Montana Deer Hunting

With more species of mammals than any other state, Montana caters to hunters at home and abroad, for a price. Outfitters have had thousands of licenses set aside for them for years, yet with a new ruling, hunting in the Treasure State may have taken a turn.

Non-Montanans will see a deer license increase of around 200 dollars, approximately a 40% increase. A lottery, with no guaranteed licences, will give everyone an equal chance to hunt the state, provided there is no sticker shock. Ideally, every license would sell, thus increasing revenue upwards of two million dollars per year.

A move that aims to free up more private land to hunt may in fact do nothing of the sort. Guaranteed outfitter licenses funded public access to private land through block management; this newly passed initiative 161, however, ventures into unknown territory. Guided hunts being handled by an outfitter on private land rids the land owner of managing hunters, while opening private land to in-state or out-of-state hunters is an entirely different scenario. Private hunting clubs may fill the gap. The assumption that all non-resident licenses will indeed sell and the aforementioned revenue to be generated is not set in stone. Outfitters will still be in demand, but will no longer have the ability to book clientele in advance. Whether it will help or hinder them in their entrepreneurship remains to be seen. We believe the big outfitters are here to stay.

Another factor could put a damper on the overall picture. A newly introduced mammal, one that was previously hunted with population plans maintained by the state’s preference, is thriving. None other than the wolf. With minimal estimates, the last decade has seen this animal multiply in number seven times. Now, it’s an endangered species. A high coyote population coupled with a newer predator on the loose, an unregulated one at that, may cut further into deer and other big game totals.

Mule deer and whitetail alike are decreased in number over previous years, a small piece of Montana’s hunting pie. Rut dates occur prevalently through the second week of November towards the end of the month.

Montana Deer Hunting Facts

  • Around 500,000 deer in the state
  • Top typical buck is 207 7/8, illegally taken in Teton County in 2004 and now in Montana’s Fish, Wildlife, and parks custody
  • Top non-typical buck is 275 7/8, taken by Peter Zemljak Sr. in the Highland Mountains in 1962, surpassing his son’s record setting 275 1/8 two years prior

Montana, a Spanish word for mountain, may be looking to climb one of their own creation. Will there be less tourism? More revenue or less? More huntable land? Only time will tell. Until then, enjoy all the hunting available to ye Montanans.

Popular Public Hunting Areas in Montana

Beckman WMA – Over 6,500 acres of grassland hunting. For more information, check out the Montana Fish and Wildlife’s WMA Site Detail.

Montana Private Hunting Areas

Do you own private hunting land or offer guided hunts in Montana? Contact us about a listing in this section!

Other Resources

For Montana hunting license information, rules and regulations, visit the Montana Hunting and Trapping License page and the Montana Hunting Regulations page.