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Shed antler on landscape

New Opening Day Plan for Blackfoot-Clearwater Antler Hunters in 2024

A new plan in the interest of human safety

Western Montana’s Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is a popular destination for antler hunters when it opens for the season annually at noon on May 15. This year, due to human safety concerns with the growing congestion and pedestrian traffic along Highway 83, opening day antler hunters will need to access the area following a different process, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is looking for the public’s help with filling in the details.

The basics

Many of the specifics of the plan will be decided over the next few months, but some basics have been set. For example, as in years past, there will be no limit to the number of people or vehicles that can access the WMA when it opens (12 p.m. May 15, 2024). New this year, antler hunters planning to enter the WMA in a vehicle will not be allowed to stage along Highway 83 and will instead register for a spot in line ahead of opening day.

Background info

Check out this summary of the congestion and human safety concerns that have led to a need to plan for a new way for shed antler hunters to access the WMA on opening day.

Stay updated

Public meeting

Thanks to all that participated in the public meeting on February 15 to share your ideas and provide input. View the meeting recording

The plan + registration

Using input that we heard at the public meeting, we are now refining the access plan that antler hunters will use for the 2024 opener. There will be a registration process to determine your place in line prior to opening day, and we are developing the details of how that will work now.

We anticipate releasing information on the plan and how to register by mid-March. Check back here to find out more.

Continued refinement

2024 opening day will be a test run of a new process; we will be looking for feedback from antler hunters and others that will refine the plan before the 2025 opener. Extra staff with be on the WMA on opening day this year to assist visitors and gather feedback.

For more information

Loren Flynn
FWP regional recreation manager