Recreate Responsibly | Montana’s Missouri River Country

Recreate Responsibly

Do Your Part to Recreate Responsibly

We're committed to keeping Montana's outdoor spaces, communities, residents and visitors safe. As you enjoy all that Missouri River Country has to offer, please join us in following these guidelines for responsible recreation in the land of "more room to roam."

Know Before You Go

Before arriving, check the status of the place you'd like to visit. It's good to have a backup plan if your destination is closed. Some destinations may be inaccessible at certain times of year, so be sure to check on road conditions if you're headed off the beaten path.

Practice Physical Distancing

Indoors or out, be prepared to encounter others with different social distancing comfort levels. Give other people as much space as possible—it's easy to do in Missouri River Country! On trails, move over to let stock (horses and mules) pass, yield to other hikers and be respectful of other users. If you know you'll be in an area with other people, have a mask at the ready. Keep your group small and if you are sick (have a cough, cold, fever, etc.) or have been in contact with individuals who have been sick, stay home and plan to visit our region when you feel better.

Plan Ahead

Check local regulations for the latest safety measures. Some facilities and attractions might be closed, so consider packing a lunch and bring essentials like extra water, food/snacks, bug spray and a first aid kit when you explore. Both weather and terrain can change quickly in Montana, so we recommend packing plenty of clothing layers to add or remove as needed.

If your itinerary includes hunting or fishing in Missouri River Country, visit the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website to check on current regulations, find resources and get the necessary licenses ahead of time.

Play It Safe

Have fun, but know your limits. Take it slow and choose lower-risk activities to reduce the strain on search and rescue operations and health care resources. Northeast Montana is home to bison, bighorn sheep, fox, coyote, pronghorn and so much more, so be prepared to have an encounter with our abundant wildlife if you spend time outside. Always give wildlife their space, do not approach them and do not feed them. If you plan to hike, be sure to go with a friend, make noise on the trail (talking or clapping), carry bear spray and know how to use it.

Explore Locally

Our area is full of local parks, trails and public spaces. Enjoy them while being mindful of your impact on the surrounding communities. Check in with local Chambers or Visitor Information Centers to pick up travel guides and maps, and get local suggestions for things to do, places to go and insider tips. Remember to stay on public land unless you have explicit permission to hunt, fish or explore on private land. Maps of public land and access can be obtained from the Area Bureau of Land Management offices.

Leave No Trace

Pack your garbage out with you and clean up properly. When recreating on public lands, be sure to take care of them by staying on trails. If you plan to camp while you're here, be sure to do so in an existing campsite or pick a site where vegetation is absent. It's important to respect public lands and waters, as well as Native and local communities.

If you are bringing your own watercraft (motorized or nonmotorized), be sure to stop at all watercraft inspection stations to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Build an Inclusive Outdoors

There's room for everyone in Missouri River Country. Do your part to help make our outdoor spaces safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities.

To learn more about responsible recreation in Montana, go to visitmt.com/montana-matters or recreateresponsibly.org.

Recreate Responsibly marketing toolkit is available on marketmt.com.

Responsible Recreation FAQ’s

Where can I hunt in Missouri River Country?

It is every hunter's responsibility to know the land ownership of the land you're hunting on and stay off private land unless you have permission from the landowner, lessee or agent.

For help planning your next hunting trip and choosing the best areas to visit, we recommend checking out the Montana FWP Hunt Planner.

What licenses and/or permits do I need to hunt in Missouri River Country?

There are two primary types of licenses in Montana: General licenses that can be purchased over the counter and special, limited permits and licenses that are available through drawings. Visit the Montana FWP website for everything you need to know about which licenses and/or permits you need and how to obtain them.

If you do not apply for the necessary licenses and permits in time, you can always hire a local outfitter to hunt with.

When is the best time to visit Missouri River Country for hunting?

When you visit depends on what species you're looking to hunt. See the Montana FWP website for information on hunting seasons and regulations.

Where can I fish in Missouri River Country?

Visit the Montana FWP website and check out their interactive FishMT Map to find the best fishing access sites near you. For more information on ice fishing, go here.

What species require catch and release?

It's important to stay up to date on current fishing regulations, including species that require catch-and-release. Visit the Montana FWP website for current regulations, and refer to their section on the Eastern District for regulations concerning Missouri River Country.

How can I get a fishing license?

A valid fishing license is required for all types of fishing on state waters for everyone 12 or older. Visit the Montana FWP website for everything you need to know about obtaining a license, including special licenses required for species such as paddlefish.

Can I have a campfire when camping in Missouri River Country?

Generally, yes, but you should always double check beforehand. If you're in a designated camping area, keep a look out for signage on campfire safety. Otherwise, you can go to the Montana Wildland Fire Information website and use their interactive fire map to see if there are any fire restrictions in the area you'll be visiting. This is especially important in the summer when wildland fires are a common occurrence throughout Montana.

Where can I ride ATVs and other off-highway-vehicles in Missouri River Country?

You can visit the Montana Recreation Maps website for both interactive online maps and downloadable offline maps. Check out the Summer Motorized Trail Map for ATV and motorcycle adventures, or the Winter Snowmobile Map if you'll be visiting in winter.

For further information on OHV use in Montana, including safety guidelines, visit the Montana FWP website.

What will the weather be like when I visit Missouri River Country?

We experience all four seasons here in Missouri River Country, and the weather can change rapidly in Montana. Prepare for temperatures below freezing and snowy conditions in the winter, and moderately warm weather in the summer. You can get an overview of the average annual weather conditions in eastern Montana, but our region is large and we recommend checking conditions for the specific area you'll be visiting.

What are the road conditions like? Will I need a 4WD or AWD vehicle when I visit Missouri River Country?

Wide-open roads are a key feature of Missouri River Country, and the main roads are generally open and easy to navigate. However, keep in mind that winter weather conditions can cause closures and mountain passes in Montana may require AWD vehicles and/or tire chains in extreme conditions. You can stay up to date on all road conditions and closures by visiting the Montana Department of Transportation website.

Regardless of the season, many outdoor recreation destinations in Missouri River Country are only accessible by dirt or gravel roads. Be sure to plan ahead and bring a vehicle with high clearance if your travel plans involve remote locations.

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