Montana resident PP/Draw ?'s


Active member
Aug 1, 2013
Helena, MT/ Opheim, MT
So to start out, I've never participated in any form of lottery hunting. If I couldn't get it over the counter I wasn't going to hunt it. I am still slightly in this mindset.

Out of state doesn't appeal to me unless it is for a species I cannot harvest in my own state. (Think Yukon/AK Moose, Caribou)

Goats, sheep, and rams just don't get my blood pumping so I wont put in for these animals. Moose, caribou, elk, deer, bear and cougar are what gets me moving!

With that said I am about to retire and move back to MT so I want to get a couple points in the bucket before hand. I've read in the 2015 book but I am still unsure on the process. I think I have it figured out.

Can I just buy a preference point for the species I want to hunt (like Wyoming)? When you put in for a tag for XXX unit and don't draw, you get a point? The book states something about having 3 bonus points but gets squared when entering the lottery so it's like having 9 points? (What!?) Or do I need to apply for each species in the units to be able to get a point? It's not the money I'm worried about, I just don't want to draw till the 2018 season, so I can continue to hunt here in UT and have a small leg up when I retire and move back to MT.

If I put in for a unit and don't draw, I can still get a general season tag for most species over the counter and only good for certain general season units? (This I'm fairly certain is right).

I grew up in HD670 and shot my couple of Does and Buck. Between me and my dad we filled the freezer and didn't venture out past our unit much.

Side note, anyone seen much elk up in 670 now? I read in the same book there are OTC elk tags now. I haven't been "home" to hunt in many years.

Thanks all.
Jul 27, 2015
Helena, MT
Here is the way I understand it at least with elk. For the either sex tags, I put in for 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices (you don't have to put in for 2nd and 3rd). At that time I'm also buying my general elk tag. I don't believe you can just buy the point. You don't have to buy points but they say it increases your odds (not entirely convinced it makes a difference). If I don't draw my first choice, goes to 2nd then 3rd. I can choose to pay for points when applying and if I don't get my special draw in 1st-3rd, I get a point and still get my general elk tag. Points are not HD specific. I can put in for 15 years in 380 and have opted for points for those 15 years, I can then apply for an easier draw HD and use my points. Points are squared so if I have 2 points, my name goes in the pile 4 times, 3 is 9 etc. 1 point is still one so I think points won't a difference until the 3rd application year. Cow only tags are the same, just have a later deadline and you don't have to buy the general tag if you already applied for either sex as you already have it. Points are species specific.

Most HD's have some type of opportunity for general season. For archery, many districts are either sex but go to brow-tined bull only during rifle. For the 380 district, a general tag is good for cow or spike during archery and spike only during rifle (that is one of the most applied for district, something like a 0.6% success rate for the either sex tag). Other HD's are either sex for both archery and rifle. The regs lay out each HD and what a general tag is good for and what special draws are available. Some special draws are an additional tag, whereas some are a permit that is used with your general tag.

Sorry, this is probably confusing as hell. It sounded much more clear in my head.

Gerald Martin

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2009
You can not just buy points for Montana. Each time you apply you enter to draw a license and buy a bonus point to increase your odds the following year. You have a correct understanding about the point squaring.
You must purchase or apply a general elk or deer tag before entering the drawing for elk or deer permits. If you don't draw your desired permit for deer or elk, you can return your general license before a certain date and get an 85% refund or you can use the general tag in any general unit.

All moose, sheep, and goat tags are unit specific. You apply for the unit you want and buy a bonus point to increase your chances in the coming years.

Bear tags are OTC and good for the entire state, spring and fall season. (There may still be a few units around Glacier that require you to designate when buying a tag that you intend to hunt there, but I think that's been done away with)

Some cougar tags are OTC, with a limited quota and the unit closes.You can continue to hunt in other open areas with that tag. Others are by special draw only and good for that unit only. Cougar licenses for archery and through the general deer and elk season are OTC statewide but dogs are not allowed.
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