Mixed bag of opportunities for turkey hunters in southeastern Montana

Miles City – Spring turkey season is under way, and hunters in southeastern Montana have had to contend with a wet, chilly and windy spring in the first two weeks of the season.

Wildlife biologists in Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 7 report a mixed bag of opportunities around the region. Bird numbers are recovering, but hunters may have to put in some time for a successful season.

According to Biologist Steve Atwood, numbers are starting to improve in the Colstrip and Sarpy Creek area, but they are still nowhere near what they were prior to 2010.

Biologist Ryan DeVore, reports that turkey numbers are still spotty in Custer National Forest, but hunters will be successful if they take the time to scout and locate birds. Near Broadus, numbers are still low compared to years past, but finding smaller public lands with turkey habitat or gaining access to private land will be key. Around Ekalaka, numbers have shown a nice increase, though they are still recovering. Public and private ground will have good opportunity.

Baker-area Biologist Melissa Foster says turkey numbers are good along the Yellowstone River, but access is difficult and is mostly private ownership.

“Major creeks with good timber components and portions of agriculture are optimal, but you can expect twice as much time knocking on doors to find good access,” Foster said. “Hunting pressure is generally high in this area of the region.”

In the Garfield and McCone County areas, Biologist Jesse Kolar said numbers are pretty spotty, with the greatest populations on private land, so access is difficult. He reports very few near the Musselshell River. Some Block Management Area cooperators are seeing a few birds, but not very many, he said.

The spring turkey season wraps up on May 21.