Elk Hunting in Montana HD 540 - South Little Belt Mountains

Numbers of elk observed during post-season aerial surveys in this EMU have increased since the 1992 Elk Management Plan (Figure 1). The average number of elk observed in the EMU during post-season (late winter-early spring) aerial surveys in 2001-2003 ...

HD 540 - South Little Belt Mountains

Scores


Scores
User Scores
Ease of Drawing
78
 
78
Success
94
 
94
Trophy Potential
24
 
24
Public Access
35
 
35
Ease of Terrain
80
 
80
Room to Breathe
59
 
59
Opportunity
19
 
19
Convenience
5
 
5
Ease of Effort
43
 
43
65
HuntScore

Access Notes


Bureau of Land Management
US Forest Service
US Fish and Wildlife Service
US Forest Service National Grasslands
Indian Reservation
State, County, City; Park and Outdoor Recreation Areas
State Wildlife/Wilderness Areas
Bureau of Reclaimation
Department of the Defense
National Park Service
State
Other Federal Land
Private

Land Ownership
Legend


Those portions of Meagher and Wheatland Counties lying within the following-described boundary: Beginning at Harlowton, then westerly along US Highway 12 to Spring Creek-Whitetail Cabin Road (USFS Road 274), then northerly along said road to its intersection with the Willow Park Road (USFS Road 189), then easterly along said road to its intersection with USFS Trail 603, then easterly along said trail to the Mt. High Lookout Tower, then easterly along USFS Road 382 to a permanent boundary marker (Wheatland/Judith Basin county line) then northeasterly along the Wheatland County line to US Highway 191, then southerly along said highway to Harlowton, the point of beginning.

Access varies across the EMU and among hunting districts. Portions of the EMU currently have high road densities, providing easy access by vehicle, but other areas are reasonably remote and better suited to backcountry types of recreation. Public access to private lands on the periphery of the Little Belt Mountains has become very restricted in recent years, resulting in increased hunting pressure on adjacent national forest lands, as well as private lands still open to the public. Some landowners have leased hunting rights to outfitters, and many landowners have just closed their property to hunting altogether or to anybody other than immediate family and friends.

Access to private lands that have elk during the hunting season is especially limited in HDs 413, 416, 540, and the west half of HD 454. In some areas, reductions in elk security on public lands and the closure of large blocks of private land to the general public have resulted in concentrations of elk on private lands during the hunting season where they are unavailable to the general public.

County

Meagher, Wheatland

Size

584 Square Miles (373,495 Acres)

Land Ownership

35% Public, 28% USFS, 7% State

Latitude/Longitude

46.5904, -110.0916

Amenities

There are 0 hospitals, 0 hotels, 3 campgrounds, and 0 grocery stores within a 20 mile radius.

Elk Notes


Numbers of elk observed during post-season aerial surveys in this EMU have increased since the 1992 Elk Management Plan (Figure 1). The average number of elk observed in the EMU during post-season (late winter-early spring) aerial surveys in 2001-2003 was 3,828 elk (range 3,170-4,448). The 3-year average by hunting district was: HD 413 - 536 elk (range 383-657); HD 432 ? 374 elk (range 326-424); HDs 420/448 - 1,093 elk (range 772-1,323); HD 418 ? 170 elk (range 147-210); HD 540 - 729 elk (range 647-838); HD 454 ? 305 elk (range 258-378); and HD 416 ? 616 elk (range 326-942).; Increased opportunity for the general hunter to harvest antlerless elk (last 9 days either-sex) was implemented in 1994 in much of the EMU to help control the number of elk. A general season either-sex youth hunt was implemented in 2002 in most of the EMU.

The size of the Judith River Wildlife Management Area was increased by approximately 4,036 acres through two separate land acquisitions in the 1990s, increasing the amount of publicly owned winter range

HuntScore Tip

Public land and private land percentages can sometime be misleading. A unit may have 80% public land, but a particluar species may only occupy 20% on the entire area. And that 20% species distribution may lie 100% within private lands. Does that sound confusing? Just remember that there are always exceptions to the rule, and land ownership is just one piece of the puzzle.

Other Species in Unit

Deer, Mountain Lion,

Photos and Terrain Notes


Unit Elevation Profile

HuntScore generates thousands of synthetic hikes in the unit to create an elevation profile. This profile is what you can expect to experience within a 2 mile hike from a road or trail in this unit.

Elevation in this unit ranges from 4124' to 8235' with a median elevation of 5387'. If you are preparing to hunt this unit you should train for hiking up and down slopes of 5.6%.

Distribution of Slopes From Hikes
Common Slope

This is typical incline or decline experienced while hiking from a road or trail in the unit

Elevation Range
Max Elevation: 8235'
Median Elevation: 5387'
Min Elevation: 4124'

Common Elevation Profiles

Elk Over The Counter Hunts (2020)


Below are OTC hunts available for HD 540 - South Little Belt Mountains.
Residency Species Deer Sex Manner Season Type Dates Notes
RS
E
ANY
G
OTC
all archery only seasons: 09/05 - 10/18, all regular rifle seasons: 10/24 - 11/29

Elk Drawing Stats (2020)


Total Quota
100
Licenses Drawn
100
Licenses Surplus
0
Resident Quota
90
Nonresident Quota
10
Landowner Quota
0
Youth Quota
0
58.8%
Overall Unit
1st Choice Draw Odds
Choose a hunt below to take a deeper dive into hunt scores, drawing trends, and harvest data.
Stats Apply For Sex Manner Season Type Quota Drawn Surplus Resident Draw Odds NonResident Draw Odds Min Res. Points Min NonRes. Points Notes
540-00-B
F
ANY
G
100 100 0
63.8%
34.5%
0 0

Elk Harvest Stats (2019)


Total Hunters
0
Total Harvest
350
Harvest Male
111
Harvest Female
212
0%
Average Success
Manner Season Type Sex Hunters Harvest Male Female Youth Success Rate Days Hunter
ALL
ALL
NA
N/A N/A 350
111
212
0% N/A
Any
Any
NRS
N/A N/A 94
34
48
0% N/A
Any
Any
RS
N/A N/A 256
77
164
0% N/A
HuntScore Tip: Montana tracks antler points of elk. However, they only track spikes, 5 points or fewer, and 6 points or more. We wished it was more granular, but you can still tell how many mature bulls are harvested from a particular unit.

Harvests Trends


Overall harvests trends are broken down by hunt_code, manner, season, sex, type, and species of deer (if applicable) to the extent state wildlife managers provide such data.

Total Harvest

Success Rate

Avg. Days Hunted

Weather Insights


Weather can vary by elevation. See how weather varies by elevation within a unit by selecting an elevation range. Elevation ranges are based on weather stations in or near the unit. Not all weather elements are available within the unit.

Average Temps

Use temperature ranges to plan and prepare for your hunt. Large swings indicate a good layering system should be used. Be sure to make note of the extreme temperatures as these often pose the greatest risk to hunters. If you plan on hunting in higher elevation, as a rule of thumb, expect the tempture to decrease roughly 5° for every 1000' in elevation gain.

WITH A FREE ACCOUNT GET:

  • Precip totals by month
  • Snow depth by month
  • Min/Max precip and snow depth
  • Average # of days between precip or snow event

Precipitation

The probability of precipitation is the likelihood of experience rain, snow, hail, etc... on a given day within the month. A good trick is to invert the probability to estimate how many days will pass, on average, between precipitation events. Hover or click a month to see how many days will pass between precipitation events.

Use the average and maximum precipitation events to set expetations for what rain gear to bring. Also remember that water availability can influence wildlife patterns, so be sure to check out the current weather patterns leading up to your hunt.

Snow

Each month of the year brings it's own challenges for weather. Select a month to see what you can expect and how to prepare for extreme events.

Likely Wind Directions

Wind Speed

Sunshine




Cloud Cover




Other Weather Events

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