OneMontana/Montana Hunter Advancement Program

Hunting Foundation

"The Montana Hunter Advancement Program provides a way to link up landowners and sportsmen and deepen the tradition of hunting in Montana. By creating a no-nonsense curriculum that helps new and veteran hunters alike in areas such as conservation, landowner/sportsmen relations, hunting skills, and the North American Wildlife Conservation Model, the program helps put more ethical, educated, and effective hunters in the field."

- Tim Hoffer, Sales Manager - Hunting, MYSTERY RANCH

The Montana Hunter Advancement Program promotes safe, ethical, and responsible hunting through its focused “Master Hunter” certification program, offered in partnership with forward-thinking private landowners across the state.

Founded in 2004 as the Rural Landscape Institute, One Montana is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to moving our state forward through rural and urban partnerships. These partnerships focus on the areas of Education, Entrepreneurship, and the Environment.

In 2010, One Montana began facilitating the “Common Ground” working group, a partnership of Montana landowners, outfitters, and sportsmen, and organizations such as the Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Grain Growers, and Montana Wildlife Federation. The group has worked together over the last several years to solve difficult issues concerning access and land stewardship. A focus point of the Common Ground group has been the interplay between hunter behavior, private land access, and wildlife management. This has led to the development of the Montana Hunter Advancement Program, focused on ethics, access, and education.

The Montana Hunter Advancement Program, through its Montana Master Hunter certification program, is an intensive course which includes classroom instruction, online instruction, and fieldwork. This program is offering mastery with education, practical experience, and specialized training. Instructors include ranchers/farmers/landowners, professional shooting instructors, private land wildlife managers, wildlife biologists, first aid personnel, as well as backcountry survival and equipment experts. Each element has either written, oral or field tests that will assess student competence - the entire course takes 40 hours over a 6-8 week period. A fee is charged to each participant to help defray meal and lodging expenses associated with the course. A certificate is issued upon successful completion of the course. The certificate will need to be renewed every five years via additional courses and testing.

The program is aimed at remedying the growing disconnect between effective wildlife management on private lands and hunting. Hunting is a primary tool for Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks (FWP) to manage elk and other big game. As more and more private land is closed to hunter access (commonly due to bad experience(s) with hunters), FWP’s wildlife management capability is reduced. This program is directed at restoring the connection between hunters, private land access, and game management.

The goals of the program are:

  • To educate hunters about landowner issues and concerns related to hunter access, including but not limited to: respect for private property, appropriate use of ranch roads, understanding of the impacts of weeds, safety, the impact of managing hunters/access on a landowner’s time, etc.
  • To educate hunters regarding the economics of ranching/farming and the impacts that wildlife, especially big game, have on the operation of a farm or ranch.
  • To increase hunter knowledge of all aspects of the hunt, including ethics, shooting skills, care of game, woodsmanship, first aid, survival skills, etc.
  • To build mutual respect and cooperation between landowners and sportsmen.
  • To increase the potential for better wildlife management opportunities for landowners and more quality land access opportunities for ethical hunters.
  • To create hunters who are role models for our youth and other hunters.

MYSTERY RANCH is a key sponsor of the Montana Hunter Advancement Program. As a customer of MYSTERY RANCH, please consider supporting the Montana Hunter Advancement Program by investing in your knowledge base and skill set, and by being ethical ambassadors for the sport. Specifically, hunters in Montana should apply for a spot in this course!

"We are grateful to have MYSTERY RANCH on board as a partner! The finest hunting packs come from Bozeman, Montana, and we are so proud to have a local partner to help advance the sport of hunting for future generations."

- Zach Brown, Program Manager, Onemontana.org