A shot of winter weather the last two weeks of the 2010 general big game hunting season helped boost the hunter harvest along the Rocky Mountain Front.
“The cold and snow we received the last two weeks of the season started to push strong numbers of elk out of the backcountry,” says Brent Lonner, Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife biologist.
Lonner is in charge of FWP’s biological game check station in Augusta. While the numbers from the check station – FWP Region 4’s sole biological check station – apply only to a handful of hunting districts on the Rocky Mountain Front, they often mirror conditions elsewhere in north central Montana.
“Approximately 50 percent of the entire elk harvest for all HD’s as seen through the check station occurred the last eight days of the season,” Lonner says. “Mule and white-tailed deer harvest was pretty steady through most of the season.”
A total of 316 elk were brought into the check station, which is 15 percent above the five-year average of 283.
The mule deer harvest was down slightly at 331 animals. That’s a 16 percent decrease from the five-year average of 391.
For whitetails, hunters checked in 341 animals, which was 21 percent above the five-year average of 272.