Elk Hunting Access Agreement Application Deadline is May 1
April 15, 2024

Landowners have until May 1 to apply for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ Elk Hunting Access Agreement (EHA) Program. These EHA agreements, which were established by the 2001 Legislature, provide landowners with an elk license (including elk B), an either-sex permit or combination of the two in exchange for allowing free public hunting access for elk management purposes. The licenses/permits issued through this program may be designated to an immediate family member or an authorized full-time employee of the landowner valid only on the landowner’s property or private land leased by the landowner for agricultural purposes.

For every permit/license issued through this program, landowners can select up to one-third of the required public hunters with the other two-thirds being randomly selected by FWP. If a landowner elects to select up to one-third of the public hunters eligible to hunt lands enrolled, FWP will email a list of potential public hunters to the landowner. The landowner must make their selections known to FWP no later than three weeks prior to the agreement start date (i.e., the first hunting season the landowner/designee license is valid). If a landowner fails to make their public hunter selections in the required timeframe, landowner public hunter selections will be forfeited and FWP will fill the spots with FWP-selected public hunters.

The landowner can also offer additional public hunting access beyond the minimum three required.

Additionally, stemming from House Bill 596 in the 2023 legislative session, the department is implementing some new changes for the program this year. Specific changes are: 1) landowners must own at least 640 acres of occupied elk habitat (except smaller acreages are eligible if the department determines site conditions exist to accommodate successful public hunting); 2) landowners can enroll private land they lease from another landowner for agricultural purposes; and 3) for every permit/license issued to a landowner or designee, at least one of the department-selected public hunters must hold the equivalent license, permit or combination of the two that is issued to the landowner or the landowner’s designee.

The 2023 EHA report will be posted on the FWP website in accordance with June Fish and Wildlife Commission timelines. EHA application proposals for the 2024 season will be posted on the FWP website no later than two weeks prior to the June 20 commission meeting. Public comment will be taken at that meeting.

Once the commission has decided on the issuance of permits/licenses under this program, the public will have an opportunity to sign up online for EHA opportunities only through myFWP from July 1 to July 15. Once the sign-up period closes, FWP will randomize the public hunter list, confirm the public hunters possess the required permits/licenses (if applicable), and then start notifying eligible public hunters of the opportunities via email only. Public hunters must respond and accept the opportunity within 72 hours from the time the original email invitation was received.

For more information or to apply for the program, visit fwp.mt.gov/hunt/landownerprograms/public-elk-access-agreements.