Montana elk help


Active Member
Mar 16, 2014
N Idaho
I botched getting a general deer tag in the leftover sale; 500 sold in 6 hours today and I didn't know they came out today and by the time I did my daily check they were gone.

Now I'm contemplating biting the bullet and buying a big game combo, or just buying a region 7 whitetail doe tag and going with my buddy who actually put in the draw for his deer tag. We hunt 704 and 702. Last year was our first year and we both shot bucks on BMAs in the first four days. Nothing huge but we were happy. We were hoping to try for both getting mule deer bucks this year (I shot a 100-110" 4x4 WT last year) in the 130"-150" range. Now, with considering the combo, we are kicking around the idea of saving a couple of days at the end of the 8-9 day trip to try and fill a general elk tag with an antlerless or spike elk. The focus would still be on getting bucks in region 7, and if we were on some and it was taking time, or hunting was tough, we would stick it out there to get it done.

I'm reeling with messing up and not just putting in for the draw, but this is what I looked into so far. Any input from anyone willing to share anything about these units on this thread or pm is welcome.

Will there be elk there when we are hunting?

Likelihood of access to a cow/calf or spike?

Deer in the area?

We are hunting November 12-20, and I picked these areas based on geographic proximity to our deer hunting area, and also by public land on the hunt planner and general elk being open. We have no problem putting on miles with packs on (did avg of 7mi/day last year, with high of 15 miles), but have not done it in the mountains or nor have we killed an elk, hence the easy acceptance for cow/calf or spike. The Montana regs make my head hurt, so correct me if I missed anything.

*all on a general big game combo

510 - spike or antlerless elk and WT only, no mule deer

520 - any elk (north and west of W. fork of Rock Creek) and WT or MD buck

502 - spike or antlerless elk, either sex WT or buck MD

530 - spike or antlerless elk and WT only, no mule deer

316 - any antlered elk, WT or MD bucks

317 - brow tine bull elk, MD bucks, WT either sex

Any advice on these units/hunts as far as animals, access, terrain, etc is appreciated. If this is silly to think we can knock down two bucks in 4-5 days and a cow/calf or even a spike in another 2-3 days, just tell me.


Active Member
Mar 16, 2014
N Idaho
Pretty quiet out there.

I've done more research on units and looking at success and public land availability the region 5 units look tough. I sent a message to a biologist about access for antlerless hunts.

Does anyone have experience with the early private land cow hunts? Does MT have a landowner list for ranchers that want antlerless elk taken?

Units that have drawn closer attention are 311, 312, 314, 330, 380 and 520, but I don't understand the posted success for 520. It shows 119 NR hunters but no elk taken, and the years don't match.

Any general insight into these units for later November?


Veteran member
Dec 9, 2014
Missoula, MT
I'm a big fan of region 3 because it has the largest concentration of elk in the state. There are a few units that allow you to take a cow with a general tag as well. However there is a large concentration of hunters but if you aren't afraid to hike around its a good place to start


Active Member
May 19, 2014
Like missjordan said region 3 has good elk. I hunt district 324, but there are lots of hunters. We hike in 4-5 miles. That usually eliminates a lot of people.