Montana spring bear hunt access

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Heading to Montana for a spring bear hunt. I have the first week of may off for work and was wondering what access would be like to the bridger range north of bozeman. This will be my first spring bear hunt so any information will help. Can you get to the higher elevations this early? If not are the lower elevations accessible and good for hunting bear.
 

PablitoPescador

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Heading to Montana for a spring bear hunt. I have the first week of may off for work and was wondering what access would be like to the bridger range north of bozeman. This will be my first spring bear hunt so any information will help. Can you get to the higher elevations this early? If not are the lower elevations accessible and good for hunting bear.
There’s a few access points to some of the canyons on the west side of the range. My personal advice would be to get as far away from Bozeman as possible. The Bridgers get hunted pretty hard for spring bear. Was on a stalk two springs ago and had some guys beat me to the bear. Seems like every year the pressure gets worse. I’ve sworn off ever hunting there again. Not to mention the hoards of day hikers you’ll bump into. There’s lots better mountain ranges to hunt unless you’re stuck to the Bridgers for a particular reason
 
OP
P
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There’s a few access points to some of the canyons on the west side of the range. My personal advice would be to get as far away from Bozeman as possible. The Bridgers get hunted pretty hard for spring bear. Was on a stalk two springs ago and had some guys beat me to the bear. Seems like every year the pressure gets worse. I’ve sworn off ever hunting there again. Not to mention the hoards of day hikers you’ll bump into. There’s lots better mountain ranges to hunt unless you’re stuck to the Bridgers for a particular reason
Looking at hunt the bridgers because they are the closest range with a decent population to me. It's already a 28 hour drive. Is the pressure pretty high that early in the season? Any guidance is greatly appreciated.
 

PablitoPescador

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Looking at hunt the bridgers because they are the closest range with a decent population to me. It's already a 28 hour drive. Is the pressure pretty high that early in the season? Any guidance is greatly appreciated.
If there’s a season open and it’s an hour drive or less from Bozeman there will be high hunting pressure. Bozeman is pretty much the hunter transplant capital of the west. Just about every mountain range in Montana has good bear populations. My advice would be to keep driving a little further
 

TheGreek

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Check out the snotel website and call the ranger district you are gonna hunt within a week or so before your trip and ask them about road access and snow conditions.
 

Mt Al

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Looking at hunt the bridgers because they are the closest range with a decent population to me. It's already a 28 hour drive. Is the pressure pretty high that early in the season? Any guidance is greatly appreciated.

If you want to come to Bozeman for other reasons and just hunt nearby - no worries, have fun and it will be a great experience. But, please heed the advice in the previous posts. Bozeman is the transplant hunter hot spot and the Bridgers always have a lot of people at every public access point, even the crazy people who didn't transplant here!

If I'm interpreting your user name right "PA" backwoodsman, and you're driving from PA, you might consider hunting the Judiths, Snowies, Pryors or Little Belt mountains. All of those might even be a slightly shorter drive.

A few hours away from Bozeman and your chances of seeing and getting a bear will be way better.

As far as access to any public land black bear hunting, at that time of year much of it will be based on weather. Roads to trailheads could be, and will likely be, completely clear or they may covered with snow and impassable. No matter if the weather is terrible, there are always places to access public land, like along the road from Bozeman to West Yellowstone for the Gallatin and Spanish Peaks.

No matter where you go, please post pics of your trip!
 
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Look out for backcountry skiers up there. The bridgers first week of may might be the single busiest piece of mountains in the state. There are forty-something mountain ranges in the state, I'd find another one. If nothing else you'll have a much cooler Montana experience.
 
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OP
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If you want to come to Bozeman for other reasons and just hunt nearby - no worries, have fun and it will be a great experience. But, please heed the advice in the previous posts. Bozeman is the transplant hunter hot spot and the Bridgers always have a lot of people at every public access point, even the crazy people who didn't transplant here!

If I'm interpreting your user name right "PA" backwoodsman, and you're driving from PA, you might consider hunting the Judiths, Snowies, Pryors or Little Belt mountains. All of those might even be a slightly shorter drive.

A few hours away from Bozeman and your chances of seeing and getting a bear will be way better.

As far as access to any public land black bear hunting, at that time of year much of it will be based on weather. Roads to trailheads could be, and will likely be, completely clear or they may covered with snow and impassable. No matter if the weather is terrible, there are always places to access public land, like along the road from Bozeman to West Yellowstone for the Gallatin and Spanish Peaks.

No matter where you go, please post pics of your trip!
Thank you for the information it is very helpful. Do all those mountain ranges have pretty healthy black bear populations?
 

PablitoPescador

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Thank you for the information it is very helpful. Do all those mountain ranges have pretty healthy black bear populations?
Calling the area biologists would be the best way to confirm but every mountain range in the state has bears. Keep in mind that the Pryors and beartooths have quotas. The Pryors will almost certainly be closed by early May
 

Mt Al

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Thank you for the information it is very helpful. Do all those mountain ranges have pretty healthy black bear populations?
What Pablito said, they all have them but you have to watch the quotas. Take a look at the regs, even from last year, and you can see that some areas remain open longer than others, tight or zero quotas, etc..
 

WCB

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what was said above. There are other ranges that MAY not have as many bears but will have FAR fewer people. I'd sacrifice a few more hours of driving to not be anywhere close to Bozeman.
 

jpiazza91

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I've done the same hunt you're describing a few years ago as an out of stater and will be in MT during the same week you're there this year looking for bears. You've already heard it, but Bozeman has a ton of pressure. If you don't have someone local taking you out, I'd drive a bit further and get out with less people pressuring bears. Luckily, MT is bear heavy and I think you'll have decent luck in any mountain range you decide to hunt.
 
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