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Be sure before you shoot: 5 tips for archery hunting success

Montana’s archery hunting season for deer and elk begins Sept. 4, and just like in every other form of hunting, being successful while hunting with a bow requires careful planning and preparation.

If you plan to hunt during the archery season, here are five tips for being safe, responsible and successful:

  • Practice, practice, practice. Being proficient in archery takes patience and repetition. Practice shooting your bow in the same manner in which you’ll be hunting. Begin practicing well before the hunting season. Know and respect your personal limitations and effective range while hunting.

  • Know the rules. Purchase a bow and arrow license, and know what, where and when your license allows you to hunt. Be sure your archery equipment meets state requirements for hunting. Questions? Check the current hunting regulations or contact FWP.

  • Plan an efficient harvest. Because archery hunting season occurs earlier in the year, temperatures can still be warm, day and night. Be prepared to remove and process your harvested animal quickly so the meat does not spoil.

  • Be sure before you shoot. Only take a shot if it is safe and ethical to do so. Ensure that there are no unsafe shooting conditions, obstructions or significant wind; and that the animal is within your effective range and is in a position for you to make an ethical shot. Be sure that the animal you intend to harvest meets your license’s requirements for species, sex and antler/horn class.

  • Be bear aware. Bear attacks are rare. However, occupied grizzly bear habitat is expanding in Montana. So, watch for bear sign. Hunt with a partner and carry bear spray. Pack out your harvested animal as quickly as possible.

To purchase a Montana bow and arrow license, a hunter must provide a certificate of completing the National Bowhunter Education Foundation course, or provide any prior year’s bowhunting/archery stamp, tag, permit, or license from any state or province. To become certified, please visit

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