Punch Your Tag – Montana Big Game Hunting Forecast for 2021
The mild winter and extreme hot this summer has been both a blessing and a curse for much of Montana's big game animals. As we enter week 3 of Montana's big game archery season, more opening dates are looming. Including the general big game opener on October 23rd.
The Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks biologists have released the results of their annual report. Depending on what region of Montana you plan to hunt and what species of big game you are after, may determine the success of your hunt.
Let's take my hunting plans for example. I am not pleased to read that the Pronghorn Antelope tag that I drew, is in an area that is in a 30 year low in antelope population. According to the FWP forecast, my tag is for an area that "Herds north of the Musselshell River suffered poor fawn recruitment this spring and remain below objective numbers. Northwest of Harlowton and districts north of the Yellowstone River and east of Columbus, pronghorn numbers are near objective. Hunters are likely to find pronghorn congregating near water in all areas of south-central Montana."
As far as the forecast for elk and deer here in western Montana, things are looking up for possible hunter success.
According to the forecast for elk in western Montana
Aerial surveys in western Montana documented more than 22,000 elk in 2020-2021, the highest count since 2017. Two consecutive mild winters have contributed to normal overwinter calf survival, which should pay dividends for hunters on public lands this year and in the coming years.
No matter where you plan to hunt, or what you plan to hunt. Take a look at the forecast. It could give you the info you need to find what your looking for and successfully punch that tag.