Elk numbers in western Montana are robust. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife biologists counted 26,226 elk this spring, the second-highest total in 53 years of annual aerial surveys. Numbers of bull elk in the surveys were notably strong, probably reflecting the light harvest last fall.
Dry weather and fires in the region will contribute to more elk in irrigated crops on private land. Hunters hoping to participate in shoulder seasons this fall or winter should secure permission on private land now, and purchase an elk B-license now for private lands where B-licenses are valid. Hunting regulations are the same as last year; please read the regulations for your area carefully.
White-tailed deer numbers appear to be on an upward trend, owing to the past couple years of excellent fawn production and average-or-better winter survival. It seems that most does had twins, this year and last. Biologists noticed more good bucks in the velvet over the summer. Dry weather and fires in the region will tend to concentrate deer, like elk, in irrigated crops on private land even more than usual. Fresh burns could be good places to hunt if fall rains come and if a fall green-up occurs.