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Montana nonresident spring turkey and black bear hunting suspended due to COVID-19

Montana nonresident turkey and bear seasons closed due to COVID-19

Photo credit: Brady Miller

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks just shut down the nonresident turkey and black bear seasons until at least April 24. Spring turkey season, which begins April 11, and spring black bear season, which begins April 15, will still be open to residents

The following is an urgent press release

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Following the extension of Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s directive that out of state travelers must quarantine for 14 days, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks director Martha Williams has suspended nonresident hunting seasons for spring turkey and black bear until at least April 24.

On Tuesday, Gov. Bullock extended the mandatory quarantine directive related to COVID-19 through April 24 for travelers arriving in Montana from another state or country. The quarantine directive for out-of-state travelers applies to public outdoor recreation, grocery shopping and other activities. Those entering Montana from other states carry the risk of spreading COVID-19 to Montana residents. Surrounding states are taking similar measures to protect their own citizens and limit the spread of COVID-19.

“We place a high value on the ability to get outside and hunt, both for our residents and visitors. However, suspending the nonresident turkey and black bear seasons for now will keep everyone safer and help all of us remain consistent with Gov. Bullock’s directives,” Director Williams said.

Spring turkey season, which begins April 11, and spring black bear season, which begins April 15, will still be open to resident hunters; however, travel and social distancing directives need to be followed as hunters make their plans and head into the field.

Nonresidents who wish to return their license will be issued a refund.

For more information related to FWP’s response to COVID-19, please look online at

See all COVID-19 state updates here


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Tyler C. - posted 1 month ago on 04-24-2020 11:37:10 am

@Paul, just called FWP - we can hunt tomorrow! Later than I hoped but at least it's happening before the bear season really heats up.

Paul J. - posted 1 month ago on 04-20-2020 08:04:38 pm

Thanks Brady, appreciate the response!

Tyler C. - posted 1 month ago on 04-20-2020 11:36:48 am

Thanks Brady, much appreciated! Very disappointed to see MT FWP do this while Oregon, Idaho, etc. use more common sense when it comes to allowing people who are already living here to hunt.

As for Deer/Elk Combo. My friend did not draw either, however, I drew but I had 2 points. It might be an issue of point creep - sorry! Also interested to see if they limited tags, I really hope not. Hopefully a lot of tags are turned back in and you guys (and my friend) can pick them up in May.

Brady J. Miller
Brady M. - posted 1 month ago on 04-20-2020 11:32:54 am
Las Vegas, NV
goHUNT Team

Hey Nate. I'm in the same boat and didn't draw my deer/elk combo. I'm very interested to see the draw report.

@Tyler and Paul - I'm going to send an email and voice my thoughts on this issue for you guys. That is straight silly that they won't let you hunt because of that. Hopefully, we can draw enough attention to this issue and get you out hunting soon.

Nate J. - posted 1 month ago on 04-14-2020 08:23:27 pm

Montana will feel the pain economy from this. Majority of the revenue is from out of state hunters, some communities depend on this for their livelihood. Also, this is the first year I have not drawn a deer/elk combo. I heard it was due to COVID. Anyone else have this issue or hear anything?

Paul J. - posted 1 month ago on 04-14-2020 06:25:40 pm

Tyler, I am in the same boat as you. Moved to Montana back in December and purchased my spring bear tag last week. I see no reason why someone who can prove they live in Montana but are awaiting residency cant hunt.

Tyler C. - posted 1 month ago on 04-10-2020 02:33:47 pm

As someone who recently moved to MT, I've emailed FWP encouraging them to amend this similarly to how Idaho did.
Montana FWP SHOULD allow people who moved to Montana to establish residency less than 6 months ago to use their nonresident license, tag, or permit under these conditions:
1. Person produces a Montana driver’s license, or a person produces two documents issued by a third party showing name and Montana residence address, such as rent, mortgage receipts or utility bills.
2. Person signs a declaration demonstrating bona fide intent to become an Montana resident.

This is the spirit of the order and I'm sure it is not just me who is impacted by this.