General big game season ends, shoulder seasons remain in many districts

Despite mild weather throughout November, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will not extend the 2016 big game general season, still 41 hunting districts have shoulder season that allow antlerless elk hunting, largely on private land, through Dec., and in several instances, into the new year. 

Not all shoulder seasons are open to general license holders, and hunters need to know what licenses are valid and when and where they can hunt. Be sure to read the regulations.

A shoulder season is a firearms season that occurs outside the general firearms and archery seasons. Shoulder seasons focus on antlerless elk harvest mostly on private land and are not intended to replace or reduce harvest during the existing archery or general firearms seasons.

Shoulder seasons have specific objectives and as such, the commission and department will monitor the success of shoulder seasons in each hunting district to ensure they are meeting the fundamental objectives outlined in the plan. 

Game damage and management hunts may also be going on around the state. Hunters must have signed up for game damage rosters by July 15 to participate. 

Remaining active shoulder seasons and valid licenses

Region 2: HDs 210, 212, 213 and 291 – B Licenses obtained in the July drawing.

HD 215 – Over-the-Counter B License bought before Oct. 22; HDs 290 and 298 – Over-the-Counter B Licenses still available; HD 217 – Over-the-Counter B License bought before Oct 22, B License obtained in the June 1 drawing, General Elk License for youth and PTHFV only.

Region 3: HD 312 – Over-the-Counter B Licenses still available HDs 390 and 393 – Over-the-Counter B Licenses still available, General Elk License.

Region 4: HDs 421, 422 and 423 – B Licenses obtained in the June 1 drawing.

HDs 411, 412, 445, 446, 449, 451 and 452 – B Licenses obtained in the June 1 drawing, General Elk License.

Region 5: All HDs except HD 500 – B Licenses obtained in the June 1 drawing, General Elk License.

Region 6: HDs 620, 621, 622, 630, 631, 632, 680 and 690 –Only shoulder-season specific B Licenses acquired through the June 1 drawing.

It’s important for hunters to know the specific shoulder season regulations for the hunting district they plan to hunt in. This includes not only the dates the shoulder seasons extend to, but the necessary licenses as well as the type of land that is allowable to hunt. Both season timing and license type varies from district to district. 

 

Information for hunters:

Each region with active shoulder seasons has resources for hunters looking for information where to hunt. However, it’s incumbent on hunters to make sure to ask first before they hunt on private land.

Additionally, shoulder seasons offer hunting opportunities, which are often challenging despite the late season. 

 

Region 2 contacts:

• Zac Norris — North Flint Range HD 217, (406) 210-2260

• Cannon Colegrove — John Long Range and East Garnet Range HDs 210 and 291, (406) 210-2328

• Gail Duncan — Deer Lodge East and West, HDs 212, 213 and 215, (406) 210-5497

• Aletheia Bouknight — Deer Lodge East and East Garnet Range, HDs 215 and 291 (406) 210-5502

• General questions can also be directed to the FWP R2 office at (406) 542-5500.

 

Region 3 contacts

• You may direct any questions on Region 3 elk shoulder seasons to FWP at (406) 994-4042.

 

Region 4 contacts

• Dalton Schaller — Great Falls Office, (406) 548-1019

• Kim Billadeau — Lewistown Office, (406) 538-4658

• Abby Vaughan — Lewistown Office, (406) 366-9191

• White Sulphur Springs Hunting Information Coordinator, (406) 403-2361

• General questions can also be directed to the FWP R4 office at (406) 454-5840.

 

Region 5 contacts

• Christine Decausin — Billings Office, (406) 598-0090

• Sean Flynn — Billings Office, (406) 598-0090

• General questions can also be directed to the FWP R5 office at (406) 247-2940.

 

Region 6 contacts

• Marc Kloker — Region 6 Information Officer, (406) 228-3704

• Scott Thompson — Region 6 Wildlife Manager, (406) 228-3710

• General questions can also be directed to the FWP R6 office at (406) 228-3700.

 

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