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A black bear in a forest.

Hunt Species Guide: Black Bear


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Regulations & Maps

Regulations for upcoming seasons are posted online throughout the year. Black Bear regulations are typically posted late February.

Regulations

All downloads below are in PDF format.

 

Mandatory Harvest Reporting

Hunters must call in their bear harvest within 48 hours.

  • Harvest Reporting Line: 1-877-FWP-WILD (1-877-397-9453).

In 2020, unlike in years past, FWP will not require a mandatory carcass inspection, hide seal or tooth collection. In place of mandatory tooth collection, FWP will be initiating a voluntary tooth collection process whereby a hunter may extract and submit a tooth to FWP to determine the age of the harvested black bear. FWP biologists use this age information, along with the sex of the bear, to manage bear populations in Montana.

A submission form is available here.

 

Plan Your Hunt Online

Launch maps, obtain legal descriptions, regulations, and statistics all in one place.

Seasons

These dates are provided only as a general reference. Check current regulations or use FWP's online Hunt Planner for specific dates.

 

2020 Black Bear Season Dates

Spring
April 15 – Various depending on district (May 31 - June 15)

Archery
September 5 – September 14

Fall
September 15 – November 29

 

Harvest Quota

In Bear Management Units with a harvest quota (BMUs 510, 520, & 700), when a hunting season quota is reached or approached, the black bear hunting season will close upon 48 hours notice.

Black bear harvest quota status information may be obtained:

Harvest Quota & Reports

Mandatory Harvest Reporting

Hunters must call in their bear harvest within 48 hours.

  • Harvest Reporting Line: 1-877-FWP-WILD (1-877-397-9453)

In 2020, unlike in years past, FWP will not require a mandatory carcass inspection, hide seal or tooth collection. In place of mandatory tooth collection, FWP will be initiating a voluntary tooth collection process whereby a hunter may extract and submit a tooth to FWP to determine the age of the harvested black bear. FWP biologists use this age information, along with the sex of the bear, to manage bear populations in Montana.

A submission form is available here.

 

Harvest Quota

In Bear Management Units with a harvest quota (BMUs 510, 520, & 700), when a hunting season quota is reached or approached, the black bear hunting season will close upon 48 hours notice.

Black bear harvest quota status information may be obtained:

Licenses

A hunter may purchase only one Black Bear license over the counter per year. 

 

Prerequisite

Hunters must show proof of having passed a free bear identification test before purchasing a Black Bear license.

 

Spring Season 

Details: A Black Bear license purchased after April 14 may not be used until 24 hours after the license is issued. Not available to apprentice hunters.

Fees:

  • Resident: $19

  • Nonresident: $350

 

Fall Season 

Details: A Black Bear license purchased after August 31 may not be used until 24 hours after the license is issues. Not available to apprentice hunters.

Fees:

  • Resident: $19

  • Nonresident: $350

 

Bow and Arrow (Archery)

Details: A Bow and Arrow License, plus the proper hunting license is required during black bear Archery Only Season or to archery hunt black bear in an Arch-Equip only area or hunting district.

Fees:

Resident: $10

Nonresident: $10

Application & Drawing Deadlines

Spring Application Deadline

April 14

 

Fall Application Deadline

August 31

 

Availability 

This license is available Over the Counter.

Helpful Info

Trichinella Testing Information

As of 2015, FWP no longer offers trichinella testing for bear and lion hunters. We have provided this Trichinella Information Sheet to explain the trichinella testing options.

 

Bear Identification Test

Hunters must show proof of having passed a free bear identification test before purchasing a Black Bear license.

MyFWP

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  • Tap harvest data by district and species
  • Track your points and permit status
  • Purchase licenses and apply
  • Get detailed river access information
  • Receive date reminders and updates by email
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