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Out-of-state Hunters Increase As In-State Decline

Hunter. Stock photo.
Hunter. Stock photo.

Out-of-staters are becoming a greater share of the hunters and anglers in Montana. Out-of-state anglers accounted for more than 85% of the increase in Montana fishing license holders from 2010 to 2017, according to data gathered by the Legislative Fiscal Division.

Resident hunters and anglers still outnumber non-residents, according to LFD data. However, while local hunter numbers declined in 2017 compared to 2010, the number of non-resident hunters grew by more than 5,000.

Non-resident hunters and anglers generate the majority of revenue from hunting and fishing license sales in Montana, according to a chart released by legislative researchers this week. The percentage is largely due to the fact that Montana fishing licenses and hunting tags costing significantly more for non-residents.

The chart also showed people from every state come to Montana to hunt and fish, with California and Washington residents accounting for more than 12% of out-of-state visitors. Residents from Idaho, Wyoming and the Dakotas make up roughly another 10%.

According to LFD, money Montana makes from hunting and fishing licenses is combined with federal funds to pay for enforcement, education, management, improvement of wildlife habitat and acquiring public land access.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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