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Elk herd

Elk in the Missouri River Breaks and Larb Hills are exceeding state population objectives. 

Southern Phillips County rancher Will Carlson has struck a deal with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to allow limited public elk hunting on about 9,665 acres of his land in Hunting District 622 for the 2018 general elk season.

Under the agreement, which only applies to the 2018 season, Carlson received an either-sex archery-only elk permit valid only on his Blue Ridge Ranch's private lands. In exchange, Carlson agreed to allow access, with written permission, to:

• Four either-sex elk permits issued to hunters randomly selected from the list of unsuccessful applicants for 620-20 and 622-20 either-sex elk permits. The permits are only valid on enrolled land and only through the general season (Oct. 20-Nov. 25).

• Twenty-five general hunters already possessing a 620-20 or 622-20 either-sex permit, a 698-00 or 622-00 antlerless, or 621-00 youth-antlerless may hunt for antlerless elk on all enrolled land and will be disbursed through the general season.

• Ten youth/mentor or youth pairs (20 hunters) already possessing a 620-20 or 622-20 either-sex permit, a 698-00 or 622-00 antlerless, or 621-00 youth-antlerless may hunt for antlerless elk on all enrolled land disbursed through the general season.

Prospective hunters will need to first contact the landowner to be allowed access. Hunters will be required to walk in from designated roads and parking areas, and game retrieval may be allowed with landowner permission on designated roads.

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The agreement was made possible under the 2016 Legislature's Hunting Access Agreement, outlined in House Bill 454. Under the provisions of HB 454, FWP received the authority to issue either-sex or antlerless elk permits to approved landowners in exchange for public hunting opportunity that could help reach elk management objectives.

To qualify, the landowner must offer an agreed upon level of free public elk hunting, meet the various conditions of the statute, and enter a contractual public elk hunting access agreement with FWP. There are currently two HB 454 agreements in Region 5, but this is the first one in Region 6.

For information on how to contact the landowner, hunters should phone the Region 6 Headquarters in Glasgow at 406-228-3700.

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