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Birds perched on tall grass.

Hunt Species Guide: Migratory Birds

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Regulations & Maps


Regulations for upcoming seasons are posted online throughout the year. Waterfowl, Sandhill Crane, Mourning Dove & Snipe regulations are typically posted mid June.


Reporting Banded Birds

Please report the band number, location and date shot for any banded migratory game bird that you harvest to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Internet reporting of bird bands may be easily done by going to In most cases, you will quickly receive information on when and where a bird was banded.


Plan Your Hunt Online

Launch FWP's interactive map with hunting districts, harvest opportunities, and more.


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




Common (Wilson's) Snipe

  • Sept. 1 - Dec. 16

Mourning Dove

  • Sept. 1 - Oct. 30

Youth Waterfowl

  • Sept. 23-24


Pacific Flyway

Ducks (including Mergansers)

  • Sept. 30 - Jan. 12


  • Sept. 30 - Jan. 12


  • Sept. 30 - Jan. 12

Falconry: Ducks (including Mergansers), Coots and Geese

  • Sept. 30 - Jan. 12


Central Flyway

Ducks (including Mergansers)

  • Zone 1: Sept. 30 - Jan. 4

  • Zone 2: Sept. 30 - Oct. 8 Oct. 21 - Jan. 16


  • Zone 1: Sept. 30 - Jan. 4

  • Zone 2: Sept. 30 - Oct. 8 Oct. 21 - Jan. 16


  • Zone 1: Sept. 30 - Jan. 12

  • Zone 2: Sept. 30 - Oct. 8 & Oct. 21 - Jan. 24

Falconry: Ducks (including Mergansers) and Coots

  • Zone 1: Sept. 20 - Jan. 4

  • Zone 2: Sept. 20 - Oct. 8 & Oct. 21 - Jan. 16

Falconry: Geese

  • Zone 1: Sept. 30 - Jan. 12

  • Zone 2: Sept. 30 - Oct. 8 & Oct. 21 - Jan. 24

Licenses & Fees

2022 Special Light Goose Conservation Order License

Details: Only a free special light goose conservation order license is required. No other license is required. A federal “duck stamp” is not required.

Hunters participating in the Light Goose Conservation Order opportunity are not required to complete a HIP survey.


  • Resident: Free

  • Nonresident: Free


Migratory Bird License

Details: Residents and nonresidents, 17 and under, need to purchase a Conservation and Base Hunting License and may purchase a Migratory Bird License at half cost (resident - $3.25; nonresident - $25). Federal Migratory Bird Stamp is also required for individuals, both resident and nonresident, 16 and older. The federal stamp is available from the USPS as well as all FWP offices.

All migratory bird hunters in Montana, as well as in al other states, are required to take part in a National Harvest Survey Program. To comply with HIP, you must complete a survey including your name, address and date of birth before you can purchase your Montana Migratory Bird License.


  • Resident: $6.50

  • Nonresident: $50

Application & Drawing Deadlines


This license is available Over the Counter.

Duck & Goose Identification

Most FWP regional offices will have free waterfowl identification guides that you may pick up and carry while hunting.

Helpful Information


What Duck is That?

Waterfowl hunters are legally required to identify the species and even gender of the birds they shoot. For everyone else, it’s simply fun to know which duck is which.

Read the Article 
What Duck is That cover article


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