There are elk in Montana's hills and if the big sky drops some snow hunters could be in for a banner season in many areas.
"Most hunters are going to find elk populations in good physical shape and will benefit from liberal hunting opportunities," said Quentin Kujala, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks' wildlife sections coordinator in Helena. "If the weather cooperates, and if hunters do their homework and line up access early where it's needed, we'd expect very good harvest numbers by season’s end in late November."
Montana's general, five-week long, elk hunting season opens Oct. 20.
Kujala noted that cold and snowy conditions should lead to elk hunting success, while mild weather usually spells lower elk harvests, despite additional elk-hunting permits and more liberal seasons. "We're all hoping the weather tips to hunters' favor this fall," Kujala said.
Predation on elk by wolves has contributed to some depressed elk populations in parts of western and southwestern Montana. Also, Montana’s forest fires may have changed local elk distributions and access opportunities. Hunters need to understand that some landowners will be busy rebuilding fences and other structures lost to fire this fall. A call ahead of time, and especially an offer to help, would be long appreciated.
For more information on elk hunting in Montana, visit FWP's website at fwp.mt.gov, click "Hunting" then choose Elk Hunting Guide.
Here's a regional rundown on what elk hunters can expect this season.
Region 1—Northwestern Montana
Region 2—Western Montana
Region 3—Southwestern Montana
Region 4—Central Montana
Regions 5 — South Central Montana
Region 6—Northeastern Montana
Region 7—Southeastern Montana