The number of deer hunters and harvested deer increased noticeably at Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ Havre check station in the second week of Montana’s five-week rifle season.
The number of deer hunters pursuing both mule deer and white-tailed deer was up sharply, but even more noticeable was the number of deer checked at the station on U.S. Highway 2 east of Havre. In the first week of the season 131 hunters stopped at the station compared with 171 hunters who stopped the second weekend of the station’s operation.
In the first week, hunters checked 95 mule deer and 30 white-tailed deer compared with 168 mule deer and 38 whitetails in the second week. The proportion of bucks to does in the checked carcasses was about even.
Over the same period last year 144 hunters with 62 mule deer and 10 whitetails stopped at the station in the first weekend and 134 hunters with 79 mule deer and 16 whitetails stopped the second weekend of the 2006 season.
“I’m not surprised to see this increase in mule deer interest and success,” says Al Rosgaard, FWP’s wildlife biologist in Havre. “The number of antlerless licenses has been increasing in hunting districts to the east, and the overall herd is rebounding from lows earlier this decade. We’re seeing lots of mature bucks coming through the station and hunters seem to be happy with what they’re seeing.”
Antelope season runs through Nov. 11, and Rosgaard reports that through four weekends of the rifle pronghorn season, 477 antelope hunters have checked 403 antelope through the check station. That’s well ahead of last year’s pace.
Elk harvest is up in Missouri Breaks hunting units, with fair numbers of antlerless elk coming through the station.