Montana Deer Hunting Season 2023-2024

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Get ready for deer hunting season in Montana! Montana is well-known for its mountain ranges where we can hunt Mule and White-tailed deer. Hunting in a mountainous area has unique challenges, so we best prepare. Before you get out there and hunt, ensure you have the correct licenses and permits. It’s also suggested that you get your weapon specs up to standard with state requirements. We have compiled a list of necessities you need to know before the season begins.

Season Dates 

Season dates vary depending on what weapon you are hunting with and what age category you fall into. Below is a list of the season’s dates for deer hunting in Montana from 2023-2024. If you would like more information, you can check the Montana e-regulations page.

Deer and ElkStart DateEnd DateDetails
ArcherySept 2, 2023,Oct 15, 2023,
Youth (deer only)Oct 19, 2023,Oct 20, 2023,
GeneralOct 21, 2023,Nov 26, 2023
Shoulder seasonsAug 15, 2023,Feb 15, 2024,varying dates before and/or after the archery and general seasons
MuzzleloaderDec 9, 2023,Dec 17, 2023
Archery (backcountry)Sept 3, 2023Sept 14, 2023
General (backcountry)Sept 15, 2023Nov 14, 2023
Archery (backcountry)Sept 3, 2023Sept 14, 2023Archery only

Licensing & Draw License Fees

Purchasing the correct license is also vital to get the most out of the hunting season. Here’s a list of all the licenses and their prices:

License TypesPriceDetails
Base Hunting License Fee$10This is an annual fee and will be assessed when the hunter purchases or applies for their first hunting license.
Base Hunting License Fee$15Nonresident Cost
Bow and Arrow (Archery)$10Resident Cost
Bow and Arrow (Archery)$10Nonresident Cost
Disabled Conservation License$8
General Big Game Combo (Deer & Elk)$1,108Quota of 17000
General Deer Combo$646
Landowner Sponsored Deer Combo Licenses$683.50Quota of 2000
Big Game Combo (Deer & Elk)$591.50Quota of 500
Deer Combo$360.50Quota of 500
Nonresident Native License
Big Game Combo (Deer & Elk)$554Quota of Unlimited
Deer Combo$323Quota of Unlimited
Nonresident Student Hunting License
Big Game Combo (Deer & Elk)$554
Deer Combo$323
Resident Youth Combination$31
Nonresident Youth Combination$554
Quota of Unlimited

What Weapons can you Hunt Deer Within Virginia?

Like purchasing the correct license, you also need to ensure that your weapons meet the minimum requirements of the state of Montana. Below are the specifications your weapons must meet to hunt with them legally. 


ShotgunsMust be a minimum of 10 gauge. Loaded with single slugs. Barrel must be a minimum of 18 inches long. The minimum overall length must be 26 inches.
Centerfire rifle 0.24 Caliber and up with a magnum load or centerfire cartridge.
Handguns43 caliber and down with a barrel no longer than four and a half inches. 

Bow and Arrow:

ArrowsArrows must be 20 inches in length.
Broadheadscan be fixed with two blades and must be ⅞ inches wide at their widest point. The arrow should also have a minimum weight of 300 grams
Bow characteristicsLongBow, compound bow with a  minimum draw weight for hunting deer is 40 lbs and a draw length of 28’. Recurve Bows’ minimum draw weight is 40 lbs. 


Crossbow draw weightCrossbows have a minimum draw weight of 125 lbs. and must be mechanically safe. Draw length must be a minimum of 14 inches.
Arrows/ boltsThe arrow/ bolt must be at least 16 inches, excluding the broad head.
BroadheadsIt must be ⅞ inches at the widest point. 

Muzzleloading Rifle:

Powderblack powder or black powder substitute only.
CaliberA single barrel of .45 caliber or greater.
Legal projectileMuzzleloaders can be smoothbore or rifled. Must be a single barrel that fires a single round ball or conical projectile.
IgnitionMatchlock, flintlock ignition system, percussion ignition system with a primer or percussion cap, or a wheel-lock.

What Types of Deer Are Popular in Montana?

Hunting deer in Montana is exciting and challenging for any hunter. You can hunt Elk, White-tailed, and Mule deer within its mountainous landscape. While the elk has more distinct features and is easier to identify, the Mule deer and White-tailed deer have similar features making them a little more challenging to distinguish.

Let’s look at how you can best identify these deer species:

Often found in open areas in western North America, the Mule deer is known for its large ears. It is grey-brownish with a rump patch bordered by a black line—their antlers branch and fork, resembling their ears. Keep an eye open for valleys and fields between the mountains. You might find them there.

White-tailed deer are medium-sized deer found throughout most of North America. They have a reddish-brown to greyish-brown coat and a distinctive white underside of the tail. Male deer have long antlers with multiple tines. They are active at dawn and dusk and can be found in various habitats, including forests and grasslands. 

What Else is Popular to Hunt in Montana?

Montana provides hunters with exciting terrain to hunt for deer. However, many other species will give you just as much challenge and thrill. Here’s a list of all the animals you can hunt in Montana:

Big Game:

  • Mule Deer
  • White-tailed Deer
  • Rocky Mountain Elk
  • Moose
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Mountain Goat
  • Pronghorn Antelope
  • Black Bear
  • Mountain Lion (Cougar)

Upland Birds:

  • Hungarian Partridge (Gray Partridge)
  • Ring-necked Pheasant
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Blue Grouse
  • Sage Grouse
  • Sharptail Grouse
  • Spruce Grouse
  • Wild Turkey


  • Canada Goose
  • Snow Goose
  • Various duck species (e.g., Mallard, Pintail, Gadwall)

Small Game:

  • Cottontail Rabbit
  • Snowshoe Hare
  • Red Squirrel
  • Fox Squirrel
  • Prairie Dog
  • Ground Squirrel (Richardson’s Ground Squirrel)
  • Badger
  • Coyote


  • Raccoon
  • Beaver
  • Muskrat
  • Mink
  • Skunk
  • Bobcat
  • Red Fox
  • Gray Fox
  • Coyote

While there are several animals you can hunt in Montana, remember that to hunt them legally, you have to purchase the correct licenses, hunt within their hunting seasons, and your weapons need to meet the legal specifications to hunt them. To learn more about hunting other species in Montana, check out the e-regulations document.

Hi there! I'm a passionate bowman and a fan of all target sports in general. You'll often find me at my local archery and shooting ranges honing my skills.

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