Unguided/Do-it-Yourself/DIY Montana Elk Hunting from a Deluxe Cabin

Unguided Montana Elk Hunting, Montana Elk Hunting, Montana do-it-yourself Elk & Deer Hunting, Do-it-yourself Montana Elk Hunting, “DIY Montana Elk Hunting, Montana Archery Hunting, Montana Deer Hunting, Montana Drop Camp, Montana Drop Camps, Montana Hunting Cabin, and Montana Antelope Hunting

Game and Season

“Mike, Thank you for an incredible experience! The cabin at Rhynard Ranch was a great place to relax and unwind, and the hunting was even better. With incredible scenery and fellowship, this was an experience I will never forget.”

— Florida Archery Hunter

The Castle Mountains have abundant big game, including elk, mule and white-tailed deer, moose (migratory), black bear, mountain lion, prairie dog (gopher version), badgers, and antelope. As anywhere, game patterns can vary with pressure, weather, forage and water availability, and other factors. Ultimately, hunting success depends on a combination of these factors, hunter skill, and luck.

” Mike, I just wanted to say we had an excellent time at the Ranch.  We went out expecting a bed to sleep in and hoping for a chance to see an elk.  The results were beyond expectation.  The cabin was nothing but the best and there was more land for us to chase deer and elk on than our bodies could handle.  We saw lots of game and had a great hunt.  We even still-hunted up to the lake and caught fish for dinner one night. We were already talking about coming back before the hunt was over.   ” — Wisconsin Rifle Hunter

Hunting area includes 3600 acres of private land and privately-accessible state land, plus thousands of acres of adjoining National Forest. The ranch has four miles of boundary with the National Forest.

Public access to this area is moderate in archery season and limited during gun season. The normally abundant numbers of elk, deer, and antelope on the ranch combine with the low-impact nature of archery hunting to make the ranch an outstanding bowhunting venue. While game behavior is, of course, more unpredictable during gun season, the combination of animal numbers, hunting space and limited public pressure generally produces excellent gun hunting opportunities. Note: Since we are a cattle ranch, and since neighboring ranches have grazing permits on the National Forest, you may sometimes run into cattle, and occasionally, into motorized or horseback cowboys.

“The cabin and property never disappoint. Scenery at the ranch never ceases to amaze me. We’re obviously there for the elk hunting but the ranch has so much more to offer. Our souls were filled to the brim when making that final drive down the ranch road headed home. Thank you Mike for offering such a unique experience.”  Minnesota Hunter

All hunting will be unguided. We’ll provide you with a plasticized topographical map, annotated with property boundaries and local place names, upon your arrival. We will meet you when you arrive and check you out on the cabin, the map, and the territory. If you want to purchase your own map in advance, the appropriate maps are USGS / USDA FS, 7.5 Minute Series, “Castle Town” Quadrangle (Township 8N 8E, Sections (various portions of) 26, 27, 34, 35, & 36) and “Hamen” Quadrangle (Township 7N 8E, Sections 15 & 16. After booking and lease signing, we’ll email you a scanned version of our annotated map.

Mike, the Rhynard Ranch is a very special place that cleanses the mind and recharges the soul.  With all the comforts of home and chance to unplug, turning back the hands of time to spend a week in the woods with my son in your cabin was just what the doctor ordered.  Taking in the beauty of your land and the sounds of bugling elk heard echoing off through the timber would be enough to make any outdoorsman’s week, but the added experience of a successful harvest made our time on your ranch that much more special.  Thank you for sharing it with us.
Florida Archery Hunter


Hunting terrain includes heavy timber, open parks, aspen groves, creeks, springs (favorite spots for elk wallows), and alfalfa fields. Average altitude is approximately 6200 feet, and much of the terrain is steep and rugged. Fall weather is unpredictable and can change both drastically and suddenly. We recommend hunters be in top physical condition and always travel in pairs. In addition to extra clothing, hunters should pack, at least, a map, compass or GPS, whistle, water, food, matches and paper, and a first aid kit.

“Mike, I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say “Thanks” for providing us with such an awesome hunting experience. We all had a great time on the Rhynard ranch. I can honestly say that from a hunting perspective, I have never stayed in a more comfortable and inviting place. You run a first class operation with great accommodations and excellent hunting habitat. I hope to return next year.” — Minnesota Rifle Hunter

“The bow-hunting trip to the Rhynard Ranch was a great experience. We stayed in an excellent hunting cabin and enjoyed the fellowship only found at hunting camp. But beyond all those moments in camp was the absolute adrenaline pumping excitement of being in the middle of an elk herd stalking a 6 x 6 bull. Although others got their elk, I didn’t harvest that big bull but what I did drag out with me was one of the best hunting experiences of my life. Thanks Mike.”  Montana Bowhunter

Licensing & Regs

All hunters must have an appropriate hunting license. Since we operate as a “drop camp”, each hunter must obtain his or her own hunting license from the state of Montana. The Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks web site provides detailed information on seasons, licensing, bonus points, and special permits, by district. The ranch is in elk and deer districts 452 and 580, and the adjoining National Forest is all in district 452. Nearly all of our elk and deer hunting is in 452. Both the ranch and adjoining National Forest are in antelope district 491. As of January 2022, district 452 is bucks only for deer and either sex elk, with bulls being brow-tine and up. Hunters may also procure an elk B tag (drawing in June), with or without a general tag, which is for cows only, and only on private land. The B tag is considerably cheaper than the general tag; so having one, in addition to a general tag, is a good way to avoid the dilemma of shooting a cow or holding out for a bull. With the B tag and a general tag, hunters can shoot a bull or cow on private or public ground, AND a cow on private ground.

District regulations, quotas, etc., change from year to year and are published on the MT Fish, Wildlife, & Parks website. You can also phone (1-406-444-2950) or write MT Fish, Wildlife, & Parks website. Their address is PO Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.

“We saw a herd bull every day. The cabin is perfect. I can’t say enough about our week, except that it was a totally enjoyable experience.” — PA Bowhunter 

“Mr. Rhynard, First of all I want to thank you for a great hunt.  We had a great time and saw and got into elk every day.  The accommodations were perfect.  It was above all expectations…  It was the most enjoyable hunt I have ever been on.  The other 4 guys agree!” — Wisconsin Bowhunter


If you’re tired of freezing your tail off in a tent, you’ll love the warm ambiance of a hot soak in the tub, electric heat, a wood-burning stove, and a comfortable bed after the day’s hunt. Our luxury cabin has all the modern amenities needed to make your stay the most comfortable of your hunting career. While guests provide their own personal and hunting gear, transportation, and food; everything else is provided, including cookware, a game cart, an archery target, a game pole, and both cooking and eating utensils.

Most areas are fairly close to established ranch or Forest Service roads/trails, facilitating game retrieval.  The cabin yard has a large, elevated game pole. Game butchering and packing services are available in White Sulphur Springs, Clyde Park, and Livingston. ATV’s and horses are not permitted, with the exception of ATV’s used for game retrieval on established trails only.

The closest commercial airports are in Helena, Bozeman, Great Falls, and Billings. Various Airlines service these cities (see below), each of which has rental car facilities. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are most adaptable to Montana’s rapidly changeable weather conditions, and we recommend their use. Tire chains are a good idea during gun season.

Bozeman – 1.5 hours – Delta, United, American, Alaska, Allegiant, Southwest

Helena – 1.5 hours – Delta, United, American, Alaska, Allegiant, Southwest

Great Falls – 2.5 hours – Delta, United, American, Alaska, Allegiant, Southwest

Billings – 2.5-3 hours – Delta, United, American, Alaska, Allegiant, Southwest

Delta | United | American | Alaska | Allegiant | Southwest

Mike, I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say “Thanks” for providing us with such an awesome hunting experience.   We all had a great time on the Rhynard ranch.   I can honestly say that from a hunting perspective, I have never stayed in a more comfortable and inviting place.   You run a first class operation with great accommodations and excellent hunting habitat.  I hope to return next year.  
— Minnesota Hunter

Rates & Schedule

Half of the lease fee is due within 10 days of initial booking. After receiving your down payment, we will email you the lease agreement, which is due back to us, signed, within 10 days. If either of the 10-day periods is exceeded, the booking will be considered void, and the week will be placed back on the open market. After lease receipt, there are no refunds. However, persons who fail to draw a tag may receive a refund before 30 April of the current year; or, credit their down payment to the following year. Prices may vary from year to year. The remaining half of the fee, along with a refundable $500 security deposit, is due 30 days before arrival. Payment must be by personal check or bank check.

With the exception of the first and last weeks of both archery and gun season, check-in is any time on Sunday and checkout is before 10 AM the following Saturday. Check-in and checkout times may vary slightly due to scheduling constraints, but will always be specified and accepted by guests before arrival. Rates and hunting schedules are shown immediately below.

Big Game Rates

Groups of 2-3: $2,300 per person per week
Groups of 4 or more: $2,100 per person per week (must have at least 4 hunters)

Flat rate for weeks 1 and 5 of archery season is $1400 per person per week.

For all hunts, $6.40 per day (total) will be withheld from security deposit refunds for Montana Bed Tax. Further, any damages, or time charges ($50/hr) expended to rectify lease violations, will also be deducted from the security deposit. Time spent finding replacement groups after cancellations outside the terms of the lease agreement will also be deducted at the above rate.

Non-hunters who accompany at least two paying hunters pay a reduced rate of $1,200. A single hunter may be accompanied by a non-hunter (total of two persons), but the non-hunter must pay the “hunter” rate.

We lease to only one group per week. Minimum group size is two hunters. Published rates on this site at time of down payment apply for deposit calculation. If the fee shown on this website increases before or on January 1 of any hunt year, the amount of that fee increase will be added to final balance due for that year, and succeeding years for long-term leases. 

I can’t comment enough on the excellent accommodations you’ve built. We really enjoyed the hunt…I saw at least four whitetails that would make the Pope and Young record books – missed one of them.”   — Wisconsin Bowhunter


2024 Archery:

Opening day – Sept 7, 2024
Note 1: NET = not earlier than, NLT = not later than
* = extra day in this week

*Sept 6, NET 9 AM Sept. 13, NLT 2 PM
Sept. 15, NET 9 AM Sept. 21, NLT 10 AM
Sept. 22, NET 9 AM Sept. 28, NLT 10 AM
Sept. 29, NET 9 AM Oct. 5, NLT 10 AM
* Oct 6, NET 9 AM Oct. 13, NLT 2 PM
Week 6 – Held Open

2024 Rifle

Opening day ­ Oct 26, 2024
NET = not earlier than, NLT = not later than
* = extra day in this week



*Oct. 25, NET 9 AM Nov. 1, NLT 2 PM
Nov. 3, NET 9 AM Nov. 9, NLT 10 AM
Nov. 10, NET 9 AM Nov. 16, NLT 10 AM
Nov. 17, NET 9 AM Nov. 23, NLT 10 AM
*Nov. 24, NET 9 AM Dec. 1, NLT 2 PM

Hunt dates may change, if MT Fish, Wildlife, & Parks implements changes to the big game season. MT Fish, Wildlife, & Parks can decide to make such changes at any time before the season begins.

Booking Policy

Please make initial contact via email– Bookings are on a first come, first served basis, and priority is given to groups of four or more hunters.

Since some parties are unsuccessful in the draw, vacancies generally develop after the draw date (April 15). Therefore, in cases where a party’s preferred week has already been booked, we allow the party to book a different week (so they’re guaranteed a booking if they draw), AND also book the second or third position, if available, for the week they originally wanted. Or, if there are no first positions available, a party may book the second or third position for two separate weeks. Thus, if a party wants the first week of bow season, but another party is already penciled in for that week, they can book the first position for some other week and ALSO book the second position for the first week. Then, if the party that holds the first position for the first week fails to draw, but the second party does draw, the second party can take the first week and vacate the week they held first position in, leaving it for any party in line behind them for that week.

We provide references, upon request. However, to avoid over-burdening our references, we ask that you not request their contact information until you are in the advanced stages of your hunt selection process. We and our references greatly appreciate your cooperation.

I forwarded the photo of the nice 6×5.  He was the last in a line of 6 elk I bumped into on a heavy timbered, steep slope…  A single shot from 150-175 yards dropped him where he stood.  With or without the elk, I wanted to make sure I emailed to thank you for providing such a wonderful place to stay, hike and hunt.  I’m spoiled on elk hunting for life!  I hope that I’ll get a chance to return to Rhynard Ranch for elk hunting again someday.  I’ll never forget the hunt. — Minnesota Rifle Hunter

“Hi Mike,
Just wanted to say thanks for the great hospitality we all had a fantastic time! I’m very impressed with your operation and can’t wait to come back in 2014. ” — SD Bowhunter

More images from Rhynard Ranch: