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Old 11-03-2013, 08:06 AM
 
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I have been in Helena passing through before and thought it was a nice town. I am nearing retirement for teaching and want to retire somewhere near great hunting. I love to bow hunt and gun hunt. I also love to fish. Is there good elk and deer hunting within a few hours of Helena? Another reason I am looking hard at Helena is the fact that my wife is a Nurse and will have to keep working. It seems there are plenty of medical facilities around Helena.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:25 AM
 
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Plenty of all of the above. Helena is centrally located, excellent stream, fly fishing, and even deep water fishing in the lakes. Big game, moose and elk can be found quite close, as well as deer and antelope.

Lots of work for nurses, Shriners, St.Petes, VA hospital, and hospice/private duty.

Lots of retired folks live in Townsend. But it is a commute to Helena.
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Old 11-03-2013, 03:09 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigbear2 View Post
I have been in Helena passing through before and thought it was a nice town. I am nearing retirement for teaching and want to retire somewhere near great hunting. I love to bow hunt and gun hunt. I also love to fish. Is there good elk and deer hunting within a few hours of Helena? Another reason I am looking hard at Helena is the fact that my wife is a Nurse and will have to keep working. It seems there are plenty of medical facilities around Helena.
I know some people who have gotten some pretty good sized mulie bucks around Townsend, which, as Jasper12 said is not too far from Helena. There is also antelope hunting around Townsend, if you're into that sort of hunting. I would guess there is plenty of elk hunting in the area as well. I don't know what the job prospects are for hiring nurses but seeing as how Helena is one of the major cities of Montana the prospects might be decent.

Last edited by ElkHunter; 11-03-2013 at 06:23 PM.. Reason: Changed ElkHunter to Jasper12
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Brew City
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The thing about hunting in Helena is that everything surrounding the city is by special draw. We have world class elk hunting to the south in the Elkhorn Mountains but good luck ever drawing a tag. There's good elk hunting to the north as well but that's special draw also. Though your odds are slightly better. I belive most areas are also special draw for mule deer. You can hunt whitetail anywhere I think but there aren't that many around. Like others have said, towards townsend is whitetail country. The hunting becomes a little more accessible about an hour in all directions.

Helena is a great location for fisherman. The Missouri river flows just outside of town and is damed up in three locations creating Canyon Ferry Resevoir, Hauser Lake and Holter lake about 45 minutes north. Lake Helena is here too if you have a small enough boat to get out on it (we even struggle with our jon boat) but it is good fishing and duck hunting.

Helena in general has a pretty good economy. With the government based here it's never really going to bubble and crash like Kalispell or even Missoula did. The thing that really bugs me about Helena is how dry it is. We average 11" of precipitation a year and I think only the south end of town even sees that. I know I don't out here in the North Valley. I'd be surprised if we say 6" a year.
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
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The areas right around Helena have a lot of special draw areas, but within an hours drive you can be in completely different areas with far more reasonable regulations.

For example, the Upper Shields is about an hours drive, and this year you can get a bull elk tag and an over the counter second tag for a cow.

Some areas within that hour are either sex elk or brow tine bull/cow on your general tag.

Once you are south of Townsend, the mule deer buck tags, (unlimited draw but you have to apply for them) are pretty much gone and most areas, (not all) are mule deer buck or either sex whitetail on your A tag.

The area also has limited Bighorn Sheep and Mountain Goat hunting, (limited draw) the moose are pretty much gone with the wolves, but you can hunt/trap up to 5 wolves as well.

World class antelope are right on the edge of town to the east.(draw for tags, but there have been 2 world records taken there in the last 5 years)

Black Bear and Cougar actually come into city limits, both can be hunted with over the counter tags.

Helena isn't the absolute "Best" place in Montana for hunting, but there are plenty of opportunities, and if you don't mind driving for an hour or so, you have access to just about any of the 11 big game species in the state.

There is also premium waterfowl and upland bird hunting, (western flyway), but if you drive a little east, you can hunt the central flyway too for waterfowl.

Turkeys are a seperate tag, (Mirriums subspecies), draw tag in the west, over the counter in the east.

Then throw in all the furbearer or varment species like coyote, woodchuck (marmot) and the umbiquetous gophers that you don't need a tag to hunt, you can pretty much hunt all year round here
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:41 AM
 
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If you are a fly fisherman, you would be happier living closer to the Madison, Jefferson, & Beaverhead rivers which are further South. The southwestern corner has plentiful public lands for hunting big game & upland gamebirds, blue ribbon trout streams, and medical services.
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Old 11-09-2013, 04:40 PM
 
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Can anyone suggest better places to live (towns) that would be closer to better elk hunting. I like to bow hunt so I like Montana with its long archery season....
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:55 PM
 
Location: Brew City
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The hunting around Butte is pretty decent. Any time you're in a larger Montana city, you're going to have more restrictions.
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Old 11-12-2013, 05:44 PM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigbear2 View Post
Can anyone suggest better places to live (towns) that would be closer to better elk hunting. I like to bow hunt so I like Montana with its long archery season....
Boulder and Townsend both have great access to excellent elk hunting, the Elkhorn Mountains (area 380) is limited draw, but the bulls are spectacular.
To fill the freezer, you can hunt spikes or cows with a bow and no special tags.

Over the pass to the west, Avon and Elliston are small towns in big country. The bulls in the area aren't managed for their trophy quality, but there are excellent populations, (depending on wolf population).

Most of the state has good access to public land where you can hunt, and the Block Management Program opens up lots of Private lands to hunters.

The biggest question isn't where are elk in Montana, more the kind of hunting you prefer to do because there are some areas that are walk in only where you may have to hike a couple of miles to get to where the elk are. No big deal, but carrying your elk out can become a real hassle.

Wilderness is great for long hunts way back away from everyone, but you have to be in top shape, know how to handle bears, how to camp in what can be extreme conditions, and how to bone and care for you game.

The high prairie and breaks country take someone that knows dry country, and how to live in camp a long way from resupply.

Most of the southwest part of the state, Dillon, Ennis for example, have decent access and good populations of elk, but you will probably run into problems with outfitters that lease the ground and close it to the general public.

Central Montana, White Sulphur, Lewistown, have good elk populations, pretty good access, but the bulls I have seen can be smaller than other parts of the state.

I don't recommend Livingston, Bozeman, Gardiner or West Yellowstone because the wolves have decimated the herds there. You would be lucky to see an elk in a month of hard hunting south of I-90. Tragic because it used to be the best hunting in the world.

If you go north to Augusta or Choteau, or over to Great Falls you have the Sun River refuge, when the elk are there, it can be beyond belief, Same for areas around Cascade, steep rugged country, but good elk populations.

You could also have access to the Bob Marshall Wilderness, lots of elk, lots of scenery, lots of walking, lots of grizzly.

West of the Divide, Butte, Anaconda have the Pintlers and Tobacco Roots, hard hunting, but excellent animals.

To the north west, you can find decent elk around Thompson Falls for example.

One good thing about Helena, it is central to all of this, so you can go where-ever you want and be there in a couple hours.

There are elk around Helena in pretty good numbers, district 380 surrounds most of the valley, but you can drive to the east side of Canyon Ferry and be in a completely different district with different rules.

Look at where you want to live 360 days a year, then worry about the elk because there are elk widely distributed all over the state.
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:47 AM
 
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Even a trip up north for a week of pheasant hunting is nice.check out Plentywood.
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