Hunting at Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge

Woman dressed warmly in camouflage and standing in marsh reeds aims a shotgun into the air

Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage. Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciation of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs. As practiced on refuges, hunting does not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances is necessary for sound wildlife management. Hunting programs can promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on lands and waters in the Refuge System.

Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge provides excellent hunting conditions as well as the potential for quality hunting experiences. The refuge proudly supports and participates in the Montana Fish and Wildlife and Parks Road Access for Hunters with Disabilities program. The refuge also supports youth hunting by limiting hunting to youth only (12-15 years of age) the first week of both the archery and general deer and elk season each year. 

The Pleasant Valley in Montana's Flathead County has long been known for its picturesque mountain setting and abundant wildlife habitat. Wetlands here attract large numbers of waterfowl in the fall, and the surrounding areas provide perfect cover for big game. A private ranch was purchased in 1999 by the Montana Power Company as part of a mitigation project, and the 3,100 acres were conveyed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to manage as the Lost Trail NWR. 

Currently, portions of the refuge are open to hunting elk, deer, three species of mountain grouse and wild turkey in accordance with Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks regulations. Youth hunting is encouraged by limiting the first week of archery deer and elk season and the first week of the general deer and elk season to youths 12-14 years of age who are accompanied by an adult who is at least 21 years of age.