Shed-antler hunters and other recreationists planning to visit a Montana Wildlife Management Area are reminded that while many popular WMAs open at noon on May 15, several do not open until June 1. It is illegal to enter a state WMA prior to its formal opening day.
Buck deer and bull elk and moose grow antlers each year, some to magnificent size, which drop off to re-grow each spring. Hunting for and collecting these "shed" antlers in spring has become a popular activity on more than 30 WMAs managed by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
Many of Montana's WMAs provide security to wintering wildlife during the most vulnerable time of the year. These WMAs are closed to public use following the end of the hunting season and do not reopen until mid-May or June 1.
In the past, some WMAs have opened at midnight, but the FWP Commission recently enacted regulations that require all WMAs statewide with winter closures to reopen at noon to help with consistency and public safety.
To learn more about Montana’s WMAs—and to confirm specific opening dates—visit FWP's website at fwp.mt.gov. Click "Fish & Wildlife" then click "Wildlife Management Areas".