Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 60
  1. #1

    Default Montana 312/Bridger West Slope

    Hey fellas!

    I'll be heading from Minnesota to Montana this Fall for my 2nd ever Western hunt and first ever shot at an Elk with my old man. We'd like to stick near the Bozeman area and I've been scouring the West slope of the Bridger range for a late Oct. hunt. Has anyone (or possibly everyone...) ever been up there in the early part of the season? What kind of conditions and herd behavior can one expect to find then?

    I'm guessing that due to ease of access and close proximity to Bozeman, that that particular portion of the Gallatin Forest can get crowded. Would anyone suggest scoping out another area in the vicinity as a back up plan? I found out the hard way in central Idaho last year that it's a very good idea to hit the road with A, B and C plans intact. I'd only ask that you steer us away from Grizzly country if you have a suggestion. Our exposure to bears is nil and I wouldn't want an encounter with only a half assed idea about what to do with the situation.

    Thanks in advance!

    Phill

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Bozeman, Montana
    Posts
    3,500

    Default

    I'd say that there are better places to elk hunt in western Montana. You are going to find that 95% of the elk on the west slope are on private despite the wonderful habitat they have on the mountain. They are now living/calving on these private pieces just off the mountain and have come accustomed to living there year round. Sure there are a handful up on the mountain and they will run up there for a day or two if they get shot at down lower but it's just not a good place to look for elk anymore. This is coming from someone who loves that mountain and has hunted it since 1988.
    Walmart Athlete and Ambassador
    Costco Prostaff
    Equipment by Harbor Freight

    But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career

  3. #3

    Default

    Pm sent
    I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787

  4. #4

    Default

    I think you would have better luck on the east side, and its not that much farther drive to hunt than the west side.

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks for the replies, guys. I appreciate all the different looks. I'll scout out both sides of 86 as well on the googles, looking for benches with meadows.

    Phill

  6. Default

    I went to college in Bozeman. Killed 2 elk in the Bridgers went there for 2 years. They are as good as any general Montana district or better.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by timmy View Post
    I went to college in Bozeman. Killed 2 elk in the Bridgers went there for 2 years. They are as good as any general Montana district or better.
    I wish I had too because that was a long time ago and I'd be an old hand at elk hunting now instead of a new fish.

  8. #8

    Default

    PM Sent.
    "I'll be halfway to heaven with paradise waitin'
    Five miles away from wherever I am."

  9. #9

    Default

    I can't imagine planning an out of state type hunt, to hunt elk in the Bridgers.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenhorn View Post
    I can't imagine planning an out of state type hunt, to hunt elk in the Bridgers.
    We drove through on the way to the Sawtooths last season. It was dark by the time we got to Livingston so I didn't get a peek at them. They look steep on the map though. Good times.

  11. #11

    Default

    I'd guess he isn't referring to the steep, so much as the relatively low public land opportunity and high traffic. There are probably places with more ambitious and plentiful hunters than Bozeman, but I haven't seen it.

  12. #12

    Default

    In that case, what a very round about way of not being very helpful, heh.

  13. #13

    Default

    Depends on your perspective. Lawnboy said similar, just with more detail.
    Last edited by SnowyMountaineer; 03-06-2018 at 01:24 PM. Reason: grammar

  14. #14

    Default

    And a lot less vague.

    Like I mentioned, I appreciate all the different looks. Some have been optimistic, some not so much.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Not Virginia anymore!
    Posts
    3,358

    Default

    I wouldn’t ignore Lawnboy and Geeenhorn if I were you.

  16. #16

    Default

    The most helpful tip I ever got about hunting elk was from an experienced friend of mine almost 30 years ago, who preferred to hunt alone and keep his mouth shut. I told him, "I don't even know where to start looking." He pointed out the window of building in town at the forest and said right up in them mountains where there's no roads and plenty of trees.

    I'll be just fine if I live my entire life in Bozeman, having never hunted a day for elk in the Bridgers.
    Last edited by Greenhorn; 03-06-2018 at 01:46 PM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Churchill, MT
    Posts
    688

    Default

    I've lived in the Bozeman area about 15 years, and have killed 2 bulls in the Bridgers. I probably haven't elk hunted there in 8-9 years now, and will probably not do so again. Drive a short distance in all 4 directions from the Bridgers and you will be in significantly better elk hunting. I definitely would not plan an out of state hunt there as I think you would be very disappointed.

  18. #18

    Default

    Well the Bangtails have been suggested earlier as a fine alternative and I have had pins stuck in my Google earth map over there as possibilities, so maybe plan A should start there instead.

    As of this morning Montana FWP has my money and figuring out where to go is not an easy task when you get one shot a year to hunt a western state. I am grateful for the advice of this community, no matter how cryptic. Appreciate it, all of you.

    Phill

  19. #19

    Default

    Oh for God's sake.

    If you could possibly pick a crappier area than the Bridgers, it would be the bangtails.

    Let me help.

    Gallatin Range, one of many dozen places starting south of town, all of Storm Castle, formerly Squaw creek. Swan creek, moose creek, portal creek. Not need for a 310 permit anymore, so weather depending buffalo horn, porcupine are great. Cross 191 to the west and it's all good, from YNP to the north end of the forest near Ted Turner's ranch. Not a ton of elk, but light years better hunting experience than the bridgers or bangtails.

    Also, you could drive down south of Livingston and every trailhead between there and Gardiner, stomps the hell out of those 2 incredibly roaded up and shitty little ranges north of Bozeman. The belts and crazy ranges have their places as well. The absaroka, boulder drainages south of big timber the mission drainages farther west, all not bad.

    You could head north to the castles or the white sulphur area and do fine to. Maybe the Tobacco Roots. Even the over crowded gravellies and snowcrest would just stomp the piss out of the bridger and bangtails.

    Holy crap, just painful to read somebody actually stewing on a map or google earth to hunt such rotten rotten destinations when there's so many far, far better places to consider around here.

  20. #20

    Default

    LoL Greenhorn is one of the elk masters you would do good to listen all jokes aside.
    Greenhorn you forgot to cover the breaks.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Gallatin Gateway, MT
    Posts
    2,475

    Default

    Greenhorn is one of the elk masters you would do good to listen all jokes aside.
    Some of us locals just get up early and park around the corner from Greenhorn's place. We follow him up (if we can keep up) and we occasionally get a chance at a 350ish bull he passes up. If you and your crew join us ... we may have to charter a bus.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    North Dakota
    Posts
    1,272

    Default

    Lol!

  23. #23

    Default

    Those 3rd class Greenhorn drainages are better than many peoples' first. I'm sure there will be more than one person who is at those trailheads next season because of this thread.
    And don't feel bad. I have worn some leather off in the Bridgers before I knew what it was like to see more than 5 elk a year. Kudos for doing a little homework and coming to the table with a spot picked out. Despite a few nut shots here and there, that's why you now have a handful of decent spots to work with.

  24. Default

    As much as it pains me to do so, I can pass on some info. I'm not very comfortable with grizzlies either and I heard a tip that the northern end of the Gravelly range has far fewer bears than the South end. Also the gravelies hold a shit ton of elk just not alot of big bulls supposedly

  25. #25

    Default

    Greenhorn is right.. but as per your op bears are a possibility in a lot of those spots, personally I wouldn’t let that persuade me, just be smart and carry spray.. I have only lived in Bozeman 7 years, of the two specific spots I told to skirt property lines, 7 elk have died there by me or a person standing next to me in those 7 years.. So you can kill elk in the Bridgers. if you haven’t found a elk to kill by half way thru your trip , shoot me a pm, and I will give you gps coordinates to a tree to stand by.. in the bridgers... sorta.. half mile easy hike for your dad..
    Last edited by Quackillr; 03-06-2018 at 08:47 PM.
    I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •