Determining the Influence of Hunter Access on Antlerless Elk B License Harvest in Select Areas of Southwest, Central and Eastern Montana

Scientific Disciplines
Biological Sciences - Terrestrial
Montana Fish Wildlife Parks
wildlife management
Montana Fish Wildlife Parks FWP
antlerless elk
hunting access
human dimensions
Volume 18, No. 1-4

Determining the influence of hunter access on 
Antlerless elk b license harvest in select areas of 
Southwest, central and eastern montana
Joe Weigand*, Wildlife Bureau, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Helena, MT 59620
Mike Lewis, Human Dimensions Unit, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Helena, MT 59620
Zoe King, Human Dimensions Unit, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Helena, MT 59620 
Antlerless elk hunting is a critically important tool for wildlife managers to help manage 
populations of elk.  Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) conducted a survey following 
the 2010 general big game hunting season to determine the effect that hunter access might 
have on Antlerless Elk B License utilization and associated harvest in select areas of the 
state where concerns have been expressed about hunting access.  A mail-back survey was 
used to determine, the extent to which respondents were able to gain access to public and 
private lands to hunt antlerless elk, what types of properties respondents were able to secure 
permission to hunt, the extent to which respondents were able to successfully harvest 
antlerless elk, and respondent satisfaction with the Antlerless Elk B Licenses they received in 

2010.  Questionnaires were successfully mailed to a total of = 5,297 Elk B License holders 
and there were a total of = 2,954 survey respondents resulting in an overall response rate of 
56 percent.  Survey results revealed several key findings that have significant elk population 
management implications.  While respondents used different hunting access or property types 
to varying degrees the type of property accessed played a prominent role in determining 
antlerless elk harvest success rates and antlerless elk harvest distribution.  A majority of the 
survey respondents who hunted or attempted to hunt using their Antlerless Elk B License 
reported that they were satisfied with the license they received in 2010.