Open Fields for Game Bird Hunters

Thank you for your interest in Open Fields for Game Bird Hunters!

Since 2012, nearly 100 private landowners have enrolled approximately 33,000 acres of CRP with other quality habitats!

2015 Enrollment Period is Now Closed

Program Details

Open Fields for Game Bird Hunters is an exciting new program administered through FWP’s Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program (UGBEP). The goal of the Open Fields program is to conserve CRP and other quality habitats on private lands while providing walk-in hunting opportunities for game bird hunters. No further permission is required from the landowner.

For payment purposes, up to 160 CRP acres may be enrolled per landowner.

  • Landowners receive a one-time lease payment of $5.00 per CRP acre for each year that remains in their CRP contract.
  • Leases do not allow for emergency haying or grazing that is in addition to scheduled maintenance.
  • All enrolled acres are open to free walk-in public access for game bird hunting with no further permission needed.

Program Eligibility

Program eligibility map

To be considered eligible, the following crite­ria must be met:

  • All enrollments must be on private land that is legally accessible for walk-in game bird hunting
  • A minimum of 3 years remaining on USDA CRP contracts
  • CRP that is located within priority counties (green shading) will receive additional evaluation points
  • Due to different management jurisdictions, lands within Indian Reservations do not qualify.

Lands not eligible include the following:

  • Lands enrolled in Block Management (BM) in 2014
  • Non-BM lands immediately adjacent to a Block Management Area under the same ownership.
  • Lands part of an active Upland Game Bird En­hancement Program contract, unless the con­tract terminates on or before August 30, 2015
  • Stands of grass dominated by crested wheat­grass or smooth brome.

Review Process

Enrollment in Open Fields is voluntary and competitive. All applications will undergo a review and scoring process by FWP staff. Contracts will be awarded based on evaluation scores and available funding. FWP will alert applicants of their status in June 2015.

Application Submission and Deadline

Download Application

Mail your application and your required maps to FWP:

  • Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks – Wildlife Division
  • P.O. Box 200701
  • Helena, MT 59620

Application Deadline

Applications must be postmarked no later than March 30, 2015.



For more information:

  • Debbie Hohler

  • Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program Biologist
  • (406) 444-5674
  • E-mail