New surplus license format for Montana hunters

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David Reese photo/Montana Living

Bag a tag with new Montana license portal

Hunters are good at scouring the landscape, and now there's a new way for hunters to find surplus big game licenses.

According to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the old process was vulnerable to long lag times, confusion, and a perception of inequity for those unable to use the first-come, first-served online option starting at 5 a.m.

New this year, hunters need to sign up for licenses and permits through MyFWP on the FWP website. The resulting Surplus License List will be randomized with hunters at the top of the list contacted via email with instructions to finalize their purchase within a specified time.

To be placed on the Surplus License List, resident and nonresident hunters can sign up through the MyFWP portal:

This new process requires hunters to keep their email address current in their ALS record. Payment of the license fee is not required to sign up on the Surplus License List. Obtaining a license from this list has no effect on your existing preference points.

Hunters must finalize the purchase of the license/permit within the timeframe specified in the email, otherwise, your opportunity will be offered to the next hunter on the randomized list. FWP may offer opportunities that have not sold out through the Surplus License List to over-the-counter customers at our internal and external license sale providers.

The timeframes to sign up for the various Surplus lists are as follows:

  • Deer & Elk Permits, Deer B & Elk B License: July 21 – Aug. 7

  • Antelope, Antelope B, Swan, Crane, Special Mountain Lion: 12 – Aug. 24

  • Nonresident Hound Handler License: 16 to Sept. 28

Nonresidents who hold a NR Native license, Youth Combo license, or NR College Student Combination license may purchase Deer B and Elk B licenses at half price.

For more information, contact the FWP licensing office at 406-444-2950 or

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