Montana approves shoulder season
Montana’s elk shoulder season is on and interested hunters are flooding Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ (MFWP) phone lines, trying to gather information about the available hunting districts. Guidelines were approved in October, but the official season dates were only recently decided. In Hunting Districts (HD) 445, 446, 452 and 449, there is an antlerless elk shoulder season Nov. 30 through Feb. 15. For HD 410, there is an antlerless elk shoulder season Jan. 1 through Feb. 15.
The purpose of the extended season is to help manage elk populations in overpopulated areas across the state. Within the HDs listed above, hunting is only permitted on private lands, federal Bureau of Land Management lands and state of Montana school trust lands, according to MFWP. Additionally, there will be no elk shoulder seasons on national forest lands, the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge or any MFWP wildlife management areas.
While this additional season may provide more hunting opportunity, MFWP notes that the areas where hunters are permitted are not easily accessible with most only reachable by hiking in or out.
“People should not have unrealistic expectations,” says MFWP Region 4 Supervisor Gary Bertellotti. “This is not a game damage hunt. At times this will be an arduous hunt.”
A complete list of rules and regulations for the elk shoulder season can be found on MFWP’s website: https://www.fwp.mt.gov.