Elk harvest was up compared to 2009 in the opening days of the 2010 big game season in southwest Montana. Mule deer harvest was on par with 2009 while white-tailed deer harvest was down.
Overall on opening weekend about 6.8 percent of hunters harvested game—3,173 hunters passed through the seven check stations with 178 elk, 30 mule deer, and 7 white-tailed deer.
Silver City check station northwest of Helena had a big opening with 45 elk checked by hunters. Silver City also saw the most hunters with 995 passing through.
Divide check station south of Butte had a slow opening Saturday, but picked up considerably on Sunday. About 317 hunters checked 33 elk, 6 mule deer, and 1 white-tailed deer through the check station. Ruby check station south of Alder saw double the number of elk checked this year over 2009 with 34 of the animals and Cameron check station in the Madison Valley saw an increase in the number of elk checked from 28 in 2009 to 35 in 2010.
Hunters are reminded that immediately after killing a game animal, a hunter must cut out the proper month and day of the kill from the appropriate license and attach it to the animal in a secure and visible manner. Hunters must also leave evidence of sex and species naturally attached before transporting any big game carcass or portion of a carcass.