Apply for Montana Hunting Permits/Licenses for a Chance at the Hunt of a Lifetime​

Montana monster mule deer. Boone and Crocket European-mounted mule deer.

Permits … applications … licenses … it can all seem a little daunting when you’re new to it, but get in there, build your bonus points, and reap the hunting rewards.

Montana Hunting Permits Explained

First, deer and elk permits are not licenses. Permits are extra permissions for the general  hunting license you hold. Everyone must obtain a general license before applying for a permit, but only nonresidents must first apply for this license before applying for a permit. Montana residents just buy the license. Make sense? This post has more detail, The Mystery of Nonresident Montana Hunting Licenses for Deer and Elk Explained.

Let’s say you want to hunt trophy mule deer or elk in a hunting district managed for mature animals. Once you own the license, you have a ticket to hunt mule deer in plenty of Montana hunting districts. But, if you want to hunt mule deer bucks in, say, Montana’s famous Hunting District 270 south of Darby, then you must apply for the permit before the March 15 deadline. If you apply for and score a permit, start celebrating! In 2017, you would have been one of 45 hunters out of 7364 applicants to score the permit, a .61 percent chance. And if you put in the time that fall, you had a very good chance of killing your dream buck.

Deadlines for Montana Hunting Permit/License Applications

Apply for Montana’s special permits for deer and elk, or apply for licenses for mountain goats, moose, bighorn sheep, etc., and win even more hunting opportunities in Montana. Don’t miss the application deadlines.

Here’s the link for the exhaustive list of Montana’s Application Deadlines & Drawing Dates, and here are the highlights:

  • Spring turkey, March 1
  • Deer and elk, March 15
  • Moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, bison, May 1
  • Antelope, antlerless deer and antlerless elk, June 1
  • Supertags, June 28

Build Your Bonus Points

Every time you apply and fail to draw, you should gain a bonus point. This gives you an extra chance in the next drawing. But undoubtedly, everyone else that failed to draw, likely got a bonus point too. All we can say is, hang in there and keep applying.

Montana Application Frustration

Old Pointer says: Can’t pull a special permit? Go bird hunting!

Old Pointer is Montana Whiskey Co.'s wise hunting dog.

Every year,  hunters apply for Montana’s special permits and licenses, then anxiously check for the Montana hunting draw results, hoping to get the opportunity to hunt trophy mule deer, big bull elk, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and more. But in the name of Montana’s careful, world-class wildlife management, these opportunities are carefully handed out.

And this sometimes causes a bit of frustration. You might hear stories like the guy from New Jersey who pulled a moose tag on his first try, when many Montanans with plenty of bonus points have been putting in for decades without luck. Reality check: They may never pull a moose tag! But don’t worry, this great article from Montana Outdoors magazine (Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks own publication) assures us the special permit drawings are random and fair. Random is a curious critter.