The Hysham check station is open most weekends during the 2006 fall hunting seasons. The check station has been open at the Hysham rest area adjacent to Interstate 94 for several past hunting seasons and is the primary biological check station for the Region 7 area.
Hunters found wet conditions in southeast Montana for much of the upland game bird and the start of the antelope/deer/elk rifle seasons. The wet conditions have limited hunter access to several locations across the region. The rainfall pattern was dispersed and some areas received heavy rain while others received little to no rain. The hunters who could access their favorite locations had good success.
The upland game bird hunters were fairly successful on opening day. Almost three times the upland game birds (318) were checked the weekend of the pheasant opener compared to the same weekend in 2005 (98 birds). Since that time, numbers seemed to be leveling out.
The opening weekend of the antelope season found many hunters enjoying a 3-day weekend, and those who stuck around despite the wet conditions, were able to have quite a bit of luck. 233 antelope were checked the first weekend of 2006 compared to 43 the same weekend in 2005. During the opening day of the 2006 deer season, the number of deer checked (27) was up slightly from the same day in 2005 (16 deer). General conditions were muddy and wet in most of the area. Overall, hunters expressed satisfaction with the hunting experience they found in southeastern Montana.
In addition, officials would like to remind hunters that they are collecting deer and elk heads for chronic wasting disease sampling. To date, this disease has not been detected in Montana's wildlife and through sampling, officials are able to continue monitoring this status and detect any abnormalities. Donation of heads is voluntary and heads may be delivered to barrels around the region or donated at the Hysham check station when open. Information such as specific location and hunter information (name, ALS number, phone number) is asked to be provided when donating a head. The public's willingness to participate in this endeavor is greatly appreciated.