How is this program different from Block Management for hunting access to private land? The Montana Hunter Advancement Program is a privately funded program which is intended to complement the Block Management program and provide additional private land access choices for Montana hunters and landowners.

Why is there a fee for enrolling in this course? The Montana Hunter Advancement program has been developed with private funds via One Montana which is a non-profit organization. The student fees are used to pay for the food, lodging and facility use fees associated with the course.Funds donated by our sponsors cover the majority of the costs associated with organizing and implementing this program.

Does completion of the Montana Master Hunter course guarantee certified Master Hunters with hunting access to private property? Master hunters will have access which is “preferred” in some cases and exclusive in others for hunting on private properties enrolled in the Montana Hunter Advancement Program.  Although access is not “guaranteed” every effort will be made to provide quality hunting opportunities for Certified Master Hunters on properties which have typically allowed limited or no public access.

Why are landowners allowed to charge a fee for access to their properties by certified MontanaMaster Hunters? Although most of the properties enrolled in our program allow access for no charge, landowners may charge a nominal daily access fee in order to offset costs associated with hunter access on their properties. Our research to date has shown that many Montana hunters are willing to pay a nominal fee for hunting access and understand that there are costs associated with managing public hunting access for private landowners. Overall, the decision of whether or not to charge a nominal access fee will be left up to each individual landowner and will be specified in each property’s specific “ranch rules.”

Will a Certified Montana Master Hunter be allowed to access public lands within or adjacent to the private lands enrolled in the Montana Hunter Advancement program? Each landowner will have the option to allow such access to public lands. Each landowner’s “ranch rules” cover this option. In some cases, specific access to public lands within or adjacent to the boundaries of private property will be available to our certified Montana Master Hunters.

Is the Montana Master Hunter an exclusive or “elite” program for just a few hunters? In our view, being a master at something is only elitist if it takes some kind of advantage to reach it (money, resources, connections). The Montana Master Hunter program is offering mastery with education and practical exercises intended to provide its certificated hunters with an improved skill set for hunting. The expertise achieved through the course will be valuable to course graduates throughout their lives and hunting experiences. The initial “pilot” class of 30 candidates will be diverse and will include hunters who possess a variety of skill levels, experience and abilities. The principles of “equality” and “diversity” are core values of this program intended to ultimately make the program accessible to anyone who meets the basic entry criteria.

How does the online reservation system work?  The online reservation system is provided by Huntable.com and works very similar to Airbnb. Certified Montana Master Hunters will be able to review our available properties in terms of location, species available to hunt, various ranch rules related to each ranch and then make online reservations for selected days to hunt. There will be a “sign up” period with reservations being accepted on a first come-first served basis. In some cases where we have very limited opportunities or very popular properties, we will have a system devised to create a sense of fairness to all of our certified hunters.

I am a landowner and would like to use this program for managing my elk damage hunts.  Is that possible? FWP rules allow for landowners to “select” a certain number of hunters for damage hunts who are not on the “damage hunt roster.” Damage hunts can be easily managed whereby certified Montana Master Hunters can obtain reservations and be included among the “rancher’s choice” hunters for access to your property when you would like them to hunt.  Some properties where A9 cow elk tags are available are especially suitable for this program.

Is this program “approved” by Montana FWP?  We have worked with Montana FWP administrators since the inception of this program. Key FWP professionals are included as advisors to the Common Ground Board which is responsible for this program. FWP Director, Martha Williams, has been consulted regarding this program as well and has given it her endorsement.

If I am a landowner and want to become a part of this program how do I apply? Landowners who are interested in this program may contact us through our website or simply by sending an email to Zach Brown,  zachb@onemontana.org, and indicate your interest. We will work with each landowner to tailor the access to their property and meet their needs and expectations. Landowners may also contact Zach at the office 406-522-7654 or by cell 406-579-5697.