Montana’s deer license is good for one deer and may be used on either a whitetail or a mule deer. It is a five week season that always closes the Sunday after Thanksgiving so it usually opens about the fourth Saturday in Oct. With a wide variety of habitat at each camp we will usually employ several different hunting methods each week. The hunting method for each day will vary depending on the time of year (pre-rut, rut, post rut), weather conditions, physical condition of the hunter as well as species being hunted. A typical day of hunting would be spent glassing agricultural areas from elevated points hoping to catch animals moving to and from feeding and bedding areas in the morning and evening. The remainder of the day is spent still hunting, spot and stalking, making organized drives, and rattling and calling. The length of the average shot will be from 150 to 250 yards with every attempt to find a solid rest. You should practice shooting prone, sitting, and kneeling while bracing your rifle on a solid object such as a rock, fence post, or tree. Recommended rifle size is .25 caliber up to whatever you feel comfortable shooting and should be sighted in 2"- 3" high at a 100 yards depending on the caliber of your rifle and bullet selection. If you have questions regarding your choice of hunting equipment, don't hesitate to contact us.
Montana's elk season runs the same dates at the deer season noted above.
Our Ekalaka camp is located in a "limited draw" area, so most of these hunts will consist of "one guide per hunter". Hunters who are fortunate enough to draw a rifle elk tag at our Ekalaka camp should be in for a real treat as we have some "Monster" bull elk roaming the hills in this area. In recent years our rifle hunters have been experiencing 100% success on bull elk and for those hunters willing to pass up smaller bulls, harvesting a bull in the 325" - 365" range is not uncommon.
Our Musselshell camp is in a "general draw" area and the elk tags are fairly easy to obtain. Currently, about 80% of applicants will succesfully draw an elk tag, which allows for friends and families to book a hunt together as a group. In recent years the elk population in this area has been above the state's objective and it is not unusual to see extremely large herds of elk here. Although trophy bull elk can be found here, this should be considered a non-trophy hunt that will give you an above average chance to take a bull or a cow elk. The elk herds in this area tend to travel long distances moving between food sources which can make patterning them very difficult. Combining your elk hunt with deer or antelope is a great way to increase your odds of taking home a Montana trophy.
Our elk hunts will employ many of the same methods that our deer hunts do, however, because these elk herds are located in pockets and tend to travel greater distances than deer do, our elk hunters may need to be more mobile* than our deer hunters. Shooting distances can vary from close range out to 250+ yards. Hunters will need to bring a rifle that is "powerful enough" to effectively take down a large bodied elk yet can still be shot accurately and confidently. Rifle sight-in strategy should be similar to what we have listed above for deer.
*Elk are awesome animals with amazing survival instincts and hunting them can be extremely challenging, even on the private ranches that we hunt. To maximize your chances of success, we recommend that elk hunters be physically and mentally prepared to walk long distances through all types of terrain and willing to stay on stand for long periods of time in all types of weather conditions.
Montana has a four week antelope season that opens two weeks prior to deer season and closes two weeks after deer season opens. Hunting for antelope is almost purely spot and stalk with an excellent chance of taking one of the most beautiful and exotic animals in North America. This hunt is perfect for couples or parent / child as it is not unusual to see over 100 antelope per day insuring nonstop action and hunting excitement. Please consider combining this hunt with a waterfowl hunt for a fun filled adventure!
Nonresident License Information:
2020 "elk & deer combination" license (17,000) cost is $1046 and on a draw system. The "deer only" license (4,600) cost $612 and also on a draw. The "elk only" license costs $884, also on a draw. Montana now has a preference point system that will enhance your chance to receive a license when booking a year or two in advance. Application deadline for elk and or deer licenses is April 1st. Antelope licenses cost was $205 and are on a limited draw basis with an application deadline of June 1st.
Rifle Permits Required
Hunters at both camps apply for General Rifle Deer Permit
Ekalaka hunters apply for 799-20 Rifle Elk Permit.
Musselshell hunters apply for a General Elk License. (No special permit required)
Ekalaka hunters apply for 700-20 Rifle Antelope Permit
Musselshell hunters apply for 500-20 Rifle Antelope Permit
Animal size expectations:
Mule Deer: 22 to 27 inch spread, 4 or 5 points per side scoring 135 to 170 Boone & Crockett points* (Does not apply to management hunts)
Whitetail: 17 to 20 inch spread, 4 or 5 points per side scoring 125 to 150 Boone & Crockett points* (Does not apply to management hunt)
Elk: (Ekalaka) Mature bulls with 6 points per side scoring 300 to 370 Boone & Crockett points*
(Musselshell) Bull elk (with some restrictions) and cows are legal. Bull elk sizes range from raghorns to mature bulls.
Antelope: horns 13 1/2 to 15 inches long, Mature bucks scoring 72 to 78 points are not uncommon.
*Although our hunters see and take animals each year larger than the sizes listed above, these are what we feel confident you will have the opportunity to take.
Booking and General Information:
- We require a 1/3 deposit when reservations are made. Deposits are nonrefundable unless license is not drawn, then the deposit will be refunded or applied to the following year at your discretion. Balance of the price of hunt is to be paid 30 days prior to arrival.
- The price of the hunt includes everything except hunting licenses and permits, transportation to and from camp and any gratuities you feel appropriate.
- J&J Guide Service is happy to provide our hunters any assistance they may need when applying for hunting licenses, special permits and bonus or preference points.
- Hunters should arrive between 2:00 P.M. and 4:00 P.M. the day before their hunt begins and depart the morning after the last day.
- J&J Guide Service provides all necessary services and equipment to insure your success including guide service, meals, lodging and trophy care, which includes skinning and caping of animals. Meat processing and transportation is not included and is the responsibility of the hunter.
- The only thing you are required to bring is your personal gear, shooting equipment, license and clothing.
- Clothing will vary depending on the time of year and species hunted. For rifle hunts Montana law requires all hunters wear 400 square inches of blaze orange to be worn above the waist and visible from all angles. An orange camo vest is sufficient. All outer clothing needs to be of a soft quiet material.