While the FWP Commission was rewriting rules for hunting districts across the state, some more restrictive for hunters, one change opened things up in HD 270 in the Bitterroot's east fork. Ravalli Republic editor Perry Backus outlines the changes in this report.
Hunters still need to draw an unlimited bull tag to hunt the district, but now they will be able to hunt other districts earlier in the season, before the weather chases elk out of the Big Hole Valley to the east.
Up until now, HD 270 was the only district in the state that required hunters to obtain an “unlimited” bull elk permit to hunt there. To obtain the “unlimited” permit, hunters give up their opportunity to put in for a more coveted elk permit elsewhere in the state.
New Region 2 Commissioner, Jana Waller, made the motion to exempt HD 270 based on feed back she received from hunters.
“Unit 270 is a unique unit in terms of elk and geography,” Waller said Monday. “Originally a general unit, it was changed years back due to the bull to cow ratios dipping too low when early weather drives the elk into 270. For biological reasons it was changed to an unlimited-style tag.”
That gives hunters an option when milder weather allows elk to linger in the Big Hole.
It takes winter weather to drive elk over the Big Hole divide into the East Fork of the Bitterroot. Because of that, hunters with an HD 270 permit like the freedom to be able to hunt other general elk hunting districts in the state earlier in the season.