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.

Why You Hunt

Is Hunting Necessary?

For tens of thousands of years humans hunted to survive. In many cases, we got our food, shelter, clothing, and tools from the animals we killed. For our ancestors, a successful hunt meant the difference between life and death. Today we get our food from grocery stores, and we no longer need to hunt to provide ourselves with shelter, clothing, or tools. However, some people still hunt primarily for food.

Hunter with game

Just because we no longer need to hunt for survival doesn’t mean that hunting is no longer necessary or desirable. We could also survive without swimming or riding bikes, without playing basketball, or spending time with friends.

There are many personal reasons why we hunt and why we value hunting. Hunting allows us to:

  • Gather our own food.
  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Participate in family and community traditions.
  • Learn about animals and plants.
  • Be a part of nature and the natural world.
  • Develop skills and become self-reliant.
  • Exercise, relax, and get away from “the daily grind.”
  • Explore wild places and feel the excitement of the chase.
  • Enjoy the taste of wild game meat.

Hunting also generates benefits:

  • Wildlife Management—FWP depends on hunting to help manage wildlife populations.
  • Funding for Wildlife—Hunting licenses and taxes on hunting equipment contribute about $800 million to the national economy annually. These funds provide an average of about $2 million every day for wildlife management as well as hunter education.
  • Jobs and Economic Activity—Hunting supports more than 700,000 jobs in the U.S. alone. People spend over $22 billion a year to go hunting. The average Montana hunter spends about $1,500 each year on hunting trips, equipment, and other hunting related goods or services. In Montana, about 190,000 people hunt (about 1 in every 5 people hunt).
  • Community Support and Stability—Many communities in Montana have a long tradition of hunting. The tradition of preparing for the hunt is a way of reestablishing ties that help to bring together and sustain a community.

“I don’t know—I just like it.”

Hunters enjoy hunting. They have some very deep feelings about hunting, but often find it difficult to express those feelings in ways others understand.

“I hunt to relax and to get away from it all.”

Some people say the worst day hunting is better than the best day at work or school. Hunting takes your mind off your worries and gives you time to relax.

“I hunt to learn about nature.”

In nature, every living thing is connected to others. When you hunt, you will see, hear, smell, and feel things you have never experienced before.

“I hunt because it keeps me healthy.”

Hunters must stay in shape. Keeping up with a bird dog, hiking hills, or setting decoys keeps you active and in good physical shape.

“I hunt because it gives me a sense of accomplishment.”

Becoming a good hunter takes skill. You must know how to read animal sign and walk silently in the woods. You must learn to pursue, harvest, field dress, and cook game meat. You must learn about the animals you hunt, their behavior and habitats. Developing these skills gives you a sense of accomplishment.

“I hunt because I like the adventure and challenge.”

Hunting challenges your skills in the woods and tests your hardiness. Can you hike up to the area where the game crosses? Do you know how to read animal sign? Would you know what to do if you got lost?

“I hunt to interact with nature.”

Calling game is a thrill. When a turkey gobbles in response to your call or a bull elk challenges your bugle, it is sure to send a shiver down your spine. Interacting with wild animals is a wonderful and rewarding experience.

“I hunt with man’s best friend.”

Owning and training a hunting dog will enrich your life. A good hunting dog is more than a dog—it’s a hunting partner. Watching a dog work is an exciting reason to hunt.

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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