Surrounded by national forest lands, Big Sky country offers some of the finest opportunities for big game hunting, with antelope, elk, and deer, among other animals.
Montana’s Fish, Wildlife, and Park’s divides the state into 7 administrative regions with Big Sky in Region 3. Region 3 contains about 18,089 square miles and about 60% of this region is made up of public lands. According to the Montana FWP, big game hunting is a major draw in Region 3 as approximately 50% of all Montana elk harvests happen here! As of 2018, Region 3 held far more elk than any other region in the state with an estimated population of 70,000.
Aside from elk, Big Sky is also surrounded by healthy populations of black bear, deer, mountain goat, big horn sheep, moose, and antelope. Each of these animals will leave you with unforgettable memories and have you planning for your next trip to Big Sky!
Hunting Licenses: To hunt in Montana, the law states that each animal requires a hunting license which are available through the MT FWP. Archery season is open from September – October and general season is open from October – November for elk, deer, and antelope. For special game hunts, including moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, bison and wolf, you can go through a licensed outfitter or apply for a draw through the state. Dates may vary by district, so please be sure to check the regulations beforehand! It is every hunter’s responsibility to know the land ownership of the area intended for hunting and any land use restrictions that may apply. Use the links below to learn the regulations and understand which districts and animals require a special draw tag.
Aside from hunting licenses, the MT FWP is a great resource for any questions you may have about the area. They are here to protect, perpetuate, enhance and regulate the wise use of Montana's natural and cultural resources for the benefit of the general public. The MT FWP would like to remind hunters and all outdoor enthusiasts to be good stewards of the land, and respect both private and public property. Click here to read more about being a good steward.
Most common places to hunt in Big Sky: Porcupine Creek, Taylor Fork, Cinnamon Creek Trail
When hunting on public land, be sure you are on the look out for other people even hikers not wearing orange! Hunters need to be aware of what is around or beyond your target as public land is open to anyone.
One of the best apps for hunters is onX Maps. onX shows clearly marked property boundaries, public and private landowners’ names and more. onX gives you all the information you need to keep your hunt legal and ethical instead of worrying about property lines. It even allows you to download maps, so you don’t have to worry about cell service.
Outfitters Near Big Sky: Hunting in a new state can have its challenges, whether its special draw hunts, land locked property, or the not knowing of where public land is. These are all problems that an outfitter can help solve! Most guide services and outfitters are very reputable. They know the area and can get you access to private land and the best hunting opportunities. A little research can make your next guided hunt much more enjoyable. Read our blog for some tips on choosing the right guide for you!
Shooting range: Needing a place to practice before packing out for your hunt? Stop by the Redcliff Shooting Range just past the Redcliff campground on Highway 191!
Processing in the area: So, you’ve harvested an animal, now what? Try one of our local wild game processors.
- Happel’s Clean Cut Meats- Bozeman
- Yellowstone Processing- Bozeman
- Bridger MTN Meats- Belgrade
- Custom Meats and Butcher-Belgrade
- Livingston Meat Co- Livingston
Taxidermy in the area: Looking to get your animal mounted? Check with these local taxidermists to preserve your memory forever!
- Bridger Canyon Taxidermy- Bozeman
- Andres Taxidermy- Belgrade
- Big Sky Taxidermy- Belgrade
- 406 Taxidermy- Belgrade
- J2 Taxidermy- Manhattan
- Wildlife Artistry- Livingston
Other Helpful Resources: