Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials say the most successful hunters are those who know where to go to hunt.
"Hunting involves more than a valid license and being a good shot," said Quentin Kujala, FWP's wildlife section chief. "Most successful hunters make a study of the big game species they hunt and of its habitat."
Kujala said hunters need to scout out areas well in advance. That way they know where the game is located, how it moves and whether they need permission from a landowner to access them.
"Maps are a critically important tool for hunters," Kujala said. "Today's electronic access to maps makes it quicker and easier to identify landownership."
Many counties have landownership maps available, or go to the Montana Cadastral Mapping website at http://gis.mt.gov/ Montana Cadastral Mapping Program to view and download maps. These maps work similar to Google or Bing maps.
Kujala said there are also landowners who grant access to hunters who have done their homework and who ask for permission to hunt by personally contacting them.
"Hunters who research what they are doing tend to get more of a welcome from landowners too," he said.
Kujala also said that with the relative ease of hunting on Block Management parcels, some hunters may not hunt public lands or obtain landowner access—which creates opportunities for other hunters willing to do the research.
Hunters can obtain assistance with access issues on the Hunter’s Tool Kit, under Hunter Access on the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov. Here FWP provides a Directory of Montana Maps with a county by county listing of landownership maps available, and state and federal land management maps. For an FWP-sponsored private landownership map resource, go to the GIS page at nris.mt.gov .
Kujala said he is also aware that in some areas those who outfit elk and deer hunts will allow hunters' access for antelope hunting or antlerless white-tailed deer hunting at least part of the season.
Steps that Kujala recommends for a successful and enjoyable hunting season include: