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The information on this page is intended as a guideline only. Applicants should always refer to the most recent Montana Code Annotated prior to applying for licenses for specific terms, details and requirements.

  • Residency requirements are fully defined in Montana Code Annotated 87-2-102

Residency Requirements

To be a lawful Montana resident and eligible to purchase any Montana resident fishing, hunting, and trapping licenses, you must,

  • have been physically living in Montana for at least 180 consecutive days immediately prior to purchasing a resident license;

  • register your vehicle(s) in Montana;

  • be registered to vote in Montana if you’re registered to vote at all;

  • not possess (or have applied for any) current resident hunting, fishing, or trapping privileges in another state or country;

  • file Montana state income tax returns as a resident, if you are required to file.

Once you have established your residency, you must continue to meet all these requirements and physically reside in Montana as your principal or primary place of abode for not less than 120 days per year (days need not be consecutive).

A person is NOT considered a resident for the purposes of this section if the person:

  • claims residence in any other state or country for any purpose; or

  • is an absentee property owner paying property tax on property in Montana.

Montana ID

To purchase an annual resident Conservation License, you will be required to show

  • a valid Montana Driver’s License (MDL),

  • a valid Montana Identification Card (MIC), or

  • a valid Tribal Identification Card per MCA 87-2-106.

If your MDL or MIC was issued less than six months ago, you may be required to show additional proof of residency. An out-of-state driver’s license is NOT an acceptable form of ID for resident license purchases. Contact your local FWP office for specifics

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Nonresidents

Montana offers three general hunting packages to nonresidents through a random drawing:

  • General Deer Combination

  • General Elk Combination

  • General Big Game (Deer & Elk) Combination

Other individualized combination opportunities include:

  • Landowner Sponsored Deer License

  • Come Home to Hunt License

  • Nonresident Native License

  • Youth Combination License

  • Nonresident Student Hunters

All Combination licenses include a season Fishing license and Upland Bird license. Conservation license, base hunting license fee, and Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass (AISPP) must be purchased separately.

An applicant may apply for only one Combination license. Nonresident hunters can increase their likelihood of drawing a Combination license by accumulating Preference Points (see below).

For more information, click here or call (406) 444-2950.

Members of the Military and Residency Status

Generally, a member of the regular armed forces of the United States, a member’s spouse or dependent who resides in the member’s household, or a member of the armed forces of a foreign government attached to the regular armed forces of the United States is considered a resident for the purposes of hunting, fishing and trapping licensing if:

  1. The member was a resident of Montana under the residency provisions decribed in the Residency Requirements section of this page above and detailed in Montana Code Annotated 87-2-102; OR

  2. The member is currently stationed in and assigned to active duty in Montana, has resided in Montana for at least 30 days, and presents official assignment orders and proof of completion of a hunter safety course approved by the department, or a certificate verifying the successful completion of a hunter safety course in any state or province. The 30-day residence requirement is waived in time of war. Reassignment to another state, United States territory, or country terminates Montana residency for purposes of hunting, fishing and trapping licensing, except that a reassigned member continues to qualify as a resident if the member’s spouse and dependents continue to physically reside in Montana and the member continues to meet the residency criteria described in the Residency Requirements section of this page. The designation of Montana by a member of the regular armed forces as a “home of record” or “home of residence” in that member’s armed forces records does not determine the member’s residency for purposes of hunting, fishing and trapping licensing.

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A member of the regular armed forces of the United States who is otherwise considered a Montana resident pursuant to item 1 above does not forfeit that status as a resident because the member, by virtue of that membership, also possesses, has applied for, or has received resident hunting, fishing, or trapping privileges in another state or country.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>