Final results of the 2010 general big game hunting season in southwest Montana indicate a moderate harvest. Elk harvest was up as compared with 2009 and the six-year average. Mule and white-tailed deer harvest were lower than 2009 and six-year average harvest levels.
About 12,019 hunters passed through the seven check stations with 778 elk, 212 mule deer, and 101 white-tailed deer. The overall percentage of hunters with game was 9.1.
Elk harvest was above the six-year average of 661. Mule deer and white-tailed deer harvest were below the six-year averages of 391 and 133 respectively. Hunter numbers were slightly lower than the six-year average of 13,753. And the percent of hunters with game was slightly above the six-year average of 8.6 percent.
The season started slowly with the consistent mild weather conditions. However, hunters got a good boost in most of southwest Montana during the last two weeks of the hunting season when severe winter weather—snow and cold temperatures—spurred big game to move to lower elevation habitats.