A new law encourages nonresidents who once lived in Montana to "come home to hunt" with parents, siblings and other close family members.
House Bill 585, passed by the 2009 Montana Legislature, makes it possible for former Montanans who purchased a resident hunting license in the past, or who have a Montana hunting education certificate, to be sponsored by a family member to obtain a nonresident combination deer or elk license.
The sponsoring adult family member must claim Montana as his or her legal residence and must have a valid Montana hunting license. The sponsor can be a parent, step-parent, grandparent, sibling, step-sibling, child, step-child, spouse, or in-law.
"The program is aimed at continuing Montana family traditions by making an effort to bring sons and daughters and family back home during hunting season," said Joe Maurier, director of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
By law the Come Home to Hunt program sets aside 500 nonresident combination deer licenses at $343 each, and 500 nonresident combination elk licenses at $643 each for a special drawing. Applicants that do not draw a Come Home to Hunt license will then be automatically entered in Montana's annual nonresident-license drawing, Maurier said.
Qualifying nonresidents must apply for either a deer or elk combination license by March 15. To actually hunt in Montana, the nonresident awarded a Come Home to Hunt license must hunt with a properly licensed adult family member. Nonresidents who apply for a Come Home to Hunt license must designate on the application the resident Montana family members who will accompany them in the field.
Proceeds from the sale of Come Home to Hunt licenses will be used by FWP to acquire public hunting access to inaccessible public land, as required by law.