The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission ruled recently that Anterless Whitetail Deer B Licenses in the 600 series of hunting districts will not be valid in Hunting Districts 641 and the portion of hunting district 640 lying east of Highway 16. Severe winter weather and late season game damage hunts in the eastern part of Montana around Sandhills and Medicine Lake near Dagmar substantially reduced white-tailed deer numbers below the long-term average population size.
"White-tailed deer in other areas in the eastern portion of FWP Region Six did fine, but winter took a toll on whitetails in 641 and a portion of 640. This move will help these populations rebuild," said Glenn Erickson, FWP wildlife management bureau chief. Fawns were hit especially hard. In an area where the population averages 34 fawns to 100 adults, FWP counts in late February showed 28 fawns to 100 adults in the Sandhills area and 19 fawns to 100 adults in the Medicine Lake area.
Other nearby populations were not impacted in the same way. To the west of Highway 16 in hunting district 640 in the Whitetail Creek area, the total number of whitetails counted was the highest since 1979 at 85 percent above the long-term average.
"We're seeing the impact of a severe snow and ice storm that hit the specific area east of Highway 16 and north of the Missouri River. The snowy, icy conditions continued into March, while in other areas of the region the winter was near normal," Erickson said.