Scenic hunting

Western Missoula is an excellent area for game like deer and elk as well as fowl. The views aren't too bad, either.

Hunting

Western Montana is treasured hunting ground for both big game and fowl.

Treks into the wilderness for deer and elk are particularly popular, with more exotic wild game a lure for others.

If your interests are more of the skyward variety, there are ample opportunities to hunt pheasants, ducks, geese, and grouse in the area.

Outsiders will be pleasantly surprised at the length of Montana’s hunting seasons for various types of game. Check out the National Wildlife Federation’s Hunting Resource for more information. Year-round, outfitter and guide information is readily available, but be sure to book your trip early because they fill up fast.

Hunters Must Expect to See Bears

By GREG LEMON - With hunting season upon us, it is important to remembe... more

Hunting Elk in August

By BRUCE AUCHLY - Elk shoulder seasons this year will allow hunters in ... more

That First Gun

By BRUCE AUCHLY - Just the other week, I gave my granddaughter and gran... more

Is Spring Early or Late?

By BRUCE AUCHLY - The warm weather of February and early March could lead one to believe in an early spring, which feels nice but is not necessarily a good thing.... more

Will Winter Wither?

By BRUCE AUCHLY - Is winter done? Kaput, finished, terminated? It would seem so, though you may not want to bet the farm subsidies on it.... more

2016 Hunting & Fishing Licenses On Sale Monday With Change In Fees

By JEANNE CONNOLLY - Montana's 2016 hunting and fishing licenses go on sale Monday, Feb. 1, under a new fee structure passed by the state legislature. ... more

That Thing Called Elk Hunting

By BRUCE AUCHLY- To those who don’t hunt, it can be hard to understand the strength and depth of the passion known as Elk Hunting.... more

Elk Shoulder Season Generates Lots of Interest

By BRUCE AUCHLY-A pilot program, the shoulder season for antlerless elk runs Nov. 30 through Feb. 15 in hunting districts 445, 446, 452 and 449. ... more

Elk Harvest at Augusta Check Station Best in 20 Years

By BRUCE AUCHLY-Hunters on a portion of the Rocky Mountain Front this fall took home more elk than any year in the past 20.... more

Hunters: Dispose of That Carcass Legally

By BRUCE AUCHLY-A frequent complaint to Fish, Wildlife and Parks this time of year centers on carcasses dumped after someone has removed the venison.... more

Remember: Hunting is Fun

By BRUCE AUCHLY - Somehow we have forgotten that hunting today is about being outdoors, perhaps companionship, enjoying nature.... more

For Third Week: Elk Harvest Improving on Front

By BRUCE AUCHLY - It’s a mixed bag at the end of the third weekend of Montana’s big game general season on the Rocky Mountain Front.... more

Five Region 4 Districts With Deer Hunting Changes in November

By BRUCE AUCHLY-Deer hunters need to be aware of changes taking place this month in five hunting districts in Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 4, north central Montana.... more

Hunters Report Self Defense in Two Grizzly Bear Deaths

By JOLEEN TADEJ-Montana wildlife officials said today that two grizzly bears were killed last week in separate incidents reported by hunters in southwestern Montana.... more

Elk, Mule Harvest Down, Whitetails Up On Rocky Mountain Front

Elk and mule deer taken by hunters remain below average on the Rocky Mountain Front, but the white-tailed deer harvest is up at the end of the second weekend of the 2015 general big game season.... more

Avoid These 10 Common Hunting Mistakes

By BRUCE AUCHLY Each fall tens of thousands of Montana men and women spend anywhere from a few hours to a several weeks hunting. Most have a wonderful time; a few run afoul of the law. Here are 10 problem... more

Elk, Mule Deer Below Average Opener on Rocky Mountain Front

By BRUCE AUCHLY - Hunters hit the Rocky Mountain Front for the opening weekend of Montana’s general big game season, taking home fewer elk and mule deer compared to the past five years.... more

Opening Day of General Hunting Seson Renews Montana Traditions

By JOLEEN TADEJ-In Montana, a weekend like none other awaits. young and old are filled with the anticipation that only comes with the opening day of Montana's general deer and elk hunting season.... more

2015 Elk Hunting Outlook

By JOLENE TADEJ - These are good times for elk hunters as Montana elk populations continue to be strong across most of the state.... more

The Effects of Fire on Animals

By BRUCE AUCHLY - Summer’s fires are over, right? Or so we hope. To fish and wildlife fires can bring dire short-term and beneficial long-term consequences.... more

2015 Deer Hunting Outlook

By JOLENE TADEJ - Hunters who witnessed a drop in mule deer numbers in many areas of Montana a few years ago will see improving populations this year.... more

Donate a Hunting License to Disabled Veterans & Armed Forces Members

By JOLEEN TADEJ - Montana residents and nonresidents can show support for members of the military who have given the ultimate sacrifice by donating their hunting license.... more

Early Season Hunters: Make Fire Safety A Top Priority

By JOLEEN TADEJ - All early season hunters need to make wildfire prevention a top priority.... more

Becoming an Outdoors Woman Summer Workshop August 7-9

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks' popular Becoming an Outdoors-Woman summer workshop is set for Aug. 7-9 at Lubrecht Forest, east of Missoula.... more

Brisk Sales for Nonresident Big Game Combo Hunting Licenses

By TOM PALMER - Montana's surplus nonresident elk and deer combination hunting licenses for this fall are selling at a brisk pace.... more

Fewer Surplus Nonresident Elk and Deer Hunting Licenses Available

Beginning Monday, May 4, nonresident hunters can choose among Montana's surplus deer, elk and big game combination hunting licenses and purchase them online or the FWP office.... more

Tales and Trails: Love in the Time of Cold

By BRUCE AUCHLY - One day it’s warm and sunny, the next day cold and snowy. Welcome to that time on the calendar between winter and spring. ... more

New Year for Hunting & Fishing Licenses Begins March 1

March 1 begins the new 2015 license year for Montana hunters and anglers. The new license year is especially important for early-season anglers, and for those who enjoy ice fishing.... more

FWP Access Program Offers Tax Credits to Landowners

Landowners have until March 15 to submit applications to Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks for enrollment in a program that may qualify them for up to $2,000 in annual tax credits.... more

Mount Jumbo Wildlife Closure Begins December 1

Mount Jumbo's North Zone is closed from December 1 until May 1. Trespassing during the wildlife closure is prohibited and violators may be fined up to $500. ... more

The Rut Kicks in as Hunting Season Reaches Final Weeks

By DILLON TABISH - With the rut in full swing, the annual big game hunting season is counting down in Montana. The last day to hunt deer and elk is Nov. 30.... more

Two Dog Years

By ROB BREEDING - I’m in my early 50s and I’ve begun to measure my time in bird dog years. My current hunting partner, Doll, is 5 and I can reasonably expect another 5 to 7 years with her.... more

Hunters Need To Be Bear Aware

By BRUCE AUCHLY - Hunters along the Rocky Mountain Front, especially bird hunters in riparian areas, need to be aware they are in bear country.... more

Montana Hunting Guide 2014

By DILLON TABISH - The arrival of autumn marks the beginning of big game hunting season, a beloved time of year for the thousands of Montana residents who partake in the traditional custom.... more

Archery Season in Montana: Technology’s Role

By BRUCE AUCHLY-Let’s be clear. Advances in gear, archery equipment and clothing are wonderful. They are also not the culprit. The problem is not technology but what it does to us. ... more

Hunting is a Bargain for Nonresident College Students

By BRUCE AUCHLY - A discount on Montana’s big game combination license will be available beginning Sept. 9 for nonresident college students to hunt in Montana.... more

Hunters Must Expect to See Bears

With Montana's upland game bird season opening Sept.1—and the bow hunting season set to open Sept. 6—remember that slow moving, quiet and camouflaged hunters will soon be encountering bears.... more

Hunters: Make Fire Safety a Top Priority This Season

By JOLEEN TADEJ - About 5,000 Montana archery hunters can head afield beginning Aug. 15, and ALL early season hunters need to make wildfire prevention a top priority.... more

What Do Ants Taste Like?

By BRUCE AUCHLY-So does an ant taste like a bitter, or lemony, crunchy morsel to a rainbow trout? Nobody knows, and the trout I’ve talked to, don’t answer.... more

The Name Game

By ROB BREEDING - I used to correct people when they used the A word. Pronghorns are not true antelope, I’d explain, and are actually an animal in a family all by themselves.... more

Becoming an Outdoors Woman Summer Workshop August 1-3

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks' popular Becoming an Outdoors-Woman summer workshop is set for August 1-3 at Boulder Hot Springs near Boulder.... more

Fish and Wildlife Commission Adopts New Hunting Regulations

Montana's fish and wildlife commissioners recently adopted a number of new regulations that will be in effect for the next two hunting seasons.... more

Winter Survival

By BRUCE AUCHLY - While we can adapt to winter's overdue cold spells, wild animals have three basic strategies for dealing with winter and they are the same each year, no matter the weather.... more

New Hunt & Fish Licenses; Deer & Elk Permit Applications Available

Montana's new 2014 hunting and fishing year begins March 1. Licenses are now on sale along with applications for resident and nonresident buck deer and either-sex elk hunting permits.... more

Christmas Shopping Suggestions for the Outdoor-Type

By ROB BREEDING - It's hard to buy Christmas gifts for the serious hunter or angler, but here are a few gifts I think most culinary-minded outdoors types would love to find under the tree:... more

Turkey Day Blues

By ROB BREEDING - Who was the bright boy who decided to foul a national sports holiday with a feast centered on an impossibly difficult-to-cook bird? ... more

Elk Totals Above Average, Deer Below Average on Rocky Mountain Front

By BRUCE ACHLEY - At the end of the fourth weekend of Montana’s big game general season, harvest numbers for elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer continues below the long-term average on the Rocky Mountain Fr... more

Elk Hunting: It’s a Young Person’s Game

By BRUCE AUCHLY - So why, you may ask, do I continue to go elk hunting. Each year it gets harder. The mountains are taller. My muscles ache more.... more

Hunters, The Time is NOW!

By TONY REINHARDT - Weather is a huge factor during hunting season and this latest storm front making its’ way through the state is what many hunters have been waiting for. ... more

Big Game Harvest Continues Down on Rocky Mountain Front

By BRUCE ACHLEY - At the end of the fourth weekend of Montana’s big game general season, harvest numbers for elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer continues below the long-term average on the Rocky Mountain Fr... more

Dodging Deer

By ROB BREEDING - Judging by the deer carcasses that line roadways in the Northern Rockies pretty much year round, I’m convinced they rarely look before they cross the road.... more

Hunter Numbers Strong, Wildlife Harvest Down on Rocky Mountain Front

By BRUCE AUCHLY The number of hunters remains strong on the Rocky Mountain Front but the number of animals taken is mostly below the 10-year average at the close of the second weekend of Montana’s general ... more

Opening of Big Game Season Slightly Below Average on Rocky Mountain Front

By BRUCE AUCHLY - Hunters hit the Rocky Mountain Front for the opening weekend of Montana’s general big game season and took home slightly fewer elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer compared to the past three... more

Avoid These 10 Common Hunting Mistakes

By BRUCE AUCHLEY - Here are 10 problem areas, courtesy of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game wardens, that hunters seem to stumble over year after year:... more

Diseased Deer Prompt Immediate Changes to Region 4 Deer Hunting

By BRUCE AUCHLY - The Fish and Wildlife commission has taken additional action to address the effects of disease on white-tailed deer in north central Montana.... more

Turning the Corner

By ROB BREEDING - The signs of change are in the air. Yesterday I wore fleece to work. And the other night when my students had to work late in the lab, I fixed them a pot of soup. ... more

Hunters Beware: Two Grizzlies Spotted on Sun River near Simms, Fort Shaw

By BRUCE AUCHLY - Two separate grizzly bear sightings since Sunday near the Sun River west of Great Falls have prompted state wildlife officials to alert homeowners and hunters in the area.... more

Fall is Here in Montana

By BRUCE AUCHLY - Fall is a welcome assault on the senses. We see it, hear it and smell it. For those who hunt, or wait for cooler water to fish again, there's not other season like it.... more

The Third Week in September

It's the autumnal equinox, which some equate with death. But for hunters, anglers, and hikers, the third week of September is a time to anticipate, to delight in, to anxiously await. ... more

Heads You Lose

By ROB BREEDING - I’ve got an elk head on the wall. I should say “had” an elk head on the wall. It’s been in storage for the last year. It will be back up on the wall soon, once I get situated in my new... more

No-Wait Nonresident Deer Hunting Licenses Going Fast

F.Y.I. - With fewer than 300 no-wait nonresidents deer combo hunting licenses left for sale out-of-state hunters still hoping to trek to Montana this fall need to move fast.... more

Hunters Must Expect to See Bears

With Montana's upland game bird season opening Sept.1—and the bow hunting season set to open Sept. 7—remember that hunters will soon be sharing the landscape with bears.... more

Oh Deer

By BRUCE AUCHLY - It was great to see seven mule deer walk by the front of the house yesterday. Why? Because they passed by the newly fenced vegetable garden in the back of the house.... more

White-tailed Deer, Elk Harvest Up on Rocky Mountain Front

By BRUCE AUCHLY - Hunters on the Rocky Mountain Front took home more elk and white-tailed deer than average but fewer mule deer during the general big game season, which ended Nov. 25.... more

Elk, Whitetail Harvest Up, Mule Deer Below Average on Rocky Mountain Front

By BRUCE AUCHLY - Elk and white-tailed deer harvest numbers continue above average, while the mule deer harvest is down on the Rocky Mountain Front.... more

Avoid These 10 Common Hunting Mistakes

By BRUCE AUCHLY - Here are 10 problem areas, courtesy of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game wardens, that hunters seem to stumble over year after year:... more

Bear Spray: Carry It and Know How to Use It

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks and Jack Hanna tell why it's important to carry bear spray and know how to use it this hunting season.... more

FWP Offers New Improved Montana Hunt Planner Map

The Montana Hunter Planner just got rejuvenated—right in time for Montana's primetime hunting seasons. The new, improved Montana Hunt Planner is an interactive search and now combines a one-stop mapping servi... more

Hunting Access: Ask Early, Don’t Wait

It is Montana law that hunters obtain landowner permission to hunt on all private land. Here are a few tips that could improve your chances to secure permission.... more

North Central Montana Deer and Elk Hunting Outlook

By BRUCE AUCHLY - The news for big game this fall in north central Montana is decidedly mixed. Elk and white-tailed deer numbers are solid. However, that’s generally not the case for antelope and mule deer. ... more

The Itch to Hunt in Western Montana

By BRUCE AUCHLY - The itch starts about this time of year. The itch to be in the field, trying to bugle in an elk, following a dog along a coulee on a hunt for Hungarian partridge, scouting an antelope buck as ... more

It’s Skwala Season on the Bitterroot River

By BRYCE MCLEAN - It's a special time of year to fish in Montana. When you look through snowflakes to see a 22-inch brown come up for a dry fly, you'll know what I mean.... more

Missoula Story of the Week: Wolf Hunting in Montana

By TOM DIDDEL - A recap of this week's most talked-about story in Missoula. This week, it's wolf hunting in Montana and the controversy that surrounds it.... more

Between the Sporting Seasons

By BRUCE AUCHLY - Most outdoor enthusiasts are in the doldrums right now, wondering what to do between seasons and how to keep from going crazy.... more

Missoula Bucks Lightening their Loads

By PAUL QUENEAU - February is antler-shedding month for many whitetails and mule deer around western Montana. ... more

Fly Fishing Film Tour This Friday at the Wilma

By BRYCE MCLEAN - The Fly Fishing Film Tour is this Friday at the Wilma!... more

Don’t Underestimate Fishing in Winter in Montana

By BRYCE MCLEAN - People often underestimate winter fishing in Montana. Sure, you might go 4 days without catching a fish, but on the fifth day, you might catch the biggest trout of your life. ... more

Elk Hunting in Montana: A Bit of History

By BRUCE AUCHLY - Thanks to conservation efforts, there are now roughly 150,000 elk ranging in Montana. Whether or not you got your elk, these are the good old days of elk hunting.... more

River to Table: A “Blast and Cast” Trout and Duck Harvest

By BRYCE MCLEAN and MATT DEVLIN - As big game season comes to an end, we find ourselves looking for other ways to spend our weekends. Fortunately, fishing season lives on and duck season still has two months to... more

How to Lose a Staring Contest with an Elk

By PAUL QUENEAU - Montana’s rifle hunting season is over, my freezer sits empty, but I’m more grateful than ever for this place that I live.... more

Hunting for Clarity on Thanksgiving Break

By CLAY SPRINGMEYER - Whether you're in Missoula or not, if you live or have ever lived in Montana, count yourself lucky. 20 years of Big Sky Country have taught me to be thankful.... more

Paul Queneau Showcases Missoula’s Stunning Fall Foliage

Paul Queneau sent us so many gorgeous fall color photos for his post, Missoula's Fall Colors: The Best Ever?, that we couldn't resist putting them all in one big gallery for you to enjoy.... more

Montana’s 2011 Elk Season Outlook

Montana's general elk season is Oct. 22 – Nov. 27 and Montana’s elk hunters should experience some good hunting this year, especially in parts of western and central Montana.... more

Avoid Common Violations by Remembering These Montana Hunting Regulations

BY MFWP. Before heading to the field for Montana’s big game season opener on Saturday, Oct. 22, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials ask that hunters avoid common violations by remembering these tips:... more

Missoula’s Bucks are Ready to Rumble

By PAUL QUENEAU A tension is mounting around Missoula. Look any direction from town and you may likely see gangs of mule and whitetail deer bucks growing increasingly at odds. Turbulent. Agitated. A month... more

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

When you’re in Western Montana, you’re in elk country.  And what better place than Missoula to be home to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. More than a museum, the Elk Foundation’s Visitor Center fea... more

Mother Nature to the Rescue

By ‘CAPTAIN CATCHEM’ Mark Ward. Big game hunters dream of perfect weather conditions. And those weather conditions went from dream to reality as snow and biting cold weather blasted most of Montana during t... more

Confessions of a Desert Diva

11/12 Blog by Verina Palmer Martin. I really hate to admit it, but I’m not the same Montana girl my daddy raised. More precisely, I’m not the tomboy he took camping, hunting, fishing and competitive trapsho... more

How to Get in Hunting Shape

10/26 Blog by 'Captain Catchem' Mark Ward. You have no idea how fast a herd of elk can explode in the opposite direction when they get a whiff of my liniment on the second day of the hunting season. As to askin... more

2011 Hunting Checklist

10/17 Blog by "Captain Catchem" Mark Ward. The opening day for the 2010 Montana deer and elk general rifle season is fast approaching on Saturday, October 23. Antelope season already started on October 9. If yo... more

No Place Like Missoula in the Fall

Blog by "Captain Catchem" Mark Ward. When someone from out-of-state thinks about Montana’s unique scenery,... more

Living with Wildlife

Residing in Western Montana means learning to live with wildlife. In Missoula, that often includes sharing your yard with birds, raccoons, skunks, deer, black bears, and even mountain lions. The Montana Depa... more

Take a Hike

The seemingly endless hiking and backpacking opportunities in and around Missoula offer thousands of miles of trails in wilderness areas, Forest Service lands, and BLM lands. Information on hiking in the bac... more