Post Rut/Late Season Elk Hunt

Jun 19, 2020
Pittsburgh, PA
What parameters do you guys use to pick an elk unit for a post rut/late season elk hunt?

I realize food and security are the biggest priority, but having difficulty narrowing down a couple of units. feel overwhelmed on what unit to pick to even start e scouting.

After you pick a unit what’s your top 3-5 features are you looking for?

Any tips for avoiding hunting pressure?

Lastly, in a unit I’ve never hunted before so you think it’s best to hunt first week of the season or wait until there’s a better chance at snow?

Appreciate the help.


Jul 22, 2019
Ah. If it was Colorado I'd point you to the hunting atlas... not sure if Montana has anything similar, but it shows winter and summer range, migration routes, etc. Maybe others who know Montana better can help.
Jul 18, 2015
Montana does have a species distribution layer as a part of their Hunt Planner, but as far as I'm aware it doesn't distinguish summer and winter range like the Colorado Hunting Atlas.

In terms of choosing an area I certainly look at all the statistics, but from there it's almost all terrain and access. It needs to be a spot where the land lays out in a way in which I can kill a bull. That can be a place with parks, a place with burns, a place where the canyons are spaced out such that I can shoot across, etc. All of those places need to be where access will either limit other hunters or the access will funnel or push the elk into a spot that I like. Different spots work better for different people so try to pick a spot that fits your strengths.

The first week of Montana general is a pretty big cluster, usually. Other weeks have less pressure and more chance of snow but it's a gamble regardless. Just need to decide whether you want to hunt elk that haven't been shot at or pushed to private, or you'd rather try to find a bull that's still on public but knows it's hunting season.