Elk, Mule Deer, Black Bear, Wolf, Moose, Mountain Goat
All our hunting takes place in the Wilderness with the exception of Spring Black Bear. Because of this, the animals have the upper hand. These are the most Fair Chase hunts available in the lower 48.
Snowy Springs Outfitters offers big game hunting in the Great Bear Wilderness of Montana. We run a very limited number of hunters to keep our success rate high. Because of this, our success rate runs a bit higher than the average wilderness hunt. Hunts are guided 2 on 1, 2 hunters per guide. 1 on 1 hunts are available.
Hunting in the Wilderness
If you are considering booking a Wilderness Hunt you need to be in it for the entire experience. Because we hunt in the Wilderness, it is like going back in time. You will be camping, traveling by horse or foot, and everything is done by hand. Nothing with a wheel or motor is allowed in the Wilderness. We understand some hunters do not have the time available for a Wilderness Hunt or are more interested in just harvesting something. If you are in this category, this hunt will not fit you.
Hunts are 5 to 10 days and are run out of a wilderness base camp with a cook tent, sleeping tents with cots, pads, wood stoves, lanterns, and an outhouse. Snowy Springs has 5 wilderness base camps. The season, weather and game movement determine which camp is used.
Unless you draw a moose or mountain goat tag, the main animal we focus on is elk. Moose and mountain goats licenses are draw-only for both residents and non-residents; both require an area number. If you purchase additional licenses such as black bear, it will be the secondary animal. We do not charge extra per animal. The hunt price is the price; it is not determined by how many animals you harvest.
We generally run two early hunts while the elk are in rut, September through the first part of October, in an early rifle area. Late hunts are during the general season, starting the third week in October and running through the end of November, in area that is just opening for rifle hunting.
Early Season Hunting (September to mid-October)
The early hunts are long days. If at all possible we recommend a 9 or 10 day hunt so you can take a day off to relax if needed. The fishing is still great this time of year and combo licenses include a fishing license. If you are interested in fishing let us know and we will make sure there is fishing gear available in camp. If you are from the South or somewhere it does not snow, we highly recommend the early hunts for you. Late hunts during the General Season can have snow; usually it’s more a matter of how much snow.
Because we start hunting in September, mid-day temperatures can be pretty warm. Hunters dress in layers so they can pull them off as needed. Mornings are quite cool (even be in the freezing range), with daytime temps in the 70’s. It could also snow. Mountains and the Continental Divide make for unpredictable weather.
A Typical Day of Hunting
The plan for the day is usually made at breakfast and will take weather and other factors into account. Breakfast is early, generally 4:30AM. Sandwiches and snacks will be out for you to put together your lunch. You will head out on your horse in the dark. Early hunts are during the rut. Guides like to get up on top of the mountains early and work ridges, bugling or cow calling into different drainages. By being on top, they can cover a much larger area, as opposed to hunting down low where it could take a whole day to work one drainage. Once up on top there is a lot of glassing and more glassing.
Most days will be spent out of camp from pre-dawn to late dusk or dark. We have hunted this way for 30 years so all our guides are used to it as are the horses. Guides almost always take a pack animal with them; most times hunters’ rifles are carried on these animals. Our guides can get off, tie up and have your gun out and ready before you are even off your horse. Pack animals also make it easier to get game back to camp right away rather than having to go back later. After arriving back at camp, you’ll have a little time to put on comfy shoes, relax a bit and then have dinner.
Late Season Hunting (mid-October – November)
Montana hunting season ends the first Sunday after Thanksgiving. Our late hunts work the same as the early ones, except the rut is over and there will probably be snow. Hunting still includes a lot of glassing and tracking is added. Our late hunting camp is in an area that is not open during early hunts and is on the migratory route the elk take to their winter range. The mule deer are in the rut during this time and are moving around much more than during the early hunts. If you are hoping to get into a big Muley, this is the time to hunt.
Suggested gear list
Call for pricing and availability (406)226-9225
Full Service Outfitter
Snowy Springs is a full service outfitter; we take care of you from the airport until we return you to it. In other words, we don’t nickel and dime you to death. We do not charge extra fees for anything. We have cabins for hunters prior to and after the hunt. If you drive, you are more than welcome to show up a few days early, leave a few days later, etc. We have a shooting area at our Base Camp if you want to double check your gun before heading into the Wilderness for your hunt. Glacier National Park is our backyard and a lot of clients like to do a little sightseeing if they have time. If you do not have a vehicle with you, we are more than happy to be your tour guide. Our local Cafe’ and Bar are within walking distance of Base Camp.
After the Hunt
Shawn is a licensed taxidermist and has trained all guides in skinning to make sure your hide is ready for mounting according to your desire. From a shoulder mount to a life-size or rug, we can handle it. Meat is taken to camp and hung; depending on the weather it may be packed out before your hunt ends. We do not process the meat; we will get it to the processor with your cut and wrap order. If you drive, you may want to bring ice chests or even a freezer to take meat home to process.
Resident and non-resident licenses are sold over the counter or online all year with the exception of Moose and Mountain Goat which are Special Drawing Licenses and will need an area number. Areas available change each year; if you want to apply for one, contact us to see what Area number you would need to enter.
Big Game Combo – Package that includes Elk and Deer (Mule Deer or Whitetail) , Fishing, Upland Game Birds. Mail in paper application or online. Deadline March 15 of year you hunt.
Elk Combo – Elk, Fishing, Upland Game Birds. Mail in paper application or online. Deadline March 15 of year you hunt.
Deer Combo – Deer (Mule Deer or Whitetail), Fishing, Upland Game Bird. Mail in application or online. Deadline March 15 of year you hunt.
Moose and Mountain Goat – Special drawing with a deadline of May 1. Paper application or online. Requires drawing area number.
Black Bear – Mail in application or online. Before purchasing your Black Bear license you will be required to take a Bear Test through the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website. Northwest Montana has a healthy population of Grizzly Bears which we are not allowed to harvest at this time. The test will help you distinguish between the Black Bears and the Grizzlies. There is a tutorial available for bear identification. You can’t fail the test; you just keep taking it until you pass. Write down your Certificate number or print the Certificate as you need the number for your license application. Don’t worry; you will always have a guide with you to make sure which type of bear you’re looking at.
Automated Licensing System (ALS)
Montana uses a system they call “ALS“ for licensing. The number is your birth date with a unique number added to it. If you have hunted in Montana since 2002, you already have an ALS number. It is best to always use the same ALS number as it is a record of all your pertinent information and Bonus Points earned. If you need to find your ALS number, go to the link below. Make sure you use same information as the first time you were issued one; for example if your zip code has changed you need to use the one you had then.
**New this year: you can search your ALS number without setting up an account. But, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is pushing for people to “Set up a User Account”. If you wanted to edit your information, update your address, etc., you will have to set up an account.
We have cabins available for bow hunts or late hunts. If you are interested in having the comforts of home, let us know and we can give you the details of hunting out of cabins. Works the same as our spring bear hunts.