Learning the ropes about hunting.
If you’re new to hunting, you have many miles to walk—both physically and mentally. Learning the ropes, you may find that getting within rifle range of a legal buck is the easy part. Navigating rules and regulations, developing ethics, and understanding land ownership takes time and focus; there’s no way around it. Here’s a sampling of classes—some required, some not—that will set you on the fast track to becoming a successful hunter, while also improving your overall outdoor skills. Learn more at fwp.mt.gov.
Hunter’s Safety (required to hunt)
The foundation of every hunter starts here. Covering subjects like firearm handling, wildlife identification, game management, stewardship, and conservation, Hunter’s Ed provides all the building blocks to cultivate safe, responsible, and successful hunting. In-person classes typically last around four days with a field day at the end. If you prefer to work at your own pace, online courses are offered for folks with a prior knowledge base.
Bowhunter Education (required to hunt with a bow)
While not dissimilar to regular Hunter’s Ed, this course focuses in on the specifics of archery season. Topics covered include bow-and-arrow safety, shot placement, blood trailing, and ethics. Classes are offered both in person and online.
Trapping Education (required to trap)
Another baseline course mandatory to take if you wish to get into trapping. This class discusses skills and mechanics for the safe handling of traps, as well as wildlife management, rules and regulations, and trapper ethics. It consists of an online component, field day, and a written test.
Hunting encompasses a lot more than simply filling the freezer and hanging a rack on the wall. The big picture includes relationships, wildlife conservation, habitat protection, and more. This class takes a deep dive into how hunters and landowners can form beneficial relationships. It looks at ideas and issues like access, fair chase, game retrieval, farming and ranching practices, and how best to preserve Montana’s hunting heritage.
This program offers a fleet of public field trips and courses aimed at getting youth involved and engaged in nature. There’s an exhibit room in Helena with mounts, aquariums, and educational displays. MT Wild also offers adult classes, covering everything from wildlife biology to archery and taxidermy.
Becoming an Outdoors Woman
These workshops offer women an introduction to all things outdoors. Learn the basics of hunting, fishing, and clever ways to cook in the backcountry. Go on field trips, shoot trap and archery, and improve your orienteering skills with hands-on instruction. These supportive classes help even the timid feel strong and capable.
Whether it’s distinguishing a mule deer from a whitetail, grizzly from black bear, or a male from a female mountain lion, identification is a crucial part of the hunting experience. FWP offers different species-ID classes, so you can be at the top of your game when it comes time to make the shot.
Advanced Outdoor Skills
Hone your skills as a woodsman, even if you’ve already been hunting for a few years. Get out in the field with FWP and walk through real-life scenarios dealing with survival, shooting techniques, blood-trailing, becoming bear aware, and more.
Master Hunter Program
This education program teaches principles of wildlife conservation and builds relationships between landowners and sportsmen through classroom, online, and in-person sessions. Get involved and become an ambassador for our state’s wildlife resources.