Deer harvest in northwest Montana is well ahead of last year at the same point in the season, according to check station results around Region One.
At the six northwest Montana check stations through Sunday, November 24, a total of 15,061 hunters checked 842 white-tailed deer (762 of these were bucks as compared to 532 last year). Also in the count were 116 mule deer, and 51 elk for an overall 6.7 percent rate of hunters with game. Harvest was up as compared to last year when 5.5 percent of hunters checked game. Hunter numbers are up eight percent as compared to last year.
According to FWP Wildlife Biologist John Vore, the deer harvest really picked up pace this weekend because of the rut. For example at the Swan Check Station, hunters brought through 60 whitetail bucks while at Olney, 65 bucks were checked. Both counts are well above average for that weekend.
“We saw a good number of older bucks come through this weekend,” Vore said.
The counts at the six northwest Montana check stations represent a sampling 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.
Wolf Harvest: The wolf take is ahead of last year at this same point in the general deer and elk season. Hunters have taken 28 wolves in Region One to date (compared to 19 last year). Statewide, hunters have taken 87 wolves (compared to 66 last year).