Montana Hunting Guide 2014

By DILLON TABISH for the Flathead Beacon

The weekend after he was elected Montana’s governor, Steve Bullock went hunting.

Nearly two years later, among the busy schedule and gubernatorial demands, Bullock still sets aside a few days on his calendar each fall to venture outdoors in search of deer and elk. The antlers from his first buck — a nice-sized mule deer he shot in his 30’s— are hanging in his office at the State Capitol in Helena.

“Getting away and just enjoying the outdoors and hunting is something that it is one of the many great things about living in Montana,” he said. “It’s important to our heritage. It’s also an integral part of our economy. People in every corner of our state are spending money on Main Streets and getting out and enjoying the great outdoors we have here.”

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Courtesy photo |Shutterstock

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. Last fall nearly 19,000 hunters were reported at check stations in Northwest Montana.

This corner of the state has the second largest tract of public land — 6.2 million acres — and hosts a diverse suite of free-ranging wildlife, including deer, elk, bears, wolves and mountain lions.

Upland bird seasons kicked off Sept. 1 for mountain grouse, pheasants, sage grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, partridges and turkeys.

The hunt for big game begins with archery season, which kicked off Sept. 6. The general rifle season launches Oct. 25 and concludes Nov. 30. The general wolf hunt runs Sept. 15 through March 15 this year. The wolf trapping season runs Dec. 15 through Feb. 28. Prospective wolf trappers must attend a wolf-trapping certification class and have a Montana trapping license to trap wolves.

Last season, which was shorter than this year, hunters and trappers killed 225 wolves.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials urge hunters to review hunting rules and regulations to ensure they act within the law and that they recognize when others violate the hunting regulations and related laws. Any violation afield can be reported to TIP-MONT at 1-800-TIP-MONT.

Also, FWP is reminding hunters that state law requires them to stop at all game check stations while traveling to and from hunting areas. Failure to stop at a checking station when personnel are on duty is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine. Biologists at the check station gather information that contributes to the management of game animal populations and future hunting opportunities.

Hunters are also being reminded to be “bear aware” while hunting. It was an abundant berry season in Northwest Montana and that’s kept bears in the mountains enjoying their natural foods instead of roaming into urban areas. FWP is cautioning hunters that grizzly and black bears are increasingly active before hibernating in mid-December.

For more information on hunting in Montana, visit FWP’s website, or visit the regional headquarters in Kalispell at 490 North Meridian Road. Call 752-5501.

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