FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE October 30, 2007
Contact: Carillon Steorts – Information Desk – 406-247-2943
LOW ELK, HIGH MULE DEER NUMBERS MARK THE SECOND WEEK OF HUNTING
Most check stations reported high mule deer numbers through the second weekend of hunting, some significantly higher than last year. Elk harvest was down, however, and lower than the previous 4 years. The antelope harvest also revealed lower numbers than the last 4 years and whitetails were just slightly higher than last year at this time.
Once again, Columbus had a big increase in hunter numbers through their check station, 40% over last year during the second weekend. Big Timber and Lavina also saw significant increases in hunter numbers, but even with the increased numbers over last year, overall, both hunter and harvest numbers are well below those of recent years.
Again, whitetail and mule deer bucks checked through the game stations were mostly 2 years old and older, with Columbus seeing a very nice 5-year-old buck.
Elk harvest was as low as it's been in many years, with Lavina reporting a bull harvest down 45.9% and cows 32.3% through the first two weekends. Several hunters commented on the lack of hunters in areas where they normally see lots of hunters. "No elk were checked at Columbus this weekend," reported Shawn Stewart, "and nearly all hunters were unsuccessful at even seeing elk."
Sunday started out cool and calm but temperatures reached nearly 70 by 1:00 p.m. in the Lavina area which made it a great day to be outdoors, but not a great day to take care of wild game. Laurel reported unseasonably warm weather conditions on both Saturday and Sunday. Big Timber biologist, Justin Paugh, is quoted as saying, "Many hunters complained about the warm weather conditions and lack of game movement."
While warm hunting conditions seem to have reduced the number of elk hunters and harvest last weekend, seasonably cooler weather is on tap which, hopefully, will be conducive to more elk activity in the region as the hunting season progresses.This week's statistics and season trends are attached: