Elk harvest picked up considerably during the fifth weekend of the 2010 general big game season in southwest Montana.
Overall 15.7 percent of hunters checked game through the seven check stations with 203 elk, 54 mule deer, and 17 white-tailed deer. About 1,747 hunters stopped at a check station.
Across much of the region, elk harvest was well above the 2009 numbers and almost double the six-year average.
Cameron check station south of Ennis saw a whopping 139 elk checked through the station, more than double the number checked in the fifth weekend for any single year from 2004-2009. Hunters there also checked six mule deer and 5 white-tailed deer. Twenty-eight percent of hunters there had game.
“The volume of harvest coming through the check station was stunning,” said Julie Cunningham, FWP Madison-Gallatin Wildlife Biologist. “With the right combination of weather conditions and elk movements hunters had excellent success.”
“Most of the elk harvested came off private lands,” added Cunningham.
Check stations at Mill Creek west of Butte, Divide south of Butte, and Silver City northwest of Helena all saw good hunter success. Each of those stations checked through ten percent of hunters with game. Almost 16 percent of hunters passing through the Gallatin check station south of Bozeman had game.
“The cold winter weather conditions we’re experiencing in southwest Montana really got big game moving around this past weekend,” said FWP Regional Wildlife Manager Kurt Alt.
Hunters still have one week to go in the 2010 general big game season, which ends one-half hour after sunset on Sunday, Nov. 28.