Results at the six northwest Montana check stations indicated that the 2006 big game season ended on a strong note for whitetail deer hunters. In total, hunters checked 1,938 whitetails, the highest number since 1996.
"The weather finally cooperated over the Thanksgiving weekend and provided excellent snowy conditions for hunters," said FWP Wildlife Manager Jim Williams. "Hunters, young and old alike, bagged a number of nice bucks and elk over the last few days of the season." Williams added that good numbers of antlerless deer were also taken for the freezer.
At the six check stations for the season, hunter numbers were 21,960, down a substantial 12 percent from last year. These hunters checked 1,938 whitetail deer, 288 mule deer, and 214 elk. The harvest for whitetails was the highest since 1996; mule deer harvest was down 23 percent and elk harvest was down slightly from last year’s record total.
Totals also could have been affected by early closings of several check stations because of severe weather and concerns for traffic safety on snow packed roads.
FWP thanks all the volunteers who worked at the check stations this fall, including a strong contingent of high school students at the Highway 2 check station. These students were organized by Kelly Morrow, a science teacher at Flathead High School.
The actual game harvest by hunting district will be available in June. The actual harvest is determined by a detailed phone survey of licensed hunters. The check station numbers given above represent only a sample of the total harvest in each hunting district but trends are usually similar.
Attached: 2006 big game hunting check station results