Montana Unveils 2023 Elk Plan

Thayne Muthler

December 6th, 2023

Montana has rolled out its latest elk management plan, and it's creating waves in wildlife circles. This month, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) proudly introduced the 2023 plan and environmental assessment, aiming for a strategy that's not just adaptive but also forward-thinking. The agency is geared up to make well-informed decisions, blending conservation initiatives into the fabric of elk management and setting the stage for sustainable management in the future.

Dustin Temple, the FWP Director, expressed gratitude for the extensive public input that played a pivotal role in shaping the new elk plan. Recognizing the controversial nature of elk management in Montana, Temple highlighted the diverse collaboration that occurred during the planning process, bringing together individuals with varying interests and innovative ideas.

So, what's under the hood of this new plan? For starters, it leans towards a more objective and goal-focused management strategy, ditching excessive prescription. It also pinpoints recommended special management districts for bull elk, offering a more targeted approach. A notable shift includes categorization at the local scale by hunting districts rather than elk management units.

In addition to the plan, which you can dive into here, MFWP has unveiled the latest elk counts and accompanying maps, providing a comprehensive view that can be explored here.

This marks a significant step forward in the ongoing saga of wildlife management, showcasing Montana's commitment to balancing diverse interests while laying the groundwork for a sustainable future.