The elusiveness of more favorable spring-like weather so far this year in Montana might come into play.

Then, of course, there's the elusiveness of the sought-after prey. Nevertheless, plenty of Montana hunters will be setting their sites on the season opener for a couple of Treasure State favorites, when both the spring turkey and black bear seasons open tomorrow, Saturday, April 15.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has not shared a great deal of optimism for the potential success of harvesting either species. But, they do emphasize that hunters "must be prepared for extreme travel conditions including deep snow, deeper mud, and potential washouts on minimum maintenance roads.”

While not much was reported for western Montana, FWP did say that southeast  Montana’s turkey populations are relatively stable across the region, where there is a lot more. Turkey habitat. They are still dealing with winter storms and snow as of late, which not only does turkey distribution on the landscape, but it also affects hunters.

FWP has seen turkey hunting interest increase drastically in recent years, with much more hunter pressure than Montana typically experienced prior to 2020 (COVID). They have also seen more success among hunters who are flexible and willing to invest some time and energy. Or as they put it, “boot leather kills turkeys. They can be highly nomadic and cover a lot of ground in a day. Hunters who remain mobile in their hunting tactics to locate birds will be the most successful.”

As far as spring black bear season goes, just a few important reminders:

>>>There is a 48-hour reporting requirement for all black bear harvests.

>>>It is lawful to use hounds to train and/or hunt for spring black bears in some areas.

>>>It's important to know the difference between grizzly bears and black bears. Black bear hunters in Montana are required to pass the Bear Identification test to obtain a black bear license. Montana's Bear Identification Program is intended to prevent the killing of grizzly bears as a result of mistaken identity by hunters.

All the important licensing and regulation info is available on this page of the Montana FWP website.

Birds or bears or both, good Montana hunting to all this weekend!

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