Montana Spring Black Bear
Season to Open April 15
Montana's spring black bear season opens on Saturday, April 15, in most areas of the state.

Don Childress, administrator of the Wildlife Division for the state wildlife agency, cautioned all prospective bear hunters to make sure they have new licenses in their possession before they take off on their hunts. Black bear licenses for residents cost $15 and $120 for nonresidents, with a $4 additional charge for the resident conservation license and $5 for the nonresident conservation license.

Childress also reminded hunters to check current regulations for laws pertaining to the hunt. These laws include:

• Black bear hunters who plan on taking part in the spring season need to purchase a bear hunting license by April 14. Black bear licenses purchased between April 15 and August 31 can only be used during the fall season.

• Hunter orange is required for all black bear hunters — hunters must wear above the waist a minimum of 400-square inches of hunter orange.

• Black bear licenses are composed of a carcass tag and a hide tag. Successful hunters are required to immediately validate the hide tag and attach it to the hide. After the hide is removed from the carcass, the carcass tag must be separated from the hide tag and attached to the carcass.

• Within five days of harvesting a black bear (or within five days of arriving at a trailhead in the backcountry areas), the successful hunter must present to a FWP official the complete bear hide (with proof of sex remaining naturally attached) and skull for purposes of inspection and removal of a tooth for aging.

• Harvest quotas are in effect in Bear Management Units 510 and 520 generally south of the Yellowstone River between Big Timber and Custer. Any hunter taking a black bear in these districts must report the kill to a Region 5 FWP official within 48 hours.

• Only black bears are legal game; Montana has no grizzly bear hunting season.

• It is illegal to shoot cubs or female bears with young.

• Baiting bears with any substance or hunting bears with dogs is prohibited.

The spring black bear season opens April 15 and closes on May 15 or May 31, depending on the area. Check the Black Bear Hunting Regulations for details. For hints on ways to distinguish grizzlies from black bears, hunters can contact any FWP office.

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