As has been the case for the past two years, all hunters who purchase a deer A license this year must decide where in the state they would like to hunt during the general season. Each hunter's license must be validated. Those who select a hunting area from among the "Southwestern 8" (eight districts located in southwestern Montana) must confine their hunting of mule deer bucks to that area. Those hunters who choose to have their license validated for the remainder of the state cannot hunt within the "Southwestern 8" districts. The restrictions will not be in effect during the archery-only hunting season and they do not apply to hunting for whitetailed deer.
Licenses must be validated at the time a license is purchased. FWP will reissue a license to hunters who mistakenly validate it for the wrong area, but hunters must request that change by October 22.
The deer validation requirement was implemented in 1997 in an attempt to assist the population recovery of mule deer bucks, particularly in southwestern Montana. According to FWP Wildlife Division Administrator Don Childress, while mule deer numbers in southwestern Montana and in Montana in general are improving, the Commission opted for at least one more year of relatively conservative management to assist mule deer in their recovery.