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  1. #1
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    Montana general elk tag for non Residents

    I was considering putting in for a tag in Montana. I know it will be a general tag if I draw it. My question is what kind of hunting can I expect in general areas? Elbow to elbow, low numbers??? I don't like to run into many people. I have no idea what to expect and it is a lot of $ to put out there and not be happy. I have hunted twice in Idaho with a general OTC tag, and was lucky to kind a decent spot. How do they compare to Idaho OTC?

    Montana put themselves in the middle this year. I drew a tag last year and had to turn it in, because my buddy couldn't go. Cost us 20% and didn't even get a point. Last year Utah and New Mexico cost us a few bucks to withdraw our application, that's it.

    I am already entered in Utah, and Arizona, but not much of a chance getting anything there. Plan and would really like to hunt New Mexico if lucky. I would be going archery the first week of September if we go any place we go.

    Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated as to the quality of the general hunt and what to expect.

  2. #2
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    It depends. Most of the elk in the state are in general (OTC for residents) areas. There are areas that see a lot of hunters, and some that don't see a bootprint. There are easy access, wilderness, in-between areas. There are still a lot of elk in MT, other than some areas that have been wolf-bit bad.

    Even in the higher-pressure areas, there are spots a little out of the way that hold the bulls. Trophy quality is like everywhere else that isn't limited. Most bulls harvested are 3 1/2 year old 5X5s, you have a good shot at finding a 280-300 sixer, and every once in a while a big bull gets killed.

    Overall hunter success runs 10-15%.

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  4. #3
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    The general tag is good for most of the state. There is some great hunting in it if you know the country and know where to go. Personally I think its tomuch money for a general tag so I have not applied in montana since their prices went up.

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    Thanks, guys

  6. #5
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    When I had a general non-res elk tag a couple years ago, what I found was if you wanted a bull elk on public land with a general tag you had to go west, region 3 seemed to get all the attention. There are probably spots across the state with public land/bull elk opportunities.

    I won't be using a general tag in MT again anytime soon.

    When I hunted region 3, talked to many locals, many who hunted for 20 years in that area, the wolves destroyed the #'s of elk, I told 1 guy the loop we did, we bumped into them while hunting, and he said had you done that same loop 5-10yrs ago you would have bumped at least 7 groups of elk, this time, we bumped none! These guys hunted hard too, backpacked... the bulls were all coming in silent they said, he said, and others too, if you get a shot at a 5x5 / 280" take it!

    Waaaayyyyy better opportunities out there for a hunter from ohio who wants to hunt elk IMO!

    skip the general tag in MT, not to mention it's one of the most expensive tags out there.
    read the general regs closely, you'll see many units don't have an open bull tag during the general except for regions 1,2,3. ie many units you can shoot a cow during the general with your tag, but not a bull.

    If you already have a decent spot in ID, I'd go there again over winging it with a general MT tag.

    You missed the draw by now, but WY general would have probably been the best of these 3, ID/WY/MT.

    good luck in NM.

    MT needs some major changes IMO.

    btw it seems everyone who failed to draw the limited tag in MT flocks to region 3 ie cause it has a general bull open season, and numbers are down, wolves, tag #'s haven't been decreased, so tons of hunters hammer the area, wolves too, it's not good at all.

    I'm not wasting time or money anymore on a decent/maybe area/unit.

    feel free to PM me.


    btw I was going to put in for a special elk tag this year in MT, and if I failed to draw the special, I'd turn back the general for 80% refund, but after crunching the numbers, that amounts to losing $160 or $190 depending which tag you apply for, elk combo vs. big game combo, plus pref pts for $50 and $20. So I'm going to have to discuss it with my hunting buddy, we may wait for MT to change their system, I think more changes are coming for next year.

    I have to call also, to see if i fail to draw the special tag, and request a refund if that burns my points for the general draw, etc... again I don't want to spend over $180 in fees just to lose my points after all is said an done. They really need a points only option even if you front the money first, kinda like CO for deer/elk.
    Last edited by HuskyMusky; 03-05-2012 at 11:56 AM.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskyMusky View Post
    When I had a general non-res elk tag a couple years ago, what I found was if you wanted a bull elk on public land with a general tag you had to go west,

    read the general regs closely, you'll see many units don't have an open bull tag during the general except for regions 1,2,3.
    Husky makes some good points. However, what isn't mentioned is most of the elk are in regions 1,2, and 3. That is the best reason to go there, and why most of the general hunts are in those regions. Also, there are plenty of areas in Region 3 that don't see a hunter one, all season. The under-the-radar region is definitely Region 1. Some units in Region 2 are doing great on elk numbers (over objective) and others, particularly the Bitterroot units, are way down.

    Another plus to the non-resident hunter in MT, is chances are very good you could hunt in MT nearly every year. You could get to really learn a unit, and the elk in it.

    Here is a bull I found scouting pre-season last year in a general area. He was gone looking for pretty girls by the time season rolled around. He ruined my season though, as I ended up passing many bulls still dreaming of him:

    www.eastmans.com/forum/showthread.php/1123-2011-Scouting-Trip?highlight=video

    Video on page two of the thread.

    While MT may have bigger bulls hiding in it, CO is still the best non-resident elk hunting opportunity in the West.

  8. #7
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    Back to you BobcatJerry.....MT archery has its good and bad. For one, drawing limited entry archery units is relatively easy. So you might not have to rely on hunting OTC units. I've had my VA uncles out the last couple years in units that have 10% rifle draw odds, which they were able to pull both years for archery. We had great hunts each year, but have mistimed what week to hunt in Sept. If you're looking at hunting the 1st week of Sept, I wouldn't bite on MT this year. Elk activity has been ok in the regions I've hunted the last couple of years, but once they get a little hunting pressure and 80+ degree temperature, they really hunker down until later in the month. I can only speak for East of the divide with regard to archery, but more and more Region 1-3 hunters seem to be making it over to the center of the state for the reasons that HuskyMusky talks about. Skip MT this year, come hunt a limited entry archery unit in MT after the 20th some other year.

  9. #8
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    Thanks guys. bitterroot Bulls, the video was an awesome elk. Good luck with him.

    Haven't made my mind up yet, but may hold out on MT. They have positioned themselves in the middle of the other states and they draw prior to Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. I'm in the draw for the first two already and going to to do New Mex and Nevada. If you end up drawing in MT and then get a nice tag in NM they keep 20%. I gotta start getting lucky some time. Probably end up OTC in Idaho.

    I do entertain the thoughts of maybe being in a better area each year though. General tag in Mt leaves a lot of area to scout out, which would be fun to research.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobcatJerry View Post
    Thanks guys. bitterroot Bulls, the video was an awesome elk. Good luck with him.

    Haven't made my mind up yet, but may hold out on MT. They have positioned themselves in the middle of the other states and they draw prior to Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. I'm in the draw for the first two already and going to to do New Mex and Nevada. If you end up drawing in MT and then get a nice tag in NM they keep 20%. I gotta start getting lucky some time. Probably end up OTC in Idaho.

    I do entertain the thoughts of maybe being in a better area each year though. General tag in Mt leaves a lot of area to scout out, which would be fun to research.
    If MT has leftover tags again this year you can just buy a general tag come July or whenever they draw the tags... although I would pass on a general MT elk tag.

 

 

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