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Hunt > Landowner Programs Long-term Hunting Access

Creative ways to allow public hunting access in perpetuity

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ Long-Term Hunting Access program seeks to work with private landowners whose desire is to secure and allow free public hunting access to private lands in perpetuity through an access easement.

Program at a Glance

The Long-Term Hunting Access program works with private landowners to secure or protect existing hunting access, or create new hunting access to private lands for the benefit of resident and nonresident hunters.

Who is Eligible

To be eligible for the Long-Term Hunting Access program private landowners, or representative, must be willing to provide public hunting access, in accordance with program guidelines on private lands under their control from September 1-January 1 in perpetuity through an access easement. Year-round access is preferred, but not required and a priority will be placed on projects providing access to public lands.

Agreement Details

Agreements will be between the private landowner and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Agreement duration will be in perpetuity and be conveyed with the title of the property.

Landowner will annually determine when, where, and how the public hunters may access the private land and may restrict access during specific times in accordance with program guidelines and in collaboration with FWP.

Landowner Liability

Landowners enrolled in the Long-Term Hunting Access program are provided liability protection under state law through 70-16-302, Montana Code Annotated (MCA) as long as no access/trespass fees are charged. Landowners are also possibly eligible for reimbursement through FWP's Livestock Loss Reimbursement Program.

Landowner Benefits

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks or another entity may provide a one-time up-front payment based on the amount of access provided perpetually. Alternatively or in addition, FWP may agree to manage access in perpetuity through an assignment of an access component of a conservation easement held by another party.

Recent projects include landowners who have sought conservation easements with land trust or other non-governmental organizations. These recent easement projects utilized funds from the Natural Resource Damage Program (which requires public access) and as a result management of that perpetual access to was assigned and negotiated by FWP.

FWP may also provide hunter management assistance dependent upon need, property rules and program availability.

FWP will likely provide and post signs and develop property maps with associated rules for each property enrolled in collaboration with the landowner.

How to Discuss a Potential Agreement

Landowners should contact their local Fish, Wildlife & Parks Hunting Access Coordinator, local FWP Biologist or FWP Warden to discuss options that will meet landowner needs and desires.