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All mountain lion hunting to close in HDs 321, 332 & 334

The hunting of all mountain lions in southwestern Montana hunting districts 321, 332 & 334 which include portions of Beaverhead, Silver Bow, and Deer Lodge counties, will close at one-half hour after sunset on Wednesday, September 24, 2014.

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Upland Game Bird Council to meet in Billings October 6-7

The advisory council that developed recommendations for upland game bird habitat enhancements will meet in Billings Oct. 6-7 for an open house and to review this year's habitat projects.

On Oct. 6 the council will tour various habitat enhancement projects on the Yellowstone Wildlife Management Area, the federal Bureau of Land Management’s Pompey’s Pillar, and the Custer National Forest near Red Lodge.

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All mountain lion hunting to close in HDs 312 and 393

The hunting of all mountain lions in southwestern Montana hunting districts 312 and 393, which include portions of Gallatin, Park and Meagher counties, will close at one-half hour after sunset on Thursday, September 18, 2014.

The closure notice for the hunt came shortly after Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials received word that the pre-established harvest sub-quota for the districts combined had been met.  The districts will re-open for the hunting of all mountain lions for the Winter Season beginning December 1, 2014.

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2014 Deer hunting outlook

Mule deer numbers have experienced recent declines in many areas of Montana but should be improving with favorable weather and habitat conditions in 2014. 

 Recent seasonal insect-related disease outbreaks have reduced white-tailed deer populations in parts of eastern, central and west-central Montana.  Other areas have stable populations with favorable weather and habitat conditions in 2014 enhancing recruitment levels across the state. 

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2014 Elk hunting outlook

With elk populations continuing to be strong across most of Montana these are good times for elk hunters.

  In some areas of western Montana, where populations have declined, wildlife biologists have recently observed increased recruitment of calves.

 In many hunting districts, however, because access to private lands can be difficult, which can affect hunting success given landownership patterns and distribution of elk.     

Montana's general, five-week long, elk hunting season opens Oct. 25.

Even if you didn't draw a special permit this year, remember Montana offers numerous opportunities to hunt for elk with just a general hunting license.

Depending on the hunting district regulations hunters can pursue brow-tined bull elk, spike bull elk, either-sex elk, or antlerless elk. For more information on elk hunting in Montana, visit FWP's website at fwp.mt.gov, click "Hunting" then click Hunting Guide.

Here's a regional rundown on what elk hunters can expect this season.

 

Region 1—Northwestern Montana

  • The previous mild winter should be beneficial to elk survival in northwestern Montana and contribute to elk numbers remaining stable. Elk hunters should find populations similar to what they have seen for the past several years. Spring classification surveys across the region showed continued good numbers with calf recruitment some of the best in the past four years. Elk numbers in the backcountry hunting districts of 150 and 151 should remain stable.  Elk numbers in the lower Clark Fork area, the region's best elk producer, continue to remain stable with better than average calf numbers seen during spring surveys and should provide good hunting opportunities for the 2014 season. 

Region 2—Western Montana

  • Elk numbers are generally above the long-term average, and calf survival through the summer months appears to be higher than in recent years. A special permit is required to hunt bull elk in hunting districts 250 and 270, the Upper Bitterroot, to allow bull numbers to rebound, and in the northwest quarter of hunting district 212 to help encourage elk to redistribute from private ranches to public land. The boundaries between hunting districts 240, 250 and 270 were changed to reflect elk movement patterns documented in the Bitterroot Elk Study. 

 

Region 3—Southwestern Montana

  • Elk are well above population objective in the Gravelly Mountains and the same is true for the Tobacco Roots. In the Highlands, Whitetail and Bull Mountains, elk are slightly above average population, hence the nine-day cow season. In the Dillon area to the south, populations vary from district to district with some seeing slight dips in elk populations, but some seeing higher numbers. Heading east, Townsend area numbers are steady to high depending upon the area; however, elk availability to the public is quite variable depending upon the level of access to private land. Elk are above objective in the Bridgers, and within objective in the upper Madison, Spanish Peaks, and lower Gallatin. Elk numbers are below objective in the upper Gallatin Canyon and portions of the Madison. Meanwhile, elk numbers are stable in Paradise Valley and Gardiner and high and increasing in the Shields Valley.

 

Region 4—Central Montana

  • Elk populations are in fine shape. The challenge for hunters in areas along the Rocky Mountain Front, central Montana's island mountain ranges, or in the Missouri River Breaks will be obtaining access.

 

Regions 5 — South Central Montana

  • Elk numbers along the Beartooth Face and in the Crazy Mountains, Big Snowy Mountains, Bull Mountains and southeastern Belt Mountains are at all-time highs, though most are restricted to private land where access is difficult. Harvest will likely be slightly higher than last year.

 

Region 6—Northeastern Montana

  • Elk numbers are at or above management objectives in most hunting districts. All elk hunting in the Bears Paw Mountains and the Missouri River Breaks is by special permits awarded via the annual drawing. Elk in these areas are most often found in core-habitat areas a mile or more from active roads and other human activity. However, elk densities are lower in the general-season hunting area north of U.S. Highway 2.

 

Region 7—Southeastern Montana

  • While not typically a hot spot destination, outside of the Missouri Breaks, elk numbers throughout the region continue to increase.  As a result, populations are above FWP's management objectives in all hunting districts. Outside of the Missouri Breaks and the Custer National Forest, elk are primarily found on private land where public hunting access is limited.

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2014 Antelope hunting outlook

Things are looking up for Montana antelope with populations continuing to recover from previous years' winter mortality and reduced recruitment in central and eastern Montana.

This year, there are even a few more special licenses available reflecting that reduced but improving status. 

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Make sure your warming fire is DEAD OUT this hunting season

Hunting season is a very exciting time for many Montanans, as well as out-of-state visitors who come to hunt in Montana. As you prepare for your hunting trip, make sure you have plenty of water to put your warming fire out completely. Vegetation is dry and wildland fires can still occur. Do your part to ensure you do not start a wildland fire. Before you head outdoors know the below items.

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Fergus Bus Activity Schedule for 9/15-9/27

Mon.   FB  fr/so          arrive in Roundup by 3:30 pm

9/15                            Load - 1:45 pm   Leave - 2:00 pm
 
Tues.  VB  fr/jv/v        arrive in Belgrade by 3:00 pm
9/16                           Load - 11:15      Leave - 11:30 am

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