The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Untouched, COVID-19 will have only a Minor Impact on the Montana Hunting Season


August 19, 2020

Finally, something that is pretty much just as we expect it! The Montana Upland Bird and Big Game Hunting seasons are right around the corner. In fact, the 900 Series Antelope only Archery season got started this past Saturday, August 15. The 900 Series is a Antelope only Archery Season for any license holder to hunt antelope of either sex in any hunting district starting with a 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Hunting and fishing in Montana and especially for us living on the Hi-line is a big part of who we are as a whole. 2020 has been anything but normal and it seems like everything we used to do has a whole new set of rules to play by this year. Many events have been postponed or outright canceled. Fortunately, social distancing is already built into the general concept of hunting and your hunts are outside. It’s also probably safe to say that your hunt will most definitely not be part of a large gathering.

Hunting this fall for the most part will be just as we remember it to be, with a few minor adjustments to be made along the way to the hunting grounds. As we are all aware, restaurants and convenience stores have new in place protocols they have to follow by either the Governors mandate or a new company policy. Counties with more than 4 active COVID-19 cases also have to adhere to the Governors mandate.

The only noticeable change in this year’s process will be with the purchasing of licenses. According to the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks website the following has been put in place:

In response to COVID-19 and to protect the public as well as staff, FWP has decided to mail our carcass tags, just as we have done in years past. We understand that some people don’t have access to a printer at home. If you purchased a license that requires a carcass tag already this year and have not printed it at home yet, FWP will also mail your carcass tag to you. For the foreseeable future, people interested in getting help with application and licensing questions should call the FWP Licensing Call Center at 406-444-2950 or email

The good news is once you get to your destination your hunt will be the escape and joyful experience you have been looking forward to.

Montana Hunting Seasons this fall are as follows: 2020 Antelope Season: 900 Series, August 15 – November 8; Archery, September 5 – October 9; General, October 10 – November 8. 2020 Deer and Elk Season: Archery, September 5 – October 18; Two Day Youth Hunt (Deer Only) October 15-16; General, October 24 – November 29; Backcountry (HD’s 150, 151, 280, 316) – Archery, September 5 – September 14; General, September 15 - November 29; Elk Shoulder Seasons: Varying dates before and/or after archery/general season.

For most licenses’ application have already been filled out and recipients of those drawing tags have already been notified. There are however available licenses that can be purchased:

Base Hunting License Fee - Available OTC - This is an annual fee and will be assessed at the time the hunter purchases or applies for his/her first hunting license (including upland and migratory bird).

Bow and Arrow (Archery) - Available OTC - A Bow and Arrow license, plus the proper hunting licenses, is required during: 1) an Archery Only Season for any species; or 2) to archery hunt in an Arch-Equip only area or hunting district. Prerequisite: See bowhunter education requirements.

Conservation - Available OTC - A Conservation License is a prerequisite for all resident and nonresident licenses. It includes the state lands license (for hunting, fishing and trapping). It also allows a resident or nonresident who is a Legion of Valor member, regardless of age, to fish.

Black Bear license can be purchased over the counter (OTC). Licenses purchased after August 31 may not be used until 24 after the license is issued and is not available to apprentice hunters. Hunters must also show proof of having passed a ‘bear identification test’ before purchasing a Black Bear License.

Deer - Available OTC - General - License is valid for one deer. Hunters may hold only one general deer license, which can be used for deer as indicated under the “General Deer License” heading on the deer and elk hunting regulations.

Montana residents 17 and under, holders of a disabled resident conservation license, or residents 62 years and older may purchase this license. Deer B — Information available at the counter. Deer B — Antlerless Whitetail, Single Region , not available for all regions.

Elk - Available OTC - General - License is valid for one elk. Hunters may hold only one general elk license, which can be used for elk as indicated under the “General Elk License” heading on the deer and elk hunting regulations. Montana residents 12-17, holders of a disabled resident conservation license, or residents 62 years and older may purchase this license. Elk B — OTC

Migratory Bird (Waterfowl, Sandhill Cranes, Mourning Doves & Snipe) - OTC - Residents and nonresidents, 17 and under, need to purchase a Conservation and Base Hunting License and may purchase a Migratory Bird. Federal Waterfowl Stamp is also required for individuals, both resident and nonresident, 16 and older.

These are just some of the more common licenses sought by over the counter purchase, for a complete list of available licenses, visit or stop by a local office for more information.

Enjoy your hunt.


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