2009 Antelope Season Update

Montana Fish Wildlife Parks - FWP

While numbers remain robust in much of northeastern and eastern Montana—FWP Regions 6 and 7— the hard winter of 2008-09 clearly took a toll on animals in some areas.   Consequently, antelope numbers statewide are largely at or below those seen over past few years.

“Antelope hunting will be something less than what we’ve been used to in some areas,” said Quentin Kujala, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks wildlife management section supervisor. “Numbers are still strong in much of eastern Montana and have in fact increased in specific portions of southwest Montana, but hunters will likely see decreased numbers in a large portion of central Montana—portions of FWP’s Region 4 and 5.

In FWP Region 5 in the Billings area, n o new instances of viral blue tongue infection have been found as they were in 2007, but in hunting districts 513, 530, 540 and 550, fawn recruitment and total numbers have yet to rebound. In other areas of FWP Region 5 antelope numbers have increased and the hunting outlook is good.

In FWP Region 4 hunters can expect very good hunting opportunities to the north, but region wide not the exceptional circumstances in recent years. Antelope numbers are returning to average in contrast to the very high numbers seen in recent years.

Kujala said many archery antelope hunters are already afield with a 900 series license to archery hunt antelope in any hunting district starting with a 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. The 900-series season runs until Nov. 9.

Montana’s antelope archery season is Sept. 5—Oct. 10 and the general rifle season for antelope is Oct. 11—Nov. 8.

Antelope hunters must apply in advance for licenses.

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FWP Provides Hunter Access Tools

To help hunters determine who owns the land where they are thinking of hunting, FWP has developed a Directory of Montana Maps for both public and private land ownership.

“Identifying land ownership is an essential part of preparing for the hunt in Montana nowadays,” says Alan Charles, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks coordinator of landowner/sportsman relations. “Hunters have to do their homework, know where they are, and confirm ownership and property boundaries with local people.”

Hunters are required by law to obtain landowner permission before hunting on private land.

The Montana Access Guide to State and Federal Lands is available at FWP offices, and can be found through the Hunter Tool Kit link on the FWP Web site on the Hunting page under Hunter Access. The hunter’s online “toolkit” includes links to federal, tribal, state agency and local government sites with access-related information, and a link to the Montana FWP Hunt Planner.

For immediate access to Montana landownership maps, go to the Hunt Planner and select Montana Land Ownership Maps under the Resources list.

Access Courtesy Cards help hunters communicate with private landowners. The pocket-sized booklets of eight cards provide hunters with a handy means of exchanging information with landowners who provide access. Hunters retain their portion of the card as proof of permission and a convenient record for sending thank-you cards after the hunting trip.

Access Courtesy Cards are available at all FWP regional offices and the Helena headquarters office, or call FWP: 406-444-2602.