Deer Hunting in Montana

Back to All State Reports
  • B
  • 210,000

    Est. Whitetail Population

  • 145,000 (whitetail and mule deer)

    No. Licenses Sold Annually

  • $20 and up

    Licenses, tags, and processing fees vary greatly.

    Resident hunting license and deer permit

  • $75 and up

    Licenses, tags, and processing fees vary greatly.

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • 199 3/8"

    Taken by Thomas Dellwo in Missoula County in 1974 and currently ranked 21st.

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • 101

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 252 1/8"

    Taken by Frank Pleskac in Hill County in 1968 and currently ranked 91st.

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 58

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Nate Hosie with his biggest buck ever. Image courtesy of Nate Hosie

Season Dates (2021):

Archery season runs from September 4 to October 17, and the general rifle season from October 23 to November 28. Youth season is October 21-22. There are additional seasons by zone. Please check the state DNR’s website to confirm individual unit season dates.

The Grade: B

Montana doesn’t produce many B&C bucks, but P&Y-class deer abound. Factor in millions of acres of public land (44% of the state), reasonable hunter densities and tag opportunities, along with breathtaking scenery, and Big Sky Country earns a solid B this season.  

Of course it’s the Northwest, and deer are susceptible to winterkill. Montana has had its bouts with harsh winters, and some severe EHD outbreaks in the last decade. Still, the herd is in great shape, and wildlife agency biologists expect 2021 to be a banner year.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

National forests (such as Custer) and Bureau of Land Management and state trust lands offer significant opportunities. And king of it all (because it’s overlooked) is the Block Management Program, where private landowners can open up their lands to public hunting. This cooperative effort between Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and private landowners helps them manage deer herds and provide public hunting access.

While great public-ground deer hunting abounds throughout the state, southeastern Montana is a prime destination for pure opportunity. This area is flush with deer and public land. Western counties produce the majority of the top-end bucks.

Montana Harvests

  • Eliza Sautter

    Meagher, Montana

  • Eliza Sautter

    Broadwater County , Montana

From the Realtree Trophy Den