Hunters took to the field Saturday and Sunday across northwest Montana for the opening weekend of the general deer and elk season. At the six northwest Montana check stations, a total of 3,174 hunters checked 114 white-tailed deer, 14 mule deer, and 22 elk for a 4.7 percent rate of hunters with game. This compares with a 6.1% percent rate of hunters with game last year at the check stations. Of the whitetails checked, 83 were bucks and 31 were antlerless.
At the Highway 2 check station west of town, and the Canoe Gulch check station near Libby, the number of checked deer and elk were up compared to last year. The other four check stations reported a decrease in deer and elk checked. Of note, two harvested wolves were checked at the Highway 2 check station, and one wolf was checked at the Thompson Falls check station.
FWP Wildlife Manager Jim Williams noted that deer and elk seasons in northwest Montana remain conservative, with adult hunters limited to buck only for whitetail and mule deer, with very few B-tags for antlerless deer.
Region-wide, a number of youngsters came through with their first deer, all whitetail does and young bucks.
Hunters are reminded that regulations for whitetails and mule deer in Region One are buck-only through the end of the hunting season. Youth 12-15 (and some qualifying 11-year olds, see the regulations) can take antlerless whitetail deer. Disabled hunters with a Permit to Hunt from a Vehicle can also take antlerless whitetail deer.
Elk hunting is brow-tined bull only. Youth 12-15(and some qualifying 11-year olds) can take antlerless elk. Spike elk are not legal game. These regulations apply in most Region One hunting districts. Check the Montana hunting regulations for the district you plan to hunt.