March 1 marks the new license year for Montana fishermen and women and for hunters, as well.

Education and Program manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife and parks for Region 2 Vivaca Crowser provides details.

“For hunting and fishing, make sure you have a new license in your pocket if you’re headed out this later winter or early spring. And you’ll need to do that starting Sunday,” said Crowser.

She said there are specific changes that all who hunt and fish will need to know starting in 2020.

“One of the big changes is that if you’re buying a license over the counter or putting in a special application for a permit or a special license, that’s all done online now or at an FWP office,” she said. “No more paper applications and that’s a big change for some folks. We’ve seen a big trend as people do a lot more business that way and it will make for faster drawing time turnarounds, so be sure you’re aware of that.”

Crowser said there are other big changes for hunting and fishing seasons.

“Licenses will be issued in a different way this year,” she said. “No more yellow waterproof tags that we’ve been used to for the last handful of years. This year you can get your license and just keep it electronically on your phone so you can show it in the field, if asked. You can also print your license out on regular paper, so that’s a big change in the look and feel of licensing. You do have to print out all of your carcass tags that you would attach to an animal while hunting, and make sure they’re in something like a ziplock bag to keep them protected.”

For those who don’t have a computer or are not computer literate, Crowser said a personal visit will still work.

“You are welcome to stop by an FWP office where there are a lot of resources available, however, if that’s not convenient, you can ask a friend or family member to assist you,” she said. “Our offices are set up to provide that customer service like we always have, but especially this year with all the changes.”

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