In 1948 nearly twenty thousand acres along the Rocky Mountain Front west of Augusta was set aside as winter range for the Sun River elk herd. Increasing numbers of elk had been drifting out on ranch lands during the winter months and were presenting problems with established agricultural use. The Montana Fish and Game Department acquired two adjoining ranches in the foothills just east of Sawtooth Mountain, some land was donated and the US Bureau of Land Management also set aside land to form the Sun River Game Range. This land lay directly in the path of major migration trails for elk in the winter months and has provided valuable range for the Sun River elk herd.
Today, the goal of the Fish, Wildlife and Parks for the Sun River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is to maintain and enhance habitat diversity and quality for elk and other wildlife species currently utilizing the wildlife management area, and to provide hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Key Access Points to this Forest or Range
The Sun River WMA has a primitive road, but is best viewed by hiking or horseback riding. Spectacular scenery and wildlife watching. No established campsites or restrooms; pack in/pack out.
Best Seasons or Dates to Visit
This Sun River WMA is only open to the public from May 15 to November 30. When the WMA opens May 15, many avid antler collectors hike or ride the area looking for antler sheds.
The WMA is a beautiful spot for hiking, horseback riding and wildlife viewing from spring to summer. Permitted area for hunting.
Closed (12/1 - 5/15) Area closed to antler collecting during the winter closure period. Commercial Use Prohibited Mandatory Food Storage Requirements Restricted (5/15 - 12/01) - Restriction placed to promote management of site. Winter Closure (12/1 - 5/15) Closed to protect deer and elk during the critical winter period.
Driving Directions to Key Access Points
In Lewis and Clark County, approximately 9 miles northwest of Augusta. The north edge of the WMA is south of the Sun River as it leaves Sun Canyon. From Augusta, take the Gibson Reservoir/Sun Canyon Road northwest approximately 3.5 miles. Where the road splits, take the left fork to the counties road end at WMA Boundary. (Lat 47.583, Lng -112.642)