Montana Elk Hunter Success Statistics in a Nutshell:
- About 20% of Montana Elk Hunters harvest elk
- About 51-52% of Montana Elk Hunters harvest was antlerless elk (cows and calves)
- From years 1999-2002 Montana Elk Hunters logged about 800,000 hunter days
- That same period each hunter spent about 7 days hunting
- It took 35 to 40 hunter days to harvest one elk
Source: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks 1999-2002 Executive Summary of Elk Hunting and Harvest Statewide and Regional
Those are numbers provided by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Numbers and figures from outfitters on public or private land are difficult to obtain, and in many cases may be embellished to suit the specific outfitting business.
The individual hunter is the only one who can measure true success.
The overly optimistic elk hunter should keep in mind that less than 49% of the successful 20% of elk hunters take bulls home. That 49% includes spikes and rag-horn bulls (non-mature 2x2s to 6x6s). The number of Montana Elk Hunters that take home a 6x6 or larger is very small and those that take the “wopper” are an even smaller minority.
In more than 100 years of Boone & Crockett records there is still only one number one—now probably the spider bull from Utah.
It might be fun, or terrifying, to find the number of hunter days expended to harvest the latest number one.