At the six Region One game check stations through the second weekend of the hunting season, a total of 5,377 hunters checked 255 white-tailed deer (221 of these were bucks), 19 mule deer, and 35 elk for a 5.7 percent rate of hunters with game. This compares with a 4.6% rate of hunters with game in 2011.
At the Swan Valley Check Station, FWP Biologist John Vore notes that the numbers of whitetail bucks being checked through is encouraging. “The number of bucks is up 40 percent, even though hunter numbers are down,” he said. This pattern held for the other check stations except the North Fork.
The counts at the six northwest Montana check stations represent a sampling of the first two weekends of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken.
Hunters are reminded that it is buck-only for whitetails in northwest Montana. Antlerless whitetails remain legal game for youth 12-15 years of age (and some qualifying 11-year olds, see regulations). Mule deer are buck-only for the entire season. Elk are brow-tine bull only. Spike bull elk are not legal game for any hunter in Region One. Hunters should refer to the hunting regulations for the hunting district they plan to hunt.