Obtaining a hunting license in Montana follows a fairly straightforward path: applicants must successfully complete a hunter education course, purchase a license and be at least 11 years old. Montana places greatest emphasis on completing hunting courses: candidates between the ages of 11 and 17 must complete courses in person, while individuals age 18 and older may take courses online, but still appear in person for field tests.
Although states vary in their hunting license requirements, Montana follows minimum guidelines established by the International Hunter Education Association, or IHEA. After successfully completing Montana hunting courses, applicants receiving a Montana state license may legally hunt in all other states.
For convenience, Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks agency hosts classes in various formats throughout the year. The agency encourages parents of younger children to attend courses, although the presence or absence of parents does not affect the licensing process. The agency offers free hunting education courses, but students pay for their own licenses upon completing courses.
Classes typically last 2 days or cover a time period of 12 hours. With completion of courses, applicants demonstrate knowledge of safe hunting practices by taking a Montana state exam. The state issues licenses following receipt of a passing grade.
The practice of mandating hunting education dates back to the 1940s; since starting formal education courses, Montana reports a sharp decline in hunting accidents.