Cow Elk Shoulder Season?
Contributors to this thread:
BullHunter 12-Feb-24
montnatom 12-Feb-24

ROUGHCOUNTRY's embedded Photo
ROUGHCOUNTRY's embedded Photo
I went out to shed hunt today in farmland unit 262 (Bitterroot Valley)

The landowner pointed out to his field and said “they” got two cow elk this morning.

The gut piles were visible with magpies and eagles all over them. Out of curiosity, I walked over to check it out.

I had always wondered what the potential fetuses would look like since they were likely bred 5 months ago in September. Nothing usually bothers me about hunting but I couldn’t believe the size of the unborn calf. It was probably the size of a skinned out fox and the head had already been eaten off by the eagles. However the leg and hooves and body were partially out of the amniotic sac.

This particular unit has been open since August so that makes 6 months of hunting and I don’t even feel there’s that many elk……especially huntable ones.

From the tracks , there were probably 8-10 elk and they knocked off 2 of them.

There is not much forest service land in that unit but several state land sections. However, other hunters, hikers , dog walkers , etc……keep the animals from regularly using those pieces. Same goes for the higher elevation forest service portions in the adjoining units. With the human population and constant use of the public lands, the animals rarely get a break.

I’m not a fan of these seasons at all. When I was a kid in eastern Montana, the animals were mostly hunted on weekends and were able to settle down during the week. Now, with night shift workers, swing shift workers, folks with weeks of vacation to burn and non resident hunters with serious time to hunt, the animals are constantly hunted on public land.

I had a friend draw the 261 special mule deer permit just above there and had a horrible hunt and he hunted hard.

From: BullHunter
That picture says it all Mike. I completely agree with what you've found. I think your experience in 262 is very similar to a lot of the shoulder season units. Unfortunately our raised concerns on shoulder seasons always seem to fall on deaf ears at the commission hearings and public meetings.

From: montnatom
we hunted the damage hunts back 15 years or so ago and got called for a February hunt. When I gutted the cow and saw the fetus that's the last one of those I was interested in. F&G guys called it a two for one.

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