Montana’s Elk Shoulder Season Continues 

Photo by: Wildlife Deposit Photos

There are still opportunities to fill a general elk license in Montana this winter, as elk shoulder seasons continue in some hunting districts around the state. A shoulder season is a firearm season that occurs outside the 5-week general firearms season. These hunts focus on antlerless elk harvest on private land and are not intended to replace or reduce harvest during the existing general archery and 5 week general rifle season.

Hunters can use their general elk license or elk B license obtained through a limited drawing or (OTC), depending on the hunting district.

[Key points for hunters to remember] 

  • Season timing and lengths will be tailored to each hunting district,so know your regulations.
  • Shoulder seasons will be focused on antlerless elk found primarily on private land.
  • Hunters can typically use their general license, antlerless elk permit or an elk B license, depending on the hunting district. Hunters need to check the regulations for each district.
  • Hunters should start early and build contacts and relationships with landowners who may offer access for shoulder season hunts.
  • Know the landowner’s boundaries, use a GPS and onXmaps to be sure of where you are hunting.

After a few serious snowfalls, elk begin to concentrate into winter pasture areas, mainly on private grounds. This is where a shoulder season hunt will benefit you, if you are willing to put in some time and effort.

Valid Hunting Districts: 

Region 2 

HD 210, 212, 213 – B license drawing only

HD 215 – OTC B license

HD 217

HD 291 – B license drawing only

HD 290, 298 – OTC B license

Region 3 

HD 390, 393 – General elk license (November 27, 2017 – January 1, 2018)

Region 4 

HD 411, 412 – B license by drawing only and general elk license

HD 421 – B license only

HD 422, 423 – B license only

HD 445, 446, 449, 451 and 452 – B license by drawing only

and general elk license

Region 5 All Region 5 (except HD 500, 511, 530 

and portions of HD 520, 560 and 590) 

B license by drawing only and general elk license

HD511 and 530 – B license only and general elk license

Know the regulations before you hunt. Check MFWP hunting regulations for the area you plan to hunt and updates on shoulder elk seasons. 

Hunting for deer and some brow-tined bull or antlerless elk hunts still exist here in Montana for late season hunters.

Did you get out and hunt enough? If not, and you’re willing to tough out the harsh elements and maybe do a little

traveling, you can put some steaks in the freezer this month, though limited.

Check with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks for any late news to come out in December. Make sure you read the Montana Hunting Regulations for opportunities that may exist for you. Here are some we have found.

HD Unit 212 – North Flint Range There is a large amount of good country to hunt in this district, and it is one of the best options to fill a late-season tag.

Deer: Either sex whitetail deer. Archery only. Prison Ranch only area.

Elk: Brow-tined bull or antlerless elk. Archery only. Prison Ranch archery only.

Open through January 1, 2018.

HD Unit 260 – Bitterroot – Clark Fork Archery District Mostly private land. The access is difficult. You may have to knock on a few doors, but there are plenty of deer to hunt in these river bottom areas.

Deer: Either sex – whitetail. Archery only.

Elk: Brow-tined bull elk or antlerless elk, not valid on

Lee Metcalf Refuge. Archery only. Open through

January 15, 2018.

HD Unit 290 – Helmville – Ovando Archery District 

This area offers another good opportunity to fill a tag,

with plenty of quality deer and elk hunting available.

Deer: Antlered buck mule deer. Archery only.

Either sex whitetail deer. Archery only.

Season ends December 15, 2017.

Elk: Brow-tined bull or antlerless elk. Archery only.

Season ends January 1, 2018.

HD Unit 309 – Gallatin Valley – WRA 

Deer and elk hunting is restricted to archery equipment, shotgun, traditional handgun, muzzleloader or crossbow only, except on private lands,which are excluded from the weapons restriction. Map area available at FWP Region 3 in Bozeman or call 406-994-4042.

Deer: Antlerless whitetail deer only.

Elk: Antlerless elk only.

November 27, 2017 – January 15, 2018.

To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart. Thomas Watson, Sr.

Read the December issue of the Montana Hunting & Fishing News at

http://issuu.com/bigskyoutdoornews/docs/hfndec17?e=1075380/55209922

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