Home / Elk / Major Change In Montana Bonus Points

Major Change In Montana Bonus Points


This will be welcome news if you missed the May 1 trophy species application deadline. In years past, you would be out of luck and a year behind. However, with this change, hunters can purchase bonus points for any species that they did not apply for that year. The purchase window is July 3 to September 30.

This new feature at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks was set up by House Bill 623, introduced by Rep. Kerry White during the 2017 Legislature.

The legislation also does away with the expiration of bonus points. In the past, if a hunter failed to apply for more than two years, he would forfeit all his accumulated points. The new law eliminates point expiration, allowing hunters the flexibility to keep their points through sustained application gaps.

The fee to purchase a bonus point without applying for a license is $15 per species for residents. Nonresidents are charged $25 each for elk, deer and antelope and $75 each for moose, sheep and goat. If purchasing online, transaction fees will apply.

Hunters can only purchase bonus points for species which they have not yet applied. For instance, if you missed applying for a moose license, you can still purchase a moose bonus point. But if you applied for moose and earned a bonus point, you cannot purchase another one.

A problem with this new legislation is that point creep will likely get worse in Montana, especially for the trophy species—Sheep, Moose and Goat. Although the change was probably done with the best of intentions, the probable outcome is that it will likely attract even more hunters to begin banking points. Draw odds for the trophy species are already astronomically low (generally 1-3% for most trophy species tags, even with a high number of points).

Conversely, it’s conceivable that allowing a points-only fall purchase option could push more guys to forego applying in the spring in favor of just banking points.

How this change affects draw odds in Montana is a variable that you need to monitor closely. States are constantly tinkering with draw systems, often with unintended (but foreseeable) consequences.


About Schuyler Watt

Avatar photo
Schuyler was born and raised in Montana. He writes the ID and MT Member's Research Articles. He is currently a law student, but gets out with his bow as much as he can.

Check Also

California MRS 2023 – Things to Come

California is a state of limited opportunities when it comes to species like pronghorn, elk …

AZ Elk / Antelope Draw Results

Results are now available for the Arizona mid-winter draw. Results are only available through a …

One comment

  1. Do I still have to pay for license if I’m only purchasing Points? The reality for those chasing quality versus a generic experience is that it affords an added option versus current system. Since about 2004 the the game has changed to “playing the systems” data and draw strategy matters now. Very little seperation exists now between skilled hunters. That’s not good or bad. Every rifle shoots sub MOA, programs and apps and software give you every detail it’s super super easy. Skill is gone for good. Time and money only remains as the divide. In 2 days anyone can be taught every aspect necessary to be as good as the next guy. Again not a bad thing just different. Cash and time are the King I teach new hunters. Don’t waste time hunting that you can be making cash or the frustration of hunting will disappoint you. With cash and time you will realize the true seperation between success versus “going hunting/wasting time and money” and a good experience. That is the true future of hunting. Watch the shows read the mags and figure out the difference. Make the cheddar get the time equals all you need, keep it simple !

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.