunter is sponsored by a parent, grandparent, or sibling who’s at least 18, they can get a discounted Big Game, Elk, or Deer Combination license.

The fees for the Youth Hunting Licenses in Montana are:

Youth Big Game$604Unlimited
Youth Elk Combo$509Unlimited
Youth Deer Combo$352Unlimited

It’s heartening to see that there is a decrease in price for young hunters, making it more accessible for families to introduce their children to the joys of hunting. So, if you’re thinking of turning your family hunting trip into a multi-generational affair, Montana’s got your back.

5. Disabled Hunting Licenses Fees

A differently-abled individual on a hunting trip in the Montana woods

Montana recognizes the need to make the great outdoors accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities. Here’s a breakdown of the reduced fees for disabled Montana hunting licenses:

  • Combat Disabled – Veterans with combat-connected injuries can avail of half-priced licenses for deer and antelope, acknowledging their sacrifice and service.
  • Exceptional Youth – In a heartwarming gesture, Montana law allows terminally ill resident or nonresident youth under 17 years of age to receive a free one-time Deer and Elk License. This compassionate provision ensures that these young individuals can experience the joy of hunting without financial burden.
  • Resident With a Disability Conservation License – Disabled Montana residents can obtain a Conservation License for just $8, which allows for the purchase of General Deer, General Elk, Fishing, and Upland Game Bird licenses at half the regular cost. This initiative ensures that disabled residents can engage in a variety of outdoor activities at a reduced price.
  • Resident Lifetime Fishing License for the Blind – For just $10, Montana residents who are blind can purchase a lifetime license for fishing, a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the state’s abundant fishing spots and angling opportunities at a significantly reduced cost.

These reduced fee options reflect Montana’s commitment to inclusivity and ensuring that everyone can enjoy the state’s natural resources regardless of physical condition.

Montana Hunting Licenses Refunds

A hunter receives his cash refund for a Montana hunting license

So, you’ve got your Montana hunting license, but life happens, and plans change. Whether it’s a sudden work commitment or a family emergency, you might find yourself in a situation where you can’t utilize your license. The good news is Montana offers refunds for hunting licenses under certain conditions.

Remember, each situation is unique, so it’s best to reach out to the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks directly for specific guidance on your refund request. And while we hope you get to enjoy your hunting experience as planned, it’s good to know that there are options in case things don’t go as expected.

Nonresident Licenses

If you’re a nonresident license holder in Montana, you’ve got a bit of a safety net. Let’s say you’ve bought a Nonresident Combination license but life throws a curveball, and you can’t make it to the hunting grounds. Fear not, you can return your license for a refund under certain conditions.

Here’s the breakdown of license refunds for non-residents in Montana:

  • 80% Refund – Postmarked on or before August 1 of the license year.
  • 50% Refund Without a Bow License – Postmarked after August 1 of the license year, but on or before the general big game hunting season.
  • 50% Refund With a Bow License – Postmarked after August 1 but before the opening of the archery season.

It’s important to note that these refund options are only available for the Nonresident Combination license, and you need to certify that the license was not used. This is what you’d call a ‘no questions asked’ refund policy, but it’s only applicable to this specific license type.

This refund schedule is a great safety net for nonresidents, especially when life gets in the way of your hunting plans. Just remember to follow the application deadlines and certify that you haven’t used the license, and you could get a significant portion of your investment back.

Death or Medical

A person in a medical emergency lies in a hospital bed, a qualification for getting a hunting license refunded

If you or a family member face a medical emergency that prevents you from using your hunting license, you can receive a 90% refund on your license. Now, isn’t that a relief? It’s like they’re saying, “We get it. Health comes first.”

Similarly, if you experience the loss of an immediate family member, you’re also eligible for a 90% refund. It’s a compassionate gesture, recognizing that sometimes life’s challenges are beyond our control.

For the death of the licensee, Montana FWP gives a 100% refund. It’s a small comfort in a difficult time, but at least you won’t have to worry about the financial aspect.

Remember, these refunds are subject to certain criteria and documentation. You’ll need to provide proof of the medical emergency or death, and the refund request should be submitted within a certain timeframe.

So, while it’s great to know that Montana is compassionate about these situations, it’s also important to be proactive in seeking your cost of hunt refunded.

Montana’s hunting license fees are an investment in unforgettable experiences, but it’s reassuring to know that the state recognizes the unpredictability of life and has policies in place to accommodate it.

Deployed Military

A soldier nearing deployment inquires about getting a refund for his hunting license

If you’re a member of the armed forces deployed outside the United States, the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has a special provision just for you. Let’s say you had your eyes set on a prized hunting license, but your deployment dashed those plans — fear not.

When you return from your tour of duty, or in the first year that the license is available after your return, you’re guaranteed the same license without any additional fees.

This is a fantastic gesture of appreciation for our brave men and women in uniform. It’s a way of saying, “Thank you for your service, and welcome back to the great outdoors of Montana.”

So, if you’re a deployed service member, here’s what you need to know:

  • Forfeited a license due to deployment? You’re entitled to the same one without extra cost.
  • This benefit applies when you return from deployment or in the first year the license is available after your return.
  • The process is simple: just apply for the same license upon your return, and the department will take care of the rest.

This policy is a small but meaningful token of gratitude to those who have dedicated their lives to the service of their country. So, when you’re back on home soil, don’t forget to pack your hunting gear and enjoy the wilderness that you’ve been bravely defending.

How Much Is a Montana Hunting License Final Thoughts

A man with a rifle ready for hunting with his Montana hunting license.

In your quest to explore Montana’s stunning wilderness and partake in its rich hunting opportunities, understanding the nuances of hunting license fees is a vital step. From the cost breakdown for residents and non-residents to special provisions for youth and disabled hunters, Montana’s fee structure is as diverse as its wildlife.

As you plan your hunting adventure, remember that these fees not only grant you legal access to Montana’s game but also contribute to the state’s conservation efforts. By heeding actionable tips like planning and purchasing the right tags, you’re not just a hunter, but a responsible steward of Montana’s natural beauty.

So, whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a first-time visitor, let Montana’s hunting license fees be the gateway to an unforgettable experience that’s both thrilling and deeply respectful of the state’s ecological balance.

How Much Is a Montana Hunting License FAQs

1. What Is the Cost of a Non-resident Hunting License in Montana?

The price of a hunting license for non-residents in Montana changes depending on the type of game that is being hunted. Montana offers several non-resident licenses, which include general and combination licenses. Typically, non-residents can expect to pay between $300 and $1000 for a license.

2. What Licenses Do I Need to Hunt in Montana?

To hunt in Montana, prerequisites include getting a conservation license, paying for the basic hunting license, and getting any additional licenses you might need, like one for bow and arrow hunting.

It’s also important to complete bowhunter and general hunter education to make sure you understand how to stay safe and protect the environment.

3. How Long Do You Have to Live in Montana to Get a Hunting License?

To be eligible for a hunting license, residents in Montana are required to live in the state continuously for at least 180 days and establish residency.

4. Can Foreigners Hunt in Montana?

Non-residents who wish to hunt in Montana can do so by obtaining the necessary licenses and permits. The costs and procedures for non-residents are usually distinct from those for residents of Montana.

5. Can You Hunt in Montana Without a License?

In Montana, it is typically prohibited to engage in hunting without a license, although there are some limited situations where it is allowed.

Certain exceptions exist, however, which allow for the year-round hunting of predators and non-game species, such as coyotes, without the need for a license. This is because these types of animals are not protected by state or federal regulations.

Dive into more captivating Montana content below:

  • When to Buy Montana Preference Points

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Written by:

Ashley Smith
Hello there! I'm Ashley Smith, born on a chilly winter's day, Montana has been my playground since childhood. The first snowfall of the year always brings back memories of building snowmen and winter hikes. Co-founding was my way of sharing the magic of Montana's seasons with the world. While Chris dives deep into the landscapes, I'm obsessed with Montana's rich culture, from the local festivals to the tales passed down generations.

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