HELENA – Montana mountain lion hunters will find some significant changes to the mountain lion regulations this year, including changes to season structure and licensing types.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks offers three types of lion licenses for sale this season: a general mountain lion license, a limited special mountain lion license (must have applied by July 22), and an unlimited special mountain lion license. Hunters may only purchase or apply for one license. The exception is those who do not draw a limited special license may then purchase a general license.
The changes to the mountain lion license structures were approved by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission earlier this year. Lion hunters are urged to review the regulationsbefore purchasing a license.
The mountain lion seasons are broken up into three:
- Archery season is Sept. 3 – Oct. 16
- Fall season is Oct. 22 – Nov. 27
- Winter season is Dec. 1 – April 14
Here’s a rundown of what mountain lion licenses are available and what they can be used for:
- General mountain lion license.Available to purchase over the counter. Allows hunters without dogs to harvest a lion in any open lion management unit (LMU) during the archery and fall seasons. In the winter season, this license allows a hunter to harvest a mountain lion in LMUs 170, 299, 305 or 309.
- Limited special mountain lion license.Hunters must have applied for this license by July 22. (Unsuccessful applicants can purchase a general mountain lion license.) In archery and fall seasons, hunters without dogs can harvest a lion in any open LMU. In the winter season, hunters with dogs can only harvest a lion in the specific LMU for which their license is valid. Holders may harvest a mountain lion in LMUs 170, 299, 305 or 309 during the winter season. The limited special mountain lion license is not subject to quotas within the LMUs for which they are valid. The license also allows hunters to chase mountain lions during the training season, but only harvest in the unit designated on the license.
- Unlimited special mountain lion license. Hunters can purchase these over the counter before Feb. 28. At the time of purchase, hunters must designate the LMU, group of LMUs or the region they intend to hunt. In archery and fall seasons, a hunter without dogs can harvest a lion in any open LMU. In the winter season, hunters with dogs can hunt lions in the LMU, group of LMUs or the region designated at the time of purchase or until the quota for the LMU is met. This license allows a hunter to chase lions in any unit during the training season, but only harvest a lion in the unit designated on the license.
Hunters are responsible for knowing the regulations, which can be found online, or at any license retailer.
Given the significant changes in the lion seasons structures this season, hunters who purchased the wrong license can contact FWP’s license office for a refund to purchase the right license.