Archery elk hunting Montana grizzly country

Bachto

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
164
Location
West Richland, WA
I am archery hunting SW Montana this year somewhere along the Big Hole valley (where I am hunting is more central/east side) and was wanting to know what to expect for grizzly populations. I know that I need to expect them and will be doing so but wanted to know what I should expect for densities from people that have first hand knowledge. I talked to a game bio and she said they are around but densities are low and then have heard otherwise.

This is far from my first backcountry hunt, archery hunt, or elk hunt. This is my first doing all of those in griz country so I am somewhat nervous. I have a 10MM for sidearm, along with bear spray. My dad is joining me and will be carrying as well.

please hold the "all of western Montana has griz" "Go back to your home state" or anything similar. I have read the threads about handling kills in griz country too so we have a game plan for that along with keeping a clean camp.
 

dreamingbig

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
3,349
Location
Washington
We have encountered grizzlies in that country and it is never a fun day. That said, most days are grizzly free.


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selbyt31

Newbie
Joined
Aug 11, 2022
Messages
6
Location
Montana
I am archery hunting SW Montana this year somewhere along the Big Hole valley (where I am hunting is more central/east side) and was wanting to know what to expect for grizzly populations. I know that I need to expect them and will be doing so but wanted to know what I should expect for densities from people that have first hand knowledge. I talked to a game bio and she said they are around but densities are low and then have heard otherwise.

This is far from my first backcountry hunt, archery hunt, or elk hunt. This is my first doing all of those in griz country so I am somewhat nervous. I have a 10MM for sidearm, along with bear spray. My dad is joining me and will be carrying as well.

please hold the "all of western Montana has griz" "Go back to your home state" or anything similar. I have read the threads about handling kills in griz country too so we have a game plan for that along with keeping a clean camp.
Ive hunted that country a bit solo as well as Alaska solo all dense with grizzly scat and sign. Best thing I can say is think about situations before you enter them in the field and make sure you have your bases covered. Run through situations with your father so you two are on the same page in terms of how to react..it will alleviate some of the anxiety. Be aware of dense cover and just wondering through. In experience we've walked into them not the other way around

That being said, I'm sure you'll be bear free as long as you take care of camp and kill site.

Most of all enjoy that country and hunt for what it is. ******* MAJESTIC
 

160andup

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2015
Messages
40
Location
East
Hunted near there last year, walking through dark timber in the evening and the scent of rotten meat hit me in the face. I immediately look over where the wind came from and I make eye contact with a big sow black bear who was staring me down at 25 yards… glad she wasn’t a grizz that’s for sure because she had no intention of leaving her post. Be prepared and use your head but don’t let it scare you away.
 

slick

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
1,785
Just like most places in MT.

Doesn’t change much from hunting anywhere in the SW. Odds are low, but they’re around
 

7Bartman

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 29, 2017
Messages
330
Location
MD
I've got the exact same hunting plan. Talked to the unit biologist yesterday and she relayed the confirmed Grizzly sightings to me. They are there, but not very densely populated whatsoever. Just keep a clean camp and take the usual precautions.
 

Recurve Man

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2022
Messages
22
You may run across a long claw on west side. Lets us know what you think of the wolves after your hunt this year.
 

Indian Summer

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
1,781
I know people down there as well as outfitters in the Anaconda Pintlar wilderness. None of them have ever seen a grizzly. Ever.
 

SEIdaho Hunter

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2020
Messages
35
Even if there is a slight chance of running into one, I would prepare as if there are grizz everywhere. I think the 10mm is the perfect choice. Make sure you have good ammo. I like the 200 grain hardcast ammo from Underwood.
 

beignet

Junior Member
Joined
May 14, 2019
Messages
23
Location
Montaña
That’s not an area that gets my g-bear hackles up. I do carry spray over there, but I don’t believe there’s a lot of them just yet.

I’d say to follow the same rules that one should follow in any backcountry scenario, g-bear country or not: keep a clean camp, store food properly, and avoid existing carcasses. Otherwise, have a good time and don’t sweat bear presence too much.
 

3forks

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 4, 2014
Messages
709
I agree with others that have said the grizzlies in the Big Hole Valley aren’t as dispersed as in other areas.

But… remember that FWP said the same thing about grizzlies in the Gravelly Range, and there weren’t a ton of sightings.

However, it was archery hunters who started having pretty common run ins with grizzlies that made FWP and everyone else more aware of the amount of bears in the Gravelly range.

Again, like others have said, I would just take the same precautions I would if I were in an area with a higher density of grizzlies, but I also would not be complacent due to the lower numbers so far known about in the valley.
 

TradLife406

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Messages
1,331
Location
Great Falls MT
All of Montana is griz country these days. Have you considered Colorado?

Put a weapon light on your 10mm. Just be aware of what you're doing and what's around you.
 
OP
Bachto

Bachto

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
164
Location
West Richland, WA
All of Montana is griz country these days. Have you considered Colorado?

Put a weapon light on your 10mm. Just be aware of what you're doing and what's around you.
I know that they have really moved into most of the western portions, more just wanted to get a sense of what to expect for my first elk hunt with potential griz encounters. I live in WA so Montana is a much shorter drive than Colorado
 

AbSandy

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2020
Messages
19
I am archery hunting SW Montana this year somewhere along the Big Hole valley (where I am hunting is more central/east side) and was wanting to know what to expect for grizzly populations. I know that I need to expect them and will be doing so but wanted to know what I should expect for densities from people that have first hand knowledge. I talked to a game bio and she said they are around but densities are low and then have heard otherwise.

This is far from my first backcountry hunt, archery hunt, or elk hunt. This is my first doing all of those in griz country so I am somewhat nervous. I have a 10MM for sidearm, along with bear spray. My dad is joining me and will be carrying as well.

please hold the "all of western Montana has griz" "Go back to your home state" or anything similar. I have read the threads about handling kills in griz country too so we have a game plan for that along with keeping a clean camp.
Hey bud I hunt the front range in Mt and we see grizzlies often. I’ve never had a close encounter until I had an elk on the ground. A frontal shot, the elk only went 50 yards but was bleeding like a fountain. I was able to watch the elk lay down and bleed out. By the time he laid his head down within 10 mins we had a bear woofing, thrashing below us. I never even saw it!! He never claimed the carcass because I can only think it smelled me, I actually can’t explain it. Anyways I called the rancher because I was scared, he drove his truck up to where I was to rescue me and my elk and scare the bear off. My only advice for hunting grizz country is don’t just march into the quakies unless you can see a bunch, and mind your calling set up, don’t give a bear a chance to check out your cow calls! In my opinion grizz country has the best elk hunting because a lot of guys would prefer not to hunt round them. Just be wise in the brush and around creeks where the water is loud!!
 

Preston

Member
Joined
May 12, 2020
Messages
81
I’ve hunted there for almost 10 years and never seen one but have seen tracks later in the rifle season. If you get an elk down skin and quarter and get the meat several 100 yards away from the kill site up in a tree or at least in a good clear area with some shade where you can see coming in to pack meat. Usually the camp robbers/magpies will be on the meat within 20 minutes and everything else will follow.

I always skin and quarter even late in the evening to avoid losing meat and will pack out the back straps/loin on the first trip. Good luck
 
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