A bill implementing a traditional muzzleloader hunting season in Montana has been signed into law by Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte.
House Bill 242, from Rep. Caleb Hinkle, R-Belgrade, establishes a nine-day traditional muzzleloader season for deer and elk beginning the second Saturday after the end of Montana’s general firearm hunting season. The bill limits the hunt to muzzleloaders with iron sights, a minimum of .45 caliber and not having more than two barrels. Limitations also include traditional firearms such as flintlock, percussion cap and matchlock designs rather than modern muzzleloaders with scopes.
The bill saw a mix of support and opposition, with supporters believing the season will provide new hunting opportunities as well as highlighting the history of the primitive firearms. Opponents questioned the timing of the hunt along with the concept of writing hunting seasons into law. Most hunting seasons in Montana are passed through regulations adopted by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission.