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

For avid elk hunters, it’s no secret: Elk thrive in the Missouri Breaks country of Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge (which lies within Charles M. Russell) – and they grow large antlers. The habitat here is ideal for elk and, unlike elk elsewhere, these animals don’t migrate. This all adds up to one of the best big-game hunts in the nation. Most famous is the archery elk hunt held in the early fall. The Refuge is also well-known for other big game hunting opportunities, particularly mule deer. The Refuge has a mule deer population ranging from four to 12 deer per square mile. Pronghorn and white-tailed deer hunting are also excellent. This big-game paradise is set in the rugged badlands and big country of the Missouri Breaks, making a hunt here a true adventure of a lifetime. The Refuge offers special youth hunting opportunities for elk and deer per Montana state regulations; youth elk hunts open two days before the regular season in specific hunting districts, and youth deer hunts open two days before the regular season refuge-wide. Hunt regulations change from year to year; check https://www.fws.gov/refuge/UL_Bend/ for the latest information.

UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge lies within the boundaries of Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and they are managed as one refuge. The information below covers activities across both refuges. Hunting on the refuge is subject to Federal and State regulations and a Montana hunting license is required.

Big Game Hunting 

Mule deer, antelope and elk hunting are very popular on the Refuge. Mule deer are found throughout the entire Refuge and numbers will vary from year to year. Elk occur on most parts of the Refuge with the exception of the area around the Big Dry Arm. Bighorn sheep hunting is permitted on the Refuge, but permits are limited. Some white-tailed deer inhabit riparian riparian
Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

Learn more about riparian
areas along the Missouri River and its tributaries, but are not nearly as common as mule deer.

Small Game Hunting

Sage grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, pheasants and grey partridge occur on the Refuge. Small game numbers fluctuate considerably from year-to-year, depending on winter survival and spring nesting conditions. Dove hunting opportunities are also available on the Refuge, but the window of opportunity is short as doves usually migrate out of this area by early September. Huntable populations of ducks and geese also occur along the Fort Peck Reservoir and the Missouri River. Most hunting opportunity is in the fields where birds go out to feed, but many islands on free-flowing portions of the river provide a good quality hunting opportunity.

See the Rules and Regulations page for the current year's refuge-specific regulations and visit Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks for state licenses and regulations.

Accessible Hunting

There are two accessible hunting and wildlife viewing blinds on the refuge, one located near Hell Creek State Park and the other on the west end in Manning Bottoms.