HELENA - While the general 2008 big game hunting season ended Sunday, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has extended elk hunting in 18 hunting districts in southwestern Montana and two hunting districts in northeastern Montana.
The season will run through Dec. 21 in Region 3 in southwestern Montana and through Dec. 14 in Region 6 in the northeastern part of the state.
The mix of unseasonably warm and dry weather and public access difficulties prompted the decision to extend the season in areas where the elk harvest was much lower than expected.
Southwestern Montana - Region 3
Hunters are requested to report each harvested elk to FWP by calling 1-877-397-9453 within 24 hours. Hunters need to report the sex, age and location of harvest.
If the bull-harvest limit is approached, that area will close to all bull hunting, but the antlerless season will remain open.
Here's a summary of the extended season in Region 3:
- Hunting districts in southwestern Montana open Dec. 1-21 for hunters with a valid general-elk license include 300, 302, 314, 315, 320, 322, 323 (outside the Wall Creek WMA), 324, 325, 326, 327, 328 (South of Dad Creek only), 330, 333, 360, 362, 390 and 393.
- A9/B12 licenses issued via the special drawings will remain in effect.
- Hunters can purchase over-the-counter A9/B12 licenses valid for hunting districts 315 and 393.
- Hunters holding brow-tined bull/antlerless permits valid for the Wall Creek Wildlife Management Area in district 323-10 are the only hunters allowed to harvest elk there.
- Hunters who earlier received brucellosis blood sample test kits for elk harvested in southwestern Montana are urged to carry them and return samples. Hunters can also find kits at some access-point kiosks.
Northeastern Montana - Region 6
Here's a summary of the extended season in Region 6:
- The two hunting districts open Dec. 1-14 - 622 and 631 - includes antlerless-only hunting where hunters must have an elk permit that was valid for the specific district during the general rifle season to be used in combination with a general elk license or an A9/B12 license.
- A9/B12 licenses valid in hunting district 622 are not valid on the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge.
Extended Season General Rules
- The FWP Commission can close an extended season in any hunting district on 24-hour notice.
- Closures will occur when specific elk-harvest objectives are achieved.
- Hunters who harvested an elk in 2008 with a general-elk license are not eligible to purchase a second general-elk license, but they can purchase an A9/B12 license available for the two districts in Region 3.
- All other hunting regulations apply during the extended season, including the need to have permission to hunt on private land.
Some Block Management Areas that offer free public hunting access during the general season might not be open for the extended season. Hunters are urged to contact the regional FWP office to determine whether or not a BMA is open for hunting elk during the season extension.
No other general hunting season extensions for deer or elk are planned at this time.
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