- Hire a guide to plan a hunting trip to remember.
- Hunt for big game in the Selway-Bitterrott Wilderness Area.
- The Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge is the perfect place to hunt for waterfowl.
- The big game in the area includes white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, black bear, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, mountain goat, and bison!
Obviously you can't hunt in downtown Missoula, but you don't have to go far from the city limits to hunt for big game or fowl. With the abundant elk, moose, white-tailed deer, mountain lions, and black bears found in the surrounding mountains, hunters can pick their animal of choice.
Make a trip out to western Montana, for a hunting experience to remember. There are plenty of guides and outfitters that would be happy to assist you as you stalk some big game.
Where to go Hunting
Rattlesnake Wilderness Area
You barely have to leave the city to hunt in the Rattlesnake Wilderness Area, one of the closest designated wilderness areas near a metropolitan city. The mountain sides are covered in sub-alpine fir and lodgepole pine, that slopes down to meet douglas fir and ponderosa pine with pockets of open meadows.
Rifle hunting is permitted outside the recreation area, or south zone, for white tailed deer, mule deer, and elk. The area may be close to town, but you won't run into too many other hunters, because there is no motor vehicle access in the wilderness area. Check with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for further regulations.
Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge
Close to 3,000 acres of wetland habitat can be found at Lee Metcalf. That means it is home to a whole lot of birds and waterfowl. Ducks, geese, and coots are the popular picks for waterfowl hunting.
Established blinds are set up within the refuge as designated areas for waterfowl hunting. Bow hunting of white-tailed deer is also allowed in designated areas. Contact the refuge for information regarding hunting season and guidelines.
Blue Mountain Recreation Area
Just 2.5 miles southwest of town, Blue Mountain offers soft rolling knolls covered in tall prairie grass, interspersed with thick forest stands. The views are amazing as well, but the name of the game is hunting.
Here, you will find white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and plenty of game birds. Rifle hunting is allowed in the west zone beginning 4.5 miles up the mountain west or road #365. Bow hunting is permitted in both the east and west zones. All hunting is prohibited within 150 yards of an occupied area of developed recreation site. Check with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for further regulations.
Pattee Canyon Recreation Area
Tucked next to Mt. Sentinel, you will find plenty of deer wondering through the mountain meadows. Not the most scenic spot to hunt, unless you like seeing the city in the distance, but hunting for white-tail deer and mule deer is permitted.
As with the Blue Mountain Recreation Area, discharging a firearm or shooting a bow and arrow is prohibited within 150 yards of an occupied area of developed recreation site. Contact the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for further regulations.
Welcome Creek Wilderness
Looking for something a bit more rugged and exotic, Welcome Creek Wilderness will offer you a one of a kind hunting experience. The search for big game will lead you through thick foliage and up steep slopes in search of the elusive elk or black bear. The terrain is exceptionally steep and inhospitable, but the hard work will pay off nicely.
Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
Getting bigger, that is the big game selection of course. This pristine wilderness, known for high, rugged mountains and its secluded nature, is famous for big game such as elk, black bear, moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat. The trophy size elk are the most sought after game in the area. Check with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for more information.
Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area
There is over a million acres of protected land in this wilderness area, home to some of the tallest peaks in the region. The mountains sides are covered in coniferous forests before they slope down to meet alpine meadows.
Elk and deer are the most common species hunted in the Selway-Bitterroots, but if you win the lottery for a moose, bighorn sheep, or mountain lion tag, this is the place to hunt. Check with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for more information and regulations.
All permits are issued by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. All hunters who were born after January 1, 1985 must attend a hunter education course prior to obtaining a license. Hunters are also expected to be aware of all access laws.
If you used to be a Montana resident and want to return for a bit of hunting, look into the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks new program, Come Home to Hunt, for a discount on your hunting license.
Licenses are available for white-tail deer, mule deer, antelope, bison, black bear, elk, upland game birds, and waterfowl. Moose, mountain goat, bighorn sheep and mountain lion tags are limited and offered through a lottery.
Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks
1420 E 6th Ave
PO Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701
Mon. thru Fri. 8:00am to 5:00pm
Hire a Guide/Outfitter
Guides and outfitters have a comprehensive knowledge of the area and its game, so sit back and take it easy and let them hassle with the all planning. The outfitters will plan a Missoula hunting trip to remember!
Hunting packages vary and can include as much or as little as you like. Outfitters can provide all the gear and equipment needed and will assist you with obtaining the correct permits and licenses. There are a lot of guides and outfitters in the area, so look at a couple to find the one that best fits your needs.