By Montana Grant

Posted: March 4, 2023


It’s time to buy a new license in Montana. Some states vary with license dates. In Maryland, you renew your license one year after the purchase. If you bought the license in July, then it’s good until next July.

Montana’s need a License to Kill. If you want to keep fish, harvest big game, or trek into public lands, you need to license up. One fast way to get your paperwork is with a Sportsman with or without Bear tag. I am not a bear hunter so without that tag is fine for me. This combination tag includes your fishing license, upland birds, deer, elk, archery tag, base hunting license, state lands stamp, and AIS pass. Some of these are add ons that you can choose.

You can go to your regional FWP office or sporting goods store to License up. I did mine online. Simply search for MTFWP. This website has a link for license renewal/purchases. You need your Montana driver’s license, ALS #, and a credit card. Follow the prompts and within minutes, you are license legal once again.

Make several copies of my hard copy. They end up in my gear, vests, and boxes. No one wants to get a ticket due to not having your license on you. Forgetting to take one copy from your vest to your tackle box, to your game vest can be a challenge.

You can take a picture of the license and simply display it when asked. On one warden encounter, at Martindale Reservoir, an overzealous, and rude warden, asked for my license. I showed him my cell phone copy and he went back to his truck. The next thing that I know, he’s giving me a ticket for not signing the license copy displayed on my phone!

 Hold Your Horses! I went into my tackle box and pulled out a hard copy that was signed. Boy did he get pissed! He had to tear up the ticket. He asked to see my license, not my signature. Make sure to sign your license before you take a photograph of it.

Most warden encounters are friendly and welcome. Most of these officers are friendly and professional. Honor their directions and celebrate that they enforce laws and policy that protects and conserves our wild lands and critters.

Sadly, it is becoming harder to know where land boundaries are. With GPS and modern technology, sportsmen can find themselves trespassing in a hurry. This means another expense. These handheld units cost hundreds of dollars. Cellphone apps will work but are not free. They also are worthless when you have no signal or satellite fix. Hunting within our vast mountain lands is easy but confined lands are a different story.

Word of mouth from a landowner is never enough. Get permission in writing. Carry some permission forms in your license pack just in case. I also make a copy of my license, hunter safety cards, truck id, and phone number to give to the landowner.

Ignorance is no excuse. Remember too that the Fishing Access Law does not allow access for hunting. Read the rules and regulations carefully.

License up before you pull the trigger or set the hook!

Montana Grant

New Podcast!

Riley's Meats - Butte Wild Game Processing