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Buy & Apply Residency Overview

The information on this page is intended as a guideline only. Applicants should always refer to the most recent Montana Code Annotated prior to applying for licenses for specific terms, details and requirements. Residency requirements are fully defined in Montana Code Annotated 87-2-102.

Montana FWP offers many license opportunities for Nonresident hunts. Refer to the Buy & Apply > Hunting Licenses page for details, or refer to Hunt > Regulations for license information organized by species.

Generally, a person who has physically resided in Montana as the person's principal or primary home or place of abode for 180 consecutive days and who meets the criteria listed below immediately before making application for any license is eligible to receive resident hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses:

  • The person's principal or primary home or place of abode is in Montana;

  • The person files Montana state income tax returns as a resident if required to file;

  • The person licenses and titles in Montana as required by law any vehicles that the person owns and operates in Montana;

  • The person does not possess or apply for any resident hunting, fishing, or trapping licenses from another state or country or exercise resident hunting, fishing, or trapping privileges in another state or country (note that certain exceptions apply for members of the regular armed forces);

  • If the person registers to vote, the person registers only in Montana.

Note that a vacant lot or a premises used solely for business purposes is not considered a principal or primary home or place of abode.

A person who obtains residency under the terms described above continue to be a resident for purposes of this section by physically residing in Montana as the person's principal or primary home or place of abode for not less than 120 days a year and by meeting the criteria listed above prior to making application for any resident hunting, fishing, or trapping license.

Montana Code defines other qualifying residency terms for members of the regular armed forces; students enrolled full-time in a postsecondary institution out of state; enrollees of job corps camps located within the state; and other qualifying requirements. 

Members of the Military and Residency Status

Generally, a member of the regular armed forces of the United States, a member's spouse or dependent who resides in the member's household, or a member of the armed forces of a foreign government attached to the regular armed forces of the United States is considered a resident for the purposes of hunting, fishing and trapping licensing if:

  1. The member was a resident of Montana under the residency provisions decribed in the Residency Requirements section of this page above and detailed in Montana Code Annotated 87-2-102; OR
  2. The member is currently stationed in and assigned to active duty in Montana, has resided in Montana for at least 30 days, and presents official assignment orders and proof of completion of a hunter safety course approved by the department, or a certificate verifying the successful completion of a hunter safety course in any state or province. The 30-day residence requirement is waived in time of war. Reassignment to another state, United States territory, or country terminates Montana residency for purposes of hunting, fishing and trapping licensing, except that a reassigned member continues to qualify as a resident if the member's spouse and dependents continue to physically reside in Montana and the member continues to meet the residency criteria described in the Residency Requirements section of this page. The designation of Montana by a member of the regular armed forces as a "home of record" or "home of residence" in that member's armed forces records does not determine the member's residency for purposes of hunting, fishing and trapping licensing.

A member of the regular armed forces of the United States who is otherwise considered a Montana resident pursuant to item 1 above does not forfeit that status as a resident because the member, by virtue of that membership, also possesses, has applied for, or has received resident hunting, fishing, or trapping privileges in another state or country.

The information on this page is intended as a guideline only. Applicants should always refer to the most recent Montana Code Annotated prior to applying for licenses for specific terms, details and requirements.