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Montana to expand elk hunting with shoulder seasons

Bull elk in Montana during bugling season. (Bob Legasa)
Bull elk in Montana during bugling season. (Bob Legasa)

HUNTING -- New rules have been approved to help guide elk hunts before and after Montana’s general archery and rifle seasons.

The Billings Gazette reports the Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the so-called “shoulder season” guidelines Thursday that would allow hunting to start as early as August in approved areas, with a late season extending until February. 

The early season would be only on private lands and for antlerless elk. The late seasons would have options to include hunting for bulls.

The commission also agreed to allow late hunts using the new rules this winter on private lands in certain districts. The hunts would be permissible for this season only.

Landowners in support of the extended hunting season say it will help control the growing population of elk. But others say the new rules don’t address an important issue – the harboring of elk where public hunting is limited or not allowed.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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