Two bull elk with trees in the background

Slippery Ann Elk Viewing Area

Elk breeding usually occurs in September and October and it is during the breeding season, or rut, that large numbers of elk congregate at the Slippery Ann Elk Viewing Area. Peak numbers of bull elk can be viewed in this area around the second and third weeks of September.

Records from recent years show that nearly 500 elk may visit the elk viewing area in September, though this can vary from year to year. Numbers continue to remain high through early October, and then begin to decline as the harems (groups of cows) break up and the bulls begin to once again feed and store up reserves for the winter ahead. 

The Elk Viewing Hotline is 406-535-6904. The Hotline is updated as elk numbers change significantly.

  Protect yourself and the elk:

  • The boundary of the Elk Viewing Area is clearly posted from the Slippery Ann Campground to Slippery Ann Creek, on both sides of Route #201. The area beyond the the road in the Elk Viewing Area is closed to public entry. Please remain at road's edge while you enjoy watching the elk.
  • Being too close or disturbing animals can be very stressful to wildlife and unsafe for you. Use binoculars, spotting scopes or telephoto camera lenses to "get closer".
  • Respect other viewers.
  • Keep pets leashed and under control at all times.
  • The use of artificial light to locate wildlife, including elk, is prohibited at all times on Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. This includes the use of spotlights, flashlights and your vehicle headlights.
  • Please be aware that collection of shed antlers and animal skulls is illegal. These items are an important source of calcium for elk, deer and other wildlife on the refuge.