FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE November 27, 2007
Contact: Carillon Steorts – Information Desk – 406-247-2943
BIG GAME SEASON FINISHES ON A HIGH NOTE – ELK SEASON EXTENDED IN SOME AREAS
Everything was about as good as it gets for the last weekend of the big game season. The weather finally cooperated, lots of deer were available, and the harvest was up. A decided lack of hunters was the only downside.
The Beartooth face got 18 inches of snow. Other parts of the region had at least a smattering of fresh snow. Both Laurel and Columbus had deer harvest success rates well above fifty percent, an even split between whitetails and mule deer in Laurel and whitetails in the majority at Columbus. "We essentially tied the highest whitetail harvest we have ever had," said Shawn Stewart, biologist out of Columbus. "And the harvest of adult whitetail bucks was far above anything we have ever seen before," he added.
Big Timber saw 16% fewer hunters this weekend than the same weekend last year, but the success rate was 63% as compared to 57% in 2006. "The Mule deer harvest was identical to the final weekend last year, and whitetail and elk harvests were slightly below last year's numbers," reported Justin Paugh, Big Timber biologist.
For the season, hunter numbers were down at the Laurel and Lavina check stations, 13% and 19.4% respectively. Big Timber saw a similar decrease, while Columbus saw the highest number of hunters in three years through that check station. The season success rate for all check stations was the highest it has been in the last five years.
Antlerless whitetails made up the bulk of the deer harvest on the last weekend of the hunting season, attesting to the fact that many hunters were filling whitetail doe tags on the last day. Once again, bucks 2 years old and older made up the majority of the buck harvest for both whitetail and mule deer, and in Columbus one 9 to 10 year old whitetail buck was taken.
The big game general rifle season closed Sunday, November 25. In some hunting districts where elk populations are above the established management objectives, there is a two-week elk season extension through December 9. In south-central Montana, this extension is for hunters still holding an unused general elk license and includes only hunting districts 511, 530, 540 and 580. Hunters may also use their A9/B12 license awarded via the special drawings in 511, 530 and 580 during this extension period.
Other opportunities for hunters holding a general elk license or special permit are available in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6. For a complete listing of hunting districts with extended seasons in other parts of the state, please visit the FWP website, fwp.mt.gov under headlines.
Attached is the check station summary for the weekend of November 25, 2007 and a picture of Tyree Chilton, who got his first buck on the last weekend of the big game season.