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Buy & Apply Licenses & Permits FAQ

License definitions

In Montana, there are two primary types of licenses:

  • General licenses that can be purchased over the counter

  • Special limited permits and licenses that are available through drawings

The availability of special limited permits and licenses is dependent on the hunting district and/or species you want to hunt, and what you would like to hunt with, such as rifle or archery equipment.

Hunters can apply for all special limited licenses and permits beginning March 1. That includes deer, elk, antelope, moose, sheep, goat, bison and B licenses.

To apply for a special license/permit, hunters can apply online through the Online Licensing System or at an FWP regional office. General licenses can be purchased over the counter at all license providers.

What are the most common application errors?

The most common errors found on applications are:

  • Missing information on the mandatory and general portion of an application, e.g., no signatures

  • No payment, wrong amount of money, wrong form of payment, e.g., nonresidents paying with personal checks

  • Missing supplemental information, e.g., copy of Hunter Education Certificate

  • Not marking "yes" on preference point or bonus point

  • Not writing in the correct 5 digit number for hunting district opportunity

What is an ALS number & how do I find it?

ALS stands for Automated Licensing System. An ALS number is assigned by date of birth, followed by 1-3 digits sequentially.

All applicants applying since 2001 will have an ALS number. If you have not applied since 2001, you will be assigned an ALS number once you apply for or purchase a license.

You can find your ALS number located at the top of any previous Montana license/permit.

If you can't find your ALS number, click here.

Call our Licensing Division at (406) 444-2950 if you have questions.

What is the difference between Landowner Sponsor and Landowner Preference?

The difference is:

  • Nonresident Landowner Sponsor Deer Combination Licenses may be applied for when a Montana resident land owner is granting access to hunting on their property. The landowner must be registered with the Special Licensing Bureau. The landowner will send a certificate to each of the hunters who plan to apply and the applicant will send the certificate with their completed application. If drawn, the hunter must conduct all deer hunting on the landowner’s property. The Upland Game Bird & Fishing licenses that come with the deer combination license are not restricted to the landowner’s property.


  • Landowner Preference is for landowners (resident or nonresident) to get enhanced opportunities in drawing certain special permits or licenses. Fifteen percent of each hunting district quota for deer B and antelope licenses, and for deer permits are set aside for landowners owning, or contracting to purchase, 160 acres or more of land used primarily for agriculture and located in that hunting district. Fifteen percent of each hunting district quota for elk licenses and permits are set aside for landowners owning, or contracting to purchase, 640 or more acres of land used by elk in that hunting district.

When does a license year begin?

The general license year begins March 1 of each year. Over-the-counter licenses are typically available to purchase mid-August.

What is a Bonus Point and can I buy a point without applying?

Bonus points increase your chances of drawing a permit or license.  

Bonus points offer you additional chances in the drawing. Bonus points accumulate until you are successful in the drawing. You can only purchase one bonus point per license year for each type of permit or license. You can purchase a bonus point  one of two ways: 

  • When you apply for a license or permit 

  • Separately from July 1 through Sept. 30. If you apply for a license or permit but do not purchase a bonus point when you apply, you will not have the opportunity to purchase a point from July 1 through Sept. 30. 

You can only purchases one bonus point per license year.  

How bonus points are used 

If you purchase a bonus point with your application, your accumulated points and the point you purchased with your application are squared. For example, if you have accumulated 3 bonus points from prior years and purchase one when you apply this year, you'll have 17 total chances in the drawing; your 4 bonus points will be squared (42=16) and your application would count as one chance for a total of 17.  

If you do not purchase a bonus point with your application, any accumulated bonus points are not used in the drawing and you’ll have one chance in the drawing. For example, if you accumulated 3 points from prior license years, and you do not purchase a bonus point when you apply this year, you would have one chance in the drawing and you will keep your accumulated points. 

If you are successful in drawing the license or permit using your bonus points, then your bonus points will be reset to zero. However, if you are unsuccessful in drawing your first choice for a license or permit, and you are successful in drawing your second or third choice, then your bonus points will not be reset to zero. 



Check Drawing Statistics online at MyFWP to see how bonus points affect your chances.

How can I update my personal information or mailing address?

If you have not changed your residency status and are applying/purchasing online, you can update your information at that time.

If you have moved to another state, send an e-mail or call the Licensing Bureau at (406) 444-2950.

What are the different ways to apply and/or purchase a drawing license?

There are two ways to apply and/or purchase a special limited permit and license that are available through drawings:

  • Purchase through FWP's Online Licensing System. Nonresident Landowner preference MUST apply online first and then submit required supporting documents.

  • Application can be completed at any FWP office that sells licenses. 

In order to apply for special permits and enter the drawing, you will need to supply a valid email address at the time of application. If successful in a draw, a tag will be MAILED or if you selected E-tags they will show in the app.

All special permit applicants can check their status by visiting, then clicking on the MyFWP tab at the top, then on Check Drawing Results, Register for Lists button on the left.

Call our Licensing Division at (406) 444-2950 if you have questions.

How do I purchase a SuperTag Lottery ticket?

Each year, eight lucky hunters win a SuperTag license. The SuperTag can be used in any hunting district in Montana, including the state's legendary trophy districts.

SuperTag chances are available for moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, antelope, elk, deer, bison, and mountain lion. One SuperTag will be drawn for each species. 

Revenue from the new SuperTag sales is used to enhance hunting access and boost FWP enforcement efforts.


Purchase Deadlines

Moose, sheep, goat, deer, elk, antelope, bison, and mountain lion: June 30


How to Purchase

You must have a current year's Conservation license to purchase SuperTag chances. An unlimited number of chances may be purchased at $5 per chance. To purchase chances online go to FWP's Online Licensing Service. You’ll receive a receipt verifying purchase that lists your lottery numbers. SuperTag chances are also available for purchase at FWP offices and license providers.


Drawing Date

Moose, sheep, goat, deer, elk, antelope, bison, and mountain lion: mid-July each year


Check Your Drawing Status

Go to MyFWP and log in for your drawing status


If You Win a SuperTag

If you win a SuperTag, and also draw a license or permit through FWP’s special permit license drawings, you will be required to surrender that license or permit before receiving the SuperTag. FWP will refund the license fee associated with the special permit or license and reinstate any bonus points. Montana’s seven-year wait for individuals who draw a moose, sheep or goat license through Montana’s special permit license drawings will not be imposed on SuperTag winners.

When will Surplus hunting Licenses go on sale?

Licenses and permits may be made available for purchase after the drawing if the department receives fewer applications than the number of licenses available for the department to issue. These licenses are called surplus licenses. Licenses and permits designated as a first and only choice in the drawing will not go to surplus.

To purchase a surplus license, you must first sign up for the Surplus License List during the sign-up dates shown in the table below. The dates are dependent upon the date each drawing is held and are subject to change from year to year.

2023 Surplus Schedule


Surplus List Sign-up Dates

Deer Permit

6/20/2023 - 7/20/2023

Elk Permit

6/20/2023 - 7/20/2023

Deer B License

6/20/2023 - 7/20/2023

Elk B License

6/20/2023 - 7/20/2023


8/9/2023 - 8/23/2023

Antelope B

8/9/2023 - 8/23/2023


8/9/2023 - 8/23/2023


8/9/2023 - 8/23/2023

Special Mountain Lion

8/9/2023 - 8/23/2023


Resident and nonresident hunters can sign up through the MyFWP portal. Payment of the license fee is not required at the time you sign up on the Surplus License List.

Once the sign-up period is closed, the list will be randomized and hunters at the top of the list will be contacted via email with instructions to finalize their purchase. Hunters must keep their email address current in their ALS record. Hunters must finalize the purchase of the license/permit within the timeframe specified in the email (typically a five day window), otherwise, your opportunity will be offered to the next hunter on the randomized list. Obtaining a license from this list has no effect on your existing bonus points.

After the surplus purchase dates listed in the table shown above have closed, remaining unsold surplus licenses may be made available to purchase over-the-counter at any license sale providers.

License limits per hunter:

  • The total number of Deer B licenses/permits a hunter may hold each year (through a combination of licenses acquired through drawings, purchased over the counter and through surplus sales) is a total seven. Hunters electing Deer B license/permit opportunities will have the option to purchase two through the Surplus List. Nonresident hunters who hold a Nonresident Combination License may possess a total of two Deer B Licenses. Nonresident hunters who do not hold a Nonresident Combination License may possess a total of one Deer B License.
  • For Elk and Elk B licenses, a hunter may hold a maximum of three each year. Only one of the three can be a general elk license, and two could be Elk B licenses through various sources such as the original drawing, game damage, or surplus. If you do not hold a general Elk license, you could obtain up to three Elk B licenses. Hunters electing Elk B license opportunities through the Surplus License List may only purchase one. However, additional opportunities up to your maximum of three may be made available through over the counter or damage hunt sales.
  • For antelope licenses, a hunter may hold up to three in a year, of which, one can be either sex. Hunters electing Antelope license opportunities will have the option to purchase one through the Surplus License List.

For more information, contact the FWP licensing office at 406-444-2950.