Hunters and anglers can expect a few changes this year when they buy their 2020 licenses starting March 1.
The most visible change Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks customers will see is a change to license paper. Starting this year, both licenses and carcass tags will be printed on normal-sized paper, and license buyers will be able to print them at home.
For years, FWP licenses and tags have been produced on weather-resistant paper. However, this paper is not only expensive, but requires printing technology so outdated that it’s almost impossible to replace. The switch to standard 8.5 by 11-inch paper will provide significant savings and ultimately be easier for customers.
What this means is hunters won’t have to wait for special permits or licenses to come in the mail from FWP, but rather will be able to print them at home or at their local license provider.
This change also will reinforce the ability in Montana to have your license electronically on your mobile device and not printed out in your pocket. While carcass tags still need to be printed out, other licenses, such as a fishing license, do not. If checked in the field, this electronic version of your license is perfectly legal.
FWP recommends that people carry small plastic bags with them while hunting, and place validated carcass tags in the bags before attaching them to an animal. Small plastic bags ideal for this application will be available at all license providers, but any small sandwich bag will work.
Additionally, in 2020, hunters applying for licenses or permits will be able to do so online or at an FWP office. Mail-in applications will no longer be accepted.
With modern technology, the number of online applications continues to steadily grow. Eighty-six percent of Montana hunters now choose this method. The small percentage of mail-in applications creates a time-consuming, expensive and inefficient delay in the license-drawing process. Mail-in applications must be entered manually in the licensing system, leaving room for human error and delays.
Customers who still look for written guidance to help them through the application process will be able to find information sheets online or at an FWP office in the coming weeks. These information sheets will not be accepted as applications.
This simple change means that drawing results will now be available two weeks after the application deadline, rather than six weeks, allowing hunters to begin making plans for the upcoming season that much earlier.