Elk Management in Montana, A Survey of Montana Hunters

Survey shows strong preference for access during general season

More than 1,200 elk hunters have spoken up to call for more public hunting access to achieve better elk management in a statewide survey. The Montana Wildlife Federation has been conducting the Montana Elk Management Survey for several months to gauge hunters’ attitudes toward different approaches to elk management and found a strong desire to improve access during the five-week general season to help address game damage to private lands, push elk onto public lands and help get a better harvest of elk when the most hunters are in the field. 

Eight in 10 respondents said in the survey it is very important or important to increase public access for hunting during the general season to achieve better elk management. Montana has the longest general rifle opportunity for deer and elk in the West, with a five-week season. For decades, public hunting during the general hunting season has been the primary management tool for elk and Montana hunters said they want to maintain that and return to an emphasis on the five-week season.

Another finding showed that nine out of 10 Montana hunters said maintaining high ethical standards in elk hunting is very important or important in the future of elk management. 

 “This survey indicates that Montana elk hunters are nearly unanimous in their desire for FWP to manage elk through public access and public hunting,” said Dave Chadwick, MWF Executive Director. 

The Montana Elk Management Survey Report is available here.