Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is delaying the openings of four wildlife management areas in southwest Montana. The openings of the Wall Creek and Bear Creek in the Madison Valley, Gallatin in the Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, and Dome Mountain in the Paradise Valley will be delayed until May 15.

These areas normally open to the public on May 1. However, due to extended severe winter conditions elk have few options to move up in elevation.

“We don’t want to displace the elk off these winter ranges at this critical time,” said acting regional wildlife manager Neil Anderson. “This has been a particularly tough winter and we ask people who are out recreating on winter ranges of any kind to give the elk a break.”

There are also five other wildlife management areas in southwest Montana with regularly scheduled openings on May 15: Robb-Ledford and Blacktail southeast of Dillon, Fleecer and a portion of Mount Haggin south and west of Butte, and Canyon Creek north of Helena.

To protect wildlife, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reminds users, including horn hunters, that it’s against the law to enter a wildlife management area during the wintertime closures, including emergency closures or delayed openings.

Many of Montana’s other wildlife management areas across the state do not open until May 15. Please check with your local FWP office or FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov/habitat/wildlifeManagementAreas for specific opening dates.