Regulations changes and clarifications to keep in mind for hunting season
By angelamontana

Posted: September 12, 2019

Please note that a few language changes and clarifications were included in the 2019 hunting regulations. Those changes include:

Archery Equipment (MCA 87-6-401)

Addition to legal Hunting Bow wording:

  • Camera devices attached to bows for the sole purpose of filming is allowed.

Evidence of Sex:

  • It is unlawful to destroy evidence of the sex of a game animal so as to make the determination of the sex of the game animal uncertain.
  • FWP recommends leaving evidence of sex naturally attached while transporting from the field.

Glandular Scents:

  • Natural or artificial glandular scents may be used by licensed hunters to attract game animals by spraying or pouring the scent on the ground or other objects. Exception: Natural or artificial glandular scents may not be used to hunt black bears.
  • Hunters may not create a scent station where the scent continues to be dispensed without the hunter’s direct action, such as an automatic device, which drips or otherwise continues to dispense scent.
  • No scents other than glandular may be used for attracting game animals, but other scents may be used to mask human odor.

Sale of Game Animals (MCA 87-6-206)

  • A person may not purposely or knowingly sell, purchase, or exchange all or part of any game fish, bird, game animals, or fur-bearing animal, except that a person may sell, purchase or exchange:
  • Hides, heads, or mounts of game fish, birds, game animals, or fur-bearing animals that have been lawfully killed, captured, or taken, except that the sale or purchase of a hide, head, or mount of a grizzly bear is prohibited, except as provided by federal law;
  • Naturally shed antlers or the antlers with a skull or portion of a skull attached from a game animal that has died from natural causes and that has not been unlawfully killed, captured, or taken or accidentally killed;
  • For additional exceptions, see 87-6-26 MCA. Sale of meat is not allowed.

Motion Tracking Devices

  • It is unlawful for a person, while hunting to possess any electronic motion tracking device or mechanism that is designed to track the motion of a game animal and relay information on the animal’s movement to the hunter.
  • Motion tracking devices are defined by F&W Commission to include remote operated camera or video devices capable of transmitting real time information, pictures or videos; seismic devices; thermal imaging devices; and satellite and radio telemetry devices.
  • Devices that send information wirelessly to hunters while hunting are not allowed. Viewing or checking a device in person, while not hunting is lawful.
  • A radio-tracking collar attached to a dog that is used by a hunter engaged in lawful hunting activities is not considered an unlawful motion-tracking device.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles UAV (CR) – Use of Drones

It is unlawful for a person to use an UAV/drone for the purposes of concentrating, pursuing, driving, rallying, or stirring up any game animal. A UAV/drone may not be used to locate game animals for the purposes of:  hunting those animals during the same hunting day after a UAV/drone has been airborne, or providing information for another person for the purposes of hunting those animals within the same hunting day after the UAV/drone has been airborne. UAVs/drones are not allowed to film a hunt.

Transfer of Animal

Effective Oct. 1, 2019, hunters that harvest a species that has mandatory department biological inspection requirement may transfer that animal to another person to get inspected by FWP. A statement of possession must be completed and be signed by the hunter and the person receiving possession. The form is available on the FWP website, http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/licenses/hunting.html, and must accompany the portion of carcass presented for inspection.

Recovery of bighorn sheep skulls, horns

With the passage of Senate Bill 344 into law, it is now legal to pick up and possess the skulls and horns of bighorn sheep that died of natural causes. Those who recover horns and/or skulls must report the find to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks within 48 hours and present it to FWP for inspection and plugging within 10 days. The fee for inspection and plugging is $25.

Recovery of bighorn skulls and horns is still prohibited at Montana State Parks and the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. In addition, certain restrictions may apply to National Parks and other National Fish & Wildlife Service lands; these land management agencies should be contacted directly about any restrictions.

Recovered bighorn sheep skulls and horns may not be sold, bartered or purchased and may not be transferred to another person without a permit issued from FWP. FWP may suspend the recovery of horns and skulls in an area if a disease-related die-off event occurs. Natural caused death does not include animals that were accidentally killed, captured, taken or struck by a vehicle.

The term “horn” means the hollow horn sheath of a male mountain sheep, either attached to the skull or separated from the skull. Those who find a big horn sheep skull or horns can call the FWP regional headquarters, area offices or warden or biologist to report their find.

Unlawful recovery and possession of horns and skulls from mountain sheep can result in a significant fine, up to $30,000 in restitution, imprisonment, or both, and the potential forfeiture of any current Montana hunting, fishing and trapping licenses and the privilege thereof for a period of time set by the court.