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Montana’s Drawing System Change

It’s that time of year again, time for Montana elk and deer applications again. The deadline has been March 15th for many years until this year. It will be bumped back two weeks to April 1st. The good thing is that the results will be available two weeks after the deadline! No holding on to your money for weeks and weeks anymore. This is a win-win for applicants and if you apply for multiple states out West, you will have the ability to plan your Montana hunting before nearly any other state results are available. 

In addition, you will be able to apply for all the species in Montana at one time. Once again, due to the workload relief from omitting paper applications, drawings and results will be easier and available sooner than years past. Also, Montana no longer offers paper applications. This gives FWP the ability to save massive amounts of time and money and get the draw results to you quicker. There still are two ways to get your applications in, one being online, inside your FWP portal and the second is electronically in person at any FWP office. 

Another change you will see is the transition away from mailing you your licenses and permits. Now, each person will be able to print their carcass tags from home on regular paper. If you are successful in a drawing, you will receive a link in your email to print your tags one time. 

These are huge money and time-saving changes for FWP but the hurdle I see is the downfall of waterproof carcass tags. When you print off your carcass tag I would highly suggest you store your tags in a sealed Ziploc bag and when you do harvest an animal, notch your tag, put it back in the Ziploc then attach it to the animal. As you know, computer paper won’t hold up to inclement weather, so keep your tags protected which will keep you protected if you get checked by a warden and have a tag that isn’t legible. I have yet to hear how they will prevent any counterfeiting from going on but I imagine this could be a hard one to regulate. 


Is this a change for the better or worse? Let us know your thoughts.

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  1. Stupid! So now a unethical person can make copies and shoot as many deer/elk as they want. All to save a few bucks, yet our prices didn’t go down and they will still charge us administration fees for going online! SMH

  2. Bad idea just in the since of a person can harvest all they

  3. Plain paper is a joke I see lots of harassment over ledgability. You can only be so cheap . I also see a possible class action lawsuit if tickets and harassment over this issue get out of hand

  4. Bad idea on the paper tags. I like the ability to buy all of my tags in one shot.

  5. For the money that is generated by buying tags I think this is a stupid idea how about the people that don’t e mail .

  6. I’m a big fan of removing paper applications (welcome to the 21st century, woohoo!) and NOT requiring that you keep a paper copy of your license. Before this, you could always get a new tag for $5 by saying you lost your old one so I don’t think folks are going to suddenly start stacking deer like cord wood because they made 50 copies of their tag. The biggest issue is waterproofing. Do you have to affix the tag to the animal before leaving the kill site still? What if you kill an animal and it’s raining or the tag gets bloody? If they aren’t going to give us a waterproof tag they should eliminate tags altogether and start making us punch a virtual tag on an app or something. Those that don’t have a smartphone can simply carve the date on their forearm with their Eastman’s Outdoor Edge knife (I love that thing). There is no doubt that I will make multiple copies of every tag this year in MT. No, I’m not a poacher…in fact, I’ve never even poached an egg. Paper tags will get illegible in a hurry…even IF you keep them in a plastic bag. I’m thinking about after the harvest when there’s a little blood, mud, rain, or snow that inevitably finds its way onto all of my tags. There will be plenty of spare tags in my truck, backpack, house, pocket, or all of the above. I think you’d be crazy not to do the same. I might try to copy some of them onto paper towels so it could double as wiping material in an emergency. Boom! Shaving more ounces off my pack this year!

    • …and with all the time and money FWP will save with this change, I’m sure we can all look forward to a tag price reduction in the near future. Ha! Just kidding

  7. I haven’t read enough on this with the paper tag. I hunted oregon last year and u put your licence number on two pieces of flagging tape
    When u harvested you put the flagging on deer meat and trophy horns I believe
    You had to do a quick harvest report area, horn points etc it also gave u option of Gps spot( didn’t do that one haha)
    When u did report it gave u another number to write on it. I believe if u didn’t have service you could do it as soon as service came in on phone
    This worked easier then I thought and seemed to get it recorded etc and if an a fish and game guy stopped u u have proof on phone plus numbers or at least flagging with your licence
    I know I always have had trouble with paper also
    Ps I really like the two weeks after application u get results
    Happy hunting friends

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