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View Full Version : Montana MRS-Looking for imput from you locals and avid MT hunters.



Breshears
12-17-2012, 06:46 PM
It is time for the Montana general app/limited draw article for deer/elk/pronghorn for the Feb/Mar issue. Then shortly after that we are going into trophy species. I am looking for limited draw HD updates, general area updates for herd populations, drought, fire, bad winter, wolves, bear, etc. Mule deer limited entry around missoula even the unlimited hunts, elk, breaks rifle permits, or any limited rifle permits. Antelope, eastern updates? How are we looking after the massive die off? I don't want to give away any details about someone's personal spot just info on areas in general. Obviously I missed the deadline change last year! (major bummer) as it came out 3 days (ish) after we already sent the article to print. I am always looking to raise the bar, hit me up with thoughts/suggestions etc. I've personally covered a major portion of this great state in 2012 but didn't really touch it in the big picture! Thank you for your time.

Jordan Breshears
Eastmans' Field Editor

ALSO! I am always looking for pics to throw in my write-ups, if you have a good picture doesn't have to be a huge trophy, just real hunting! Send me a PM and I will get the details on where to send em!

Montana
12-19-2012, 03:57 AM
Well... Not sure I'm the best person to give any advice. I think Western Montana is increasing in numbers and quality while eastern montana is BADLY suffering. I personally know of 3 bucks that came out of Western MT over 200 and 1 that barely missed with a 198 gross score. I did my annual trip east and it was BAD, numbers down like you can't imagine... I mean like 6 years ago we counted over 600 animals in 3 days, this year like 60... maybe 60. I guess thats all part of the cycle and the importance of proper management. With that high of numbers, a "die off" is just around the corner.

ceby7
12-20-2012, 02:17 PM
From personal experience this fall;

-Antelope in R7 are still in dismal shape. I would say the population has quit dropping, but there are still too many tags given out to see an increase in numbers. Starting to see more fawns but it will still be 3-5 years before you start seeing mature bucks(pending weather and disease). I believe they should, at a minimum, eliminate doe/fawn tags in R7.

-Deer in SE MT are in my opinion doing pretty good. The numbers seemed to be average this year, however the quality was down. I think there could be some good hunting in the next few years as a result of this summer's fires. On the other end of the spectrum, whitetail deer along the Missouri River Breaks are nearly nonexistent due to hard winters a few years ago and disease. It's going to take quite some time for the whitetails to recover in this area.

-Elk hunting in the Breaks was, well, tough to say the least. It was an extremely dry Sep. on top of a really really dry summer. I believe the numbers were down from 2011, which itself was down from 2010. I know the elk populations in the Breaks are above management objectives, but believe me when I say that is not the case on public land. What worries me the most is the lack of cow/calves I saw. I know FWP is trying to address the public/private land complications in the Breaks, but it will be several years at the earliest before we see if their strategies make a difference.

Obviously my observations are just that, mine, and others are likely to have differing opinions, but after spending 40+ days in the field this fall; and more in the spring and summer scouting, I'm confident the trends and observations I have are accurate and knowledgable.

FTR I do all of my hunting DIY on public land.

rfurman24
02-06-2013, 05:59 PM
I don't have any input as far as information but I personally would be interested in seeing more info in the MRS about general areas. The way the system is set up in Montana you really need two plans. One for a general hunt and one for if you actually draw a limited. It's hard to decipher the hunt statistics from Montana's site. It is hard for me to justify putting in for a tag in Montana when I really don't know what I am getting and I can hunt Wyoming pretty much every year with at least a clue as to what to expect. I would love to go hunt Montana but I struggle to fit all the pieces together more so than other states.

Bitterroot Bulls
02-06-2013, 07:16 PM
rfurman24,

There aren't really that many limited districts. Much of Western MT is permit only, but many of the permits are unlimited, so if you put in ... you draw.

MOST of the stated is General Districts. You could hunt these districts every time you get a tag. That leaves a handfull of permit districts.

Just go through the Regulations district by district and see if they are General or Permit Only. On the Permit Only, see if they are unlimited permits or limited. Remember if you draw a permit for mule deer, you can only hunt that district though, and not the general districts.

Hope that helps.

rfurman24
02-07-2013, 07:48 PM
Thanks BB, but I think I understand the regs for the most part. I guess my request must not have made sense. The closest thing to what I am talking about is in the 2011 EHJ issue 126 article by Jordan. He lays out the different areas and trophy expectations it is just missing success rates and access/terrain breakdowns. I understand most want the limited entry data but for me the data on things like success rates and terrain breakdowns for the Montana General areas would be more beneficial. Maybe I am missing something but I would love to see a Montana general tag break down similar to Wyoming or Colorado limited entry breakdowns. Don't get me wrong I love the magazine and all the articles just offering an improvement item. Thanks again.

Bitterroot Bulls
02-07-2013, 08:27 PM
Oh, I got ya.

Here is some good general district info:

http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/regulations/huntingOpportunities.html

Harvest statistics are here:

http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/planahunt/

Type of terrain depends on the Region:

Region 1 generally has mixed conifer forests, high alpine basins, and dense river valleys.
Region 2 is similar with broken open country mixed in.
Region 3 is the classic postcard MT with Towering mountains, wide valleys, sagebrush hills, coniferous forests, and open rolling grassland foothills.
Region 4 runs from the Bob down the Rocky Mountain Front plains and over to the start of the Missouri River Breaks.
Region 5 is runs from the Absaroka Beartooths to the breaks
Region 6 is the north breaks and open wheat country.
Region 7 is the south breaks, cattle country, and SE MT badlands with a little broken national forest thrown in.

The hardest country is in 1 and 2. These areas have big, steep, remote mountain country with lots of cover. 3 has everything from high alpine to grassy plains. 4 and 5 are similar to 3 with more of the plains terrain thrown in. 6 and 7 are similar, and has the easiest country. All of the above are generalizations, and there are areas in all of them that are easier or harder than the general. In fact, the badlands of 6 and 7 are often steep and treacherous, just like upside-down mountains.

There is a start.

rfurman24
02-07-2013, 08:50 PM
Great info I have looked at those pages a few times for some reason I don't remember seeing the success rates before. That is the kind of info I would like to see broken down in the MRS so it would be a little easier to plan. I do not mind doing my home work but that is the main reason I subscribe to EHJ and EBJ. Thanks BB.

gethuntin
02-22-2013, 08:34 AM
Could someone clarify if drew a Limited Entry permit say in 410- i could only hunt that unit-units in that hunting district and can no longer hunt the General areas? Is this just for deer or elk as well?

Bitterroot Bulls
02-22-2013, 08:57 AM
Almost all limited entry permits restrict you to that district only. A few are good for multiple districts though. It will say in the "regulations by district" under the Permit heading.

Breshears
03-09-2013, 09:52 AM
I don't have any input as far as information but I personally would be interested in seeing more info in the MRS about general areas. The way the system is set up in Montana you really need two plans. One for a general hunt and one for if you actually draw a limited. It's hard to decipher the hunt statistics from Montana's site. It is hard for me to justify putting in for a tag in Montana when I really don't know what I am getting and I can hunt Wyoming pretty much every year with at least a clue as to what to expect. I would love to go hunt Montana but I struggle to fit all the pieces together more so than other states.

rfurmman,

Each year I compile a 4-6 page general season OTC article for Montana. This article goes in the July/August issue or somewhere close to that. My goal is to do just what you mentioned above, create two separate options, as many people don't draw special tags or don't want to draw them. Therefore, I have been building a good foundation for nonresidents or residents to start with. Hope this helps, and feel free to hit me up with more questions any time.

Jordan Breshears

Bitterroot Bulls
03-09-2013, 10:13 AM
Almost all limited entry permits restrict you to that district only. A few are good for multiple districts though. It will say in the "regulations by district" under the Permit heading.

Sorry guys, I just reread this.

Mule Deer Buck Permits restrict you to that permit's district only. Most Elk permits allow you to use your general elk license in any general district IN ADDITION TO the special opportunity your permit provides.

Sorry for the confusion.

HuskyMusky
03-09-2013, 11:10 AM
I wish Eastmans' would bash Montana's non-resident drawing process!
-no points only option for limited permit areas, or if you want a 80% refund then you can, ie for about $200 bucks you can build points only.

-points only options for sheep/moose/goat, but require at least half up front, full tag fee would lend itself to just applying for tags vs. points only IMO, and 0 up front would let everyone who's not serious flood the system and make odds worse.

I could write a book...
-turn the breaks elk hunts into a 2 or 3 season archery hunt like new mexico.

-make the non-res/resident multiplier 10x or less, not 43x like it is in some cases.

Murdy
03-09-2013, 01:29 PM
Mule Deer Buck Permits restrict you to that permit's district only. Most Elk permits allow you to use your general elk license in any general district IN ADDITION TO the special opportunity your permit provides.

So, if you buy one of those combo licenses, you can hunt elk all over in general units but your deer permit is limited -- Is that correct?

Bitterroot Bulls
03-09-2013, 01:54 PM
So, if you buy one of those combo licenses, you can hunt elk all over in general units but your deer permit is limited -- Is that correct?

No. If you get the deer/elk licenses you can hunt any general district under the general restrictions for deer AND elk.

If you draw a mule deer buck PERMIT, you can only hunt the permitted district for buck mule deer. Your deer license is now only good for the permitted district for mule deer bucks. You can no longer hunt general districts state wide for mule deer bucks.

If you draw an elk PERMIT, you can hunt the permitted district AND you can still hunt any other general elk district under the general restrictions.

HuskyMusky
03-13-2013, 02:23 PM
rfurmman,

Each year I compile a 4-6 page general season OTC article for Montana. This article goes in the July/August issue or somewhere close to that. My goal is to do just what you mentioned above, create two separate options, as many people don't draw special tags or don't want to draw them. Therefore, I have been building a good foundation for nonresidents or residents to start with. Hope this helps, and feel free to hit me up with more questions any time.

Jordan Breshears

They could easily get rid of this 2 tag system... general/special permit.

Like other states, they should have a 2nd choice option for a general tag, New Mexico has a 4th choice option/regional tag type option, and other states, WY I believe allows some to draw a general tag as a 2nd choice.

I would bet most non-res who are trying to draw a special elk permit area DO NOT want a general tag. Which may actually free up more general tags for residents and non-res who specifically want a general tag.