West Yellowstone is surrounded with national forest land and lovely rivers, where Montana hunting is an exciting experience. Hunting seasons vary depending on what you are after, but no matter what you’re hunting, when or where, always prepare for a profitable trip.
Where to go hunting around West Yellowstone
Targhee National Forest has acres and acres of huntable land. The game that haunts these forests is antelope, elk, deer, moose, mountain goat, black bear and bighorn sheep. Some have found that hunting elk is very effective using bugling. Regulations vary so get a copy from the local Fish and Game Office.
With more than 2 million acres of wilderness area, the Gallatin National Forest is right up next to Yellowstone Park with parts of the Lee Metcalf and Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Areas within its boundaries. You’ll find moose, bear, bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goat in these woods.
Beaverhead National Forest has staggering numbers of whitetail deer to hunt. But it is also known as one of the major moose-productive hunting regions in Montana. Successful hunting for moose is yours here!
Hunting licenses are, of course, a must. The prices vary depending on what you’re hunting, but here are some examples:
- Conservation license – a prerequisite for obtaining any other license
- Antelope licenses – special drawing and limited to specific areas
- Black Bear licenses – Spring Season - over the counter purchase available
- Black Bear licenses – Fall Season - over the counter purchase available
- Deer licenses – for antlerless Whitetail only
- Mountain Lion licenses – over the counter purchase available
You can get a permit (and find out all the various licensing possibilities) by going to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks website.
Hire a Guide
Hunting in the West Yellowstone area remains much as it was during the backcountry expeditions of the early explorers and hunters. Local outfitters and guides are a great way to custom-fit your hunting vacation. Their expertise and knowledge of the Yellowstone area contributes to making your excursion a big success. Check out the suppliers and guides listed to find the perfect one for you.
Hunting is a focused and skilled sport. It is also potentially dangerous, so it’s vital you know some safety rules. The best idea is to enroll in a hunter’s safety course, even if you have hunted previously. You can even take courses over the Internet. But here are some tips that can help keep you safe:
- Never point your gun or a bow at anything you don’t intend to shoot. Ensure you are in control of the direction your firearm is pointed at all times.
- Always leave the safety on until you are ready to shoot.
- Know your target! Make sure you properly identify it before pulling the trigger.
- Never shoot at flat surfaces or hard surfaces (water, steel, rocks) because of the danger of the bullet ricocheting.
- Don’t ever climb a tree, fence or other object or jump across a ditch or traverse difficult terrain while carrying a loaded firearm or bow.
- Don’t drink alcohol or take drugs before or during the time you are handling firearms or bows and arrows.
- Don’t hunt alone.
- Wear bright colors – like Hunter Orange.