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 2,900 hunters checked 85 white-tailed deer (66 of these were bucks), 16 mule deer, and 17 elk for a 4.1 percent rate of hunters with game. This compares with a 5.5 percent rate of hunters with game last year at the check stations.
According to FWP Wildlife Manager Jim Williams, it was a slow opener, particularly for whitetail bucks. “Whitetail buck harvest will pick up as the season progresses,” he said. “The hunting season stretches to the December 1 this year, so we are just getting started.”
The Olney check station saw the best results. Hunters checked 23 whitetail bucks, 3 bull elk and one mule deer buck, for a 7.3 percent rate of hunters with game.
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.