Possession of captive-reared upland game birds for training dogs is unlawful unless the individual has authorization from the department. That authorization is obtained by applying for and acquiring a free permit issued through each of the FWP regional offices. The applicant must state the location (township, range, and section) where the training will take place and must have permission to use that area if it is not owned by the applicant. If the birds are to be held for more than 1 day, the applicant must also describe the type of enclosure where the birds will be held. The species and number of birds that are to be used for dog training must also be indicated. A maximum of 50 birds per season (January 1 through December 31) is allowed unless the applicant provides justification for the need to use more than 50 birds. This permit does not authorize commercial shoots or organized hunts or the selling, breeding, or propagation of captive reared upland game birds. Dog training permits expire December 31 of the year of issue and a new permit must be obtained each year.
The application is reviewed by the regional office and a permit number affixed to the approved application. The permit number on the completed permit allows the holder of the permit to lawfully purchase captive-reared upland game birds from a licensed game bird farm in Montana or to have the birds shipped to the permit holder from out of state. If birds are shipped into Montana from out of state, the shipper must obtain a health certificate and an import permit for the shipment of birds from the Montana Department of Livestock (406) 444-2976. In addition, all birds shipped into Montana must be from National Poultry Improvement Program approved sources.
Dog training may not occur within 1 mile of any designated game preserve, bird nesting or management area. The applicant must attempt to flush all wild birds from the training area each day training occurs and all captive birds used must be marked with a streamer of fluorescent surveyor tape conspicuously attached prior to release at the training site. Only the individual who has obtained the dog training permit or persons accompanied by the permittee and assisting in training may shoot the birds during dog training sessions. Finally, birds may only be killed on the day they are released. All birds not killed become the property of the state.