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Turkey Hunting in Montana



Not available

Wild Turkey Population

Merriam’s, some Easterns, hybrids

Turkey Subspecies

Not available

Number of Licenses Sold Annually


$10 base hunting license, $6.50 turkey tag, $8 conservation

Cost of Resident License and Permit


$15 base hunting license, $10 conservation, $115 turkey permit (or $57.50 for nonresident holders of an upland game-bird license)

Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

Image: merriam_6

Photo by Danita Delimont

As a Western turkey hunting destination, Montana has it all: solid bird numbers, exceptional access, and high hunter-success rates.To top it off, Montana provides a spectacular backdrop when that turkey struts into range. It’s a gorgeous place to go after the greatest game bird on the planet.

But here’s something you might not know: Turkeys are not native to the state. When Montana decided to trap and transfer them in 1954, it selected the Merriam’s subspecies. Thirteen birds from Colorado were introduced into the Judith Mountains of central Montana. The next year, 18 more Wyoming Merriam’s were released into southeastern Montana. In ’56 and ’57, another 26 birds were placed in the Ashland area of southeastern Montana, which marked the last time turkeys were transplanted from another state. It was obviously a success, as Big Sky Country is one of the strongest turkey regions in the West, though often overlooked.

Turkey populations are located on public and private ground throughout Montana, including on several national forests and wildlife management areas. Montana also offers the Block Management Program in all seven wildlife regions, and more than 8 million acres are currently enrolled. It’s a cooperative effort between private landowners and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, which helps landowners manage hunting activities while providing the public with free hunting access to private land.

Editor’s Note: Articles about public hunting are always popular with readers, but we’re public-land hunters, too, and we recognize that technology has made it more difficult than ever to keep a great hunting spot secret. With that in mind, we have made some edits to this piece to trim out specific mentions of some public tracts. The information is still out there and easy to find for anyone who wants to do the research, but we’ve decided that with a platform of our size, it’s best not to share all the secrets. — Team Realtree

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