Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks has an elk problem on their hands and the only real answer to solving it and alleviating the strain on some landowners is an extended hunting season.
Jay Kolbe, a Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologist told KRTV News that they have never witnessed such a large population of elk in the state.
“The number of elk we’re dealing with is really unprecedented and I would argue historically unprecedented,” Kolbe told reporters.
The agency has been tracking elk since the 1800s and given the growing population and large herds roaming around Montana, has expanded shoulder season in five districts in the state, highlighting the need for additional hunting pressure to normalize the elk population.
“We have a real need to harvest elk. We’re 200% to 300% above our stated population objective in these districts,” Kolbe said.
As with any hunting season, rural economies tend to benefit during those high-traffic times while hunters venture from around the state, out-of-state and even internationally for their shot at a beautiful bull. Montana Governor Steve Bullock believes this extension will undoubtedly have a positive impact on these communities.
The commission is also entertaining proposes for 44 more hunting districts throughout Montana.