2020 Montana hunting and fishing licenses will go on sale starting Sunday, March 1 at 5 a.m., and this year people will see some changes to how they can buy general licenses and apply for special (limited draw) licenses and permits.

This year, FWP will not accept paper applications. That means to apply for a special license/permit in 2020, hunters will need to apply online or at an FWP office. Additionally, all people applying for a special license/permit will need to have a valid email address.

This email address is how successful (limited draw) applicants will receive a link to their permit and/or carcass tags. This year carcass tags will be printed on normal paper, which will allow customers the convenience of printing them once at home. Reprints will need to be done at a license provider and will cost $5 each.

The deadline to apply for deer and elk permits is April 1.

Here are a few things to remember:

•Even though applications will now be done online or in person at an FWP office, general licenses can still be purchased at all license providers.

•Hunters can apply for all special (limited draw) licenses and permits beginning March 1. That means deer, elk, antelope, moose, sheep, goat, bison and your B licenses.

•Drawings will be completed two weeks after the deadlines. The deer and elk permit deadline is April 1. The moose, bison, sheep and goat deadline is May 1. The antelope, elk and deer B license deadline is June 1.

•You can keep an electronic version of your licenses on your smart phone. The only thing you legally need to have printed and in your possession is your carcass tag, which still needs to be validated and attached to the carcass. Reminder: FWP recommends all carcass tags to be kept in a small Ziplock-type plastic bags.

Along with these reminders, here are a few tips:

•If you don’t have an email address, you can create one through a variety of free email services, including: gmail.com, live.com, yahoo.com, and icloud.com. To use these services, you’ll be required to set up a username and password. It’s relatively simple.

•If you don’t have access to a computer, you can apply for your special (limited draw) licenses/permits at an FWP office. With the ability to apply for all your special (limited draw) licenses/permits starting March 1, hunters can submit all their applications in one trip to an FWP office.

•General licenses can still be purchased at any license provider.

•If visiting an FWP office is inconvenient, another option for applicants is to use a computer at a public library or team up with friends or family members that have a computer and printer. The important thing to remember is that a valid email address is required for the new application process so that if you are successful, you can receive your email with a link to print your permit and/or carcass tags. If your only option is to use a computer at a public library, if successfully drawn you will still need to be able to print your permit and/or carcass tags after the drawing. Please verify your library has a print option.

•If you are a successful applicant, you must print the permit and/or carcass tags. For people who don’t have a printer, you can forward the email with the link to your permit and/or carcass tags to a friend or family member who has both a computer and printer and is willing to print those for you.

For Landowner Preference and Landowner Sponsored applications, customers choosing to utilize their options will go online or to an FWP office to apply and purchase their licenses/permit. These applications will require customers to mail FWP additional information to confirm their eligibility. Once we receive the required documentation, those applications will be entered into the drawing.

Background

The change to normal 8.5 x 11 paper for carcass tags serves two main purposes:

•Most customers will enjoy the convenience of making these purchases whenever best suits their schedule and enjoy having their licenses and carcass tags immediately available to them at the time of purchase.

•The cost of the thermal paper used traditionally for licenses and carcass tags continues to increase along with the problems of our aging equipment. For example, the seemingly disappearing ink issue with last year’s licenses was due to the aged thermal printers not being able to “burn” hot enough. Additionally, FWP can no longer obtain replacements for the printers needed to print on the old-style paper.

These changes to modernize licensing and the special permit application processes are beneficial because they allow much quicker drawing results and general licenses/carcass tags to be printed immediately after online purchase.

The switch to online only applications (via your computer or an FWP office) will better serve our customers by significantly reducing the timeframe to conduct the drawings. From now on, most drawings will be completed two weeks after the deadline.

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