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Crowds in Montana


Active member
Aug 9, 2013
Anyone care to comment on what areas in the western part of the state get the most pressure???

Yeah, I understand that this might be an unusual request. BUT, I've killed a lot of animals over the years in some pretty crowded areas by using the activity of others to locate "good" spots. Makes for a very interesting/rewarding hunt if it pans out. Just thought it might be an interesting diversion this season. Thanks
The ones closest to the roads and trailheads. :) In all seriousness it can be a good strategy for specific areas but I would make my choices of units based on game numbers and trophy quality.
Pick a unit that isn't permit only. Then stay close to roads, especially during the week of Thanksgiving. You'll find the crowds you are after. mtmuley
Killed my bull this past year by focusing on roads that were closed by the Forest Service. Seems some outdoorsmen are allergic to hiking and the elk know it!

After I got him down I of course wished the roads were open, I could've driven my truck right to him.
Interesting strategy. I agree with it to some extent. Over the years friends and I have taken some nice bucks not far from the roads. I feel that ten road hunters are often less competition than one serious hunter that is careful walking and knows how to use his binoculars. There are often hidden draws or timber patches that are over looked by hunters close to roads.

Don't get me wrong. First on my list is going to be my usual spot that gets very little traffic. But, going to stop for a couple days on my way there for a warm up to get acclimated.

Logic leads me to believe that most of the heavier traffic is going to be closer to the populated areas (duh!) for the most part. l'm thinking about checking out some areas around the south end of the Bridgers.

Experience has taught me that most of the guys either head deep or stay relatively close to access areas. Typically leaves a lot of untouched pockets in between that hold animals. An extra 1/2 mile can make a world of difference sometimes.

I'm either right or wrong. But, one thing I think everyone can agree on is that the successful hunter is the one who gets off his arse to go find out... :) Fun to try in any event; and that's a big reason I hunt.
Any other areas you might recommend?
'Don't know where you're headed, but north end of the Crazy Mountains would be a better bet in that neighborhood than somewhat access-restricted and mule deer buck permit area of the south end of the Bridgers. Plus you're more apt to find the crowd you are looking for.
Thanks for the point. Definitely worth a look. My ultimate destination is the Tendoys, so there's a lot of possibilities I suppose. Part of what I'm looking for is not having to make a final decision until the last few days/weeks before hand. So, a the more options the better.

I failed to mention that part of my motivation is to be close to some type of populated area, so I could possibly bring my family along for the trip. I'd like to be in an area with some creature comforts while I was still able to get out for a few days; instead of trying to drag them through miles of thickets with an REI store strapped to my back.

My wife's cool enough to let me go out for a week or two of the remote stuff. So, the least I can do is try to involve her and our kids in a way that they'd truly enjoy. Just my take...
'Helps to know where you're headed. In that case, look at the Tobacco Roots, Pioneers, Pintlars ... with shopping, sight seeing and kids' fun in Butte, Deer Lodge, and Dillon. Enjoy your Montana excursion and good luck with the hunt.
Checkout Fairmont Hot Springs I hunted by there last year and almost filled my bull tag opening weekend. The hot springs and slide are fun, and they have a nice restaurant. Not much close by unless your wife likes fishing.
If you want your family to enjoy Montana, and they let you disappear for a week or two, try one of the backcountry early hunts. mtmuley
I never would have imagined that a waterslide could be combined with an elk hunt, but it's starting to make a stronger case the more I think about it. Looks like Silverbow or Deerlodge counties offer several options.

I might try to table one of the back country hunts until my son is a little older. Kind of funny how I'm beginning to put a bucket list together with about 5 counties. Never mind that it's just 1/4 of one state....
Sounds like a good plan, have the family at a nice vacation type environment and you use that as your base camp stopping back for a day now and then.
Hunting pressure will have the critters on the move giving you a better chance of something running by,
For me, I like getting into areas that are very lonely. When you get into an area where the only chance of getting the meat out is on your back, then your in a lonely area. :)
Yep. I've definitely run across a few people. But, I guess not too many to run me off just yet. I'm curious to see how some of the recent changes down there impact the pressure. Got a feeling this might be my last year.
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