Home / General / Montana HB 637 Update

Montana HB 637 Update

HB 637 was developed to generally revise laws pertaining to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. This bill started as a clean up bill for multiple laws and definitions in FWPs rulebook, from how wolves are classified to a hunter mentorship for 10 year olds who haven’t taken hunter safety to rules regarding shooting out of a motor or sail boat. This bill also would increase the number of mountain lion licenses and allow large, nonresident landowners or their guests to hunt lions without a license with the use of dogs. 

The bill passed the House, was amended by the Senate which added a few things, and then sent back to the House. The House voted against the changes and it was set to die because the session was set to close.  Last Monday, House Speaker Wylie Galt sent the bill into a special conference in which the committee added the outfitter sponsored big game licenses to the bill that were previously killed in session, the first being Galt’s sponsored HB 505 and SB 143 that was highly unpopular by the general public. These bills added nonresident combination licenses that would be set aside for landowners as long as nonresident hunters paid the premium and applied in December.

This gives the guts of SB 143 new life allowing an extra few thousand combination licenses to be available for outfitters and landowners to essentially sell. If you want to apply for these tags, you need an outfitter sponsored note and must hunt with that outfitter. Furthermore, it changes the preference point system for these licenses. If you apply for these specific tags as a nonresident you can purchase an additional preference point for $100 with the intention of accelerating your chance at acquiring one of these types of combination licenses. 75% of the tags will be awarded to those in the points pool and 25% will be awarded to those with no points. The top points pool gets all the tags until it’s satisfied then the next point level below gets tags until they are gone.

The revenue raised by the second $100 point will be used for public access agreements, hunting access programs, and future fisheries programs with access through private lands. 

Both the House and Senate passed this newly evolved hodge-podge bill before the bell all within the same day it took an entirely new form! It’s now headed for Governor Gianforte’s desk as we speak. To check out this wild bill in its entirety visit HB 637

About Dan Pickar

Avatar photo

Check Also

Wicked Colorado Winter & Tag Reductions

Across much of the western portions of the Colorado Rockies, and especially the northwest corner …

Horses & Winter: Too Much For Western Wildlife?

The letter below came through my email this morning. I’ll not divulge who wrote it …


  1. Outfitters should not have any set-aside licenses anywhere. If one of their clients draws a license, they can hire an outfitter if they want to. Why should there be any preference or set-asides for outfitters? Every one I’ve checked out is always 100% booked 1-2 years in advance anyhow. The public already showed via ballot initiative that they DO NOT want outfitter sponsored licenses in Montana as it reduces licenses available to others.

  2. Carhartt Mike

    Another example-indeed a vivid exemplar-of the disproportionate impact lobbyists exert upon what Madison once referred to as ‘Our Political Scriptures.’ Equal opportunity once again vanquished whilst unequal outcomes prevail; you don’t have to look very far these days to see how these pernicious “policies” exert downward pressure on the working man’s opportunity to engage in the use and enjoyment of public land. Its akin to the conundrum (read Crime) of p]ublic agencies being ‘captured’ by the regulated; consequently, the [p]ublic sector is running-up against a ‘Crisis of Legitimacy’.’ At some point-especially now that democratization of wildlife management has been essentially extirpated-when all ‘things Wild’ are under the dominion and control of these myopic monied interests the outfitting Business will be ‘sent packing on their ATV’s” by The King’s Gamekeeper….

Leave a Reply

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