Skip to main content
Go to search page

HUNT MENU

A black bear in a forest.

Hunt Species Guide: Black Bear


Automatic Notifications

Sign up to receive email or text notifications about important hunting and fishing news and announcements.

Sign Up Now 

Regulations & Maps

Regulations

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

All downloads below are in PDF format.

 

Mandatory Harvest Reporting

Within 10 days of harvesting a black bear, hunters must present to a Montana FWP official the complete bear hide and skull for the purpose of inspection, tagging, and possible removal of a tooth for aging. The hide and skull must be presented in a condition that allows full inspection and tooth collection (i.e. unfrozen). 

There is a mandatory 48-hour reporting requirement for black bear hunting in Black Bear Management Units 510, 520, and 700. When the quota is reached or approached in each of these districts, the black bear season in that district will close.

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

Black bear harvest quota status information may be obtained:

 

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.

 

2021 Black Bear Season Dates

Spring
April 15 – May 31*

*NOTE: Some districts vary; check regulations for more information.

Archery
September 4 – September 14

Fall
September 15 – November 28

 

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:

Application & Drawing Deadlines

Availability 

This license is available Over the Counter.

 

Spring Application Deadline

April 14

 

Fall Application Deadline

August 31

Licenses & Fees

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

Harvest Quota & Reports

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 Reports

  • To view annual harvest reports and more information, click here.

 

Helpful Information

Bear Identification Test

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

 

Trichinosis in Montana Bears

Trichinellosis, also called trichinosis, is a disease that people can get by eating raw or undercooked meat from animals infected with the microscopic parasite, Trichinella. Infection occurs commonly in certain wild carnivorous animals such as bear or cougar, or omnivorous animals such as domestic pigs or wild boar.

FWP recommends that all bear and lion meat be thoroughly cooked before consumption by humans or pets. For hunters who still desire Trichinella testing, they may send a tissue sample to the Montana Department of Livestock’s diagnostic lab

 

Stay Safe Around Bears

Black bears reside across most of Montana. Grizzly bears reside mostly in western Montana but are increasingly roaming into areas where they have not occupied for decades. 

All bears are potentially dangerous. The overwhelming majority of bear encounters do not involve conflict. The majority of human-bear conflicts involve bears protecting their young or a food source.

Management & Monitoring

Black bears in Montana are managed as a game animal regulated by seasons.