Like most moose populations in the lower 48, Montana’s moose have seen better days. Last year, for the fifth consecutive year, statewide permit totals were cut. Between disease and wolf predation in much of the state, moose numbers continue their steady decline while biologists do their best to stabilize the population. With that being said, Montana remains a good option for non-resident moose applicants as it still offers one of the higher moose tag allocations in the West. Last year, there were 287 bull tags issued throughout the state. Of those, 14 were drawn by the 2,922 non-residents who applied in the draw.
Regions 1 and 3 continue to hold the vast majority of the state’s moose population, and all but 55 of the antlered bull tags issued across the state were from these two regions in 2021. Regionwide success rates in region 3 continue to be about 20% higher than those of region 1 but also come with steeper draw odds. Hunters are also spending more time in the field to fill their tags in region 1 with an average days hunted of around 17. Region 3 moose hunters are logging an average of 10 days of hunting and reporting an 86% success rate across this area of the state. It’s important to keep in mind that drawing a moose tag in Montana, especially in region 1, will likely mean you will need to spend a ton of time in the field to come home with a bull. Be prepared to hunt long and hard as moose densities are low in most of these areas. Many Montana moose hunters make the mistake of showing up on their hunt with unrealistic expectations. Just because these are more or less once-in-a-lifetime hunts does not mean filling a tag will always be easy.
September 15 – November 27*
*NOTE: Some districts vary, check regulations for more information.
Weather can also have a lot to do with the success of each season’s hunts as the intensity of the rut can be hit or miss depending on temperatures in late September and early October. Cooler temperatures will have bulls much more active and vocal during the rut, especially during daylight hours. With unseasonably warm and sometimes even average weather, most of the rut will be taking place at night. If you can’t hunt the rut or still have a tag in your pocket in later November, this timeframe will be your next best chance at finding a good bull. By then, most of the leaves have fallen from the brush, improving the visibility in prime moose habitat. Good early snows can also be a big help in finding bulls as they transition into their wintering areas.
One of the great things about hunting moose in Montana is that a great bull can turn up in almost any unit. If you have any questions on where to apply or if you are a Montana resident and would like to talk about the other units available to you, give us a call. If you’re after a Shiras moose hunt and are willing to throw $50 at beating the odds of being drawn, get your application in for Montana!
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The Montana Moose application deadline is May 1, 2022.
Our magazine, which is available in print and online, has everything in one location - application info, draw details and odds, fees, hunter requirements, point structure, age restrictions, youth information, weapon restrictions, other tag opportunities, hunt planning, and much more. If you would like access to all of our research, join today!
|Base Hunting License||$15|
|Bonus Points (optional/per species)||$20|
|Moose Application Fee||$50|
|Bow and Arrow License (required for all archery hunts)||$10|
|*Fees do not include the additional 2.5% convenience fee.|