Skip to main content
Go to search page


Wild turkeys in Montana.

Conservation: Landowner Programs Open Fields for Game Bird Hunters

Open Fields works with landowners to manage CRP in a wildlife-friendly way to provide important cover for Montana’s game birds. 

Montana has lost a significant amount of CRP in recent years, and more is scheduled to expire in the near future. Conservation-incentive programs like Open Fields are geared to help landowners keep some land enrolled in CRP and to provide public game bird hunting opportunities

Program Details

Landowners may enroll up to 320 CRP acres per contiguous parcel of land. More than one application may be submitted if landownership parcels are at least ¼-mile apart.

Landowners receive a one-time lease payment of $5.00 per CRP acre (320-acre maximum per contract) for each year that remains in their CRP contract. For example, if 320 acres of CRP are enrolled for 10 years, the landowner receives a one-time payment of $16,000 in return for managing the CRP as outlined below:

  • CRP may be eligible for managed or emergency harvesting or routine grazing activities once in 5 years and must be pre-approved by FSA prior to harvesting or grazing.
  • All enrolled acres are open to free walk-in public access for game bird hunting with no further permission needed.

NEW OPTIONS: Depending on interest and funding availability, FWP will offer cost-share on ground disturbance (light disking) to help reinvigorate CRP stands.

Landowners reseeding their stand are eligible to receive an additional $5/acre for one year only (up to $1,600.00)

For additional information, please see the Open Fields Fact Sheet (PDF)

Program Eligibility

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 2 years remaining on USDA CRP contracts.

Lands not eligible for Open Fields enrollment include the following:

  • Lands enrolled in Block Management in 2022.
  • Lands immediately adjacent to a Block Management Area under the same ownership.
  • Lands part of an active Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program (UGBEP) contract.
  • Because of differing management jurisdictions, lands within Indian Reservations do not qualify.

NOTE: CRP currently located on active UGBEP projects, DNRC State Lands, or Block Management Areas may be eligible for other lease options.  For more information, contact program staff listed in the Contact tab below.  

Application Information

Download Application
Mail application and 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 April 28, 2023


Questions? Contact one of the following:
Region 4, Great Falls

Matt Strauch: 406-454-5870 or

Region 5, Billings

Megan O'Reilly: 406-247-2966 or

Region 6, Flaxvile

Ken Plourde: 406-474-2244 or

Region 7, Miles City

Justin Hughes: 406-234-0922 or

HQ, Helena

Debbie Hohler: 406-444-5674 or


Fact Sheet

Have Questions?  Check out our 2023 fact sheet for a rundown of FWP's Open Fields for Game Bird Hunters program.

Open Fields Fact Sheet 
Open Fields Sign