Montana’s 2012 general deer and elk season opens this weekend, and that means it’s time for hunters – if they haven’t already – to get to know the 2012 regulations.

It’s especially important that hunters familiarize themselves with changes pertaining to areas in which they plan to hunt.

One area seeing major changes to elk hunting this year is the Madison (Hunting Districts 360-Upper Madison and 362-Lower Madison).

In HD 360: Hunters can only harvest one elk (using either their general license or antlerless B license).

In HD 360 & 362: Hunters (over the age of 15) may only use their general license for hunting a brow-tined bull. Hunters must have drawn an antlerless elk license for respective districts to harvest a cow. Note that antlerless licenses are valid only for a specific time period.

In HD 360 & 362: Within 72 hours, hunters must report a successful elk harvest by calling 1-877-FWP-WILD or going to (click on “For Hunters” then “HDs 360 & 362 - Elk Harvest Reporting”.

These changes came in response to concerns from sportsmen, landowners, and outfitters wanting to see a greater documentation of harvest in the Madison. This documentation will help FWP biologists in future season setting and elk management.

Another area in which hunters should take note of elk regulation changes is in the southern Paradise Valley (Hunting Districts 313-Gardiner and 314-Upper Yellowstone West).

In HD 313: Hunters (over the age of 15) must have drawn a permit for this district, and may only hunt brow-tined bull during the general season.

In HD 314: Hunters (over the age of 15) may only hunt brow-tined bull elk on their general license. Hunters must have drawn an Elk B license to hunt antlerless elk during the general season.

As taught in every hunter education class around the state, it is the hunter’s responsibility to know where he or she is hunting, and which rules apply. Questions about regulations should be answered before heading into the field. FWP offices around the state can be of assistance.

The general deer and elk season opens October 20 and runs through November 25. There is a youth only two-day deer hunting period October 18-19.

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