Montana Board of Outfitters


  • No, there is no instant reciprocity granted for licensure as an outfitter. An applicant may be able to obtain credit towards the experience requirement for Montana only if the documentation coming from the state in which the applicant is licensed is of sufficient detail to determine that Montana requirements are met. ARM 24.171.502 requires a minimum of three years and 120 days of verified experience as a licensed outfitter in another state guiding clients and using methods for pursuing fish, subject to approval by the board, reduced by no more than 50 experience days for any waiver or combination of waivers. For all other applicants, 100 days of verified experience in another state guiding clients in pursuing the types of game and using the methods for which licensure is sought by the applicant, subject to approval by the board, reduced by no more than 80 experience days for any combination of waivers. Assessments will be only be made of the applicants experience in another state as a licensed outfitter, a licensed guide, or equivalent experience as determined by the board. All experience in this subsection is subject to board approval.
  • If I have performed guide services under a license outfitter in another state, can that exp...

    If I have performed guide services under a license outfitter in another state, can that experience count in meeting the guide days experience in Montana?

    You may submit application and supporting documents subject to approval by the board and subject to all rules regarding experience requirements.

  • The Montana Board of Outfitters (MBO), sets experience, qualification, and testing requirements for licensing outfitters.  Guides are licensed via experience, education, or qualifiaction and must initially be sponsored by a licensed outfitter. All applicants must be 18 years of age, possess a Montana FWP Conservation License, and a valid hands on first aid certification from a board approved course for initial licensure.
  • No. The Board no longer has the legal authority to issue more NCHU. The only manner that an outfitter can acquire initial or additional NCHU is by purchasing from an existing NCHU holder. A substantially streamlined method has been developed and is available online to allow a transfer of NCHU from one licensee to another. The Board will be the Official record keeper of which licensed outfitters own NCHU, under which categories and specific amounts. No authorization by the Board for transfer is required other than the person receiving NCHU must be a licensed outfitter.
  • Is there a Board of Outfitter rule or requirement that only the outfitter must receive payments...
    No. While it is true that only licensed outfitters can legally provide hunting and or fishing services for remuneration, the rule is not intended to imply that they are the only individuals that can take payment on behalf of their organization. The Board recognizes that many outfitters hire agents, guides, employee, reservationists, etc., to assist in the conduct of the business, and the collection of client receipts on behalf of the outfitter’s business is not considered a violation of board rule.
  • No. While ARM 24.171.2301 does require that the outfitter “set all contract terms and conditions with clients”, it does not specifically indicate that the contract be in writing. Under common law, contracts can be and often are verbal.
  • I am an independent contractor guide and have been able to acquire loyal clients over the years...

    I am an independent contractor guide and have been able to acquire loyal clients over the years. If I want t o grow my business, can I advertise to acquire more clients?

    Not to customers directly, but a guide can advertise to potential endorsing outfitters in order to solicit more opportunities to obtain guide days. It is important for guides to recognize that under Montana Outfitter statutes and rules, only outfitters are deemed to “have” clients. While you may have serviced specific customers over several years, they are deemed clients of the outfitter that reports their service on his or her respective client logs and therefore are not the guide’s clients. If a guide desires to actual “have” their own clients, they would need to become a licensed outfitter.

  • Montana law defines an independent contractor as: "an individual who renders service in the course of an occupation and: (a) has been and will continue to be free from control or direction over the performance of the services, both under a contract and in fact, and (b) is engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business."
  • Use this Independent contractor exemption certificate application to apply as a sole proprietor or contact the Independent Contractor Central Unit, (406) 444-9029, for an application. NOTE: For a corporate officer or manager of a manager managed corporation, check the FAQ "What is the 'Limited Liability Corporation' exemption from Workers' Compensation? The application is in three parts: An 'application' form (a questionnaire that you MUST sign in front of a Notary Public - usually at your bank or credit union) outlining your business structure (most guides are Sole Proprietors), your 'profession or trade' (fishing guide), and other information. NOTE: Line 3 of the 'application' says "I am providing documentation . . . etc. The new IC system requires you to submit proof that you operate an independent business and uses a point system to gauge whether you meet legal requirements. The simplest way to make sure you have the minimum number of points (15) is to send three items along with your application:

    A copy of your guide or outfitter license (3 points)
    A copy of your liability insurance (6 points)
    A list of your equipment (boat(s), trailer, oars, life vests, etc.) with approximate dollar value (6 points)
    A waiver form of workers' compensation benefits that must be initialed at each paragraph, then signed in front of a notary.
    Gather all the parts and documentation required, then send the whole bundle with the $125 fee to:

    MT Dept. Labor & Industry, Employment Relations Division Independent Contractor
    Central Unit P.O. Box 8011 Helena MT 59604-8011

    NOTE: It typically takes the IC Unit less than a week to issue an ICEC; in most cases, they mail out the ICEC within 2 to 3 days of receiving an application.
  • Issuance of Independent Contractor Exemption Certificate (ICEC) to independent contractors in their own independently established businesses that have elected to not cover themselves under a Montana workers​’ compensation insurance policy.

    Contact 406-444-9029

  • Work Comp laws at 39-71-417 MCA state:

    A person who regularly and customarily performs services at a location other than the person's own fixed business location shall apply to the department for an independent contractor exemption certificate unless the person has elected to be bound personally and individually by the provisions of compensation plan No. 1, 2, or 3. Since most guides and outfitters work away from their 'place of business', they are covered by this section of law. However, the law goes on to say:

    An officer or manager who is exempt may apply, but is not required to apply, to the department for an independent contractor exemption certificate.

    An officer of a quasi-public or a private corporation or a manager of a manager-managed limited liability company who qualifies under one or more of the following provisions:

    The officer or manager is not engaged in the ordinary duties of a worker for the corporation or the limited liability company and does not receive any pay from the corporation or the limited liability company for performance of the duties; The officer or manager is engaged primarily in household employment for the corporation or the limited liability company; the officer or manager either:

    Owns 20% or more of the number of shares of stock in the corporation or owns 20% or more of the limited liability company; or Owns less than 20% of the number of shares of stock in the corporation or limited liability company if the officer's or manager's shares when aggregated with the shares owned by a person or persons listed in subsection (2)(r)(iv) total 20% or more of the number of shares in the corporation or limited liability company; or The officer or manager is the spouse, child, adopted child, stepchild, mother, father, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, nephew, niece, brother, or sister of a corporate officer who meets the requirements of subsection.

    For more information Montana Secretary of State (406) 444.2034

    Download copies of the Limited Liability Corporation Articles of Organization
  • I am going to purchase an existing outfitting business, are there legal means by which I can...

    I am going to purchase an existing outfitting business, are there legal means by which I can accelerate meeting the experience requirements specified in Board Rule?

    Yes. Under current Administrative Rules, candidates can seek to have days of experience waived under two methods: 1. Completion of an approved guide school program yielding 3 days of waived experience for every day of completed program to a maximum of 30 days, and up to 50 days waived of experience based on the submittal and approval of a 12 month Supervision Plan between a buyer and seller of an outfitting business, and the subsequent approved completion of the plan. These options are specifically described at ARM 24.171.502. Please note that for applicants seeking a fishing endorsement, days of experience cannot be reduced by more than 50 experience days for any waiver or combination of waivers. For all other applicants, up to 80 days of experience may be waived using the combination of waivers.

  • What if my guide or I have not received his guide’s license prior to the expiration of the 15 day...
    If the routine license application was submitted within the 15 day period without deficiency in required information, then the outfitter assistant can continue to provide services until the Board has issued the respective guide license.
  • Click here to view FAQ regarding the Department of Labor and Industry administrative suspension process adopted by the board.
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