2020 Montana deer recap

8andcounting

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 16, 2013
Messages
2,147
well 2020 season is over, how was it ? i hunted montana the 3rd week of november and went in with pretty high hopes that the bucks would be rutting and was severely disappointed . we hunted 8 days and i saw maybe 2 receptive doe's the entire time . mature bucks were non existent . totally disappointed. i brought home 2 deer, my buck and a mule doe but it wasnt the trip i hoped for. we had a great time, looked over 150-200 different deer per day but they just were not rutting atleast in region 4 where i was. I was going to shoot a doe with my A tag but a wounded 4 point came by me on day 4 or 5 and he was hurt in the high front shoulder pretty bad, we think he was hit a few miles away on neighboring property but who knows . it wasnt a buck i was after but it needed to be put down and i salvaged most of the meat off the deer. then i filled my b tag the next day . like i said, we had fun but what a strange trip. usually by nov 20th the rut is in full swing. they had a blizzard 7 days before we arrived and of course then it got warm and that coulda halted deer activity plus it was awful to get around boots were 15 lbs each and just a recipe for not good hunting. hope the rest of you did better than me.
 

MTTW

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 1, 2016
Messages
214
Location
Montana
I hunted 16 days in SW Mt this rifle season. I saw a total of 20 mule deer. 7 bucks, 13 does and fawns. No one in my family killed a deer. We killed a couple of bulls. Generally I cover 3 to 6 miles a day.
6 days I saw zero ungulates. Above the river bottom there are less mule deer each year.

Someone please save me a parking spot in eastern MT next year. I am done deer hunting here.
 

300stw

Active member
Joined
Jul 6, 2008
Messages
444
lost count of all the bucks i seen , 2 and 3 yr olds,,, harvested neat old heqvy buck, no bulls to be found
 

Labman1127

Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
25
SE Montana wasn't to bad this year. The weather was pretty nasty most of the time with high winds, cold temps, and some snow. The first day after season I've seen more bucks then during the season. View attachment 164460 View attachment 164461 View attachment 164462 View attachment 164464
You know those 2 big boys were on highly inaccessible private ground unless you got a pretty thick wallet!
I saw plenty like those in SE Montana Ag pivots that were all leased by outfitters.
 

HOGNATION

New member
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
4
I would loved to go on a mid west hunt. Gotta be a bucket list for me and hopefully I’ll be hooked and start making it an annual trips.
 

michsteelguy

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2014
Messages
193
Location
S.E. Michigan
I hunted 2 areas (Montana) this year.... central (region 4) from 10/30 thru 11/7 , then 11/8 thru 11/16 in SE (region 7) and came home empty handed. Heres how MY hunt went:

Week #1 : horrible! Temps were in 70s-80s and deer seemed non-existent on public land. Doe's everywhere and only a few small bucks- forkys and 3 pts were seen but all on private. I was OK with that since they were not on my radar anyway. Snow amounts (12" +) were expected by end of week with temps in teens. I was hopeful about that but discouraged about snow totals as I figured that would be next to impossible having boots on ground, and concluding that days in the truck were in our future...ughh! We got outta there and headed SE where 1-3 inches were in forecast.

Week #2 : temps better... 20s-30s with some snow, but deer were still non existent on public land. Still saw tons of doe's, but again, all on private. The deer knew where the boundaries seem to be and they weren't moving off it! Only 2 big boys were seen: 1 crossed the highway in front of us while driving to a hunting spot, and the other was 2 ft off the road feeding (at night) after dark. BTW.... I have never seen so many deer on the shoulder as I did this year. Driving @ night was scary!!

Great to get away from work and breathe some fresh Montana air, but very (& I mean VERY) frustrated at how things went. This is my 2nd trip in a row where my coolers came home empty (after 2 weeks of hunting) and now I'm starting to think that its me! I'm kinda hoping I'm not the only one that had difficulty, as that would make me feel a little better! The old saying is true I guess: "its not what u know, but rather who u know", and in this case it was landowners. I DID talk to a local guy and he did say that deer on public were abundant this year but totally flipped to private once the season started. Oh well, what can you do!?!

FWIW..... saw tons of antelope thru-out the trip and quite a few really nice ones! Maybe they should be next on the agenda!?
 

timmy

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2016
Messages
502
I laugh when people say that deer know where private public boundaries are. A lot of times they would prefer to stay on public but they do know where the pressure is coming from. I watched all year as less and less deer were on public as the season progressed. Everybody has different thresholds of a good buck and good hunting. For the public hunter we aren’t doing ourselves any favors but the majority are still happy with it. Everyone could have better hunting if they were willing to sacrifice just a little. Montana is an opportunity state but that opportunity will continue to get less even though we are still “hunting”.
 

Montana Man

New member
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
11
You know those 2 big boys were on highly inaccessible private ground unless you got a pretty thick wallet!
I saw plenty like those in SE Montana Ag pivots that were all leased by outfitters.
Well their not on ag pivots, or the land is leased by outfitters. They are also not on inaccessible private ground. If you are trying to scare everyone off so you look important then you should try someone else. Because you have never seen these bucks before.
 

timmy

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2016
Messages
502
Well their not on ag pivots, or the land is leased by outfitters. They are also not on inaccessible private ground. If you are trying to scare everyone off so you look important then you should try someone else. Because you have never seen these bucks before.
Judging by the fences the pictures were taken right off the road. Crazy no one knocked on doors to get access to that land.
 

Nameless Range

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 6, 2013
Messages
3,845
Location
Western Montana
I hunted 16 days in SW Mt this rifle season. I saw a total of 20 mule deer. 7 bucks, 13 does and fawns. No one in my family killed a deer. We killed a couple of bulls. Generally I cover 3 to 6 miles a day.
6 days I saw zero ungulates. Above the river bottom there are less mule deer each year.

Someone please save me a parking spot in eastern MT next year. I am done deer hunting here.


Ain't this the truth.

I went out and hunted a lot of SW Montana this year I had never before, and there are large swaths of SW Montana lacking any meaningful numbers of game. Beautiful chunks of country too.

I think going to eastern MT to shoot a deer is going to be the modus operandi for more and more people as western MT continues to explode in human numbers.
 

huntin24/7

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 25, 2010
Messages
830
Location
Eastern Montana
I’d be curious to know what % of the bucks taken in MT in a season are killed in the eastern 1/3 of the state. I don’t blame guys from traveling to hunt the eastern side at all, but I wonder if at some point FWP will have to allocate tags by unit to spread out pressure.
As for the original topic, we hunted hard and saw lots of deer and bucks. Almost every buck was 1-2 years old with a few 3 year olds and a couple mature deer on private land along with one good muley on state land that guys in a truck off-road chased out of the country. Still it was a fun season looking over a lot of deer.
 

8andcounting

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 16, 2013
Messages
2,147
So your not gonna show us your success?
Honest to god never took a pic . It wasn’t a success . But it was the right thing to do . I’m in process of a euro mount once I get it cleaned up I’ll post a pic
 
  • Like
Reactions: JLS

wtrfwlhunter

Active member
Joined
Mar 11, 2013
Messages
143
Hunted the last week of the season in western MT on all general tags. First day (Sunday) I hiked in a couple miles to a spot I’ve shot some good bucks. Only found some does with no bucks on the does. Being Sunday I assumed the bucks had been shot off the does on Saturday as there had been an outfitter in the area. Next day first thing In the same spot I spotted a smoker buck with a doe, unfortunately the doe spooked and they moved into some Steep timber and I wasn’t able to find them again. The day went on and after spotting 5 more bucks in the timber I took the one in the picture at about 50 yards. I know there’s bigger in the area, but I wanted to take it so I could move on to a different unit and hunt with my brother.

Hunted the next 4 days on general bull and deer, but mostly for elk. Found some very big bull tracks and hunted hard but never saw a bull. My brother ended up taking a forky muley on the last Friday so I could get it to a butcher in time to get home. Overall a fun hunt. Normally my brother wouldn’t have tagged the forky but the freezer was very low this year so it is what it is.
 

Attachments

  • AB93E6CC-69F8-4D17-B6E0-A5AAF4B4970F.jpeg
    AB93E6CC-69F8-4D17-B6E0-A5AAF4B4970F.jpeg
    2.2 MB · Views: 117
AMK Sportsman

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
94,503
Messages
1,408,313
Members
29,645
Latest member
Markleathers
Top