Montana Elk Shoulder Season

HuntingNomad

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Hi guys, lookin around for a cow elk hunt this January to put some meat in the freezer. From what I read on the Montana FWP website the Shoulder Season seems to be focused on decreasing the impact of elk herds on private land. That being said does anyone know if land/ranch owners in those hunting districts are receptive to giving hunters with a cow elk tag access since doing so would help reduce the impact that herd has on their business? Additionally, if I am missing something and there are in fact some public land cow hunts in Montana please let me know haha!
 

hobbes

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More info:

The regs will give more information on where you can hunt. It's changed, and some public land is open in some areas. For the most part, it's been a block management hunt. Some block management areas close and do not allow shoulder season hunting. I've not stopped and asked anyone and only tried block management. I've been under the impression that if it's not block management you aren't getting permission unless you have a good contact/connection for a way in. I could be wrong.
 
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HuntingNomad

HuntingNomad

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More info:

The regs will give more information on where you can hunt. It's changed, and some public land is open in some areas. For the most part, it's been a block management hunt. Some block management areas close and do not allow shoulder season hunting. I've not stopped and asked anyone and only tried block management. I've been under the impression that if it's not block management you aren't getting permission unless you have a good contact/connection for a way in. I could be wrong.
Thanks for the advice Hobbes! It looks like the only ones left are for Hunts 389 & 397 ( giving access to units 390,391,393 and 309,311,312 respectively) and the 05-000 tag for region 5 (in any HD that extends past January 1st). Are you familiar with hunting BMAs in those parts of the state? I have a week so I hope that would be enough time to fill my tag my other options are Colorado B or C list tags (equivalent to Montana's shoulder season) or an OTC Mule Deer archery hunt in AZ.
 

Formidilosus

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Hi guys, lookin around for a cow elk hunt this January to put some meat in the freezer. From what I read on the Montana FWP website the Shoulder Season seems to be focused on decreasing the impact of elk herds on private land. That being said does anyone know if land/ranch owners in those hunting districts are receptive to giving hunters with a cow elk tag access since doing so would help reduce the impact that herd has on their business?

What you’re missing is that the whole thing is BS. Well 90%. Most land owners are not really interested in reducing the amount of elk on their property- they’re happy to charge you though. And overall the elk numbers are laughable anyways.

There are a few (very few) notable exceptions, however you are very unlikely to find elk on huntable public land, or access private that has elk without paying.
 

Turkeygetpwnd38

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I would not purchase a tag without securing private access first, and if you don’t know anyone, that’s going to be by paying. The chances of you coming in from out of state for a week and finding elk on the few BMAs that are open will be slim to none.
 

bsnedeker

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Agree with above, you pretty much need a hook up or pay for access. I've got a few connects but they are hard to come by unless you were born and raised in the area.

There is absolutely some public land you can hunt during shoulder season and sometimes you can get lucky if the weather cooperates but it's a big gamble. I wouldn't make a special trip for it if I was a non resident.

Sent from my SM-G998U1 using Tapatalk
 

Tyglick

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Agree with posts above. We tried it last year. Weather was not cooperating. No snow. So elk were still up high. Not an animal on BMA. And no joke on calling 18-20 different landowners and no bueno. The only landowner that let us on when we stopped and helped him change a flat tire. He was very nice but no luck on his place. We would not waste our time again. Landowner permission is very tough to get. But if you go out and gamble. Good luck!!
 

hobbes

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The guys above are giving pretty solid advice. I wouldn't come here just to hunt the shoulder season.

However, I had a buddy apply for a cow tag a few years ago and he came out in January. He should have had a cow, wrong move at the wrong time cost us. I'd hunted it before though or his chances would have been worse. It was tough to catch them on BMA during shooting light. The apparently understood the boundaries very well.

Out of your list, I've hunted 391 some (not shoulder), but wouldn't be willing to drive far to hunt the few bma's that are in 391. We've not had enough snow to force elk down and there is a ton of unhuntable ranches that they'll migrate to if they aren't already there. Is it possible, sure. Is it likely, not very.
 
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HuntingNomad

HuntingNomad

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The guys above are giving pretty solid advice. I wouldn't come here just to hunt the shoulder season.

However, I had a buddy apply for a cow tag a few years ago and he came out in January. He should have had a cow, wrong move at the wrong time cost us. I'd hunted it before though or his chances would have been worse. It was tough to catch them on BMA during shooting light. The apparently understood the boundaries very well.

Out of your list, I've hunted 391 some, but wouldn't be willing to drive far to hunt the few bma's that are in 391. We've not had enough snow to force elk down and there is a ton of unhuntable ranches that they'll migrate to if they aren't already there. Is it possible, sure. Is it likely, not very.
I appreciate all the advice guys! I just graduated college so ill be able to afford a lot more out of state trips in the future and this was just my first chance at one before I start work in a few weeks. That being said I will most likely go with the Archery OTC mule deer hunt in AZ they are few and far in between on public land (with success rates in the single digits) but since there are no restrictions on the hunt area and it includes most of their state that might be my best bet this time of the year. As much as I love putting meat in the freezer the experience of being in the wild by myself is about just as pleasing sometimes. If I don't make it out their in January ill definitely be back for the regular season. Thanks again guys and Merry Christmas!
 

hobbes

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I appreciate all the advice guys! I just graduated college so ill be able to afford a lot more out of state trips in the future and this was just my first chance at one before I start work in a few weeks. That being said I will most likely go with the Archery OTC mule deer hunt in AZ they are few and far in between on public land (with success rates in the single digits) but since there are no restrictions on the hunt area and it includes most of their state that might be my best bet this time of the year. As much as I love putting meat in the freezer the experience of being in the wild by myself is about just as pleasing sometimes. If I don't make it out their in January ill definitely be back for the regular season. Thanks again guys and Merry Christmas!
I'd head to Arizona in a heartbeat if I could swing it in a couple weeks. Good luck.
 

Browtinemt

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What you’re missing is that the whole thing is BS. Well 90%. Most land owners are not really interested in reducing the amount of elk on their property- they’re happy to charge you though. And overall the elk numbers are laughable anyways.

There are a few (very few) notable exceptions, however you are very unlikely to find elk on huntable public land, or access private that has elk without paying.
This is 100% accurate. I am not a biologist, but in my opinion the shoulder season is the worst elk “management” method in use.
 
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