Over Crowding in Montana Archery Elk

Roughwater

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Sep 11, 2015
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222
I have only hunted Montana one time (2 years ago) but I didn't feel it was crowded during Bow season. I have however also hunted, Colorado, Idaho and Utah. Don't always assume the farther you go in the less crowded. Bow hunters I feel in general are the more adventurous hunters. I camp on a good Forest Service road and hunters for the most part go to the end of the road and start the hunt. But there is often miles of neglected good Elk hunting spots not far down that road and not necessarily that far off it. Use the hiking trails but get off them and go cross country and you will find pockets of Elk. I wasn't seeing big herds but I found elk and had opportunities my first time there and I was 70 at the time and hunting alone. They would very frequently respond to a bugle but getting one to come in was another story. Just knowing a basic bugle may not be good enough to get one to come in but it is a start to locating them. If you want to really learn to call them in see some of the Elk Nut's videos on you tube and try to learn the language.
Good luck.
 

mountainboat

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Jan 7, 2022
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9
The big belts aren’t as crowded as they appear. The trailheads look like parking lots, but there just aren’t many other options for parking. You are spot on that there are roads everywhere in Montana. It really is difficult to get even 4-5 miles away from a road. My advice would be to find elk and sleep on them. They can locate you based on your bugle, and I think they learn very quick where the hunters are coming from. If you put the elk between yourself and the trucks, they are more inclined to trust you.

Just my uncoordinated 2 cents.
 
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MTGamecock

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Sep 29, 2020
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86
Location
SW Montana
You just never know. Overcrowding, whatever that means, is one thing, but don't automatically assume that a few other hunters in the general area will mean you won't see any elk. They can pressure elk away from you, but they can just as easily pressure them to you. When doing your e-scouting, take typical hunter behavior into account and try to predict from which direction and from which trailheads most hunters will enter an area and factor that into your planning. Archery hunters are generally willing to work a little harder than rifle hunters, but in my experience, the truth remains that most hunters around here don't venture very far away from their truck or atv and most hunters aren't very patient (they get antsy and move around a lot). If can find a hunting area that has pretty good vehicular/atv access from one direction but mostly only walk-in access from the other direction, I like my chances of having the other hunters push animals toward me.
 

Dirtymo

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Oct 1, 2017
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Out of VA as well and hunt many of the areas touched on. Agreed on most points here, I’ve grown to avoid the trailheads and bail off via roadside. Stay mobile and don’t get bogged down if you’re not seeing what you need.
 

mtmuley

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Jan 11, 2009
Messages
11,215
Location
montana
As I get older and hunt the same place I have for a long time, I have two options. Let the crowd work to my advantage, or go further. So far letting the crowd help has worked. This year, at 56, I think I might have to go further. mtmuley
 

amo16

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Mar 26, 2019
Messages
138
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Gallatin Gateway, MT
IMO the people who tend to complain about crowding tend to be people who don't want to put the work in or venture too far from the truck. In a typical archery season I'll typically put in 15-20 days and can count on one hand the number of other hunters I run into. If you're expecting to shoot one a half mile up the trailhead you will likely run into other hunters. If you go deep and get off the beaten path that generally isn't much of a concern.
 

FoodIsMemories

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Jun 26, 2021
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SW MT
I think they learn very quick where the hunters are coming from. If you put the elk between yourself and the trucks, they are more inclined to trust you.

Just my uncoordinated 2 cents.
A new perspective even an avid hunter may not have analyzed. Kudos 👏🏼
 

Mallardsx2

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Apr 4, 2015
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1,479
If most people left their truck and backpacked in, they wouldn't have the stress of looking at all of the other people who are just driving by road hunting. lol
 

Cornbread

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Oct 13, 2021
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There is something to be said for being close to the road. As I was headed to a spot early Thursday morning, a huge trophy elk crossed the road in front of my truck. REMEMBER, what you shoot, you have to get out of there!! Screw the grizzlies. Im more worried about getting it out. This big boy was as big as a Belgian work horse!!! Drag it, LOLOLOLOL. One hind quarter probably weighed 150-200 lbs. Debone it, of course. Food for thought.
 

amo16

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Joined
Mar 26, 2019
Messages
138
Location
Gallatin Gateway, MT
There is something to be said for being close to the road. As I was headed to a spot early Thursday morning, a huge trophy elk crossed the road in front of my truck. REMEMBER, what you shoot, you have to get out of there!! Screw the grizzlies. Im more worried about getting it out. This big boy was as big as a Belgian work horse!!! Drag it, LOLOLOLOL. One hind quarter probably weighed 150-200 lbs. Debone it, of course. Food for thought.
Most bone in hind quarters weigh about 1/3 of that.
 

Sytes

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Joined
Sep 25, 2009
Messages
11,070
Location
Montana
This year, at 56, I think I might have to go further.
This.

Fact is, population increase increases the hunting pressure. Go further than most is where game goes when pressured.

MT, ID, etc population has exploded. What has been experienced earlier will find more pressure. While a buddy likes to work the weekend warriors on opening week, I'd rather wait and hunt two weeks in when the pressure has pushed them further than many hunters will go.

Many hide from the choose season, game, AND weapon settings. Why? Because they want every chance possible to kill an elk or a couple (B tag, etc). Full human hunter pressure non stop throughout the excessively long season(s) has made a chit sandwich of "conservation" via hunting.

Spread it within a set 2 week block, for x big game, y weapon, within z district and pressure would dissipate drastically.

Is it that simple? Far from it though the premise is simple. Exceptions, set max # of hunters for each "district", over/under population, damage, private, etc all play factors.

/Ramble off. Muttering to self as I venture off to the $ & finance HT sub forum. 🤣
 
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