Elkhorn Wildlife Management Unit

 Sign for the Elkhorn Management UnitMap of the Elhorn Managment Unit



Explore a magnificent recreation and wildlife resource at the doorstep of Helena, Montana's capital city.


From prairie to alpine, mayflies to mountain goats, and scenic driving to tortuous climbing routes.

In the Elkhorns, you will discover diversity! The Elkhorn Mountains are a mountain island, which provide a spectrum of habitats for a wide variety of plants and animals. The Elkhorns are especially known for the beauty and productivity of the plentiful mountain meadows and grassy parks. Both small and large, these open areas provide abundant food for wildlife and livestock, and beautiful vistas and colorful wildflowers for visitors.

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Elk in the morning mist

History & Management

The Elkhorn Mountains, roughly 300,000 acres in southwest Montana, is managed in partnership as the Elkhorn Cooperative Management Area (EMCA), where different agencies work together to manage the mountain range regardless of political boundaries.


The Elkhorns offer unique opportunities for viewing wildlife in their natural habitat. Many animals such as elk, deer, black bear, moose, and a variety of birds are commonly seen.

Range & Weeds

A major focus of the work in the Elkhorns today is to manage livestock to expedite recovery from past intensive grazing. This is done by updating allotment management plans to reflect state of the art knowledge of riparian systems and uplands.


All projects go through a planning process according to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  

Public Involvement

Funding has always been an issue in trying to implement the Wildlife Management Unit; partnerships have been and will continue to be critical.


Visitors to the Elkhorn Mountain Range have opportunities to find solitude, challenge, and the excitement of seeing wildlife in the natural habitats.

Westslope Cutthroat

Westslope cutthroat trout have declined in abundance and distribution throughout Montana, and in the Missouri River Basin.

Elkhorn & Fire

Fires were a frequent occurrence in the Elkhorn Mountains before settlers arrived, and they still occur. Fires invigorate vegetation by removing buildups of downed trees, opening forested areas for other vegetation growth, and restoring nutrients back into soils.

Program of Work

As a first step toward holistic management of the Elkhorn ecosystem, the agencies undertook a landscape level inventory of the components and a study of the landscape level changes.

Elkhorn Management Unit Large Logo