Caribou Gear Tarp

Over Crowding in Montana Archery Elk

WhitetailHillbilly

New member
Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
25
Location
TN
Hello Montana Archery Elk Hunters,
I’ve got my first general elk deer combo tag for Montana. I’m planning a September archery hunt. Coming out from TN and this will be my first MT hunt. I’ve seen a lot of comments about over crowding in several areas, specifically the Crazies, Big and Little Belts. They all seem to have a lot of access on public land so it’s believable that it’s crowded. My questions are: will it be that crowded in archery season? Are any of them less crowded? Should I scratch them off my list and keep driving west?
I’ve hunted Colorado the past 3 years and it’s hard to imagine it any worse. I’ll be 63 this season and I can hunt steep and deep but realistically my pack out limits how far I can go. My initial e-scouting it looks like you’d be hard pressed to get more than a couple miles from a road in those areas.
I’d love get some feedback on the subject.
 

seeth07

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 14, 2016
Messages
1,572
Location
Markesan, WI
Hello Montana Archery Elk Hunters,
I’ve got my first general elk deer combo tag for Montana. I’m planning a September archery hunt. Coming out from TN and this will be my first MT hunt. I’ve seen a lot of comments about over crowding in several areas, specifically the Crazies, Big and Little Belts. They all seem to have a lot of access on public land so it’s believable that it’s crowded. My questions are: will it be that crowded in archery season? Are any of them less crowded? Should I scratch them off my list and keep driving west?
I’ve hunted Colorado the past 3 years and it’s hard to imagine it any worse. I’ll be 63 this season and I can hunt steep and deep but realistically my pack out limits how far I can go. My initial e-scouting it looks like you’d be hard pressed to get more than a couple miles from a road in those areas.
I’d love get some feedback on the subject.
I can't help you out but just wanted to give you a thumbs up for this "new member post". Other newbies should take note as this is actually how you approach getting information about a hunt you are planning rather that what we usually see here!
 

WhitetailHillbilly

New member
Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
25
Location
TN
Are you asking about these ranges specifically because they dont have (many of) the grizz?

'Crowded' is relative. I have no idea what constitutes as crowded in Colorado, but I would say, in general, that yes they will be crowded during archery. Your mileage my vary.
Well that is part of it, that and those areas are a little closer and I’ve heard there are a lot elk there. I must admit I am trying to avoid the areas of high density G. Bears like GYES. Thank you. Yeah I guess it’s hard to answer that.
 

WhitetailHillbilly

New member
Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
25
Location
TN
I can't help you out but just wanted to give you a thumbs up for this "new member post". Other newbies should take note as this is actually how you approach getting information about a hunt you are planning rather that what we usually see here!
Thank You!
 

dk88

Active member
Joined
Jul 7, 2010
Messages
84
Location
Montana
The areas you mentioned are relatively close to Billings and Bozeman which generally means they will be crowded if they hold elk. If you can hunt the middle of the week and stay away from major trailheads it shouldn't be too bad.
 

WhitetailHillbilly

New member
Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
25
Location
TN
I can't help you out but just wanted to give you a thumbs up for this "new member post". Other newbies should take note as this is actually how you approach getting information about a hunt you are planning rather that what we usually see here!
Thank You
The areas you mentioned are relatively close to Billings and Bozeman which generally means they will be crowded if they hold elk. If you can hunt the middle of the week and stay away from major trailheads it shouldn't be too bad.
Thank You! I will be hunting primarily during the week and middle of the season so maybe avoid the season opener crowd. I really appreciate all the responses I know it’s a loaded question. My research was pointing to those areas plus the scenery looks amazing. I have a few other areas 6 hours West as back ups. I only have a finite time to hunt and if these areas we overrun I’d bypass them. I can imagine rifle is a zoo.
 

TrumpkinTheDwarf

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Joined
Jul 15, 2018
Messages
389
Location
My body is in Texas, but home is the Big Sky count
They may be crowded, but elk will still be there. You might try staying hyper mobile, and pick walk in areas every morning and evening based on wind direction + lack of vehicles. It's how I avoid people here in TX on super crowded public land. I keep as many options open as possible, and try to constantly be hunting the unpressured pockets.
 

WhitetailHillbilly

New member
Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
25
Location
TN
There is no such thing as an area that is not crowded anymore. Big a spot, have a plan b and plan c, and go hunt.
You are right about that! Public land is public! Thanks I will have serval areas and units with a written plan. My nephew is coming with me and he is not equipped for backcountry hunting which is fine. We may do some spike camp but will probably stay mobile hunting from a mobile base camp.
 

WhitetailHillbilly

New member
Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
25
Location
TN
They may be crowded, but elk will still be there. You might try staying hyper mobile, and pick walk in areas every morning and evening based on wind direction + lack of vehicles. It's how I avoid people here in TX on super crowded public land. I keep as many options open as possible, and try to constantly be hunting the unpressured pockets.
Thank you good advice and fall right in line with my plan. I hate to get locked into one area so mobility is key to me.
 

YoungGun

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Joined
Feb 7, 2014
Messages
467
Location
Bozeman
The areas you mentioned are relatively close to Billings and Bozeman which generally means they will be crowded if they hold elk. If you can hunt the middle of the week and stay away from major trailheads it shouldn't be too bad.
+1

Middle of the week is key, at least in SW Montana. All hunters want to avoid the crowds, so if you get to your trailheads early, your vehicle may deter *some* of the hunters, at least if there are multiple trailhead options close by as alternates for them.
 

4ohSick

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Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
219
Location
Helena, MT
I'm fairly new to archery hunting in MT but my experience has been that every marked trailhead will have someone hunting it, especially on weekends; but often one drainage over will be empty. Also be willing to hunt all day - people hit it hard in the morning but by noon I often see half the vehicles are gone. Haven't hunted the Little Belts personally, but have friends that do - I think the popularity of the area for out-of-state hunters might render some of my advice null there, as most of them are camping and hunting all day, but I think getting a drainage or two away from a trail still holds. It's also a popular area for recreational camping and SXS's, so that adds some traffic. Good luck this fall!
 

WhitetailHillbilly

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Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
25
Location
TN
I'm fairly new to archery hunting in MT but my experience has been that every marked trailhead will have someone hunting it, especially on weekends; but often one drainage over will be empty. Also be willing to hunt all day - people hit it hard in the morning but by noon I often see half the vehicles are gone. Haven't hunted the Little Belts personally, but have friends that do - I think the popularity of the area for out-of-state hunters might render some of my advice null there, as most of them are camping and hunting all day, but I think getting a drainage or two away from a trail still holds. It's also a popular area for recreational camping and SXS's, so that adds some traffic. Good luck this fall!
Thank You! Good luck to you!
 

jejack26

Well-known member
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
256
Location
Montana
I hope you have good hunt. It's a Great time of year to be in the mountains. Over crowding has become a real issue during archery season. Last year I ran into several folks from out of state complaining about the number of bowhunters. Keep your expectations realistic and enjoy your hunt.
 

WhitetailHillbilly

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Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
25
Location
TN
I hope you have good hunt. It's a Great time of year to be in the mountains. Over crowding has become a real issue during archery season. Last year I ran into several folks from out of state complaining about the number of bowhunters. Keep your expectations realistic and enjoy your hunt.
Thank you looking for to it!
 

matt24073

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Joined
Jun 28, 2022
Messages
14
I'm a virginia boy and have hunted montana the last four years. The area i hunt is probably just as crowded in archery as it is rifle. With that being said my group of four people has never been skunked. If you are willing to hunt hard you can get away from people.
 

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