Official Montana Hunting Safety Course Link to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Hello, hunter! Montana's online hunting course has moved. Click here to go to the latest version of the Today's Hunter in Montana course—the official hunting safety course of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

The following course material is for reference only. Please go to the new course to complete your Montana certification.

Five Stages of the Hunter

Many hunters go through five stages of hunting. These are marked by changes in attitudes and feelings about hunting. Many of the things they enjoy about hunting are different in each stage.

The Shooting Stage of Hunter Development

Stage One: The Shooting Stage

Many beginning hunters are excited to begin hunting. Often they want, more than anything, to be able to shoot an animal to test their skills. They often judge success by the amount of shooting they do. If you are in this stage, your first concern needs to be safety.

The Limiting Out Stage of Hunter Development

Stage Two: The Limiting-Out Stage

With practice it doesn’t take long to get good at shooting. An experienced hunter can often take as many animals as the law allows. This is called “limiting out.” They judge success by how many animals they bring home. Hunters in this stage need to remember the rules of safe gun handling, but they also need to follow carefully hunting laws and regulations.

The Selective Stage of Hunter Development

Stage Three: The Selective Stage

Selective hunters don’t try to hunt for a lot of different animals. Usually, they’re after one particular animal. This might be a white-tailed deer with a particular set of antlers or a mountain goat that’s difficult to get to. Selective hunters challenge themselves by going after animals that are secretive or otherwise difficult to hunt. These hunters judge success by their ability to master a challenge.

The Method Stage of Hunter Development

Stage Four: The Method Stage

Some hunters choose a particular method to hunt, such as bow hunting. These methods require hunters to get very close to an animal before they can take a shot. This makes hunting more difficult and more challenging. These hunters judge success by their ability to learn and master a particular method.

The Philosopher Stage of Hunter Development

Stage Five: The Philosopher Stage

As many hunters mature and gain experience, they look back on a lifetime of hunting and find that what they enjoyed the most is not one single thing. Instead, it’s a combination of many things. Hunters in this stage might enjoy simply getting out, taking an animal is not nearly as important. They enjoy passing on their knowledge to new hunters. These hunters judge success by how they feel about the entire hunting experience.

Montana Fish, Wildlife,
& Parks
White-tailed deer tracks
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Official hunting safety course for Montana hunters last modified: November 16, 2011
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