The Mystery of Nonresident Montana Hunting Licenses for Deer and Elk Explained
Just a Boone and Crocket whitetail wandering past our headquarters at Montana Whiskey Co.
Before you get lost in the details at Montana’s Fish, Wildlife & Park’s hunting licenses page, read our quick overview. (And here’s all of our hunting posts.)
But First, How Do Montana’s Resident Hunting Licenses Work?
Easy. You buy. You hunt. For Montana residents, an affordable, over-the-counter, “general” deer or elk license in Montana is a helluva ticket to hunt every fall. Go here and scroll down to find and download the latest Montana Hunting Regulations for Deer, Elk, and Antelope, and stare at your treasure trove of options: almost anywhere you go, you’ll be hunting.
How Montana’s Nonresident Hunting Licenses Work
Not so easy. You apply. You draw. You hunt. For nonresidents, hunting is a little more tricky especially now that Montana outfitters can’t supply you an outfitter-sponsored license, so save your money, be sure to review all of the options carefully (general combination, “Come Home to Hunt”, Montana native, youth, landowner sponsored), and apply for a nonresident license by April 1. Go to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Park’s Licensing Basics page and find Nonresident Licenses.
You’ll also want to study up on the Nonresident Alternates List and Preference Points to increase your odds of getting to hunt.
And what if you want to hunt big antlers with your Montana hunting license?
A general license is one thing, but for the opportunity to prowl hunting districts managed for mature, big bulls and bucks, both residents and nonresidents need to apply for a special permit by April 1. Special? Yes, permits give your license more permissions. It’s not an additional license; it’s permission to do the hunt of a lifetime for big antlers with your license. (Check Deadlines and Drawing Dates on the licensing basics page. Also, study up on the Bonus Points System to increase your odds, maybe.)
For example, you buy or draw your license and you’re now able to hunt deer and elk in many places across Montana. But if you want to hunt trophy elk in hunting district 380 (HD 380) or trophy mule deer in hunting district 270 (HD 270), for example, you need to apply for those hard-to-draw permits … and get the extra permission.
Old Pointer says: Grrrrr. Big antlers taste terrible.