- National research in 2001 found that Montana has the highest level of resident hunting participation in the nation at 24 percent. That includes 39 percent of the adult male population and 13 percent of the adult female population in the state.
Montana hired its first game wardens in the same year it achieved statehood. (That's 1889 for those in camp who don't remember).
The first official hunting season was set in 1895. It ran from Sept. 1 to Jan. 1 with a bag limit of eight deer, eight bighorn sheep, eight mountain goats, eight antelope, two moose and three elk.
The first daily limit was set on game birds in 1897 and allowed 20 grouse or prairie chickens a day.
The first resident hunting and fishing license was required in 1905 and cost $1 per family. Nonresidents had been required to purchase a hunting license since 1901 at a cost of $25 for game animals and $15 for game birds. (Yup, the nonresidents were paying a lot more for their licenses than residents even way back then.)
The season was closed on bighorn sheep in 1915 and didn't reopen again until 1953.
Montana's first pheasant season was held in 1928 (they were first introduced in the Bitterroot Valley in 1905) and the first Hungarian partridge season was held in 1929 (the first ones were bought in Europe in 1922 and 6,000 were stocked in 1926).
Montana's first wildlife biologist was hired in 1941 (it took until 1947 for the state to hire its first fisheries biologist).
Montana had a total herd estimate of 14,000 antelope in Central and Eastern Montana in 1942 - way up from the estimated population of just 3,000 in 1925.
Archery hunting licenses were established for the first time in 1953.
Merriam's wild turkeys were first transplanted into Montana with 13 birds from Colorado that were released into the Judith Mountains in 1954. The first special turkey hunting licenses were issued in 1959.
A bounty on mountain lions first established in Montana in 1879 was finally removed in 1962.
About 28 percent of the deer harvest was on public land in 1998 and about 69 percent was on private land (no, I don't know what happened to the missing 3 percent - but most probably FWP couldn't exactly determine whether those hunters were on public or private land).
About 17 percent of the antelope harvest was on public land and 81 percent was on private land in 1999 (2 percent missing here).
About 62 percent of the elk harvest was on public land and 34 percent was on private land in 1997 (another 4 percent missing).
Every year, approximately 1,200 Hunter Education instructors volunteer approximately 30,000 hours of teaching time in 350 classes to instruct 6,500 new hunters in safety and ethics. Hunter Education became mandatory in 1957.
About 500 volunteer Archery Education instructors have certified 30,000 Bowhunter Education students since 1991. About 2,500 complete the course each year.
More than 28,000 individuals purchase archery hunting licenses each year.
In 2003, 15 percent of the mule deer harvested had at least one antler with two points on a size, 44 percent had at least four points and 14 percent had at least five points on one side.
In 2003, 8 percent of the whitetails harvested had at least one antler with two points on a side, 42 percent had at least four points and 23 percent had five points on one side.
In 2003, spike bulls made up 12 percent of the bull harvest, 37 percent had five points on at least one side, 30 percent had six, and 4 percent had seven on one side.
In 2004, a total of 1,262 landowners were enrolled in the Block Management Program which provided 8.8 million acres of land for free public hunting.
In 2004, FWP's automated licensing system sold more than 1.6 million licenses to hunters and anglers including 148,000 deer licenses and 122,000 elk licenses.
Montana hunters - residents and nonresidents combined - spend about $187 million annually on travel, lodging, food, guide fees and other purchases, not including their licenses.
Remember that all hunters pursuing big game in a firearms season must wear 400 square inches of hunter orange above the waist. That goes for archery hunters, too, pursuing big game in an area where a firearms season is also open.
And remember that permission (either written or verbal) is required to hunt on private property in Montana.
"Now you know."
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks[/]