Montana Turkey Hunting Forecast for 2014

Montana's turkey populations were introduced in the 1950's from Colorado and Wyoming, and today good numbers of birds exist in pockets throughout the state. Turkey populations remain constant or are increasing across much of the state, with the highest numbers of birds being taken in the eastern portion of Montana. Two of the state's best turkey areas are the Custer National Forest in the southeastern portion of the state and the wildlife refuges bordering Fort Peck Lake and the Missouri River in the central portion of Montana. After last year's flooding, there were concerns that bird populations in the eastern portion of the state might be down, but According to Drew Henry, wildlife biologist in Region 6 near Glasgow, it appears that the birds have bounced back.

According to Henry, current statistics on Montana turkey hunting in his home area aren't available, but during a whitetail deer survey flyover he saw lots of turkeys.

"Any of the blocks along the Milk River should be good," says Henry. There is plenty of public land in that area, and there are enough birds to have a successful hunt. The rolling terrain makes it easy to get up high and call or spot turkeys working below in the early morning hours.

Western Montana also has its share of turkeys, and both Flathead and Lincoln counties are home to significant populations of birds. These turkeys thrive on habitat that includes river bottoms, agricultural fields and roosting sights, and there are a variety of public land areas in that corner of the state as well. There are also special draw turkey hunts in regions 2, 3, and 4 with a good opportunity to take a mature tom.

Montana's turkey season runs from April 12 until May 18 in 2014. Montana turkey tags cost $6.50 for residents or $115 for non-residents. Non-resident hunters who hold an upland hunting permit can purchase a turkey tag for the reduced cost of $55.

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