Antelope Season Update

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This fall promises some good antelope hunting in Montana. Over the past five years, wildlife biologists have charted an antelope boom in some areas.

“Antelope hunting around the state will be as good as or better than last year in most locations, with substantial increases in hunting quotas in some hunting districts in north central and eastern Montana,” said Gary Hammond, FWP wildlife management bureau chief.

Montana’s antelope archery season is open from Sept. 6-Oct. 11 and the general antelope season runs from Oct. 12-Nov. 9. Antelope hunters apply for licenses distributed through a special drawing in August.

Hammond said that while antelope populations tend to fluctuate fairly widely and are sensitive to weather, the species is very adept at survival.

“In the past 10 years we’ve seen a significant rebuilding of antelope populations in the state,” said Hammond.

Here's a rundown on what hunters can expect:

North Central Montana
Antelope hunting is expected to be very good, with strong populations and good public hunting access. Just south of Great Falls, summer surveys reported the highest numbers of antelope, both bucks and does, in 20 years. Near Lewistown, hunters should notice a similar surge in the antelope population. Hunters should enquire about surplus antelope doe/fawn licenses at FWP’s Region 4 office in Great Falls

Central and Southwestern Montana
Antelope are increasing in number and expanding their range. In the Shields River valley antelope populations are at a 28-year record-high. Elsewhere, fawn survival is good and antelope are expanding into new areas east and north of Wilsall and south to Livingston. Near Lima and Monida, populations are at a 14-year high and production has also improved and antelope herds on the Fleecer Wildlife Management Area, near Butte, are increasing and moving north and west helped by the past several mild winters.

South Central Montana
Populations in most hunting districts are strong or significantly increasing, up to 30 percent in some areas, in spite of the drought. Hunters should find good hunting opportunities near and west of Two Dot and west of Judith Gap.

Eastern Montana
In southeastern Montana, several years of good production and low winter mortality rates have increased antelope populations and hunter opportunities. Hunters already holding either sex antelope licenses will have additional opportunities to purchase doe/fawn licenses valid throughout the southern portion of Montana. In northeastern Montana, antelope populations are showing good production.

For details on these and other hunting opportunities, contact the nearest FWP region office or visit FWP’s web page at www.fwp.state.mt.us.