Montana extends 2016 elk season

Elk grazing in the field
Photo credits: Shutterstock

Hunters, get ready. Montana has announced that the 2016 elk season will start early and end late in 43 of the state’s 135 hunting districts. Shoulder seasons will begin Aug. 15 and run through Feb. 15 in an effort to manage burgeoning herds and limit agricultural damage.

The regular rifle season runs Oct. 22 to Nov. 27.

The shoulder seasons will apply only to antlerless elk and Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (MFWP) wants to remind those interested in participating that shoulder seasons will be held on private land. Landowner permission is required.

Continued below.

Right now, there are 52,000 elk within the 43 hunting districts designated for the extended season, which is significantly over what MFWP says is the state’s objective of 22,000 elk. Because the agency is required by state law to manage elk numbers per the Montana Elk Management Plan, officials have approved the 2016 shoulder seasons, according to the Great Falls Tribune.

“We need to harvest almost 12,000 just to stay even to prevent any further growth,” says MFWP Game Management Bureau Chief John Vore. “And if we are going to reduce elk numbers, we are going to need to harvest a lot more than that.”

Vore says that hunters must respect landowners and work with them to hunt excess elk, adding, “If we’re all going to play in the same sandbox, we have to be nice to each other.”

Anyone who does decide to hunt in August should be prepared to pack out an animal in the heat. If you want more information on shoulder seasons or an interactive map of the included hunting districts, click HERE.


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