Preference points don’t build; they expire every year. The preference point only needs purchased the year you intend to hunt. It is to draw the general combo tag.
If this doesn’t make sense, call MT fish and game. They can talk you through it.
Xander told me the preference point expires every year. He said unless I planned on hunting now that I shouldn’t buy the preference point.
I’m gonna call them back tomorrow.
How to purchase Montana bonus points and preference points
Don't miss out on a chance to grab Montana bonus and preference points!
If you didn't apply for certain species in the main draw, or are new to hunting, you can purchase bonus points and nonresident preference points for Montana from July 1 through September 30. Purchasing these points will help you in the following years' draw.
This point only period does not allow you to gain more than one point per year as you cannot apply for a species and then purchase points for that same species in the same year. Hunters can only purchase bonus points for species which they have not yet applied for, and also a nonresident preference point if you didn't apply earlier in the year. For instance, if you did not apply for a bighorn sheep license, you can purchase a bighorn sheep bonus point. Any accumulated bonus points will not expire, but preference points are lost after two years of not applying for a nonresident Combination License.
Nonresidents who did not apply for a combination license during the main draw (deer, elk or the big game combo), may purchase a preference point to be used in next year’s combination drawing.
You now have two different bonus point options for buck antelope and going forward, there will be two different draws for antelope in Montana. You can now get bonus points for the 900-20 archery-only hunt, and the normal antelope bonus point. Technically there are three options, as you can still pick up an antelope B bonus point.
For the 2020 draw, you can only apply for one permit or the other, just like before (A refresher: 900-20 must still needs to be your first and only choice if making this selection during the draw) You can buy a point for both providing you did not apply for either You can draw one permit in a year and purchase a point for the other during the same year
The difference between Montana's bonus and preference points
Montana has a bonus point system in place for all special permits (deer, elk, antelope, sheep, moose and mountain goat). Every year that you are unsuccessful in the drawing, and you participate in the bonus point system, you will be awarded a point. When you apply in the draw your accrued points are squared to increase the odds exponentially for the applicants with more accrued points. All base bonus points accumulate over time until you draw a permit.
Montana also has a preference point system for nonresident Big Game Combination, Elk Combination, and Deer Combination Licenses. Preference points increase the chances of drawing a combination license and essentially move you ahead in line. 75% of all combination licenses awarded during the drawing will be issued to hunters with preference points. Anyone applying with three preference points will draw the license before anyone with two, and so on. Preference points accumulated will be used during the current drawing whether you purchase an additional preference point or not.
Yes people with bonus points get a bonus.... not preference. Preference means you WILL draw before people with less preference points than you. That’s how Wyoming works. In other words if I have 4 points and someone else has 2 I will definitely get a tag before they have a chance at tags remaining after hunters in my point pool draw. Bonus points don’t give you preference like that. That give you an increased chance but not preference. If you have 3 bonus points you are assigned 3 numbers in the drawing. It’s like you have your name in the gat 3 times. That doesn’t prevent someone with 1 or even zero points from being drawn before you. People who are new to the game like that system because they at least have a chance of drawing the first year they apply. I personally don’t care for it. I think if you have more years invested meaning more money invested you should get preference. The new guys will be in your shoes eventually.
Wyoming offers a chance to people with low or no points by setting aside 25% of licenses for a random drawing for all unsuccessful applicants where points are not used and everyone has an equal chance. One of my partners drew a general elk license this year with zero points.