Hunting in Northwest Montana


Northwest Montana draws visitors from around the world to its scenic landscapes and rugged outdoor recreation opportunities. Hunters love making camp in this area, spending chilly fall days trekking ridge lines and following elk tracks. When you’re planning your northwest Montana hunt, get ready for some of the most impressive terrain you can encounter.

Setting your sights

Popular species to hunt in northwest Montana include bighorn sheep, black bear, deer, elk, furbearers (for trapping), migratory birds, moose, mountain goat, mountain lion, swan, turkey, upland game bird, and wolf. In both archery and general season, you’ll find plenty of bucket list species, whether you’re looking to fill the freezer or have a memorable trophy hunt.

Finding a guide

Going with a licensed professional hunting guide can be a big benefit, especially if you’re not familiar with the area or the species you’re targeting. There are plenty of guide companies to choose from in the area. Elk Creek Outfitting offers trips, as does Swan Mountain Outfitters, Silver Bow Outfitters, and Waypoint Outfitters all offer trips in the northwest corner of the state. When you book a hunting trip with a guide, you’re still required to get a hunting license before you head out.

Going alone

It’s certainly possible to design your own hunting trip in Glacier Country. It just requires a bit more leg work on your part. Make sure to know the regulations and be prepared for whatever might come up when you’re out there.

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Getting your license

You can get your tags in person at a regional office. Region 1 Headquarters at 490 North Meridian Road in Kalispell. You can also apply online and use e-tags with the MyFWP app. You just download the app and log in. Your tags automatically load in the app for offline use, and you can validate your harvest in the field electronically.

Covering the basics

Be sure to wear your hunter’s orange in rifle season. If you’re wearing a backpack, you can get some inexpensive outer layers and cut a hole for your pack to fit through, keeping you safe and legal during the season. For many species, dusk and dawn will be prime time. And it’s important to remember that you’re hunting in bear country and take appropriate precautions.

Timing your hunt

If archery hunting is calling your name, you can take advantage of the six-week archery season. For hunting with firearms, you have a five-week general big game season, a 101-day waterfowl season, spring and fall turkey and bear seasons, a six-month wolf season, and a liberal upland game bird season. You can find species-specific information about hunting seasons on the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website.

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Seeking out a good spot

As a hunter, it’s important to know your hunt area and know where you can and can’t hunt, seeking permission from private landowners as needed. Resources like onX Hunt maps and Montana Cadastral can help you get oriented and find your hunting grounds. Learn your migration routes, which will help you target your species between their summer and winter ranges. The online hunt planner from FWP gives you information on regulations by district.

A big factor to an unforgettable hunting trip is having a cozy place to come home to after a hard day of hiking. Starry Night Lodging offers vacation rentals and campground accommodations in central locations near top spots to hunt. Whether you need some time to relax after a stint in a bare-bones hunting camp, or you want to base your Montana hunt from one of the properties, book your stay to explore the forests and mountains of Northwest Montana on your next hunting trip.