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Location: New York
Joined: 09/30/2007
Posts: 5
I drew Montana General Big Game , I need DIY area suggestion

I drew an Elk / Deer combo and was going to go with a friend on a guided hunt but he unfortunately was not as lucky in his lottery chance. Not to let the opportunity go to waste we decided this will be our first elk hunt with deer as the bonus. We opted for a DIY with my buddy along to video for future reference. As you would suspect this isn't going to go well so we need evidence for legal purposes. (LOL lol )

We found that the public forest lands can accomodate the place to camp (thanks to a call to the local ranger) and the Lewis and Clark National Forest lands sprinkled around the state have good populations and success ratios per FWP population density maps. We had not ordered topo maps yet and are obviously in the initial research stage. We also know nothing can replace field experience but we have the inclination to do this and if we gather enough data it may actually turn out better than expected.

I heard the that the Snowy's and the Judith range may fit the bill. So, my question to the world is.....if you have experience in Montana and where going to hunt a Do-It-Yourself option, what area would you go? I realize that there are a million questions so base the suggestion on the premise that we will camp in the public forest areas and hike in with the only elk experience gained from a ton of reading and TV. Mule deer we had done in the north east section of Montana and were successful. Forget the camping and pack out portion as that we have a handle on.

I am optomistic but being realistic makes all else look better in the end. Ok world, have at it.

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Location: Montana
Joined: 06/25/2006
Posts: 18
I drew Montana General Big Game , I need DIY area suggestion

I would go to the Little Belts or Castles before the Snowies just because of access.

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Location: New York
Joined: 09/30/2007
Posts: 5
Thanks for the response !

Appreciate your reply " Deddux":

I came to the same conclusion and have already planned to head to the Little Belt area. It was a lot of work getting to this point but so far it seems to be the the better choice for my situation.

Thanks again !

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Location: Umatilla Rez, Oregon
Joined: 12/10/2007
Posts: 150
I drew Montana General Big Game , I need DIY area suggestion

aaahhh... the sweet smell of elk in the air already... yep yep...

Location: Butte, MT
Joined: 01/02/2006
Posts: 234
I drew Montana General Big Game , I need DIY area suggestion

I was in the Snowys once and I don't recall there being a lot of elk... some, but not a lot. There did seem to be a lot of deer, though. I've heard good things about the Little Belts although I've never been there. I do most of my hunting in the Anaconda/Pintlers and the Pioneers.

One thing I'd suggest is that you download Google Earth. I'm sure you've gotten a hold of some topo maps and the like and that's very important, but with Google Earth you can zoom right in above the specific areas you're thinking about hunting ie. seeps, draws, marshes, etc. If you're going in for an early-ish bow hunt, you should look for areas with thick, dark timber around springs. You will find bulls there. If you're doing a rifle hunt, It will be hard to say. The woods get pretty tromped around in once the gunblasting starts. The elk do seem to cling to wooded ridges between 7000 and 8500 feet > sea level until the snow flies. After that, you'll need to know something about the particular winter ranges of the area.

One other thing. If you're not accustomed to elk country... trust me when I say you can not jog enough prior to your hunt. The better shape your in, cardiovascular-wise, the more you will enjoy your trip. Good luck. Let us know how you do.

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